Meet The Storyfixer

My name is Larry Brooks, and I’d like to thank you for visiting here at Storyfix.


(Updated 02/24/15)

Here’s the intro elevator pitch for those who like their “About” sections short and sweet. 

I’m a career writer from the corporate sector who, like most of you, had nourished the fiction writing dream the entire time.  I’ve since published six novels, a couple of them with modestly respectable resumes, all of them nicely reviewed.  I’ve written two bestselling writing books, with a third coming out in August 2015 (all published by Writers Digest Books).  I also do a lot of workshops and conferences at the behest of writing groups and clubs, and I operate a story coaching service based right here out of this blog.

Oh, there are a few ebooks kicking around out there, too.

Now for the backstory, if you’d care to stick around.

The genesis of this blog comes from the thousands of folks who have attended my writing workshops. The consensus is this: “I’ve been attending writing workshops for many years, and I’ve read all the how-to books, and this is not only the best and clearest thing I’ve heard, it’s the first time someone has actually shown me how to write a novel (and/or a screenplay), structurally and thematically.” The developmental model referenced in that consensus feedback is what I call “The Six Core Competencies of Successful Storytelling,” which is the topic of my book by nearly the same name.

That led me to write another book, “Story Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling,” which explains why those six core competencies work, and can be found in virtually every successful piece of fiction ever written.

Writing workshops and how-to books come in all flavors and intentions. But rarely is the process broken down into specific developmental criteria, from concept to character to sequence and theme, with a vision for how all the parts come together to become a whole in excess of their parts. This blog is based on that breakdown.

I do not advocate one process over another. 

This stuff works for story planners and story pantsers alike, and everything in between.

My message to writers who wish to publish or succeed as a self-published author is this: the bar is very high, the market is very crowded, and the standards and criteria for effective storytelling are very clear and accessible, though perhaps lost within the din of the writing conversation.  The moment you declare an intention to publish, to write professionally, you are signing up for a tidy and largely inflexible list of those requisite criteria, formats and expectations, the nature of which applies directly to what you write.  If you want to make up your own form and function of storytelling, the road is even longer.

There is only one thing you have control over in this business, and it’s not your career (which, once you put your writing out there is largely out of your hands, to be honest) – it’s your manuscript. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to be better than perfectly fine. It needs to grab an agent or an editor who has seen it all before by the throat and squeeze.

This blog is about how you can evolve your work to that level.



Other than a 17-year stint in the marketing and training business, Larry Brooks’ resume reads like a Cheesecake Factory menu. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon in 1952, he graduated with a degree in marketing communications from Portland State University in 1975, attended in the off-season during an unremarkable five-year career as a professional baseball player (he pitched in the Texas Rangers organization). This led to his first published writing: a magazine article on the life of a minor league pitcher. Still not keen on a writing career – the money sucked then, too – came a few more swings and misses: history’s worst stockbroker for the world’s largest brokerage firm, the world’s worst personnel manager in a department store (remember what Dirty Harry said about Personnel managers?), and a couple of other humbling fliers he chooses to forget. Each abandoned career resulted in another published magazine piece lampooning the experience, and his interest in writing began to emerge as his best – and perhaps last – viable career option.

He was also the voice behind the airport public address announcement we all hate (“No stopping or parking on the roadway in front of the terminal,  violators will be cited and towed,” et al) for 14 years at PDX (Portland International Airport).  As claims to fame go, this is as anonymous as it gets.

In 1983 he answered an ad for a “script writer” at a small audio-visual production company – eight art majors and a slide projector. Cut to 1996, when the company was one of the largest marketing and training firms in the western U.S., and Brooks was the executive creative director and a partner, with 100-plus employees and a portfolio with more corporate videos, brochures and other useless stuff than Harlequin has romances. The business sold in 1999, at which point Brooks took the money and ran toward the career he’d been quietly cultivating on the side for the prior two decades – writing novels and screenplays. And now, as a novelist/blogger/freelancer/workshop speaker and story coach.

His first published novel, DARKNESS BOUND, was based on one of his original screenplays, featuring – here’s a surprise – a stockbroker who hates stockbrokering. It debuted in October 2000, spending three weeks on the USA Today bestseller list. His second novel, PRESSURE POINTS – an ad exec who hates the ad business – appeared to good reviews in December 2001, with comparable sales. His third novel, SERPENT’S DANCE, was a February 2003 release from Signet, also well reviewed despite selling like parkas in Pakistan, and his fourth, July 2004’s BAIT AND SWITCH , earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who named it their lead Editor’s Choice for that month, and at year-end to two of their notable lists: Best Books of 2004 (lead entry, mass market), and Best Overlooked Books of 2004 (the only paperback so named; perhaps, says Larry, a dubious honor he should not be bragging about).

Since then he has written two novels : DEADLY FAUX (the sequel to 2004’s BAIT AND SWITCH, published by Turner Publishing in 2013) and THE SEVENTH THUNDER, a secular apocalyptic thriller (2014, also from Turner Publishing).

In late 2002, Brooks’ script for the adaptation of DARKNESS BOUND was named a finalist in the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the folks who bring you the Oscars. It was one of ten scripts selected out of 6044 submissions, which he hopes you find impressive, especially since he didn’t end up winning one of the five Fellowships. Too dark, they said.

He did get to spend an afternoon kicking around the craft of storytelling with Frank Darabont during his week in L.A. for that contest, which, if you’ve ever seen “The Shawshank Redemption” you’ll agree is a big deal.

Brooks has been developing and teaching writing workshops since the mid-1980s. He has been named a Mentor by the Oregon Writer’s Colony, and continues to teach at workshops around the country (“Call me,” he whispers here).  His first writing book, “Story Engineering: Mastering The Six Core Competencies of Successful Writing,” was released in early 2011 from Writers Digest Books, based on the popular developmental model upon which he bases his workshops… and this blog.

Brooks is very happily married to his wife of 20 years, Laura, an artist and interior designer (who assures everyone who has read Larry’s first novel that she is not The Dark Lady).  He also has a wonderful son, Nelson, who is 25; three supportive step-children, Tracy, Scott and Kelly (two of whom have read all his books, none of whom want me to reveal their ages); and seven step-grandchildren who have absolutely no clue what “Poppy” does for a living.

Larry and Laura live in Scottsdale AZ, where he is busy coaching other writers, writing this blog and working on a small truckload of emerging projects.

Again, thanks for stopping by.

151 Responses to Meet The Storyfixer

  1. Larry;

    Well, it’s all too very coincidental not to write you. So, there I was, dutifully depositing money into a gambling machine in Rockaway Beach, Oregon not long ago. I strike up a conversation to the man next to me who was winning big time – and to me big time is ten bucks. He and his wife were a lovely couple. I believe they live in Lake Oswego as well as have a place in Rockaway. So, the conversation goes to ‘what do you do’ and I said I was a novelist – “Oh, really? So is my stepdad! Do you know Larry Brooks?” “Why yes,” says me. “We appeared at the same writers conference in Gig Harbor a few years back…” actually Fox Island, but what’s a few scenic miles between novelists? So, I’m thinking small world – I happened to grow up in Lake Oswego and also have a beach house in Rockaway. Time passes on – then I see your letter and link in Carolyn’s newsletter – I met Carolyn and her husband at the Las Vegas Writers Conference three years ago. Then I see you are publishing through Amazon Shorts and I happen to know Dan Slater who runs that program! Well, that’s just too many lobs over the bow for me not to say howdy, reintroduce myself and see how you are doing.

    I still live in Gig Harbor and speak at conferences as my schedule allows. With a new novel coming out this fall and with six audio books coming out throughout the year, I am one busy writer. I get down to Rockaway twice a month to get serious work done. I also will be sticking my toe into the epublishing world in the next few weeks with a Slangmaster Book . I will be using Smashwords to publish a book on booze slang. If I find it worthwhile, I will continue to put out several more books since my Slangmaster database has over 33,000 entries. I know. I need to get a life.

    I wish you well on your assorted projects. Sounds like you are perking right along.



    P.S. Was it Scott and Inga?

    • Hey Randall — man, the world is crazy-small. Thanks for writing. I loved the Gig Harbor conference, by the way, really great people and spectacular location. You sound very busy… curious about the six audio books, are they from previous work, or original stuff (sorry if that’s an obvious question)?

      I’m about to do the ebook thing, also. Mine is “101 Slightly Unpredictable Tips for Novelists and Screenwriters,” and it’ll be on my site and elsewhere (going the Clickbank, ePub and Secure ebooks route). Will send you a copy, on me.

      It was Scott and INGER, by the way. She’s lived a lifetime with people not getting her name. I actually used her name in a manuscript recently and my agent demanded I change it. Never told her that, though.

      Hey, stay in touch, nice to hear from you. Best of luck with all your projects. And get some sleep, I see it was 4:39 when you wrote this. (I was awake, too… occupational hazard, I think). Take care —


      PS– Dan Slater was my editor at Penguin Putnam for all of my books there… back before they tossed me under bus (which was after Dan left for Seattle). Small, small world.

  2. Larry, found your website through Men With Pens. Does your website indicate your workshop schedule? Am looking forward to reading/hearing more. Thanks for the inspiration at 5 am in the desert! Eliza

  3. Gary Cerotsky

    L.B., I’ve often wondered what you did with yourself after your great career with the “Outer Edge.”

    Sounds like you have had yourself one interesting career after another!

    I retired three years ago from the Portland Police Bureau and moved to beautiful Bonanza, Oregon. (20 miles east of Klamath Falls) Joyce and I have thirty acres of beautiful Ponderosa pine and Juniper trees.

    We occasionally return to Portland to visit with our kids, grandkids and Lary and Molly.

    If you’re ever in the area, stop by and spend an evening on the ranch with us.


    Hope to hear from you.


  4. Bernice Johnston


    I just received the OWC calendar with the nekkid Mr. Brooks, who proves once again a writer can write anyplace! Awesome! How about a new series called The Naked Writer? Oh, the fun we could have with that one — after all, don’t we expose ourselves everytime we put our prose to page? You’ve just taken the next step. For the photo you could use the pic of you reclining on the desk. Thanks for baring your body and soul.


  5. Dear Larry:
    I very much enjoyed meeting you last weekend at the Willamette Writers Conference and greatly enjoyed your workshops. Thank you for taking the time to critique my MS and for your kind, encouraging and flattering remarks. I would like to discuss this some more with you, on a professional/business basis to be agreed so if you would like to contact me at your convenience, it would be terrific.
    With best wishes,
    Stephen (

  6. Hey back, Larry; Took me a few weeks to figure out I need to check back here and reply to your reply to my first contact in July. Am I rambling? Anyway, you asked about the audio books – they are coming out through Books In Motion in Spokane. They have just brought out HONOR BRIGHT, THE LIKES OF ME, and THE CORNERSTONE. Coming soon are THE FOUR ARROWS FE-AS-KO, THE ROYALSCOPE FE-AS-KO and THE 1898 BASE-BALL FE-AS-KO. I did this by assuring my rights had reverted from Random and getting the okay from Catbird Press, since the last four books are still in print. Let me know if you want contact information on Books In Motion – check ’em out. Otherwise, it’s white knuckle time for me, awaiting trade reviews for HELLIE JONDOE, my November release.
    Oh, another co-inky-dink – I was Writer in Residence at OWC last spring. I won’t be there this Sunday for their anniversary, though. I met Dan Slater through Western Writers of America. Terrific person and I’m glad to know he and his family are enjoying the Seattle area.
    Stay in touch!

  7. Patricia Smith

    Hello Larry,

    I have been stuck writing Father Vitalis novel. I thank you for unstucking me.

    Surprise! Whether you know it or not, or choose not to acknowledge, you have become my mentor!


  8. Pingback: Fix Your Story with the Help of Larry Brooks | Visual Arts Junction

  9. Hi I saw that you are a part of Blogging Tips.
    So I’m Benjamin Lang from (an entrepreneur blog.)
    I was wondering if you are interested in writing guest posts on my blog. I dont have much time to write posts so Im looking for bloggers who are willing to guest poss, it could only help you out because I link back to your site, which could help drive traffic back to it. And Im also currently adding an authors page which really could help you out.

  10. Pingback: Five Not-So-Well-Known Writing Blogs You Should Read

  11. Pingback: Why You Should Be Thankful For Those Who Came Before You

  12. Jan Romes

    Hi Larry, I just sent you an email about how great Story Structure – Demystified is. Your book really opened my eyes. I knew storytelling had structure, but truthfully, I was ignorant to what that structure was. After reading your book, I’m anxious to break down my manuscript to see where it’s at in regards to that structure.

    My only suggestion to improve your book…make it also in audio form !! (unless it is and I wasn’t aware of it). Reading your book. Hearing your book. Two great ways to saturate a rusty brain.

    Thanks for writing it!

    Warm regards,

    Jan Romes – Ohio

  13. Tanya Bimson

    Larry Brooks is one of the nicest men you will ever meet! Buy whatever he is selling and you will be supporting someone who has put his whole heart and soul into the product.

  14. I’m happy to have found your site. I started my career blog in August, 2009 and am starting 2 e-books on finding jobs.

    I’ll be tuning into your advice and if you ever have workshops on the east coast I’m all ears.

    Bill Morgan
    The Job Swami Career Advice Site

  15. DrB

    Do you have some advice on turning our site into a book? We have an outline and two sample chapters.

  16. @DrB — funny you shoul ask that. I just did a guest post on on that very topic. Here’s the link, let me know if you have further questions. Good luck!

  17. Pingback: Start with A Kiss and End With A Win. | Cleavage by Kelly Diels.

  18. Larry, last month, I was a guest lecturer at a story structure workshop at my son’s high school film class. We broke it down. Story structure feels forced and too theoretical when you first encounter it, so I then did a scene by scene exercise based on a short film I did for the class. Wish I’d had your breakdown of Avatar then, you could have been my whole lecture. Seriously, very well done and very helpful even to those of us who’ve been at it for awhile. Avatar–the story, maybe not great art, but a great object lesson in how classical story structure delivers the goods. Love the blog.


  19. Cheesy. Nice. What do you gain by saying that? If you have real feedback, I’d like to know. if my appearance bothers you (its hardly radical or certainly not pretentious, it’s a freaking leather coat, dude, what do you wear, a Nehru jacket?). Feedback please.

  20. mark

    Hi Larry, So much to read on internet these dayz, but did read all of your points on hook and fpp, clear and concise, so will get your books to add too my collect.i’m on a very tight deadline, to finish two full features, by end of April, and your points helped me see clearer, to ramping it upppppppp.



  21. mark

    Hi Larry,would now like to buy all 3 books,The Three Dimensions of CharacterStory Structure – Demystified”,101 Slightly Unpredictable Tips i live in London,are can’t find on Amazon, whats best way,yes while back was going to,was undecided.


  22. Pingback: Plot Brainstorming « Steven K. Griffin

  23. Larry,
    Great to meet you at the WW conference. (I’m the blond woman who compulsively sits front and center so as to absorb knowledge as rapidly as possible. )

    I’m already applying your principles to my novel — the one that’s 70% complete — to its definite benefit. I’m determined to get it published. And though my own website is not about writing, I’ve taken the liberty of adding you to my blogroll
    Finally, I really like your self-effacing, funny bio on this page.

  24. Hello Larry,
    I connected to your blog via a link in The Writer online. I feel that I discovered you just when I need you – structure is right at the top of my list this week. But perhaps not a perfect fit. I am not writing fiction, but a biography as creative nonfiction. My question: how well does your format work for this?

    My first book took 10 yrs. to write. No contract, no pressure until the end of the process. No such luxury with this book, a sequel to the first, so I need to work more efficiently. Your beat sheet looks useful up to a point; don’t know if the details of your suggested structure work for what I am doing.

    In any case, I am subscribing to your blog –love it already for so many reasons — and I’m hoping your story structure book can work for creative nonfiction.

    Many thanks for being there –

  25. fyi – Actually I found your link on The Writer’s fb page.

  26. Lelani

    Hi Larry,
    I’ve been subscribed to your posts for a while now and I have learned quite a lot from them, especially the Story structure ones. They’ve been very helpful.
    I’ve been reading a mystery thriller and for some reason I’m not quite seeing how the story structure works on a mystery novel. I know it is there, but how does the structuring influence the way clues and red herrings are placed?

  27. Sandra McDow

    Finally! I found a way to “connect” with my (unknown to him) mentor, Larry Brooks.

    Why, you ask, am I trying to conntect w/ Larry?

    Since the workshop I attended sometime in 2005-06, I have toyed with the idea of entering an MFA program in creative writing, and am now about to do so.

    What I need to know, for purposes of the application, is the date(s) and title of that workshop presented in Salem, Oregon on a weekend, in some kind of medical administration building on 12th St. SE.

    The reason I remember the workshop so vividly, along w/ the excellent presentation, is the pretty young minister’s daughter who attended who announced that she was writing a kind of memoir about how a minister’s daughter became a prostitute. That piqued everyone’s imagination.

    Larry, or anyone else who may have attended, can you help me out with details? I’ve searched and searched and cannot find them among my paperwork.

    Thanks so much,
    Sandra McDow

  28. Pingback: Ultimate Copywriters’ Roll Call: 100 Top International Copywriters and Content Bloggers | MarketCopywriter Blog

  29. Hey Larry,

    I just saw that you will be a presenter at the 2011 LDSstorymakers conference in Salt Lake City. I’ll be there and I can’t wait to see you live!

  30. Joe Mello

    Hey, of Syd Field’s books, what’s the difference between his book ScreenPlay and The ScreenWriter’s Workbook. From reviews, it looks like each was called the “bible” for screenwriting and storytelling. They were published within a year of each other. But from the ToC and first pages, they look very similar. If I had to get one of these two, which one would you recommend?


  31. @Joe – about Syd’s two books… I’d go for the first. The workbook is something that asks you to apply your work in progress to specific “tasks” called for in the structural model, but it’s the same model. The first book is iconic, so that’s my recommendation. Enjoy, it’s great stuff. L.

  32. Congratulations on the Top 10 Blogs for Writers Award. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving writer.

  33. Wes & Nadine

    We haven’t “officially” said congratulations for winning the Top 10 Blogs for Writers Award. So, Larry, CONGRATULATIONS!! What an honor! And it’s one you deserve, not only for all the hard work you’ve put into but for the gifted writer you are.

    Wes & Nadine

  34. Larry,

    As a full-time, published and produced writer, I’m always learning about my craft. I have your book on order, but have a question about a seeming contradiction. While reading the preview on Amazon, I notice that you say the body falling on the cab in Collateral IS NOT the first plot point because it happens too early, 15 percent into the film versus 25 percent.

    Instead of the First Plot Point, you describe it as, “a plot twist, an inciting incident, and a whopper.”

    BUT, in another part of the book, you describe, “the First Plot Point…also known as the inciting incident.”

    I am looking forward to your book and hope my confusion results only from my not having the entire book at my disposal right now, but can you explain this apparent contradiction? In your model, is the “inciting incident” the same as the “first plot point,” or does it occur before the first plot point (as in most story structure models)?

    Chuck Hustmyre
    “A Killer Like Me”
    “House of the Rising Sun”

  35. @Chuck — thanks for commenting. I’m aware of that contradiction, and have several posts in my archives trying to amend and expand on it. The new book does that, too. This is something I discovered, rather than borrowed, and I think it’s a critical point. “Collateral” is the perfect example of the Inciting Incident NOT being the plot point, and of using this double-whammy effectively. It taught me a lot, and it’s been fun sharing this one with readers. So good catch.

    I’d intended to fix this in the ebook — my bad — but with the new book and all, that one got away from me. I’m going to be pulling the ebook off for a while when the new writing book comes out next month, but when I relaunch it I’ll definately address this one.

    Thanks again, hope you’ll stick around. And congrats on your books, I’ll check ’em out. Take care, and stay in touch — Larry

  36. Thanks, Larry. I’m really looking forward to the new book, Story Engineering. It’s right now on pre-order from Amazon.

    I have trouble with characters’ inner journeys, and I am hoping to learn something from you.

    On that earlier point, so the inciting incident in most cases sets up the FPP, in your model, and is distinct from it, and earlier?

    I teach fiction writing at LSU as a leisure course (go Tigers!), and I use three films for study: Silence of the Lambs, Jaws, and Gladiator.

    Thanks again.

  37. Jocelyn Lindsay


    I just discovered that you’re going to be a presenter at the 2011 LDSstorymakers conference in Salt Lake City. I’m going to try and get there, but in case I don’t make it, do you have a schedule of other conferences you’ll be attending or workshops you’re teaching?

    Can’t wait to read the new book!

  38. hi! i’ve been looking for a contact area to no avail, so i’m posting this as a comment instead. i find your site incredibly helpful and i am so grateful to you for writing this blog 🙂 i was wondering – would you ever consider putting in a search function? i would love to have a more accessible way of going through the archives. thanks!

  39. Hi Larry,
    To be honest, I don’t remember how I found you. I just did and thank goodness. I’ve written for 25 years for a living — news and features — but the whys and hows of novel writing have always escaped me. I am a good writer and have always been well received but, while I enjoy writing non-fiction, novels have always been my dream.
    Right now, I’m within shouting distance of the end of “Story Structure — Demystified” and have already picked up “Story Engineering” on my Kindle. I CANNOT wait to read it.
    I think you may have saved my sanity. I always knew there was a rational, understandable way to structure a novel but, until I found your book, I wasn’t sure I would ever learn what it was.

  40. Pingback: Exploring Themes in Writing

  41. Pingback: Five Essential Writing Blogs

  42. Pingback: Storyfix (blog) | Scrittura Digitale

  43. Kathleen Gaylord

    Larry can you email me your new address- have ordered book and of course would love to have your special message on it 🙂 Things are great and would like to catch up = Thanks Kathleen

  44. Larry,

    I just reviewed Story Engineering. Thought you’d want to know. Check out my website for the review.

    — Chuck

  45. Larry,
    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Would you still be willing to look at my 500-word concept for my novel? How much would you charge to look it over and see if it has all the necessary “parts”?

    — john

  46. David


    Just finished your book, Story Engineering. Great book. Thanks for pulling together information I’ve read in many different books, and putting together a concise mental model for writing a novel. I like the balance between structure and creativity, and the way you layer the character arc on the four units of the story. It really resonated. I finally feel I have something to grab hold of when developing character arc.

    One thing I might suggest for any next editions, which I have always felt when done well makes a story sizzle, is subtext in dialogue. Although not a core competency, I think you have places where it might fit in your book, and i would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Thanks again for your contribution to the craft.

  47. Alan Wood

    Good Afternoon Larry,
    I read your book and gazed, at the website and landed upon your invite to fix broken stories. I have two short stories I’d like to have anaylzed by your eyes. The total word count for both is around 26,000 words. I’d love to hear the truth.
    I’m wearing heatproof gloves. I can handle the truth.

    Please send me your new discount rate as referred to on your website.

    Thank You so much in advance,

    Alan Wood

  48. Larry, please send me your mailing address so I can send my $25 to you

  49. Richard Brockelsby


    I just finished Story Engineering. For the first time. I started writing when I was still in high school, but never anything “good”. Can’t tell you how many books and articles about writing I’ve read in my life. Hundreds? At least. I will be rereading this one. I have been stewing over a book idea for months. As I read your book I found myself saying “AHA” over and over. I obviously haven’t had a chance to test the ideas. I will be doing that starting now. Even if I don’t get published any time soon you have given me tools to improve my writing. Thanks for the great read and encouragement.

  50. Ian Porter

    Hi Larry. After 60-odd years of daily thoughts on writing fiction (beginning about age 10, I seem to recall) I finally had the good sense, (and luck), to stumble across your website.

    After two head-spinning weeks, I’ve finally finished ‘Story Engineering’. The first word that came to mind was, Wow”.
    The second was, “ThankyouThankyouThankyou”.

    Closely thereafter came Hope, Optimism, Relief and Incentive.

    Hope – For the first time I know that I need a plan.
    Optimism – You’ve shown me how to plan.
    Relief – If I follow the plan I’ll have a coherent story.
    Incentive – My goal is now clear and achievable. Yaay!

    Your book has already answered most of my questions, but, as I begin to lay out my story’s structure, there’s one thing I puzzle over – How long should it be? I’ve spent a day or so studying online opinions, but opiners are numerous. The best consensus seemed to 80,000 to 100,000 words for a first novel. However, this figure apparently depends on the TYPE of story, ie, whether it’s a mystery, thriller, adventure or SF. Mine’s kind of a mixture of the last two, as well as being a first novel.

    I’m interested to know what you recommend.

    Sorry if you covered this in the book – I did read it in a kinda rush 🙂

    Thanks again for the best advice I’ve ever had.

    New Zealand.

  51. Hi Larry, love your blog! Thanks for sharing so much helpful information. I posted an excerpt on my blog at MindyHalleck.blogspot, hope you don’t mind. Mindy

  52. Hi Larry,

    I’m Jett. I really like your site, and you’re linked to a lot on other writing/book blogs. I work for Harper Collins and more specifically The site just re-launched a week ago and we’re really excited about the new look and new features. HPC editors are still reviewing submitted works in our kick-ass contests, but what’s new is the fresh badge system we have to promote individual profiles.

    It’s definitely still a YA/Teen writing site, but we like to think our audience is pretty diverse, and most of all, passionate. I’m writing to you to see if you’d perhaps consider writing a blurb/mention about the new digs? We care about young writers continuing to write their best work, and HPC is devoted to producing the kind of books its readers want to read most. The editors of the site are super responsive and take all complaints/concerns into consideration. Considering the hodgepodge pack of writing communities available today, InkPop is a much-needed refresher.

    Thanks so much for hearing me out. Take care.


  53. Dear Larry,

    I’m in the middle of writing a new blog entry and I’d like to be able to refer to your blog and post a link. Do you have any problem with that?

    My Writerly Wramblings blog can be found at


  54. Steve


    I just finished Bait and Switch. I have been following you for over a year–and learned much in the process. I had struggled with your concept of midpoint shift. In Bait and Switch it hit me like a sledge hammer to the forehead. Wow, got it! I know you had promised to deconstruct Bait and Switch on your site. Hope you do soon. Keep going man, you are changing writer’s lives.

  55. Larry, I just read your Problogger post And The Typos Just Keep On Comin’. You might be interested in, a place where readers report typos in books.

  56. Pingback: Alex Livingston » Blog Archive » A Plot Structure Analysis of Final Fantasy XII

  57. Pingback: - Big H By the Lake

  58. Bill

    Larry, Good seeing you again in Wenatchee! As usual, loved your comments, enjoyed our conversations. Hope Medford was a blast! Offer still stands about that Mexican food! Bill -30-

  59. Hi Larry, I just finished reading your Story Engineering and found it one of the most comprehensive books on writing out there.

    When you mention (p. 186) that a Plot Point can be spread out in a “sequence of scenes” I wondered: “How can it be a plot POINT?” You describe a series of events and then I realized, from my own research, that what is going on in those cases is that you are dealing with the Plot Points of _various_ arcs. Usually (and as a screenwriter), I learned about the Dramatic Arc (Syd Field et al). But now, when I structure, I have started to use an Emotional Arc as well as a Thematic Arc as well. If they all occur in the same Plot Point, you get a “bigger event” than if you spread them out, separating them over a sequence of scenes.

    Ditto for your mentioning Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code (p. 195) MidPoint. It is not that the traditional paradigm is being broken if you seem to have more than one MidPoint, not at all. Rather, what happens is that you are dealing with Dramatic, Emotional or Thematic Plot Points occurring separately. This isn’t better or worse, but actually a matter of choice and purpose, aka function (or just because the writer wasn’t conscious of it).

    I am structuring a novel where I have my Dramatic, Emotional and Thematic Climaxes happen on different “moments” in the story, while I plan to have each arc’s Plot Points and MidPoint occur simultaneously for greater effect and “turning point value.”

    Anyway, had I not read your book I wouldn’t have become conscious of this. So thank you very much!

  60. Larry, sittin’ here in a coffeeshop in Arlington, Texas, struggling with my novel. You’re book & website are a godsend. Using your techniques, I just mapped out to mid-point and now working on 2nd half of book. This pantser is actually PLOTTING. (I can’t plot my way out of a paper bag.) OMG, dude, thank you so very much for your help. I don’t have it 100% but learning so much. Gracias, amigo. … Alley

  61. Pingback: 10 Links: Novel Development – Methods and More « Keri Mathews

  62. Art Holcomb


    I’m a produced screenwriter of animation and have over 60 comic book / graphic novels to my credit and this is one of only two fan letters I’ve ever written. I recently had a treatment optioned for a live action movie and am currently doing the screenplay and decided to fill in my education by reading all the major authorities on the subject (McKee, Fields, Truby, etc) as well as a couple of new authors such as yourself and Chris Soth that I only recently come acrossed. Your stuff is insightful and accessible, wonderful to read and instantly understandable. A delight.

    Best recommendation there is: my wife asked me why I needed to keep 20+ writing books on the shelf next to my desk when the only one that was ever next to the keyboard, opended, highlighted and annotated with my handwritten notes . . . was yours?

    All the best,

    Art Holcomb

  63. No Spam

    Kludgy is an adjective, not a verb. In my field we use the word regularly and I’ve never heard it used as a verb. Even as an adjective, it’s rare. It’s much more common to call something “a kludge” than to say that it’s “kludgy”.

  64. Pingback: Book Review: Story Engineering by Larry Brooks | Nicole Basaraba's Uni-Verse-City

  65. Hi,
    I attended your workshop in Medford OR (actually Central Point) this fall. You are right, it was an eye opener for me. Thanks! Currently finishing up a memoir of our lives on an old-time ranch — I tell folks, that we moved 45 miles east and a 100 years back in time.

    Do you have a schedule for your workshops for this next year? Especially, in eastern Washington? Or Western Idahao — o heck forget the eastern and western — what’s your workshop schedule? I am lining up folk to go.


  66. Amanda

    Dear Larry,

    I just wanted to let you know that I just “won” NaNoWriMo. I finished 50,100 words with 1 day left to go. And it was all because of your posts in October. I planned, I knew where I was headed and I got there. Not “just one edit” away from publishable, but my first draft is officially completed.
    Not only did I complete NaNoWriMo and win on my first time out, but I finally started a habit of writing every day (win), I now know I can average 1,000 words or more a day so I know what kind of goal to set myself (win).
    Thanks for your posts. You are the best.

  67. @Amanda — thanks for the feedback, so glad to hear that your NaNoWriMo was a positive experience, and that you’ve immersed yourself in the craft. Good for you, I wish all the best as you move forward. We all have an important story in us… may you find yours and may we all get to read it one day soon. Thanks for hanging on Storyfix, too. L.

  68. Larry,

    I have a question, what are your suggestions of adapting the core competencies, specifically the beat sheet and story structure, for scense in a short story?

  69. Pingback: NaNoWriMo Debriefing « BULLISH INK

  70. Pingback: Start Your Week Off Write: 5 Ways Writing a Novel Is Like Bread Pudding – plus 2 Recipes! | kristin nador writes anywhere

  71. Eve Harris

    Hi Larry, I discovered your website while I was doing Nano, and reading your articles about Story Structure really help me understand my writing better. I have a question about the plot points. I read a blog post by Janice Hardy about the difference in Main Character and Protagonist at her blog (

    Quote: “In contrast, in Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October, Jack Ryan stands out to me as the main character. The story revolves around him and his hunt, but he isn’t the protagonist. Ramius is the one who’s acting and driving the plot, because his choice and his actions set the entire story in motion. If you took Jack Ryan out of the story, Ramius would still act as he does. If you took Ramius out of the story, Ryan has nothing to do. But Ryan plays a vital role in balancing Ramius plot. We care abut Ramius because we care about Ryan.”

    So basically the answer to “Whose story is this? (MC)” and “Who’s the one driving the plot? (Protagonist)” can be different. In that case, whose POV should I use to structure my story? Do I write the plot points based on the MC or the protagonist?


  72. Evonne M. Biggins

    Hi, again, Larry. Okay, I think I’ve got the first plot point figured out.
    On page 107 of 443, 24% on my Kindle—

    In The Help, Missus Stein tells Eugenia she will read what Eugenia (Skeeter) writes about how the maids in Mississippi are treated. Without that call, Skeeter may not have gone through witht the effort or danger of writing the book. But, she decides to write the book despite the dangers to herself and the maids. = FPP.

    So, when Missus Stein says that she will read what Eugenia writes, was that a FPP nudge? Or a pre-FPP hint?

    Should there be a nudge or hint right before the FPP that tips the scale and gives the character a choice? (Though, we writers know that the character has no choice :-)!

    Thanks, again! Evonne

  73. Hi!

    My name is Katie and I’m the owner of Vintage Vinyl Journals. Love your site! We’re a company that makes eco-friendly handcrafted writing journals from upcycled recycled vintage albums. They are made from environmentally friendly paper, recycled records and sleeves and are 100% made in the USA.

    I think your readers would love them! They are great for music lovers and writers.

    Please let me know if you want more info.

    Thank you for your time.

  74. Zelda Zerafa

    Hi Larry,

    I have been following your blog for a few years and hope to complete my first novel this year. Actually, forget ‘hope’. I WILL finish my first novel this year. There, that’s better.
    I am having a hard time deciding on the genre the story fits in, and I need to know this to get guidelines about length and which agents to pitch to. It’s a love story but it has crime and chases too. What do you think? I have an outline ready.

  75. @Zelda — sounds like romantic suspense to me. If you’re pitching an agent, that should do the trick, it’s their job to find the right publishers (not all romance house publish romantic suspense, and some publishers you wouldn’t think of as romance house also publish it, with a “tougher” cover).

    Either way, it’s exciting to hear about your progress and hope for this, please keep us posted! Wishing you every success. L.

  76. Zelda Zerafa

    Thanks Larry for your reply. Actually, I have decided to get help from you with editing. So when I have the first 60 pages done (I’m now at 35) I am going to buy some help from you and we can go over the manuscript. I think the hardest bit for me is writing good descriptions of a. the location in the scene b. the person who’s talking c. the gestures the person makes as they speak and showing not telling what’s going on in their head. I find that Tess Gerritsen does this very well. Damn, wish I know how she did it.

  77. Jen

    Lovin’ your book and your site. They’ve both been a great help. I am particularly enamored with ‘what if’ right now. It helped me immensely with a block in my plot.

    Just wanted to let you know though, I’ve already signed up for your newsletter but I’m still getting the lovely, but now annoying, modal window encouraging me to sign up for a newsletter I’ve already signed up for. This happens nny time I go to a new page or blog post. I think there are gremlins in your cookies. 🙂

  78. Pingback: Worth a Look: Rebecca Berto & Larry Brooks « Paul Welch

  79. Richard Orlin

    I bought your book, “Story Engineering” and think it’s great! However, the link on the back to your downloadable “Story engineering checklist” at WD is dead. Do you have the correct link or can you email the file?
    Thank you very much

  80. Pingback: NaNoWriMo Debriefing | BULLISH INK

  81. Pingback: ANWA Writers Conference - Easy As PIEEasy As PIE

  82. I’d love to do a guest post for this site. It seems like a great place for serious writers who have something to say. Since my novels are typically about social issues, restarting late in life (Widow’s Walk), mental health and personal freedom (Memoirs From the Asylum), and the people who are just getting by (Tales From the Dew Drop Inne), I always like to discuss the social and political role of the writer.
    Let me know if you’d be interested.

  83. Bryan Wiggins

    Okay Larry, tired of banging my head on the rafters I’m nailing together, based on Story Engineering. I’m using your checklist to outline my scenes, but keep stumbling over the first two. Isn’t the mission of every scene “to drive the story forward?” and doesn’t it do this by delivering (optimally) a single piece of story exposition? I’m struggling with trying to differentiate between a unique mission for each scene and the piece of story it’s tasked with delivering. Can you sharpen the distinction? Thanks so much if you find the time, if not, I’ll read part 6 another few times…

  84. mike

    Are you doing ok?

  85. Michael T

    Having read enough books on writing as to be able to stack them three feet off the ground, I am a big fan of your book (Story Engineering), and think it is one of the best out there.
    I have been applying your ideas while breaking down both movies and novels. It works well, but then I started wondering how it would stand up to the most brilliant and complex novels of all time.

    Would it hold against East of Eden? A book with many points of view, (including omnipresent), and many story lines.

    Where would the plot points be in a massive book like Shogun? Or Dune?

    Wat is different in these novels, perhaps more finesse?

    I would be very curious as to the answer.

    Thank you

  86. Michael T

    *What is the difference in these novels, perhaps more finesse?*

  87. @Michaell — a great question, and a can of worms. For sure, the underlying story physics (forces) are hard at work and very visible in the classic stories you mention, and others. As for structure, it’s there in some form, but often there are so many POVs and inciting incidents and even multiple plot points – or conversely, they are so subtle you barely notice them – that analysis is hard to nail, and challenge is easily mounted. I like to say that we should appreciate those novels, but not necessary hold them up to the light of architectural analysis with a view toward learning the basics. We don’t teach out kids painting by having them study Dali or Rembradt to discover the basic physics and structure of the art. Genius is almost always based on a foundation of solid basics, and from there, those basics become a variable that only works in the hands of one. Hope this helps! L,.

  88. Michael T

    Thank you for answering my question.
    I look forward to your next book “Advanced Story Engineering,” where you breakdown War and Peace, Ulysses, Paradise Lost, and Dante’s The Divine Comedy.

    Until that time I will continue the determined march of becoming a better writer, and hopefully a published one in the years to come.

    Besides your book (Story Engineering), which covers vital parts of writing which few other books even come close to doing, I wanted go give a quick shout out to another one of my favorite books on the craft.
    Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style, by Virginia Tufte.
    A hidden gem on an ignored subject, this book alongside yours should be in every would be writer’s bookcase.

    Thx again for the reply.

  89. Jim Crocker

    Larry– I have been working through the Core Competencies for a couple of days now: making notes, building relational tables and just eating it up. I’ve hoped to find “something like this” for a while now. So imagine my surprise and excitement. I love investigating these deep, fundamental structural-functional relationships.

    No matter what, I REALLY need to see what’s going on behind the veil. That’s probably why I became an anthropology major in school and later was attracted to data structures in the IT world. Now I am fascinated with writing stories. I guess it’s always about story.

    So thanks for your thoughts and your books. I just wish so many people didn’t have such violent reactions to the whole idea of underlying structures and business rules. Too bad for them, eh?


    Jim in Montana

  90. Hi Larry, You’ve been a great inspiration to me and I’ve devoured your Story Engineering. I’ve just nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award, you can find out more details at my blog. Thanks for all you do!

  91. Hi Larry

    I am wondering about the position of the underdog as the main character. A mentor once told a friend of mine ‘It’s easy to write about the underdog’. This comment has haunted her, and myself since. I do wish mentors would elaborate on these kinds of comments. However, my quest is now to find out why writing about the underdog is considered an ‘easy path’. I suppose to empathy. Yet, if we wrote about happy people, nothing would happen. Do you have any ideas that would shed light of the need for a hero to be something other than a disadvantaged minority, and therefore to overcome????

  92. @Rosetta — you ask about writing underdogs, and question where they are, or should be “easier.” Good question. I also like your observation that “mentors” sometimes say stuff without explaining what it means, and it just sits there like a tumor, growing and tormenting. I’ll be on guard for that.

    I’ll try for a simplified, universally-okay response. Underdogs make great characters because, as YOU said, we root for them. Moreover, though, they have problems and disadvantages to overcome, goals to achieve, and the story becomes about that journey. That said…

    … underdogs aren’t the only architype with things to overcome and goals to achieve. Anybody can be placed in that situation. What is someone just won the lottery, big time, and someone else is suddenly blackmailing them for a crime they got away with, someone who has turned their life around (I’m making this sh*t up right now, to clarify my point), and deserves our empathy and support. Is that an underdog? No. Do they have a problem? Yes. An adversary? Yes. A goal? Yes.

    THAT’s what a story is about: a protagonist with a problem/need/quest/goal… facing opposition, and – when it works — becomes someone we root for, with stakes hanging in the balance. That’s it as far as “universal truths about your protagonist” are concerned. Has nothing at all — NOTHING — to with being an underdog, a minority or anything else. It has to do with CONFLICT and EMPATHY… that’s it.

    Hope this helps. L.

  93. I love your blog! You have been very helpful to me! Thank you so much!

  94. Hi Larry,

    I like your site, you have some interesting posts. My site compliments yours, consisting of interesting articles from a published author, plus a free resource of over 1000 traditional book publishers currently accepting submissions – the largest on the web. Keep up the good work.

    Regards, Brian

  95. Christine Rose Murray


    I was reading through your blog and thought it was very insightful. I’d love to contribute, so let me know if you could fit a guest post in!


  96. You’re top notch Larry
    Have a good day.

  97. Hi Larry. I have nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, which I hope you will accept. If so, you probably know what to do – seven facts about yourself and seven new nominees. You can read the details here:
    Cheers, and thanks for all the writing tips.

  98. Pingback: Three Steps to Creating a Compelling Business Story | Spin Sucks

  99. Pingback: 3 Powerful Mini-Dramas to Super-Charge Your Scenes-

  100. Pingback: Monday Advice from Editors and Agents: Is Your Plot Contrived? | Tangled Words

  101. Hi Larry

    Thanks for your feedback on my last question. Well said.

    Just want you to know that I have just signed a contract with Penguin for my first novel. I have your book and one other your recommended, and your blogs to thank for showing me the importance of structure. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for putting it out there.

  102. @Rosetta — HUGE congrats on your Penguin contract, and thanks so much for the kind words. Here’s to your massive success going forward! Larry

  103. Rick Treter

    Dear Team,

    I was abruptly caught up with your website “”. Do you make enough sales from it? No???? May I put together some issues that are deterring success? A quick rundown of your website:

    1. Fewer back links vis-à-vis competition.
    2. Website requiring improvement to comply current/latest Google Penguin 1.1 update.
    3. Social media efforts must address your core marketing and branding needs.
    4. Website landing pages must be enhanced keeping the usability and sale conversion point in mind.

    Nevertheless this is a partial list. You can request a “Free Website Audit” revealing your current situation coupled with a roadmap of making your business thriving with optimal return on investment.

    Sounds interesting? Let’s speak. We assure that you won’t hesitate speaking with us.

    Yours Truly,

    Rick Treter,
    Asst. Vice President – Digital Marketing.

    The SEO Inc – A Division of Insight Marketers
    Skype: rick.seoinc
    Phone # 1-209-748-4200
    Gharunda IT Complex, Sector 9
    Navi Mumbai – 400701


    The subject matter contained in this email is for the external promotion of our company. We have taken utmost care not to bother you with unnecessary promotional stuff. If in any way it disturbs your privacy please send us the subject line as “Not to contact” and your contact details will be immediately deleted from our database.

  104. Joe


    I recently purchased your book Story Engineering for my Nook, and I am reading it VERY carefully. I have had to read Chapter 5: Concept Defined a couple times, and I am still having trouble differentiating between idea/concept/premise.

    Are there any blogs on your website where you go more into depth in these three terms?


  105. Jackie Yang

    Dear Larry Brooks,

    It is nice to meet you via e-mail. I’m Jackie Yang at EYA(Eric Yang Agency) which is one of the leading literary agencies in Korea.

    We have exclusively worked with HarperCollins, Little Brown and Company, The Crown Publishing Group, Berrett-Koehler, Pocket Books, Bloomsbury, Walker & Company, Hodder, Hachette Livre, ICM, Faber & Faber, Andrew Nurnberg, A.P. Watt, etc.


    With regard to the above titles, I have Korean publisher who got interested in. Please send me an email if the Korean rights of two titles are still available in Korea. If available, please kindly arrange the reading copy, manuscript or e-file for the review.

    Thank you in advance and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,
    Jackie Yang

  106. Hi Larry
    I want to write a book I think it is a novel in the style of Master funny story teller Tom Sharpe—Riotous Assembly and several other books. I have written other books but this is my first go at fiction. I was sure it would be easy. I was wrong! The others in my writing group were very quick (a bit too quick I thought) to tell me. I didn’t even understand Point of View for goodness sake! So I am learning about POV, outlining, (snowflake) the four parts to a story and so on. I am reading your book Story Structure Demystified and I am learning fast but there is one major problem. None of the characters in my proposed book are heroes or villains as such they are mostly just idiots. And as in all Tom Sharpe’s books (yes he is a hero of mine) I just want the story to lurch from one complete mess to the next but all hilariously funny. I was just wondering if Tom Sharpe’s books fit the four part theory of fiction. Really I have just answered the question for my self. I will analyse a few of Tom Sharp’s books and then let you know!
    I am learning lots from your book . It is great!

  107. @Brian — hey there, welcome to the fiction jungle. Where all is not as it seems as we try to reflect what we’ve enjoyed about published novels onto our own projects. Where we learn, sometimes painfully, that we can’t reinvent the form, or do it “our way” when that way violates certain principles. The key thing, which is between the lines of what you describe, is that a successful novel is more than a glass cage into which we can look in… it’s more than “interesting” characters, a menagerie of the strange. Rather, it’s allowing the reader to ROOT for someone, and against something that blocks the path of what that character needs/wants to achieve in the story. That’s a wide breadth of story lattitude, but it’s always there. Haven’t read Sharpe, but unless the books aren’t novels at all (humorous essays are a great niche, but they’re not novels), I can pretty much guarantee you that this type of dynamic is in play. The trick for new fiction writers is twofold: learn what those principles are, and then begin to recognize them in novels you enjoy. Trying to find them without understanding them… that’s really hard. But once you see them, they pop out, you can’t un-see them. Lots of resources here for you… hope you find the Holy Grail, and that you enjoy the journey. Larry

  108. @Jen – wow, in my face. But you’re absolutely, offensively wrong. Check this link (from the sponsor of the contest), which shows the 2010/2011 winners (notice who was in first place), and then notice the SEAL shown, which IS the SAME seal, the correct seal, shown on my site:

  109. Linby


    In a few days I will begin a blog. In it, I plan to refer to books which have shone the light on my own ignorance as I became a writer. Your “Story Structure” was the first of them; I would like to show people enough of the book to convince them they really need it on the reference shelf, whether that shelf is wood or electronic. Would you care to see the paras, to ensure that I haven’t shown them so much they don’t need to buy it? I would of course respect your wishes in this matter.

    This is too small a word for the doors you’ve opened for me, but thanks. Many, many thanks.

  110. Linby

    Right now I plan to discuss boxes and major plot points, making the point that the minors need to be respected too — although they won’t be discussed. It’s another nudge to buy “Structure.”

    Also, restating your work on my blog in condensed form would be plaigiarism, a bit of moral drum-beating which I shall not hesitate to commit!

  111. Linby

    I’d be absolutely honored to interview you. Let me think about my questions, and find the best place in the sequence I presently have planned for it. Thank you very much.

  112. Linby

    Larry, I’ve sent a rough draft of the questions to the other e-mail address you use on this site. Hope that was okay.

    Thanks again,


  113. Jimmy

    Hi Larry,

    I bought your S.E. book as well as the NaNoWriMo ebook. Hugely grateful for the insights in these books! I’ve been applying the six core competencies to my latest novel project, and my question specifically has to do with scene construction/ beat-sheet vs. pantsing, and where the two might mix a bit.
    I used your models to sketch out the 4 acts and all of the necessary points along the way. I’m very happy with this approach – it allows for a lot of creativity. I then started at the beginning of act 1 and made little 1-4 sentence descriptions of each scene (17 scenes total), sort of like, ‘in this scene I need to get from point A to point B’, all the way up to the end of act 1.
    I was about to go right along to act 2 but then felt that perhaps I should begin writing the first draft of act 1 before defining the detailed beat sheet for acts 2,3, and 4. The reasoning here being that the details I allow myself to discover while writing “from point A to point B” in the act 1 scenes might help to inform the other acts, not on a large structural level, but on a micro level, which could nonetheless determine the shape and maybe even settings of the scenes in those acts.
    Have you ever gone this route? Do you always make a detailed beat sheet for every act before starting the draft, or is there some back and forth?


  114. Gayle Messick

    I have read your Story Engineering book and am applying what I have learned in my stories – excellent advice. There is one issue I cannot wrap my head around – the midpoint which causes the hero to change from reactor to warrior. I agree that makes so much sense and gives strength to the middle part of the story, but… you write that the midpoint can be shown only to the reader (Coma, for instance). but if the event is not shown to the hero how does he change into a warrior? Why would he change?

    for now, I am ignoring it and going with showing the hero and reader the midpoint change. If I am missing something, please let me know. thanks

  115. Kathy Mangan

    Think you could post this event to be helpful to your followers?
    First Annual Nora Roberts Writing Institute
    August 2-3, 2013
    Hagerstown Community College, Hagerstown, Maryland
    Keynote Speakers: Best-selling authors Sylvia Day and Erica Bauermeister
    Sessions covering the business of publishing and the creative process of writing
    Also, Young Writer’s Institute for teen fiction writers; 240-500-2582

  116. Siv Ekman


    I’ve just read “Story Engineering” and I think I’ve understood. I have most of the parts and milestones pretty clear by now, but their placement is getting tricky since I’ve got two equally important protagonists. They both have their own story arch, but since I don’t change pov’s with every scene, I can’t place both their milestones at the right point in the story.
    Example: if I place MC1’s Midpoint squarely at the 50% mark, MC2’s Midpoint might not come until around the 55-60% mark of the whole story. Is that ok, or do you have a better suggestion on how I should tackle this?

  117. Deb

    Are you presenting at any upcoming conferences?

  118. Hi Larry,
    I have two of your books, so I’m just nit picking here . . . . but wouldn’t it be “faint of heart” rather than “feint”? To feint is to deceive.

  119. Pingback: Get Your StoryFix Daily | Jennifer Blanchard

  120. Pingback: Five Not-So-Well-Known Writing Blogs You Should Read | Jennifer Blanchard

  121. Pingback: Why You Should Be Thankful For Those Who Came Before You | Jennifer Blanchard

  122. Pingback: 2009 Review–Accomplishments and Plans for 2010 | Jennifer Blanchard

  123. Patti Hartley

    Dear Larry:
    Just wanted to say a quick thank you for the inspiring work you are doing to help other writers. One quick question: you have analyzed the novels ‘The Divinci Code’, ‘The Help’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ in your books, and these structural lessons have been tremendously helpful. Any plans to do more novel deconstruction along the lines of Story Physics? I would love to see you analyze ‘True Grit’. Best, Patti

  124. Thanks for writing STORY ENGINEERING. Your book put some great tools in my toolbox and cleared up some key mysteries of the craft.

  125. Cheryl

    Hi Larry–

    I emailed youa my digital receipt from my purchase of Deadly Faux on Amazon (just started it and I must say I’m hooked). However, I haven’t heard back from you about the bonus offer. Did you receive my email and when might I except the “present” in my inbox. Thanks.

  126. I have bought tonnes of “how to” writing books but Story Engineering was one of the few that finally cut through the fog I suffered when it came to writing my stories. I was a pantser, but unlike what you think about organic writers, I wasn’t happy to be one.

    I knew it wasn’t efficient and if I were to be a professional writer, writing a novel in 2 years wasn’t going to cut it. So I worked hard to write fast. Thing is, I could easily write 3000-6000 words a day, but my problem is WHAT DO I WRITE NEXT?? My first attempt at outlining was a disaster because I didn’t have all of the six components. I so get it now.

    Well, your book solved that for me. Now, I watch movies and immediately deconstruct it! lol … Now I understand why I sometimes instinctively knew a story I wrote sucked, and why at other times it just worked. My brain, apparently, is sometimes able to put all the six components together in order, but when it’s tired, uninspired, not intrigued (whatever) it doesn’t.

    Your method allowed me to write a story even when my brain wants to be uncooperative. And as a journalist, we know that we write eventhough we don’t feel like it. So, thanks, Larry. You’re a great teacher.

  127. charlie

    Love the site and your books.

    A quick question or to pick your brain:
    Are story endings that reveal it was all a dream (to include a dying dream) anathema to getting published? Even if it fits the story?

  128. Pingback: Writing and Publishing News and Notes | Sally Apokedak

  129. Jane Gardner

    I’ve learned a lot by reading your blog and one of your books. I would appreciate your explaining, in concrete terms for those of us too dim to understand abstract thinking, the concepts and premises of Robert Parker’s mysteries. Also those of Janet Evanovitch (sp.?) and Agatha Christie.

  130. Linda Brewer

    I am appreciative of the guidelines Brooks provides in terms of structure and character arc. ( I do wish he’d realized that “physics” is not a plural noun.) Overall, his books are a good resource to use in reworking tired stories.

  131. @Linda – thanks for the comment, though. I’ll push back on the “physics” comment, though… in the context of the word (as a discipline, as a set of principles) “physics” is ALWAYS spelled that way; in fact, there really is no word spelled or used like this: “physic.” Because, in that context, it IS a plural noun.

    In school you take a “physics” course, not a “physic” course.

    In my books, I refer to a SET of principles, which IS plural. And when I refer to only one, I always refer to it as “one of the realms of story physics.” Plural. Always.

    Not sure where you’re getting this one, but there are hundreds of thousands of writers and English teachers, not to mention physics teachers (not to mention common sense) who will tell you that you’re off base on this one.

  132. John

    Hi Larry,

    I’m new to your books but loving them. Wondering how your model needs to tweaked,or not, with short stories?

  133. Larry, I produce an Internet Radio show called “THE WAR REPORT ON PUBLIC EDUCATION” on the BBS Radio Network hosted by Dr. James Avington Miller, Jr., PhD. He has asked me to contact you as he is seriously considering turning his shows into a book and wanted to talk to you about that and possibly hire you to help him. He has followed your blog for 3-4 years now and he does have experience writing screen plays. Are you available to talk? My number in California is 530-877-1694 and my email is above. Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon!

    Debrah Emerson

  134. I head up the Idaho Writers Guild in Boise. We put on a 3 day writers conference each spring and a one-day fall writing workshop for our 200+ members. Your 6 core competencies would make a wonderful addition to either of these. Do you travel to present at such events, and if so, what are your fees?
    Idaho Writers Guild

  135. P Stern

    Hello Larry,
    Recently, I decided to try to become more creative and I purchased both your books “Story Engineering” and “Story Physics.” Since I am a non-fiction person and see things normally in Black or White, your books have proved invaluable for me.
    Thus far I have taken two writing courses at Gotham Writers Workshop. The instructors have pointed out serious grammar problems with passive voice and for some reason I cannot get it straight. Any advice?
    My second questions is would you please consider analyzing the book “The Miniaturist” by Jessie Burton. This book has been outselling J.K. Rowling in the U.K. However, many readers have said that this first time novelist missed the mark.
    I am in the process of still trying to understand concept, theme, premise and I am still working on objective analyses of novels. It is still difficult for me to spot the plot points, clues, etc.
    Since “The Miniaturist” has such mixed reviews and has just been released today in the U.S., I thought I would try to read it with your analysis in hand.
    Thank you so much for your website and the books. I really feel that I might one day attempt getting published.

  136. Bonnie E.

    Your half-day workshop at the Edmonds writers conference in October, will you be focusing on fiction? I write non-fiction.

  137. Larry… I was interested to read of your Nicholl Screenwriting experience because mine was identical back in 1993 (I think it was). Describing that near miss serves as the introduction to my short eBook “Story Structure to Die For.” You might be interested. Cheers. PJ

  138. Larry,

    Hello. My name is Logan and I just started a writing website and wanted to build some relationships with the bloggers I look up to and follow. I know you’re busy so we can chat another day!

    Keep up the great work!


  139. Ramya Raju

    Hi There,

    I’m Ramya, a freelance writer/designer from India. I just came across your website and I’m very impressed by it. The contents detailed are informative and worth reading. Great work! I have a couple websites about English courses that I’m currently promoting for myself. I thought we could benefit each other somehow? If you are interested, I’d be happy to write a very high-quality article for your site and get a couple permanent links from it? While your website is benefiting from my high-quality article, I’m getting links from your site, making this proposition mutually beneficial. What do you think about this, please? I do write on generic topics also. Shall I write about English courses or you’ve other suggestions?

    Waiting for your response, and please do not hesitate to ask any questions.

    Ramya Raju

  140. Bob Cohn


    I pantsed my way to 125,000 words of novel, then cut it to @85,000 by leaving out the parts I felt I needed to write, but nobody (NOBODY!) needed to read. Probably a half dozen drafts. I’m outlining a second book.

    I read Story Engineering, which opened my eyes, and am most of the way thru Story Physics, which is just as eye-opening, and based on the structure you posit, I outlined the second one yesterday, and believe that I will write it, plot points first, which should save me an innumerable number of drafts and rewrites.

    I no longer accept rejections, only redirections, and I quit counting but not submitting. What I can do with that that I now believe I understand should reduce that number as well.

    As soon as I can afford it, I want to work with you. Thank you for these important ideas, their clarity, their usability, and your passion.

  141. Pingback: Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain… | sltimewellwasted

  142. Pingback: Three Coaching Resources to Help You Finish that Novel | COW PASTURE CHRONICLES

  143. Pingback: NaNoWriMo ~ It’s Not Too Late! | Kate Wood

  144. Pingback: A Review – Story Engineering by Larry Brooks | COW PASTURE CHRONICLES

  145. Pingback: Writing Voice: Unteachable… Essential…. Elusive. And… Paradoxical. | Publetariat

  146. Pingback: Circhi, Sipari e Strozzature - Senza Errori di Stumpa

  147. Pingback: Larry Brooks - Struktur del 44 | Element X

  148. It is pleased to meet you Larry Brooks! I will certainly read your novels soon! I think that you are a cool guy! I hope that I won’t be dissapointed! Good luck!

  149. Pingback: Willamette Writers’ Conference – Day 2 | Amy Foster Myer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(Spamcheck Enabled)