Please help me decide…

I’ve been raving about The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne for a while.

As a Big Five editor for 25 years, Shawn’s grid method was so sought after that successful authors would leave their publishers to work with him. But the stress was making him miserable, so he left the pressure cooker, finally creating a balanced life where he does what he loves: developmental editing, which is, in Shawn’s words…

“…working with somebody who is very dedicated to what they want to do, and taking the time and working methodically through a process so that they become a better and better writer.”

He’s doing that now with Tim Grahl on a podcast that’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard.

Of the 85 books about writing fiction that I have on my shelves and in my Kindle, The Story Grid is a significant outlier. In terms of reducing bestseller magic to concrete, reproducible, often indispensable parts, Shawn’s book is in a league of its own.

His grid process is ingenious, detailed and requires sustained effort to learn and follow – about like everything else on Earth that works any sort of wonders. (Speaking of wonders, please check out The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.)

So I applied for one of 25 slots to learn The Story Grid’s developmental editing techniques from Shawn Coyne in Nashville this September, and to my surprise, I was accepted. I’ll be listed on his site as an editor offering his methods.

Now I need your help in deciding something that’s really important to me. I have 6,733 followers here.

Tell me if I should…

1. Use this site ( for my future developmental editing service as well as my blog, probably with a lighter-colored theme, or…

2. Should I make another site for the editing service?

What do you think?

I just need a 1 or a 2 as a comment below. (If you have time, more advice would be appreciated, of course.) Or email me.

Thanks so much,

M. Talmage Moorehead

45 thoughts on “Please help me decide…

  1. I haven’t been keeping up with my favourite blogs over the past few months due to workload but am catching up on yours now- not sure if it’s too late to be adding a thought to this but I say option 2. You could have a post here announcing it and have a link up at the top of this site so people can go check out the new one (and vice versa). I think potential clients would like to be able to see all relevant information for them easily accessible in one site. either way, huge good luck with it all! As an aside, I love your blog a lot. I’m not much of a commenter but just wanted to say thank you so much for your thought-provoking words- when I ‘like’ a post, I have read and liked or loved what you’ve had to say!

    • Thank you, Laura! Your comment couldn’t have come at a better time. I needed encouragement today!

      I’ve decided to go with option 2. I’ve got a website built, but I haven’t gone live with it yet. Plus I’m swamped with a Story Grid project that has a looming deadline.

      Thank you soooo much for your comment! It means a ton to me!

  2. I would use the site where you already have the people because 1. You already have the people here 2. The people likely to visit are also potentially likely to use your services. Congratulations it sounds like a great opportunity for you. Thanks also for liking my Aliens blog post

    • Thank you, Jane. I hadn’t given that much thought, but now that I do… Years ago I used to try to keep up with two sites (two blogs) and ended up ignoring one and working on the other. I really don’t want to do that again, especially if I wind up letting this site slide.
      Thanks again for your help! 🙂

    • jane tims – good point – I was thinking about not losing follows – but too, having to keep up another blog & trying to attract people anew – ugh! that’s a lot of work! so much better to keep all together …

      • Maybe I should try to make my editing service known here (without overt promotion) and overtly promote a regular website at the same time. If I don’t blog over there, it won’t be twice the work. And if nobody shows up over there, I’ll turn it into an author site. I’ll need one of those pretty soon anyway – when I get out of my current writing slump.

  3. 1 : revamp the site / new theme , rearrange your material, bring forth the developmental editing service.
    Now, it seems that a hinging point of your decision is the current number of followers; why start from scratch? True.
    But, what is your estimation of the “active followers” number ? Cause I guess that they weigh differently. And chances are that they would follow you to a new location ( those who won’t they aren’t interested anyhow)…
    …thus 2 offers a fresh start, more purpose centered ; keep this baby as it is , link them.

    [Yeah, he says, thanks a lot for the help 😀 ]

    I guess my friend, what I’m trying to say is that I feel that it is mainly up to your qualitative theorisation of the said parameter.

    Best of luck .

    • Thank you, Spira. I don’t know how to estimate active followers, but you’re right, it’s an important consideration. I’m sort of leaning toward option “2” at this point. Linking them in some way sounds like a great idea. I’ll have to learn the technical aspect of that, but it shouldn’t be difficult (famous last words, haha). I’m sure glad I asked for people’s advice. Everyone’s been so helpful! It really gives me a sense of direction.
      Thank you for your thoughtful, intelligent input, my friend.

      You know, time seems to have shifted into high gear. Days seem shorter. It’s cool. I’m going to think of it as living in a constant state of flow. The sooner we’re done here the sooner we see the sunrise in the next realm. Mellow surf and tall coconut palms – the giant ones that once grew on Rapa Nui. 🙂

    • Jane, thank you. I value your opinion highly.
      Your book, “The Celestial Proposal,” is captivating. With my background in fundamentalist Christianity for all those years, and all the reading I’ve done on UFO’s, most of it as research for “Hapa Girl DNA,” I can appreciate and understanding your modern view of Christianity. I like what you say about fear being the enemy. Though maybe you were right to be afraid when you were accidentally camping in the driveway of a guerrilla leader in Mexico. Wow, what a story! Glad you’re safe. 🙂

  4. I vote for your introductory into the business to be here where people know you. You can always chose to start another website later on or simultaneously.

  5. M. Talmage Moorhead,

    If you don’t make another site, then people aren’t really going to know what to expect from what you have here. I don’t believe that will be a bonus.

    Thank you for considering my comment.

    Brother Mark:)

    • Hi Bhikkhu, Brother Mark, thank you for your valuable opinion and guidance. This blog has become a bit of a hodgepodge in terms of subject matter. I started out talking only about writing fiction, then I dabbled into a few personal things, like quitting medicine, and then wrote a blog-novel that I’m still not sure is worth a second draft to make it readable. If I added an editing “business” to this mess, it might totally ruin things for my readers, the people I love.
      Thank you so much for your insight.

  6. 2, mostly. I think your base loves your stories. I’m not sure all of us would be interested in reading of your new experience and the outcome of that (I would, but I’m a writing nerd a little bit). One can’t opt out(that I know of) from receiving things that are broken into the ‘tabs’ for categorical selection.
    I dislike marketing (doing it, or receiving it, lol!), but I thoroughly enjoy your writing.
    If you do start a more professional site to showcase what you learn and your future services, please do share a link so those that wish to follow along can do so.
    Have FUN! I used to near Nashville, so you’ll be in my old stomping grounds.

    • Thank you so much. I have a ton to learn about the “business” aspect of an editing service. It doesn’t feel like a business to me, somehow, but that’s my ignorance speaking, I’m sure. Thank you for helping me get to the right answer!
      Btw, I really enjoy your writing, too!

  7. I vote “2”. I like the blog, but since I have no intention of becoming a published author (I write for pleasure and release, or just to share ideas) I would just delete (as I now do on many other blogs) anything to do with publishing/editing, or promoting. Thanks.

  8. 1 is a name I would associate with a developmental editing service, and since you already have a base following, so I would simply expand this site.

                • Yes, I noticed that. 🙂

                  I haven’t been in publishing at all, actually. I quit medicine a few years ago and decided to do something I’ve always loved – writing. I’ve been learning to write fiction since the mid 90’s, reading all kinds of “How to” books and finishing my first novel back in that decade.

                  Much of my “editing experience” if that’s the right term, consists of 26 years of editing my own pathology reports.

                  I think the “Hero’s Journey” and Vogler’s version of it make for great stories. I followed it in my first novel, (Cipher of the Nephilim) which couldn’t attract a single reading from an agent back in the 90’s. In my latest blog-novel, “Hapa Girl DNA” I left off the important first part of the traditional journey – “the ordinary world” – to see what would happen. (Somewhere I read that sf readers (lately) want stories that begin in the sf world.)
                  Anyway, I’m really enjoying your “Star Bridge.” Your young, self-doubting protagonist has me nicely hooked. 🙂

                  • I’m glad you’re enjoying Star Bridge.
                    As per where to begin, I begin when the the ‘trigger’ starts the story in the new direction. Of course, that is generally in the ‘ordinary world’ and it can be as shocking as waking up to disaster (Larwin), or making a decision (Nimri).
                    In my Catamondo series, I write from Xander’s POV (he is the Siamese Sea Purrtector and hates water) thus, his stories generally begin when he is assigned a ‘case’. It’s a fun series to write. The books are relatively short because I’m writing for 13 and up, though Xander has fans as young as 4 (parents read to them). The character arcs are a lot trickier in a series.

                    • OK, I guess I started “Hapa Girl DNA” in the ordinary world, too, then. It just didn’t stay there long enough to seem like a non-sf world.
                      Your stories with the feline characters sound like they’d be fun reading for adults, too. The concept of a Sea Purrtector with hydrophobia is a nice ironic setup for all kinds of fun.
                      I listened to Shawn Coyne talk about the character arc in “The Hunger Games” trilogy a while ago. He said something to the effect that the change comes gradually and isn’t complete until the last scenes of the trilogy. From my own reading, it seems Katniss went from an unforgiving person who loved only one person “for sure,” her sister, to a person who loved more broadly, though forgiveness never did become her strong suit. If I ever reach a level of self-discipline and craft where I’m writing a trilogy, I’ll probably try to stretch out the arc in similar fashion so the last book nails it and the first two give subtle, inconsistent hints of change.

                    • In the Chatterre Trilogy, I solved the character arc issue by using different protagonists as the main POV characters, though each book still contains ones we’ve already met, which is why it is best to read them in order.

    • Thank you, Jacky. 🙂 I’m starting to lean in that direction, too.

      Thanks also for your informative review of the sf movie “Alien Covenant.” I’m a huge sf fan and the first Alien movie was one of my all-time favorites, but I’ll wait until this latest one comes out on TV and save a few bucks. 🙂 Great review!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.