As a bona fide story nerd, I believe that craft reigns supreme. Readers want great stories, and writers who can deliver them will have careers that last.
I like the way Robert McKee put it: there are two types of talent, literary and story. While writers need both, one does not flow from the other. Literary talent is the ability to use words to create powerful and beautiful images. Story talent is the ability to convert life itself into a form that moves and changes the audience. Literary talent is relatively common. Story talent is rare.
The goal for storytellers is to leverage their talent by learning the craft. Whereas screenwriters learn their craft at film school, novelists don’t tend to study craft at all. Few study creative writing at the post-secondary level, and those that do, are taught to develop literary talent.
The typical writer works on instinct.
In the current indie author community, writers are scrambling to develop a backlist so they can leverage the Amazon algorithms to get more page reads and be discovered through also-boughts.
But what would happen if authors mastered their craft and designed their novels in such a way that kept readers turning pages? That made them talk about the book to their friends? That led them to search for the author by name on Amazon. I believe that when novelists master their craft, readers do just that. My goal then, is to master my craft and help fellow authors do the same.
I’ve published across genre in both fiction and non-fiction.
Education and Experience:
Like most authors, I’ve been writing my entire life. I finished my first book when I was 7 years old and after graduating with an Honours degree in English Language and Literature from Memorial University of Newfoundland (and winning the University Medal for Academic Excellence), spent 20 years working in shadow careers like journalism and public relations in both the private and public sectors.
I began learning The Story Grid methodology in January, 2015 when I heard an interview with Shawn Coyne on The Creative Penn podcast. I’ve been studying and applying story theory daily since November, 2016.
In May, 2017, I began a weekly study practice with four people who are now my colleagues at Story Grid. Our study session has become the Story Grid Editor Roundtable podcast, where we analyze a film a week according to the Editor’s Six Core Questions.
Also in 2017, I attended the Story Grid Love Story Seminar (New York) in February, and became a Certified Story Grid Editor (Nashville) in September.
I furthered my training in 2018 by attending Robert McKee’s Story Seminar, TV Day and 4-Day Genre Seminars (New York and Los Angeles). Of course, I’m constantly reading books about story theory, structure and writing techniques including Story and Dialogue (Robert McKee), Anatomy of Story (John Truby), The Writer’s Journey (Christopher Vogler) and many others. In addition, I regularly listen to industry podcasts like the flagship Story Grid podcast, The Creative Penn and The Career Author.
Based on the island of Newfoundland off the east coast of Canada, I was the first Story Grid Editor to be certified outside of the United States. It’s a ruggedly beautiful spot here in the North Atlantic and, fun fact, my hometown of St. John’s is the oldest city in North America.