What Good Editors Know

The Internet Home of Shawn Coyne

Feature Box

I’m an editor, publisher, literary agent and writer. My twenty-five years of book publishing experience boils down to three words…The Story Grid.

By sharing my analytical method to edit stories of every genre, I hope to demystify the most primal and effective communication tool we have—Storytelling.

My goal is to make the work eminently practical…to remind writers that they are not the problem…the problems are the problem. The Story Grid pinpoints where the story weeds are and offers the tools necessary to root them out.

Venn Diagrams

Where do your interests as a writer and the interests of an under-served community of readers intersect?  This is the gist of this week’s Story Grid Podcast.  We often get so enamored with our own particular fascinations, that we forget about an all important component of being a professional.  That component is considering your audience, […]

Beginnings Differ from Endings

This episode of The Story Grid podcast is about getting back to basics.  When you’re flummoxed, it’s always a good idea to take a deep breath and go back to the basics. What is my global over-riding Genre? In Tim’s case, it’s the Action Genre What is the value at stake in that Genre? For […]

Constructive Criticism

What does an editor do when a manuscript arrives that is many iterations away from working? How can he explain to the writer that the book doesn’t work and that he’ll need to go all the back to step number one to sort out what’s wrong with it and more importantly, how he’ll take the […]

Pondering Quirky Quandaries

The first thing I told Matthew Quirk was to throw away a novel he’d been working on for three years.  Forget about it and start over are the last things a writer wants to hear. Even though other seriously high-powered literary agents in town thought his novel could be salvaged, Matt knew I was right. He […]

Intoxicating Accomplishments

Finishing a first draft of anything is a great feeling. Soon thereafter, though, comes the niggling, nasty, deep, dark panic that what you’ve done is so far from home that it seems pointless to keep thrashing it around.  This is a critical moment in every writer’s journey. And as an editor, it’s the moment that […]

Poultry Husbandry for Writers

This is one of my favorite episodes.  Tim mentioned something he heard from a friend and then off we went… Click below to listen, or read the transcript that follows: [0:00:01.1] TG: Hello and welcome to the Story Grid Podcast. This is a show dedicated to helping you become a better writer. I’m your host […]

The Wall

Is there a creative wall?  A place that once you break through, there are large amounts of additional resources to tap on the other side? The short answer is, Yes.  In this week’s episode of The Story Grid podcast, Tim and I explore this idea further. To listen, click the play button below, or read […]

Writing and Depression

Can you be a happy person and a writer too? Or are accomplished writers inherently depressed? Tim and I bat this question around a bit in this episode of The Story Grid podcast. To listen, click the play button below, or read the transcript that follows. [0:00:00.1] TG: Hello and welcome to the Story Grid […]

High Concepts

In this week’s episode Tim and I talk about when to share your work-in-progress (I strongly recommend you don’t until you have a first draft…and even then to do so very carefully) as well as a very helpful phrase from way back in the 1990s.  That phrase is “High Concept,” which is an instantly understandable […]

Coping with Imperfection

In this week’s episode Tim and I actually sat down face to face at his kitchen table, most likely the place where he retreats in the middle of the night to obsess over his work in progress while the rest of his family slumbers close by.  I’m that kind of writer myself, one who often […]