BELOVED, NOTTE Updates: The Story Grid

Beloved Notte (coming soon)

BELOVED, NOTTE Updates: The Story Grid

So get this: I’ve finally begun studying the Story Grid, which all my writer friends have told me is fantastic, but I just didn’t have time.

Well, I couldn’t make the time. Caretaking is kind of a bizarre schedule destroyer, but I’m determined to succeed at NaNoWrimo, and that means I need a plan. 

The Story Grid is helping me envision that plan.

It’s not one of those methods that either works or doesn’t work; it’s not outlining or a snowflake method or anything like that. It’s simply laying out the parts of story that work.

Thanks to this book, I’m figuring out two crucial things about my writing?

  • Why things worked, though I didn’t know why
  • Why things I wrote didn’t work though I didn’t know why

Now that I’ve said that, I’m posting a snippet that probably doesn’t fit the Story Grid concepts, but hey – accountability means public stuff, so you get unedited snippets. 🙂 As usual, it’s a mess, but here we go!

The following is an unedited snippet from the work-in-progress, BELOVED NOTTE.

I wanted him.

What would T’ir be like if I made him mine? Like me, powerful? Hungry, always hungry? He’d be unstoppable. Delicious.

I wanted him.

Perhaps it is no surprise that I began to follow him from a distance like a lovelorn dog.

It is not as though we in the two towers were forbidden from fraternizing, but there was a tension between the two Guardian leaders of this place that I simply ignored. Found family, if you know the term, was the only family I knew. And so I loved Ravena and Tobias from Adam’s tower and I loved Six and Apple from Horse’s, and all were my family, my chosen kin, for whom  I would fight and die with equal naivety and self-sacrificing passion.

But I wanted T’ir.

I loved the way he moved, like a mountain come to life, ponderous and considering over every step and grip, yet unstoppable when he chose to act. I loved his bared, crooked teeth, his twisted, scarred skin, his long, wild hair. I loved the fact that he was taller than I, wider than I, and capable of a stone-stillness that I in my youth could barely comprehend.

Oh, I knew his story, or as much of it as Adam allowed shared: king of an underground clod of survivors, all human, all desperate, all giant, according to Mab. They were on the verge of starvation when she found them in caverns deep below, behind a foul waterfall made undrinkable by the poison of deep roots and angry spells, behind a strange forest of mushrooms that absorbed enough poison from the air to make the space beyond livable.

Within that space, she found thirty-four dying humans, enormous and powerful humans, strongly resistant humans who’d manage to survive when so few of their brethren had. And they were in the process of sacrificing their king.

Why? Because he had declared their home would not keep them save much longer.

The scarring, she said, was already irreversible. Much of it had been done over time, over years, a careful and cruel twisting of skin and flesh into whorls and shapes no human skin should have been able to achieve, but this final act – the ruining of his throat – had gone too far for her to fully reverse.

T’ir came to us mute. Angry. Alone. For Mab had given them the choice to come with her and survive, or stay in this place with dwindling food and little water. Out of fear, and perhaps shame, they chose to stay, even as their newly deposed king pleaded wordlessly with them to come.

I will never know the context. Knowing him now, I cannot believe he was anything but a good leader, but perhaps not the kind of leader the desperate want.

T’ir never went out of his way to reassure. He never bothered to write speeches, even if he had been capable of delivering them. He simply was, and he simply did, and the things he did were almost always right.

But he never spoke again, after they cut his throat. I never heard his voice, and I wanted to.

I wanted to hear sounds he might make, be they grunts or gasps or groans. I wanted to feel the rumble of sound in his broad chest. I wanted…

I wanted.

Until this time, I had only wanted women. Others around me wanted everybody; I hardly lived in a world with the modern human ideals of gender and sexuality. For me, however, this was a first.

And as a first, it came tied with the desire to turn him,  to stop his aging, to make him truly mine.

I regret I  never analyzed why that was – never considered the connection between my Beast’s hunger and my safer desires. I never considered that like T’irs scars, they might have become twisted, whorled into improbable shapes, and could no longer be undone.


A three-times bestselling author, Ruthanne Reid has led a convention panel on world-building, taught courses on plot and character development, and been the keynote speaker for the Write Practice Retreat. Author of two series with five books and fifty-plus short stories, Ruthanne has lived in her head since childhood, when she wrote her first story about a pony princess and a genocidal snake-kingdom and used up her mom’s red typewriter ribbon in the process. When she isn’t reading, writing, or reading about writing, Ruthanne enjoys old cartoons with her husband and two cats, and dreams of living on an island beach far, far away. P.S. Red is still her favorite color.