Monthly Archives: October 2016

Art Holcomb on Writer’s Block

A quick overview from your Storyfix host, and then, an opportunity to listen in via teleseminar as Art delivers an effective and perspective and an empowering solution to writer’s block.

Art’s teleseminars are career-changing events, by the way. Life changing, even. This will his fifth so far, all of them worth every cent and every minute (which, because they are pure audio, can happen in your car, as you sit in front of your computer doing needlepoint… however you like to listen and learn).

This new one is 45 minutes of pure Art Holcomb goodness on the pure hell of writer’s block.

But first, my theory on Writers Block:

You’ve fallen out of love with your story.

You’ve engaged, but then your story got argumentative. It didn’t do what you wanted it to do. It came up short of your hopes and expectations. And now it is stubborn, just sitting there waiting for you to do something about it.

That puts you in that completely frustrating space – what we call writer’s block – which sucks no matter how you explain getting there. My theory aligns with what Art discusses under #2 below, perhaps explained by #3, leading to #1 and then, without a solution, to #4.

Writer’s block can actually be a blessing… if you can get beyond the sticking point. The very fact of being blocked says something positive (while also saying something that needs attention) about your story sensibility… it’s not working (either the story or your story sense), and so you stop.  Perhaps a good thing.  Much better to wait it out, to pound it out – using that same story sensibility to arrive at a better plan – than say “screw it” and finish and submit something that doesn’t work as well as it should.

Here’s Art on the basis of this exciting new teleseminar:

I’ve (Art) broken the notion of writer’s block down into four phases and parts, each of which gets you stuck, all of which need consideration as you work your way through it toward a better storytelling place.

  1. Fear– Which, no matter how you break it down, comes back to the fear of being judged.  Something that is ingrained into or psyche since we were children. I talk about the Life of an Artist and give examples from Stephen King to Pablo Picasso. I discuss the difference between the writer and the writing. Dealing with this fear is a major reason I do The Trainings, where the students write and then submit—and keep submitting—until the piece is fully in place. Only through knowing what such scrutiny feels like will a writer abate their fears.
  1. Weak Premise– Lack of a powerful premise means that there isn’t enough raw grist that creates the necessary compulsion to carry the writer through Act II, at which point the story fails. This is the major reason we all have half-finished works in our desk drawers. I created the “Ten Steps to Building a Better Story” seminar (one of my four previous presentations) to directly address this. It forces the writer to deeply examine the elements of the premise and tighten/strengthen the idea… or choose to discard it and look for something deeper. This is consistently reviewed as one of the most important techniques I teach.
  1. Lack of Craft– If you don’t have the skills, you cannot write a good story. Craft is the basis of what we do. We know what Craft means to a writer. I will show you why and how to move toward craft, which is out there. Not everything you hear about craft is completely focused and clear, and not everything will appeal to your sensibilities. Which is why we need to immerse ourselves in it, to find and latch onto the version of it that speaks to us as individual creative professionals.
  1. The “Thing”– I discovered this late in my teaching career. Soooo many would be writers start out wrong and got the steps to building a career jumbled, and then did something (the Thing) before they were ready: submitted a weak script that went nowhere. And so they rush to find an agent, which may resulting in hearing back from someone was blunt about the quality of their work… and so they quit.  I even had a very successful novelist (6 books, hundred of shorts stories) who had his agent die in the middle of his career – and never was able to get back on track – and so he quit.

There are so many paths to finding ourselves stuck.

Whatever the event is, some writers never really talk to anyone about it and never found a way to get back on the horse. A couple of sessions with me and I can usually get them back on track, but it’s all talk therapy. I can usually get a writer and the story back in place, with motivation restored and sky high, by the third one-on-one call. (One-on-one work is an option, especially if you hear something in the teleseminar that rings true… which I guarantee that you will.)

The workbook that comes with the teleseminar is a series of exercises to use to dig down to underlying causes of writer’s block, which makes the case for more education (with me or someone else) and ways to dissipate fears. This workbook is approximately 10 pages, and is part of what you pay for when you opt-in.

My teleseminars—especially this one—will be interesting to writers who have experienced writer’s block, as well as the writer who fears it’s just a matter of time before they’re affected by it. Those effects can range from debilitating to devastating and, sadly, there is usually no external cause. The alpha and omega of the problem resides within them.

That’s why I created the course.

TITLE:  How to Defeat Writer’s Block – FOREVER!

PRICE: $37


INSTRUCTIONS:  Payment instructions (either through PayPal or by check) are included at the bottom of the website page. There is no cart or automated fulfillment site. It’s just me and you, working on this together.

Hot new novel recommendation:

A really intriguing mystery/thriller in the tradition of Michael Connelly was recommended to me (a vivid Los Angeles setting, a take-no-crap detective that harkens the likes of Harry Bosch), and it turned out way better than I expected.

It’s called By Reason of Insanity, by new indie author MGM Meddis.

The book pits a morally-incorruptible reluctant hero LAPD detective—he’s not nearly as archetypical as this makes him sound—against a femme fatale (same disclaimer) who seems to get off on walking a thin line between seduction and self-incrimination, a dance in which hubris is always the undoing of the perp. The narrative includes the villain basically spilling it all to her prison psychiatrist, which plays against an evolving dramatic real-time thread that begins with the calmly executed shooting of her scoundrel husband and extends to the detective who must unravel her labyrinthine scheme to get away with it all, while resisting her considerable seductive charms.

I’m thinking this one will make one heckuva film, so grab it now and start casting it in your mind. My money’s on Ryan Gosling and either Emma Stone or Mila Kunis, with J.K. Simmons as the long-suffering LAPD Lieutenant who has to keep his thoroughbred investigator in check; this supports my contention that when we cast our stories with actors who fit, this keeps us in the right lane as we develop our characters… if you can’t hear that actor saying those lines, the dialogue needs an upgrade.

You’ll like the writing, too. That’s why I’m recommending it here.

Available on in Kindle and paperback.


Check out the NEW TRAILER for my brand new Storyfix Virtual Classroom training program!

And sign-up for that mailing list for new program/module announcements and ongoing discounts (list members only) for all programs in the program!

Check it out HERE!



Filed under Write better (tips and techniques)

Help Reinvent Storyfix 3.0

Let’s work together… help me help you make your stories great.

Many of you reading Storyfix have been with me here for years. I’ve gotten to know some of you personally, which is one of the best things about doing this work. Hopefully, those of you who are new have discovered the depth and nature of writing information and coaching at hand, which is the reason so many have, in fact, been part of this journey.

But it is time to move forward into the next evolution of Storyfix.

Storyfix has always been about elevating your understanding of the core competencies and subtle nuances of crafting a story – a novel or a screenplay – that works. There have been nearly 100o posts thus far (about 25% of which have been taken down when newer posts rendered them redundant), leading to three #1 bestselling craft books, dozens of workshop/conference bookings and other extensions of my teaching. Many of you have contacted me with specific issues that led to posts, and more than a few have written to share that this information has helped them land an agent or a publisher.

So let’s turn the page and go even deeper.

Let’s turn you into a Master Storyteller by cutting a few years off  your learning curve. Or for some, perhaps for the first time, clarifying what that learning curve looks like.

I’d like to work with you to take Storyfix to the next level.

My vision for the next generation of this website is to build a catalog of actual downloadable training programs – very much like you’d see at a writing workshop or conference – using replayable Powerpoint and audio/video assets. This will deliver a virtual classroom training context… thus, the name of this program: The Storyfix Virtual Classroom Experience.

I could whip out a list of dozens of training topics, and quickly. But I’d rather listen. Listen to you.

Because this is all about you.

I am asking you to tell me what you need. What you’d like to see covered.

Tell me what your story development and writing issues are. Specific problems and areas of focus. I will use this input to craft the first wave of training programs, which I intend to create and make available in the next month.

Meanwhile – and going forward – I will continue to post free content on a regular basis (some using video), with helpful guest posts and story deconstructions, as well. Think of these as “training shots” that deliver a point of craft, on-the-nose or nuanced, just as you’ve seen here in the past.

About the pricing for these training modules:

The context of that is expressed as a goal: to deliver value far in excess of what you’ve paid. A multiple of the access fee. For roughly the cost of two movie tickets, a big bag of popcorn and a couple of sodas, you will be able to choose from a menu of training modules across a breadth of titles and lengths, from 30 minutes to one hour, as well as longer multi-module programs. Each entry will go deep into the issues you’ve identified, and all will go beyond the what to deliver the how. What you purchase and download will be yours to use going forward.

My commitment is this: at the end of one of my training sessions, you will be a better, more enlightened storyteller and narrative artist than when it began.

If you’ve ever been to one of my live workshops sessions, you know how this goes: intense, passionate, empathetic (because I’ve been where you are), with clear and directly applicable definitions, examinations and demonstrations of what makes a story work, what makes a story soar, even what makes a bestseller.  You will learn things about developing stories that you won’t hear anywhere else, or at least not framed and clarified in this way.

These training deliverables will work within any process – pantser or planner and everything in between – and in any genre. (Some modules will be genre-specific).

Please send your thoughts and feedback to, or use the contact form here on the Home Page.

An incentivized Opt-in for updates:

I’m developing a mailing list for updates and discount offers on these training modules. Sign up and you’ll receive the first training program totally free, prior to public release – “Essential Elements of Craft for New Novelists.” Subtitle: Five Critical Story Practices That Will Quickly Up Your Writing Game… or Sink It If Left Untended” – 30-minutes), which will give you a taste of what you’ll experience in my virtual classroom venue.

Please use the form below to sign up for the Storyfix Virtual Classroom mailing list, which will send you announcements of new training modules, with discounts for enrollees.  Even if you’re already a Storyfix subscriber, this new list will be specific to the training products, so please opt-in for the discounts and updates. Of course the list doesn’t obligate you to anything, or cost you anything… it just keeps you in the loop for new products and exclusive discounts for enrollees.

Let’s do this together.

Who knows how high your writing dream can go when armed with a deeper knowledge and hands-on sensibility relative to the complex craft of writing a story that works.


Please sign up to receive email updates and new product announcements for this series of training programs. As an incentive, you will receive the first program – Essential Craft for New  Novelists – completely free.

Use the form in the left-hand column of this Home page.


Filed under other cool stuff