Category Archives: other cool stuff

Pitch Perfect

A new coaching/evaluation service from Storyfix.


I’ve been a little scarce here lately, my apologies.

I’ve just returned from a wonderful writing conference in Denver, with the Historical Novel Society.  I taught two sessions amounting to an all day experience, and had a blast with 150 new friends and fellow writers who were as hungry for craft as any group I’ve seen.

With the decks cleared, I’m all set to move forward with more content here on Storyfix.  I hope you’ve enjoyed my guest posters while I’ve been away.

Read me on The Kill Zone blog.

Speaking of content… I have a new post up over at The Kill Zone, where I’m honored to be a new member of this team of esteemed thriller and mystery authors who post some of the best content on writing on the internet.  I’ll be posting every other Monday, with this latest entitled: Essential Answers the Mystery/Thriller Author Must Have.

My first post two weeks ago is available HERE.

Click on over and enjoy the read.

My New Coaching Service

This idea clarified for me this weekend as I worked with those historical authors on the pitches they were about to deliver to agents later in the weekend.

The message was clear: there’s a good, better and best way to deliver a pitch… and there’s an all-too-common way to have it go off the rails.

The solution is structuring the pitch with a solid intro that’s short and concise, defining some combination of concept and premise, with a summarized “this is why readers will love this story” positioning statement, usually highlighting what is unique and fresh about the story they – the agent or editor – is about to hear.  From there you launch into the story, but in a certain way that keeps the agent from nodding off.

The reason this works is the simple fact that agents who attend conferences aren’t usually at their first rodeo, they’ve heard hundreds if not thousands of pitches, and after a while – especially within a given genre – the stories begin to sound the same.

The thing they want to hear more than anything, the reason they came, is to find a story that is indeed fresh and unique, with a sense of craft-savvy oozing from the pores of the writer doing the pitching.

The new service I’m offering is simple.

I’ll read your pitch for $49.  Keep it to one page (I’ll send you a sample/model upon sign up), if for no other reason than this is what agents want to hear in a first pass, either written or face to face.  If they want more they’ll ask… and that’s the point, to give them a reason to want more.

My feedback will be straight-forward relative to the strategy and structure of the pitch, as well as the quality of the presentation (written as a query letter, which easily translates to live delivery for conferences and the occasional hotel elevator), as well as the chops of the story itself.

It’s so easy to tell too much, to go off topic even when you think you’re still telling the story, with certain hot buttons and structural points becoming essential elements.

Feedback will include solutions as well as critique, and includes my read and commentary of your revision based on the initial feedback.

If this sounds timely for you, just use Paypal to enlist, sending $49 to this email (or request billing from me).  I’ll put a Paypal button up on the Storyfix home page soon… for now, just contact me directly.

Wishing you a great writing week.


Denver crowd

A few minutes before the first session in Denver, as the folks are still arriving.

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Useless Humor: Fun With Words…

… called paraprosdokians.

Apparently Winston Churchill loved paraprosdokians (often mispelled as araprosdokians). These are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, and frequently humorous. Here are 29 to get you giggling.

  1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list.
  3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
  6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  8. They begin the evening news with “Good Evening”, then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  10. Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations. On my desk is a work station.
  11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.
  12. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘Emergency contact’, I put ‘doctor’.
  13. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  17. You do not need a parachute to skydive unless you want to do it again.
  18. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  19. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  20. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  21. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  22. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  23. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  24. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  25. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  26. Where there’s a will, there are relatives.
  27. If you would like to have a million dollars then start with two million.
  28. During WWII Sir Winston Churchill address to congress began with:
    “It has often been said that Britain and America are two nations divided only by a common language”.


Thanks to my friend Mike W. for this.

Coming tomorrow: an interview with breakout romance author Heather Burch, author of One Lavender Ribbon… which as of this writing has 4,285 reviews.



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