I figure I have to earn the right to sell you something. The following post is a blatant effort to do just that. One with a TON of value.
When it’s done, there’s a SPECIAL OFFER for writing/critique groups. It’s a group-discount on my ebook, “101 Slightly Unpredictable Tips for Novelists and Screenwriters.”
Safe to say, these tips are right from the wheelhouse of what your group is all about.
You asked for it. The feedback, that is. You’ve signed up for the abuse, disguised as constructive feedback, and very possibly for the right reasons, too. Because even if your critique group is composed of people with no more publishing experience than you, chances are the collective wisdom of your combined storytelling wisdom exceeds the sum of the parts. Especially your part.
Then again, maybe you’re there for coffee and chit-chat. If that’s the case, what you may hear is gonna hurt like hell.
But here’s an inherent risk with critique groups. It has to do with the fact that nobody steps up to tell you the one single thing you need to hear, the Big News that will make or break your writing dream. At least for the story you’re sharing with them.
This truth harkens back to two ancient pieces of conventional wisdom: “You can’t make a silk purse out of a cow’s butt.” Or if you like, “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken… droppings.”
Which translates to this: you can’t make just any story work. You can write the hell out of it, give it a superstar protagonist, make it glow in the dark of an otherwise empty room… but if the heart and soul of the story itself has all the appeal of a Rush Limbaugh stool sample… if it just isn’t interesting… if it sucks… then it still won’t sell.
And somebody needs to know enough, to care enough, to tell you that.
Most critique groups won’t go there. They’re too polite. They figure your story is your “thing,” and it shouldn’t be messed with.
Well, if it sucks, then you absolutely should go there. To do otherwise is to back away — to play nice — from the very mission of the group itself.
Would you help your kid write a book report… if it was the wrong book? Didn’t think so.
The Concept at the heart of your story, the Big Idea of it, is one of six things — I call them the Six Core Competencies of Storytelling — that must be delivered with freshness, sizzle and inherent appeal before the story will sell. Yeah, I know, exceptions abound, but they’re usually either written by estalished authors (who can get away with it because brand equity) or the statistical abberation the comes with any truism in the arts.
You can’t make just any story work. Nobody can. The seed of it needs to glow in the dark at the moment it is stated as an isolated, pure idea, without a hero, without a theme and without a story… just an idea.
A great conceptual idea becomes the platform for all of those other things. It becomes the stage upon which your hero can conduct a magical journey. It becomes the podium behind which your story can pitch a compelling sermon. It becomes the line drawing for a sparkling architectural masterpiece.
Without that great idea, it’s like a chef trying to turn a slice of baloney into a gourmet meal. Not gonna happen, even if you’re Martha Stewart incarnate.
That one thing — the recognition of the inherent appeal of a story’s centerpiece heart-and-soul idea — can be the most significant opportunity a writer needs to recognize and wrestle to the ground. The critique group to which that writer belongs can serve them better — and each other — by recognizing this and not backing away from the tough conversation it can be.
Because sometimes the idea needs only a twist, or a swift kick in the pants, to elevate to the level it needs to be. To become that stage, that podium, that mouthpiece for your creative muse to sing its song to the world.
THE OFFER: if you’d like your writing/critique group to have 101 new things to talk about — 11 of which comprise the most powerful and important writing truths I’ve ever come across — then here’s today’s deal.
If you order 5 or more copies of “101 Slightly Unpredictable Tips for Novelists and Screenwriters” within the next week (or so… hey, I’m easy), I’ll deliver them to you for FIVE BUCKS EACH. That’s half price. Which was already half of the original price.
To take advantage, you’ll need to use PAYPAL (the normal ordering channel doesn’t allow for this level of pricing creativity). Send $5 for each copy you want to this Paypal destination: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then, send me a email (or embed this info into the Paypal order) giving me the email address of EACH recipient. I’ll manually send out the ebook to each member of your group within a few hours (usually almost immediately, as I’m here at the keyboard 24-7 it seems.)
Five ebooks, five email addresses… 25 bucks. Eight ebooks, eight email addresses… 40 bucks. You get the math. Now get the benefit of this deal… order today.
ALSO… click HERE for a pretty cool INTERVIEW with the Storyfixer (who, by the way, flinches whenver he refers to himself in the third person, just so you know). Storyfix is really picking up steam… this is a consequence of that.