For a long time I’ve had a fear. It’s not of clowns, chem trails, GMOs, or global warming. No, it’s much more pedestrian. Writing groups. Yes, yes, I know – I’m a writer. I need to be in a writing group, a gathering of likeminded individuals who can give my work the kind of intense, […]
The S.H.E.G. Model
Helping each other do the hard work of writing better
We created S.H.E.G. as a way to apply structural story analysis to our own and each other’s work in order to make good stories great, and great stories publishable.
SHEGGERS BELIEVE THAT
*talent, inspiration and beautiful prose are wonderful, but not enough. There’s a structure to great stories, and it’s not a secret. We want to learn it, apply it, work it, and WRITE BETTER.
*inspired writing happens in solitude, but editing it into a polished, marketable book is a group endeavor. This is that group.
*line-by-line edits are a waste of time until the story structure is right.
*completed a draft novel that’s now ready for structural editing.
*or, alternatively, completely finished a novel and started a new one that we want to structure before we get too far into the writing.
*written a logline and a pitch or summary of the manuscript to be workshopped in the group so the group knows what it’s dealing with.
*read and absorbed one or more of the following structural guides to story (this list is not exhaustive) and generally accept their principles:
*Larry Brooks’s Story Engineering “Tent Poles”
*Robert McKee’s Story
*Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey
SHEGGERS ARE PREPARED TO
*participate in a biweekly meeting by web conference.
*work with Google Docs, including sharing and inline comments.
*share a full scene or chapter with the group one week before each meeting.
*share and discuss our Story Engineering or Story Grid spreadsheet (or other structural tool) with the group as we develop it.
*give structural, whole-scene commentary on all other members’ submissions (as inline comments or otherwise in writing), and receive the same.
*provide trenchant and searching but alway constructive and positive feedback, with an emphasis on how the story works.
*openly discuss all feedback during the meeting; authors can explain themselves in order to get suggestions for improvement.
*view each other’s work as potentially great and totally fixable.
*respect each other’s privacy and intellectual property.
*accept the subject matter, genres, and stylistic approach of each other’s writing without judgment - we read as editors, not as “target audience”.
I’ve been writing all my life. I started my first novel at 9. (I finished it when I was 33.) I went on to get a degree in literature, wrote a couple more novels and a bunch of stories, took loads of writing workshops, and spent most of my paying career translating technical jargon into […]