A Few Storyfix Updates

Greetings. I know I’ve been MIA for a while now… my apologies. I also know I led with this exact opener a few months ago… embarrassing. I get it.

Colleagues are telling me I’ve basically lost equity in this site. I prefer to think of it as hitting the Pause button. I’ve never intended to abandon Storyfix, my intention since the beginning of the year has been to reinvent, revitalize and relaunch it.

Why all that? Because after nearly 1000 posts (over 700 of which remain available here), it began to feel like I’ve lined all available walls with thoughts and teaching and modeling and case studies for all facets of craft and process. I found myself getting entrenched in an unwinnable debate about the continuum of process options, and frankly found the discussion frustrating.

I needed to step away. And while I’ve been away (I’ve still been out there teaching at workshops around the country, which is the absolute highest level of what I do on several levels, as well as posting on a few other websites), my resolve to teach writing the right way, the smart way, the enlightened way, has clarified.

Because you see, the writing process is negotiable. The underlying principles of craft – what makes a story work – are not. The key to everything, especially for newer and/or struggling writers, resides in understanding the core and the nuances of that statement.

I return to the battle emboldened. Less tolerant of ignorance. Willing to call out the bullshit (and it’s everywhere) when I see it put forth. More committed to helping writers see through the fog of the conventional writing conversation by providing principles, tools, examples, and processes that elevate and empower, rather than reinforce stagnation and frustration.

There will be a refurbished story analysis service, as well, priced to deliver the highest value for serious writers available anywhere on the internet.

Thanks for your patience. This is going to be an intense, wonderful and rewarding ride on both sides of the PUBLISH button.

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Art Holcomb to join Storyfix on a more regular, visible basis.

Art and I view the storytelling proposition through a very similar lens. If you don’t know Art, use the search function here to find his guest posts (nearly 30 of ’em), and click here to see his website, where you can access his highly regarded audio training programs.

Art will be posting here more regularity, appearing at least twice a month.  That’s in addition to my posts, which will appear at least a month, as well.

The result will be the most advanced craft thinking available on the internet, targeting all levels of knowledge and experience. There are no cloud-dwelling muses here, urging you to channel your inner consciousness and listen to what your characters are telling you. A crashing silence awaits if that’s how you write.

Rather, what you’ll get here is fierce hardcore story craft. The principles that underpin it. Delivered by two literary linebackers (have you seen us?) waiting to flatten whatever lack of understanding or misinformation stands in your way.

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October Workshops

I’m booked for two October workshops, at this writing:

Central Ohio Fiction Writers (an RWA sanctioned group)

Saturday, October 21, 2017 – Columbus, Ohio

An all-day class, delivering a comprehensive deep dive into differentiating craft, applicable to all genres, with a focus on romance and adult contemporary love stories.

Click here for details.

And then, the annual…

Writers Digest Novel Writing Conference

Friday and Saturday, October 27/28, 2017 – Pasadena, California

Two sessions: Concept/Premise as the differentiating story essence (Friday), and Raising the Bar on Your story (Saturday).

Click HERE to view the conference website, see all 30 presenters and the full schedule.

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Blog to Book – an interview by Nina Amir

Check out this article/interview that appeared on Nina’s site, wherein I wax nostalgic about how Storyfix, the blog, became Story Engineering, the book. If you’re a blogger as well as a novelist or screenwriter, you might find you’re already nursing an opportunity to find yourself in the nearest Barnes & Noble.

Click here to check it out.

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New training videos coming this fall.

You may be aware that I have five video training modules out. More are in the pipeline, arriving later this fall.

Art Holcomb has new audio-based training (with workshops) and ebooks on a regular basis. Click here to see his latest.

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Storyfix to undgo a facelift.

I’m vetting designers now to bring a fresher look to this website.

I’m also interested in hearing from you, the Storyfix community, for your counsel on forthcoming content. Use the comments here, or email me directly, to suggest specific topics and focuses you’d like Art and I cover in the coming months. This is your tool, so please contribute your thinking to help us help you.

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A compendium of posts – mine – from Killzone.com

You may know that I’ve been posting to the Killzone.com for well over a year now. There is a diverse group of contributors there, including a couple of well-known authors you may have heard of, not the least of whom is my craft colleague in arms, James Scott Bell.

Click HERE for a sequential thread of these articles. It’s an entire book’s worth of content and perspective.

Next week I’ll be sharing, in full, another guest post I contributed recently to Writer Unboxed, which stirred things up a bit. Because, you see, on that site and on Killzone there are authors who ascribe to this approach to story development: “There is no right or wrong way to tell a story, unless you do it my way,” – their way, in this case – “in which case it is the right way.” One of them suggests writing cannot be taught (right after this assertion he refers you to his upcoming workshops), and another claims he can impart everything of value he’s ever been told onto one side of a 3 by 5 card, which is interesting.

Too bad they’re both full of complete and utter crap on those fronts. Because simply by putting it in print, some poor writer will believe it to be true.

Here at Storyfix, Art and I are committed to shining a light on principle-based story development, with a qualitative focus on what empowers stories, rather than what simply finishes them.

 

15 Comments

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15 Responses to A Few Storyfix Updates

  1. Very cool that you’re going to be in Columbus. That’s not too far from me. Is it mostly lecture format (which I love) or is it “write something in the workshop and submit it for discussion as a group” format (which I don’t so much love)? If it’s the former, I might see if I can come. Not sure what my schedule’s like yet, but it’s only a couple hour drive for me, and I’d love to hear you speak. Even if its geared toward romance, I’m sure I can extrapolate the content to other genres.

    Good luck with the website revamping. I look forward to checking it out.

    • Hi Carrie – nice to hear from you here. You ask about the Columbus workshop… definitely lecture. Like, wall to wall, with some interactivity that isn’t thrown to the front of the room for group crucifixion. The exception might be volunteers who wish to pitch their concept/premise, for group input and my own take on it. Would be fun to have you there if you can swing it! Thanks for all your support, which I never take for granted. Hope your new novel is doing well for you! Larry

      • That’s great to know. Thanks! I’ll look into coming.

        The new novel’s with the publisher, thanks. Doing the final touches before the ARCs are ready (getting blurbs, final edits, etc.). Will be nice to get it on Net Galley when the ARC is ready.

        Speaking of novels, I just finished Bait and Switch. What a fun ride! Lots of twists and turns, including ones I hadn’t seen coming which is always a treat.

  2. I’ve learned a lot from your site over the years and I’ve missed your posts — even stuff that was a repeat of something already said or read, it didn’t matter. When it comes to the craft of writing, I’m one of those that needs to hear the principles over and over again, a constant check-in for an endeavor that is a life-long pursuit. You told me once, and I was sure it didn’t really apply to me, that I’d write several novels before I even began to understand. Ha! Guess it did apply. So, I’m looking forward to more posts, replete with some Art Holcomb (also a fan of his), and I’m looking forward to a new design. Because honestly, the only feedback I have about your site is that I’ve never liked the black background — it feels closed in and is hard on the eye. As far as content goes, you will always be a rock star in my book. Happy Launch!

  3. Alice Fleury

    Mmm. I look forward to your new site and I love give it to me straight advice. I also love Art Holcomb’s posts. I’ll be happy to see this dark, manly background leave. Ever since you put this up, I read your posts in my email and don’t venture over here.
    I totally get walking away for awhile too. It works. You have a life. AND how many ways can you say, your characters don’t talk and your muse is really just someone to blame for not putting your ass in the chair.
    Thanks.

  4. Barbara Matteson

    Thank you for your writing books and this website. You have shared a wealth of knowledge and practical advice through both formats. Don’t be discouraged. I know there are more like me who have faithfully read your blogs for years but never commented before. Best to you. And, again, thanks.

  5. Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If it weren’t for your coaching and Story Engineering, Story Physics, and StoryFix, I’d still be drowning in the slush pile. Of course the craft of writing can be taught. Honestly, I think the ones that say you can’t learn the mechanics of craft either don’t want the competition or they have no idea HOW they do it, which is sad, really. Because someday, their story sensibilities may not be there when they need them. If they don’t know what they don’t know, what do they do then?

  6. Robert Jones

    Hi Larry,

    I’ll chime in on that black background and underscore all the previous statements. It was tough on the eyes.

    If it’s any consolation, I learned a lot from the debates. However, I can well understand the frustration when that becomes a constant theme. I’ve learned a great deal from Storyfix in the past and found inspiration here too. You’ve never lost equity in my book, but your absence was felt. That being said, we all need to step away now and then. That’s also a part of the growth process. So I understand, but I am glad to hear you are stepping back into your Storyfix shoes.

    In terms of suggestions/advice, there’s a huge blind spot in craft with a large number of newer, would-be writers. Amazon has changed the publishing world. There are some good things and new opportunities to be found in that. But there are a number of hard-headed, thinned-skinned folks who want to throw out all the rules and reinvent the wheel. This is exacerbated by Stephen King’s book, as well as some other writing sites that cater to the notion of “Doing whatever you like.” The advice may state in the fine print that this comes with a warning that you’ll probably fail unless you’re very clever, have at least some craft fundamentals, or maybe some of these people just want to make money and keep the competition down by feeding the new age of writers a heaping helping of nonsense. Who knows?

    What I do know is that you can’t pull anyone out of their tiny box until they begin to suffocate. Maybe not even then. Therefore, I would have to say to follow your own heart. We all have to do what seems right for us. Sometimes that can change from person to person, or even day by day. But even the best and most patient of us are not always obligated to engage those who have no real tendency to learn. Learning is optional. If they can’t come at writing with the same respect that every other art is given, they probably are wasting their time. Personally, I like to help people, but don’t like to waste my time talking (or writing) into the wind.

    The equivalent would be to throw out all that’s known about composing music, painting–while we’re at it, let’s just forget about how to film movies with proper photography and lighting. If the audience can’t see what’s going on, we could save a fortune in special effects! How about we throw out the rule book to all the sports, official and non. What about your favorite video games? No rules in design or planning are needed. You don’t need layers and levels. Just meander.

    I’m sure if we forgot the basic craft that went into whatever they find entertaining, these same people arguing about the difficulty of learning how to write would go ballistic. And all their little emails about getting back to the basics of what made their hobby so great was answered by those in charge by saying, “We can do whatever we like. How dare you lecture us and ruin our fun. We are deeply offended. Possibly suicidal now. Hope you’re happy!”

  7. MikeR

    You must of course understand, Larry, that some of us were becoming =concerned= that “all was still well with you and yours.” 🙂

    … although of course it could have just been “summertime Scottsdale, AZ heat,” which I experienced for a little more than a decade myself … 😉

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