Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Case Study in Concept: A Story on the Brink

One of my favorite story coaching clients is a guy named Kalvin.  He’s prolific, he’s brought me a half dozen story ideas at various stages of development, each offering something tasty with significant upside.

In each case, the process has given him an expanded and illuminated platform to continue to grow his story.  That’s why he keeps coming back… it helps take the guesswork out of what is otherwise a very solitary and essential part of the process.

And it’s ridiculously cheap at any level, especially in context to what is at stake.

Kalvin has consented to the showcasing of one of his story coaching submissions.

In this case, it’s a $35 Kick Start Conceptual Analysis, which isolates his concept, contrasts it to premise, and offers a look at his planned First Plot Point story beat.  All essential and potentially fatal first steps in the journey from idea to finished draft.

In other words, it cuts to the heart of whether the story will work or not.

This one is about vampires.  Conceptual… unless it isn’t.

Kalvin’s Kick-Start Case Study submission– which provides a sneak peek at the $35 Kick-Start Questionnaire itself — is available here (free) for your review (just click the link), complete with my feedback (shown in red, only slightly enhanced for this venue).

You are welcome to look inside this process… AND to offer Kalvin your own feedback.

You don’t have to write a story to determine, to a great extent, how well it will work at its most basic and essential level. And you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to find out.

Even when you think you know, it’s good to really know.

Kalvin and I look forward to your thoughts.  I hope you find this to be of value in your own story development process. Much is clarified here, including the most common story trap I encounter in this work: the lack of a compelling concept underpinning the story’s premise.

Another set of eyes can save you from a year of writing without really knowing.


In addition to this story concept level of analysis, I also offer what I call the $150 Story Coaching Adventure, which goes beyond concept and the FPP to look at all of the major story milestones in context to the premise itself, in effect becoming an “architectural analysis” of your story on multiple levels.  It is my most popular level of story coaching, resulting in a process that is as much a story development tool as it is an evaluative one.  

Because you can’t hide from these questions.  You either nail them, or you don’t.  The goal of the process isn’t just to expose what you don’t know – which is a story-saving opportunity – it’s there to help you better grasp the principles and come up with some ideas that do work, or at least work better.

In fact, this will expose and explore almost exactly the same issues that a review of an entire completed manuscript would uncover… even before you’re written it.  Or at a fraction of the investment if you have.

Check it out HERE.


Filed under Six Core Competencies

Motivation for Writers… Wet or Dry

How hard are you working?  I mean, really working.

Not just working hard… but working smart?

“Welcome to the grind.”

Sometimes it’s tough to get up and write.  Or simply to square off with the keyboard at any time of day.

Athletes have coaches.  We, on the other hand, are quite alone with the task at hand.

And so I offer the following.  One of the reasons to watch it is the writing… it’s stellar.  Another is to see beyond the specificity of its target audience — competitive swimmers — and apply it to what YOU do.

These principles know no target audience.  They are universal, and unforgiving.  If you think writing is a gentle art… maybe.  But publishing, competing for readers, isn’t.

You are seeking excellence.  There are about 100,000 other writers out there seeking the same, and they are competing for YOUR publishing slot.

So the question becomes… what are YOU going to do about it?

Get motivated… HERE.

Welcome to the grind.

Rise and shine.


Read a review of Story Physics HERE, on Mindy Halleck’s great site, “Literary Liaisons.”


With thanks to my friend Wes Edwards, world class championship masters swimmer.  An inspiration.




Filed under other cool stuff