I’ll be published soon in nonfiction

Exciting news: I’ve been contracted to write a Story Grid Masterworks Edition in–of all things!–the Western genre.

One of Shawn Coyne’s most powerful Story Grid tools is his study guide to the Love Story genre, in the form of an annotated Pride and PrejudiceIt was instrumental to me in completing Restraint.

ebook edition of Shawn Coyne's Story Grid Edition of Pride and Prejudice on a tablet

As a Certified Story Grid  Editor, part of my new job is to help fill out the library of masterworks in other genres. I agreed to write an analysis of the classic 1968 Western novel True Grit, by Charles Portis.

I chose the Western genre not because I’m a huge fan (I’m not), but because I have a unique bona fide in the genre: I’m a main character in a Western novel myself!

My friend Greg Hatcher has written Silver Riders, a “weird Western” (yes, it’s a category), a supernatural tale set in the Old West, with a classic Western theme of vengeance. It’s coming soon from Airship 27.

(I am not a lady doctor, but I play one in this novel.)

Pen and ink illustration of a 19th century woman doctor, by Chris Kohler
One of Chris Kohler’s amazing ink illustrations for Silver Riders

The Western genre has produced zillions of movies and novels in its own right (so it’s a lot of fun to study), but it’s also a mashup of other genres–crime, adventure, morality, status and society. A novelist can learn a lot about good storytelling from the Western.

It’s an American form, too, highly specific to a particular landscape and a particular moment in history. And to my surprise, it’s still very much alive and kicking.

The Story Grid Masterworks Study Guide to True Grit, by Anne Hawley, edited by Shawn Coyne, will come out in the first half of 2018.

Now I’d better get to work.

The turning point

The turning point in my Story Grid story was right where it needed to be: at the Midpoint Shift, in the morning of Day 3 in Nashville. That’s when Shawn Coyne revealed his plan for disrupting the decrepit New York publishing model, and I realized that I was part of something way bigger than just credentials for a new freelance career.

In the Hero’s Journey, the protagonist is called to adventure, and in many stories (especially those with a strong internal genre) she refuses the call at first. She has to overcome internal obstacles before setting out.

But not me, man. Bolstered by the enthusiasm of 18 other newly-minted Story Grid Editors, I set off on this strange new road immediately.  I’ll be reporting on the journey as I go.

My notes from the morning of Day 3 in Nashville as the implications of what Shawn was presenting began to sink in.