Ep. 133: Progressive Complications for Your Scenes

What are progressive complications? Why do our stories and scenes need them? This week, Story Grid Certified editor Leslie Watts discusses the people, places, things, and events that stand between your characters and their goals within the context of the opening of Anna Ferguson’s YA science fiction novel, The Empire of Saffron

Ep. 132: Inciting Incidents for Your Scenes

What are inciting incidents? Why do our stories and scenes need them? What are the elements of a solid inciting incident? This week, Story Grid Certified editor Leslie Watts discusses these story event catalysts in the context of the opening of Drew Horstman’s fantasy novel, Nicholas Crumb. The editorial mission encourages you to collect inciting incidents by reading and watching stories—and from your own life. 

Episode 49: Awakened: Superhuman Thriller Critique

Episode Description

Leslie & Alyssa critique the opening of CS Manley’s Awakened. They discuss the opening device (amnesia), tension, setting, and the high polishing techniques that will make your writing lean.

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Show Notes

The research is the easiest. The outline is the most fun because you can do anything. The first draft is the hardest, because every word of the outline has to be fleshed out. The rewrite is very satisfying, because I feel that everything I do is making the book a little better. When I’ve finished, I enjoy the feeling that I’ve paid the rent for a couple more years.
— Ken Follett

Ready for the rest of the book? Read Awakened now.

Check out C.S. Manley's website.

Inline Critique

Episode 20: The Walrus of Death Urban Fantasy Critique

In this episode, Leslie and Alyssa critique the opening pages from Steeven R. Orr’s Walrus of Death. They discuss appropriate humor and how it can benefit your story, judicious pruning for a smoother reading experience, setting reader expectations with character appearance, and great hooks. 

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Word Count: Approx. 18,150

Published? Not currently.

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Show Notes

Even if your subject is a serious one, the subtle use of humor can both ease tension and provide a respite from difficult moments. I was recently hired to provide freelance assistance on a book about pornography-related problems. The authors felt I could make the subject less uncomfortable for readers by lightening things up here and there. As Eric Idle once wisely said, “Levity is the opposite of gravity.”
— Leigh Anne Jasheway