We writers have countless story ideas

Our minds are constantly spinning up new, unique possibilities.

Maybe we have an idea for an innovative magic system, a uniquely diabolical villain, a tempestuous relationship, a flawed protagonist in need of transformation, or a perfect storm of natural disruption that tests the mettle of all beings in its wake…

Enlivened by these new ideas, we daydream on the drive into work about how to develop our concepts. We fall asleep making notes about how our readers will fall in love with our characters and consider how best to trickle out the details to hold them spellbound.

In this heady period of reflection and simulation, we can’t wait to attack the keyboard and start pounding out our story.

Inevitably, though, like restless children waiting in line at a carnival, we rush forward when only the crack of a single gate in our mind opens.

We then breathlessly begin banging out words.

At first, the narrative flows.

The scenes we’ve been obsessively considering pour right out with vim and vigor. We're getting our thousand words a day done with minimal cognitive dissonance, and it feels good… rewarding… right.

But soon, the sands begin to shift. We can't figure out how to finish a scene, so we abandon it with a “TK” and move to the next one.

Something about a character doesn't feel right, but we forge ahead anyway, confident we’ll fix it in a future editorial pass.

But the narrative weeds keep growing.

With every nettle we rip out, three more emerge.

Somewhere deep into the middle of the manuscript, all those weeds begin to entwine and slowly suffocate our enthusiasm.

But we tenaciously stick to it.

The only problem is that we’ve lost the throughline of what we’d initially set out to accomplish. Soon, questions about our intentions multiply faster than the narrative weeds.

Do we forge ahead, knowing everything we are writing will probably be a casualty in future drafts? Or do we go back to the beginning and retrace our steps to figure out where the story went off the rails and fix it?

We suspect you know what happens next…

At these all-is-lost moments, a fresh, brand-new story idea pops into our head, one better than the inertial mess we’ve been disentangling, with more potential. Soon we find ourselves convinced that “Yes!” this new idea is what we should be spending our time on. This is the one we will be able to finish.

So we stick the “old” manuscript in the metaphorical drawer and start up a new one, desperately pushing away the fact that in the back of our mind we know we’re doing the same thing we’ve always done, and as the old saying goes…

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Is There a Better Way?

We've seen this cycle far too many times in writers.

It's like you set out on a journey only to realize, after you're deep into the woods, that you didn't bring the right equipment along.

Worse than that, even if you could go back to the beginning and start again, you're still not sure what or how you would fix it.

But what if there was a step-by-step process to help you make all of the decisions you needed to ensure you wouldn't get stuck along the way?

What if you could write your novel with a set of tools that empowered you to see exactly which scenes belong your story and how to build them?

What if these same tools helped you identify the right words to put on the page?

Let the Narrative Path Guide the Way

The Narrative Path is a 3-part process that helps writers identify, formulate, and solve the problems of story creation. Following this process increases the probability of delivering a coherent story to readers.

Day 1
Proposition of Possibility

The Proposition of Probability generates and governs the problem space for a story. It is a premise that consists of the Context, the Protagonist, the Inciting Incident, and the Protagonist’s Goal.

Day 2
Narrative Device

The Narrative Device is a scenario or mental representation of the Author communicating the POP as a story to a Single Audience Member (SAM) to help solve a specific Problem.

Day 3
Point of View

Point of view is a combination of technical choices writers make to create the effect of the Narrative Device on the page and present the story to a reader. Point of view includes the Person, Tense, and Mode.

Narrow the Focus

During the 3-day workshop we will focus primarily on arch-plot Action and Crime stories with a single protagonist.

While we encourage you to come in with your ideas for stories, this is not a workshop to rework or retool an existing manuscript.

Our goal is to teach you the process of taking your half-formed, vague story ideas and turn them into a clear, concise Narrative Path that will keep your manuscript focused and working from start to finish.

More than just a writing workshop.

Learn the tools you need to put the Narrative Path to work to all your future writing. Here's how the Narrative Path Workshop works...


Signup Below to Save Your Spot

This is an in-person only event that will not be streamed online and is limited to 30 participants.


Pre-workshop Training

To maximize the value of our time in-person, we will provide prerecorded training starting in August to teach the foundational knowledge for the workshop. This will allow us to hit the ground running when we are together in November and focus on practice and implementation.


In-person Workshop

Our three days together will be spent working through examples and putting the Narrative Path into practice for your own story ideas so you can learn how to use the process for all your future writing.


Forever Access

We will provide forever access to the pre-workshop training. Plus, we will provide a recording of the live 3-day workshop only to in-person participants so you can reference it in the future.

Led by

Leslie Watts
Editor-in-Chief of Story Grid Publishing

Leslie Watts oversees acquisition and editing of Story Grid Publishing’s fiction and nonfiction titles. A member of the first class of Story Grid certified editors, Leslie is also a podcaster, instructor, mentor, and proud story nerd. She has written craft-focused books, including Point of View, Conventions and Obligatory Moments (with Kimberly Kessler), What’s the Big Idea? (with Shelley Sperry), and Story Grid masterwork analysis guides to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (with Shelley Sperry).

Leslie has been writing and editing for as long as she can remember—from her sixth-grade magazine about cats to drafting opinions for an appellate court judge. After a detour as a lawyer, she returned to her true calling as an author and editor. She believes in sharing specific, supportive guidance with writers to help them become better storytellers. Leslie lives on the coast of Maine with her husband and two children.

Also with...

Joining Leslie Watts to facilitate this workshop is:

  • Tim Grahl, Story Grid Publisher and Chief Executive Officer
  • Danielle Kiowski, Story Grid University Leader and Chief Academic Officer
  • Shawn Coyne, Story Grid Founder and Head of Research and Development

Join us in Nashville, TN

November 4-6, 2022

907 Gleaves St Nashville, TN 37203


Save Your Spot for the
Narrative Path Workshop


With your ticket to the Narrative Path Workshop, you gain access to:

  • Extensive Pre-workshop Training. This ensures you will get the most out of our 3 days together.
  • In-person Training Materials.
  • 1 of only 30 (6 left) spots Available.
  • Recording of Workshop. Only provided to participants. Will never be resold or published publicly.
  • Access to the 3-Day Life-changing Workshop.

$2499 -or- $690 for 4 months

(This workshop is limited to 30 participants.)


What happens after I register?

Once you register for the workshop, we will send you a confirmation email with details about the event and save your spot.

We will immediately begin sending you the pre-workshop training to ensure you have plenty of time to go through it before our time together in November.

As we get closer to the event, we will send you additional details and ensure you have everything you need to get the most out of the workshop.

What is the daily schedule during the workshop?

Doors to the Wellspire center will open at 8:00 a.m. and we will begin each day at 8:30 a.m. We will break for lunch around noon for one and a half hours and will resume approximately 1:30 p.m. Each day will end by 5:00 p.m.

Should I bring my work-in-progress to work on?

While we encourage you to bring your ideas for stories, this workshop is not designed to rework or retool an existing manuscript. Our process will take your ideas for stories and flesh them out into a Narrative Path that will allow you to write a new working manuscript.

Can I bring my ideas for any genre?

The tools in the Narrative Path are highly genre specific, so we are focusing this workshop on arch-plot Action and Crime stories with a single protagonist. Inside those constraints, we recommend you bring any and all of your story ideas to work through.

In fact, part of the pre-workshop training will be getting you to brainstorm ideas for your stories that you can bring into the workshop.