Category Archives: other cool stuff

Storyfix 2.0 – Welcome to the Relaunch!

A killer new design.

Enhanced Story Coaching programs.

Bigger, better, career-making content.

Welcome to my little Open House.  Sorry about the cookies and punch, couldn’t find a way to get them into WordPress without consulting a magician.

Read on for a few juicy discounts on story coaching to help ring in the new year with the new Storyfix.

If you’re new here, you may not notice or appreciate how different things look.  A spanking new banner that changes every few seconds.  A clean layout that separates my services and my books into sidebars, with a more robust center layout for posts.

Many thanks to Joel and Jeremy at Spinhead Web Design for their genius, skill, commitment and generous spirit.  Free story coaching for life, guys!

About those posts… expect deeper content, more author interviews, strategic guest posts (including more from Art Holcomb, resident professor and friend) even more story deconstructions, an easier-to-find Search bar (also upper right), as well as reviews of all things writerly we should be paying attention to.

One of my goals is to expand the readership this year, so if you’re a regular and would like to help, please point your writer friends here.  They can sign up by clicking the Feedburner logo (upper right) to receive these posts via email.

What’s new in the Story Coaching corner?

Plenty.  I’ve overhauled my story coaching programs to deliver even more value for the dollar.  Three levels of service are available to help you meet your specific needs, no matter where you are in the story development process.

Introducing the $49 Quick Hit Concept Review. Your story’ s concept and how it folds into your premise is the most empowering thing you can do in the development of a story.  I’d say over half of the manuscripts-in-development that I see suffer from deal-killing compromise at the concept/premise level.  The whole storytelling ballgame depends on getting this right… and you can see where you are for less money than a couple orders of nachos and a few beers.

The Newly Enhanced Full Story Plan Analysis, now $245. The Questionnaire that drives this is more focused and cuts deeper, with criteria given for your answers that become, in effect, a writing workshop in their own right.  Make sure you’ve nailed the Six Core Competencies and that your Story Physics are strong… this program will tell you.

You can add First Quartile pages, too.  If the setup of your story doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter how well you’ve written the rest.  The combination of the Story Plan Analysis (which is included) and an evaluation of your Part 1/Act 1 pages ensures you’re in the hunt for publishing deal and/or readers for your self-published project. (See the drop-down menu for pricing with this option, in the left sidebar.)

The Full Manuscript Analysis… which includes the Story Plan Analysis.  Still priced at an eye-popping $1800, a fee I urge you to shop around, because I know you’ll return to see how your story aligns with the principles of the Six Core Competencies and the six Realms of Story Physics, and how the whole thing plays within your narrative strategy.

Screenplays evaluated for $950 (write me directly if this is you… there’s a special Questionnaire for screenwriters).

Let’s celebrate the relaunch with a few discounts!

To kick off the year I’m offering some great deals for writers who want 2015 to be their year.

Like, 25% off of the Full Story Plan through January, limited to the first 20 writers who opt-in (via Payment through Paypal).  Don’t use the Paypal buttons on the site for this (those who don’t read the posts will miss out… but you’re here, so don‘t)… either do the math and process your payment directly through your Paypal account to (discount not applicable for the $50 Rush fee), or if math isn’t your thing -hint: it’s $183.75 – ask me to bill you to grab this one (the Paypal buttons on the site reflect the normal fee structure).  Discount applies to the “add 1st Quartile pages” option, as well… you’ll really like that math.

Or, opt-in for a Full Manuscript Analysis now (which secures a spot for you anytime during 2015 – just submit when you’re ready, allowing you time to continue to work on your project… at a 25% discount, or $1350… savings of $450! (Price goes back to $1800 after January 31, 2015.)

Is your completed manuscript ready to submit now?  I will accept the first three projects paid and submitted to me in January at a whopping 33% off, or only $1200!  Use Paypal or email me to request billing.

In a Critique or Writing Group?

Send me five projects and I’ll give you a sixth for free for any level (including pages) except the Full Manuscript Analysis (apply this multiplier for as many projects as you’d like, even if its in the dozens… more math required in that case – example 25 projects would include an additional five at no cost) at the January discounted price.

This 6-for-5 offer remains on the table during the entire year for your group, but at the regular fee structure after January.  Send details via email, including the addresses of your participating writers, at the time of enrollment.

Come February it will be Story Coaching business as usual, so grab your deal now and make this the year you find your story, find your voice (in that order) and find your way toward getting your manuscript into the hunt for an agent, a publisher or a whole bunch of online readers.

Thanks for visiting today.  New context soon, so please check back.  If you have comments on the new site I’m all ears, use the form below.

No go write something amazing!




Filed under other cool stuff

A Follow Up to My Previous Post

In my last post I recommended the film “The Gambler” because of a provocative scene (a monologue, actually) on the challenge and frustrations of the fiction-writing life. 

Several folks have told me they didn’t feel the same.

That it was actually discouraging instead of motivating.  Fair enough.  I get that.  I apologize for not better positioning my perspective within the post.  The last thing I want to be is discouraging, the whole point here is to help you move forward.

Below are some clarifying thoughts on this, some of a highly personal and reflective nature.  (To paraphrase the song… it’s my blog and I’ll wax philosophical if I want to.)

If you haven’t read the post and would like to before reading my response below, click HERE to read it, then come back if you’ like to engage with my response.


I think Wahlberg’s classroom monologue spoke to me because it’s true: in that entire room, at that school, on that day, nobody will be good enough.

You can’t sit-in on the aspiration to write good fiction. Bang out a story between classes. It’s too hard for that to work.

Like Wahlberg’s character (like me, a teacher of fiction writing), I don’t think I ever was, am, or will be “good enough.”

The business itself is a jungle, completely dismantled, for the most part the traditional publishing proposition is a cross between a dream and a lie.  What I heard from Wahlberg’s character is that you have to strive for that genius level, which is always someone else’s opinion.

He didn’t exactly say that.

In fact, he’d written it off as impossible. I haven’t. What’s left is one and only one choice: get better.

There’s only one way to do that, one ticket in (because we sure as hell aren’t born that way) – and that’s craft. Findable, reliable, practiceable… and still, only rarely seized. It’s the science and physics of genius. The principles are so powerful and pervasive that, when you embrace them until they embrace you back, “genius” becomes an achievable goal.

He’s right about one thing: genius is required. Define genius as you may, but for me it means hitching a ride on the power of the genius principles that are available to us. That’s what I write about here.

And so, I was moved when I heard this spoken this eloquently.

I found myself motivated to work harder, go deeper (because that’s where genius lives and suffers), to see if it’s really there or not. Most of us don’t go that deep, we don’t realize that we must. I felt the movie challenged us to have the balls to see what we can really do once you’re all-in, knowing the bar is that f-ing high.

I loved his passion.  I related to that. 

The business had broken his heart.  I relate to that, too.  But unlike him, in sort of a reverse modeling fashion – I haven’t given up.  I’m here, with you, doing battle with these demons, fueling myself – and you – with craft.

Then again, I may be full of complete crap on this, simply hearing what I wanted to hear. But isn’t that what good writing does, putting us in the interpreter’s seat? I just thought it was profound, and the profound always moves me in strange ways.

It makes me want to write.

I wasn’t discouraged.  It didn’t make we want to gamble my life away like the Wahlberg character is doing. But realizing that I already have – I’ve gambled everything in choosing to write for a living – here I am with my meager chips and there’s still a game going on.

Ain’t broke yet, still hoping for the ace to land in front of me, praying I know what to do with it when it happens.

Until that happens, I’m all-in.

All my chips. And as I sit here watching the cards being dealt, I am constantly looking for a strategic edge. So far I’ve only found one thing – craft.

Craft never lies. It never cares, either… it just is. The choice is ours.

I hope this clarifies.

Be bold. Study harder. Write more. Write smarter.

Choose stronger stories. That’s massively important.  Think bigger.

Don’t listen to your characters (they don’t understand the game they’re in) and don’t wait for a Muse to tap your shoulder.

That’s all bullshit. It really is. It’s like trying to attach angel wings to a jet fighter. You have a mission, and it’s on you.   Nobody will rescue you. The only assistance you’ll ever get is principle-driven (as opposed to sense-driven) craft, however it reaches out to you, whoever is dealing those cards.

Storytelling sense, when it works, is nothing other than the principles of craft internalized.

Discover the genius within you. You do that by losing yourself in the work, in the principles that are the actual grist of genius after all.


Thanks Art, for the nudge.


A quick update – my little ebook, “Warm Hugs for Writers,” has been reduced to $2.99.  It’s all in the title, and sometimes that’s just what we need.


Filed under other cool stuff