The Story Grid Diagnostic: for a Story That Works

A compelling story must work from an overall global perspective before the characters, setting, and wordcraft can stand out. Do you know if your story works?

What is a Story Grid Diagnostic?

The Story Grid Diagnostic is a specialized manuscript evaluation that focuses on your story’s big picture and applies deep knowledge about genre to determine if your story works. The Story Grid Methodology was created by editor Shawn Coyne to help him choose the most promising manuscripts when he worked for a Big Five publishing firm. He shared the methodology in the book “The Story Grid—What All Good Editors Know” and later on his website

This evaluation uncovers the strengths and weaknesses of your novel by identifying the story’s genre, controlling idea, and story spine. This analysis provides personalized and actionable evaluation results and tools such as an Editor’s Six Core Question analysis (E6CQ) and a Story Grid Spreadsheet (SGS) of your first five scenes. 

A Story Grid Diagnostic helps you clarify your story’s message and helps you create something that engages your ideal reader and makes an emotional impact. A Story Grid Diagnostic can help you complete a compelling story that works.

A Story Grid Diagnostic is right for you if: 

You have a completed draft but aren’t sure of your next steps
You’ve heard of and want to apply the Story Grid methodology
You need help identifying comparable masterworks
You want a completed Editor’s Six Core Questions of your overall story
You want a Story Grid spreadsheet of the first five scenes
You want to know if you nailed the genre, conventions, and obligatory moments

The Story Grid Diagnostic

INVESTMENT: starting at $1000*

Your story is unique, and so are you. Starting with a manuscript evaluation of your completed draft using the Story Grid Methodology works for many writers. After a full read of your draft, the SG diagnostic provides:

  • Video conference or phone consultation (initial thirty minutes plus a one-hour follow-up)
  • A detailed Story Grid Editor’s Six Core Questions report—a big picture view of your story
  • An in-depth Story Grid Spreadsheet analysis of your first five scenes
  • Resources such as templates and articles to help enhance your revision skills 
  • Story Grid cheat sheet for your genre(s), including conventions and obligatory moments
  • Two to three suggested masterworks in your genre 
  • A shared Google Drive folder containing our recorded video calls, your written work, and relevant written materials
  • An editorial letter with suggestions and actionable steps to jumpstart your revision
  • A complimentary copy of Storygrid 101 by Shawn Coyne

Add-on services include: 

  • Authenticity reading 
  • Scrivener set up

Discounted follow-up services 

  • Developmental editing
  • Line editing 
  • Copyediting 
  • Book coaching (revision or pitching)

*See FAQ for pricing

Story Grid Development

The Story Grid Diagnostic Process


Step 1 - Your Initial Consultation

We’ll have a free 30-minute call where you will have the editor’s undivided attention. Tell me about your story. Ask anything about my editing and book coaching services: plotting methodologies, genre conventions, character development, and masterworks. This is your opportunity to share your plans and dreams for this story.


Step 2 - Welcome Aboard!

Welcome aboard! You’ve settled on the Story Grid Diagnostic and that’s a great choice! You’ll complete a questionnaire sharing more details about the story’s overall concept, process, and components and your publishing goals. You’re given access to your personal Author Portal and Google Drive folder and asked to upload your manuscript, blurb, synopsis, story bible, and related notes.


Step 3 - Manuscript processing

I'll read the entire manuscript and prepare the E6CQ, first five scene spreadsheet, and editorial letter. You and I will search for print and film Masterworks that parallel your story’s genre, structure, plot, or thematics to help illustrate successful execution. I'll complete any purchased add-ons such as authenticity reading reports and Scrivener set-up.


Step 4 - Deliverables distribution

An email alerts you that your project is complete and your portal contains all deliverables. It’s time to schedule our final meeting.


Step 5 - Final Meeting

Your Story Grid diagnostic and any add-ons are complete. We meet to discuss the analysis and your next steps. All documents and meeting recordings will remain available in your Author portal and Google Drive. The Story Grid Diagnostic should leave you energized and excited because your manuscript is one step closer to the final polish.

Discounted follow-up developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, or coaching is available, and a proposal will be submitted on request.

your questions answered

Frequently Asked Questions:

01. How is a Story Grid Diagnostic different from Book Coaching?


They are very different. A Story Grid Diagnostic is a specialized type of manuscript evaluation performed on a completed manuscript. Book coaching supports you in turning your idea, pages, or chapter into a story outline, a complete manuscript, a nonfiction proposal, or a pitching plan. 

02. What do you need from me before we get started?


You’ll need a completed draft. I’ll ask you to complete a story-related questionnaire and share your story blurb, synopsis, notes, outline, or character lists. These are not mandatory but will help me determine how well the story you drafted kept in line with your plans.

03. How do I know if your services are right for me?


Take a look at my menu of services and suggested readiness. Choosing an editor for your book is a deeply personal endeavor. One that requires trust. I aim to earn your trust by treating your words and goals with respect and objectivity. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your project and get your questions answered. 

04. How much does the Story Grid Diagnostic cost?


Pricing is based on manuscript length:

  •  Manuscripts of up to 80,000 words: $1000
  •  Manuscripts of 80,000-100,000 words: $1200
  •  Manuscripts of 100,000-120,000 words: $1400
  •  Manuscripts >120,000: $12 per 1000 words


Add-on or follow-up services pricing is customized and available on request. 

Let’s bring authenticity to your speculations, flow to your structure, and heart to your words.