The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum: A Story Grid Masterworks Analysis Guide
Written by Shawn Coyne
Edited by Leslie Watts

Dorothy Gale’s trip from Kansas to the Emerald City—in print, on screen, and on stage—has enchanted audiences around the world for more than a century. But what is her magical adventure really about? And can studying such classic tales help today’s writers improve their craft?

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum: A Story Grid Masterworks Analysis Guide, Shawn Coyne answers these questions and more. In Oz, Coyne finds a pitch-perfect illustration of the Heroic Journey 2.0, his revolutionary take on Joseph Campbell’s monomyth. Coyne exposes the essential ingredients that define the book’s life-or-death Action Story, coming-of-age Worldview Story, and transcendent Heroic Journey.

Writers who take up the challenge and put the Heroic Journey 2.0 to work will craft stories that resonate across time and cultures and provide the emotional catharsis their readers crave.

By the end of Baum’s book, Dorothy has survived a worldview-shattering moment and committed to go on, creating new meaning in her life. Your journey as a storyteller begins with the same commitment to make meaning in the world, and this Guide will set you on the right path.

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Shawn Coyne

Shawn Coyne is a writer, editor, and publishing professional with over 30 years of experience. He has analyzed, acquired, edited, written, marketed, represented, or published 374 books with many dozens of bestsellers across all genres, and generated over $150,000,000 of revenue.

He graduated in 1986 with a degree in Biology from Harvard College, with a distinction of Magna Cum Laude for his thesis laboratory research work at the Charles A. Dana Laboratory of Toxicology at the Harvard School of Public Health. After Coyne left the laboratory, his findings were acknowledged and served as the inspiration for Mandana Sassanfar and Leona Samson’s Identification and Preliminary Characterization of an 06-Methylguanine DNA Repair Methyltransferase in the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae publication in the venerable The Journal of Biological Chemistry (Vol. 265, No. 1, Issue of January 5, pp. 20-25, 1990). 

In 1991, early in his publishing career, Coyne began an independent investigation into the structure, function and organization of narrative, which he has since coined Simulation Synthesis Theory. His synoptic integration of Aristotle’s Poetics, Freytag’s The Technique of the Drama, Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces, McKee’s Story, among many other story structure investigations with contemporary cognitive science, quantum information theory, cybernetics, evolutionary theory, behavioral psychology, Peircean and Jamesian pragmatism, Jungian depth psychology, Theologian and Philosopher Paul Tillich's conception of "ultimate concern," and fighter pilot John Boyd’s OODA loop serves as philosophical, scientific and spiritual foundations for his teaching.

In 2015, he created Story Grid Methodology to begin teaching and further developing Simulation Synthesis Theory. Since then he has given lectures on the origin of story, the integration of storytelling and science, and the necessity of telling complex stories to thousands of students all over the world. 

In addition to The Story Grid and Mentoring the Machines, he’s authored, coauthored or ghost-written numerous bestselling nonfiction and fiction titles. His most recent lecture series, “Genre Blueprint” applies his Simulation Synthesis Theory to popular works such as The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Matrix by Lara and Lana Wachowski.

Leslie Watts

Leslie Watts is a certified Story Grid editor, writer, and podcaster. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember: from her sixth-grade magazine about cats to writing practice while drafting opinions for an appellate court judge.

When the dust settled after her children were born, she launched to help writers unearth the treasure in their manuscripts. She believes writers become better storytellers through practice, and that editors owe a duty of care to help writers with specific and supportive guidance to meet reader expectations and express their unique gifts in the world.