The Writers’ Common Language: A Shared Vocabulary to Tell Better Stories
Written by Tim Grahl
Edited by Leslie Watts

Like many beginning writers, Tim Grahl struggled to learn his craft—and even to find the right words to describe his questions and challenges. After reading a library of how-to books, Tim found what he needed in the unique Story Grid approach.

With the help of editor, friend, and Story Grid creator Shawn Coyne, Tim discovered a new vocabulary—what he now calls The Writers’ Common Language. Learning this language can help us all think and talk about our stories with more clarity and specificity.

In this book, Tim shares moments from his own journey as a storyteller and how the strategies and tools of Story Grid transformed the way he reads, writes, and edits his own work. “Once you can apply these tools to your own story,” he says, “you will be amazed at the progress you can make.”

With a shared understanding of terms such as “genre,” “point of view,” “value shift,” and “theme,” writers and editors can talk more productively and meaningfully to level up every project.

When we speak in this writers’ common language, we can create community, learn from each other, and—most important—bring more great stories into the world.

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Tim Grahl

Tim Grahl is the C.E.O. of Story Grid, a university and publishing house dedicated to teaching and publishing complex stories. He is the author of the bestselling book marketing methodology and protocol, Your First Thousand Copies and The Book Launch Blueprint. His memoir Running Down a Dream, a warts and all confession of the trials and tribulations of a contemporary small business owner, drew accolades from Ryan Holiday, Barbara Corcoran, Daniel H. Pink, Derek Sivers, and Steven Pressfield, who described it as "Indispensable." The writing of his first novel, a young adult science fiction coming of age action story, The Threshing, was the subject of the first three years of the Story Grid Podcast, a perennial chart topper on multiple podcast bestseller lists.

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.