Are you writing a story that stalls halfway through?
Or worse, a story that never really gets off the ground?

You know you need help to capture your readers’ hearts and minds, but you don’t know where to turn. The Story Grid Five Commandments of Storytelling course is designed to teach writers how to build a story that works from lift-off to landing. A story that matters to readers.

Whether you’re writing a mystery, romance, epic fantasy, or coming-of-age memoir, your instructor, Story Grid Certified Editor Danielle Kiowski, will bring you up to speed quickly. You’ll learn the proven Story Grid approach to storytelling and deepen your understanding of the five foundational principles all great stories have in common.



Is this course for you?

Do you want your short story, novel, or screenplay to entertain and enlighten readers? Do you want them to keep turning pages because they’re so immersed in another time and place? Would you like to change a few minds or even a few lives?

To accomplish any of these goals, you first have to understand the principles of storytelling, the core components your story must have, no matter what its themes, characters, or settings are. You’ll find the Five Commandments in every thriller and in every literary masterpiece. You’ll even find them in knock-knock jokes!

If you love stories and want to tell them well, this course is for you. Whether you’re a beginner learning the basics for the first time or a more experienced writer ready to dive into the nuances of turning points and crises, this course will help you level up your craft.

Danielle Kiowski

Hi, I'm Danielle Kiowski

I’m a Story Grid Certified Editor. I’m also a story nerd, just like you.

I love teaching the Five Commandments of Storytelling because they’re so powerful. Learning the Five C’s can transform your writing faster than just about any other approach. I’ve seen it happen for dozens of writers just like you.

When you understand these foundational concepts, they will supercharge your stories. The Five Commandments are the ingredients that help stories stand the test of time.

I’ve designed the course to show you how to build scenes and stories from the ground up. Drawing on my experience with clients just like you and analysis of diverse masterworks, I’ll share lots of storytelling best practices and common pitfalls you’ll want to avoid.

Together, let’s take your story to the next level.

Why do you need this course now?

Like all writers, you want to keep growing and sharpening your skills. With the tools and strategies in the Five Commandments course, you’ll write better stories, edit yourself and others with laser focus, and make a greater impact on your readers.

Learn to Write Better Stories

I share practical, field-tested advice that will help you build strong foundations for individual scenes and your global story.

Learn to Edit Effectively

I show you how to target the right parts of your story for improvement to make the whole stronger so you can stop wasting time spinning your wheels.

Learn through Practice

I demonstrate the Five Commandments of Storytelling in action with detailed examples.You’ll get global story breakdowns of three beloved masterworks, and we’ll dig deep into six scene-level analyses of the way stories work on a micro level.

What happens in the Story Grid Five Commandments of Storytelling Course?

Theory and practice come together seamlessly. We explore the underlying principles of storytelling that every writer needs to know, and each principle is translated into practical advice you will use to improve your writing and editing immediately.

After you learn the Five Commandments and why each is a crucial pillar supporting every great story, I’ll show you how to incorporate each of the five pillars into the architecture of your own stories from page one to the end.

To help you implement this advice right away, I’ll share my own checklist that I use as a Story Grid Editor to analyze each of the Five Commandments.

With this knowledge at your fingertips, you can start telling better stories even before you finish the course.

Here's an overview:


In-Depth Descriptions

One-by-one, learn about each of the Five Commandments: How do you identify them? Why do they matter so much? Most importantly: How do you include them in your own stories?


Best Practices and Common Pitfalls

Get practical advice, based on my experience analyzing masterworks and working with dozens of clients, to help you put your new knowledge to work and avoid the most common storytelling problems.


Multiple Levels

You’ve learned how the Five Commandments create a cohesive story arc. Now learn how each level of your story—beat, scene, sequence, and quadrant—contributes to the global story you want to tell.


Three Global Examples

Learn from the best. We’ll examine the global Five Commandments of Storytelling in three masterworks—Pride and Prejudice, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and The Hound of the Baskervilles—to see how writers at the top of the craft implement these principles.


Six Sample Scenes

Dive into six practical, magic-on-the-page sample scenes by classic and contemporary authors, including Roald Dahl, Umberto Eco, Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Kostova, Erin Morgenstern, and Leo Tolstoy. We’ll talk about how each author built the Five Commandments into a brilliant scene and why that made the scene work as a unit of the larger global story.

Who should take the Story Grid Five Commandments of Storytelling?


If you are just starting out, learning the Five Commandments will help you write better scenes and understand the art and science of storytelling like never before.


The Five Commandments are grounded in fundamental principles of cognitive science, which is why they are found in all stories that resonate across time and place. As your understanding deepens throughout the course, you’ll take your craft to the next level.


Understanding the core principles of all stories allows you to give your clients more targeted, personal feedback to help their writing shine.


Get the Story Grid Five Commandments Course today...



No, this isn't just another online writing course.

The Story Grid Five Commandments of Storytelling course is grounded in research accumulated over decades into the patterns of stories that resonate over generations.

Shawn Coyne, an editor with more than 30 years of experience as an editor, agent, and writer himself, identified these principles and used them with his clients to produce bestselling novels across multiple genres. Story Grid Certified Editors trained by Shawn use his proven methodology to help writers build novels, screenplays, narrative nonfiction, and even song lyrics that work.

Here’s a Quick Recap:

If you decide to join me in the Story Grid Five Commandments of Storytelling course, you’ll get:

  • In-depth explanations and illustrations of each of the Five Commandments to help you understand how they function in the context of your own stories.
  • Best practices for building strong story arcs and expert advice to help you avoid common pitfalls.
  • Demonstrations of how the Five Commandments work together on multiple story levels to create a global story that works.

And you’ll also get something more:

  • Analysis of how three classic masterworks employ the Five Commandments.
  • Examples of six scenes that will help you put theory into practice in your own writing.

What will you walk away with after completing the Story Grid Five Commandments of Storytelling Course?


You’ll see the mechanics of how your protagonist makes decisions that impact the global story. And you’ll understand how all the story events link together to create a story that works.


You’ll learn how to apply the Five Commandments to every scene you write. With tips and best practices for each Commandment, you’ll create stronger scenes from the start.


Whether you’re editing your own or someone else’s story, you’ll be able to apply the Five Commandments to pinpoint the specific parts that need help.


You’ll be a better storyteller. Period.


Get the Story Grid Five Commandments Course today...



Do the Five Commandments of Storytelling work for screenplays and short stories?

Yes! After you understand the Five Commandments of Storytelling, you’ll see them everywhere. They form the foundation of narrative no matter the medium, from novels to films, short stories, poems, songs—and even jokes. If you want to communicate to an audience, the Five Commandments will help you do it.

Do the Five Commandments of Storytelling work for nonfiction?

Yes. The Five Commandments of Storytelling are grounded in the way that humans process information. Embedding these fundamentals into your nonfiction books or essays will make your work more compelling to your audience and supercharge your impact.

If I haven’t finished my manuscript yet, will this course still help me?

Absolutely! This course is built for writers at any stage in the creative process. If you haven’t finished your manuscript, you can incorporate the Five Commandments in scenes as you create them. If you’ve already finished your draft, you can deploy the Five Commandments as you revise and level up your work.

What do you mean by "beginning writer"?

A beginner is someone new to writing stories or a seasoned writer who is new to the Story Grid methodology. This course is for writers in both situations—and for Story Grid veterans, too. No matter your experience, you can gain a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the Five Commandments of Storytelling in this course.

I’ve never read The Story Grid book. Will I still understand this course?

Definitely. The Five Commandments of Storytelling are principles you can understand without the context of other Story Grid tools and methods. I made sure to cover the basics in a down-to-earth way that will inspire and connect with someone brand new to Story Grid.

Is the course taught live, or are the videos pre-recorded?

The 23 videos are pre-recorded so you can view at your own pace, pause, take a break, rewind, or whatever you need to do to learn at your best.

Will I have lifetime access to the course material?

Yes, you have lifetime access to all the material.

How is the course accessed?

You will be able to access the course on any web browser on your desktop or mobile device.

Will an editor help me review my work?

No, but you can engage an individual Story Grid Certified Editor separately, if you need more help. You can schedule a consultation with an editor to ask about working together as you implement the Five Commandments of Storytelling in your own writing and revision. You can also find a community of story nerds just like you in the Story Grid Guild. It’s a great place to form a study group to go through the course material.