Input Please… Help create the First Storyfix Online Workshop

The title says it all. 

I don’t have a date or a timeframe planned.

I don’t have a specific agenda or thematic landscape for the workshop.  Yet.

What I DO have is a passion for this idea, and the belief that Storyfix readers would really jump on this.  Especially if you have a hand in crafting the content and activities.

This is an opportunity to create an online workshop like no other.  To break new ground, to reach for new heights of storytelling skill and enlightenment.

To get you going.  Maybe going again

So, I’d love to hear from you.  What would the “perfect” online writing workshop be for you?

Number of sessions?

Reasonable cost (this wouldn’t be just a series of posts, but an opt-in, fee-based thing that nails your current needs)?

Specific topics, issues or outcomes?

A real-time, lets-write-novel-together guided process, with specific assignments, milestones, tutorials and examples?

Process driven?  Theory-driven?  Genre-driven?

Tell me what you think.  I’m all ears.


Check out my guest post over at Ollin Morales’ Courage 2 Create.

Also, if you’re a workshop sort of mood and are within driving or flying distance of Medford, Oregon on October 1st, email Phil Messina at to reserve your seat.  It’s only 40 bucks, so even if you toss in a tank or two of gas, that’s a deal.


Filed under other cool stuff

32 Responses to Input Please… Help create the First Storyfix Online Workshop

  1. I think it would be great if you could do a video workshop based on the 6 core principles in your book Story Engineering.
    I currently have your book but I would love to have a video guide or companion to go along with it.

  2. Micah

    I’m all about process, so the process driven idea appeals a great deal to me.

  3. I like the idea of you doing your 6 core principles, as a foundation class on video, then add to that a masters level, digging deeper into the psychology of why something may or may not be working. You could offer these as video classes for a fee. That way people could pick the title they want or need and check it out without having to take all the classes. By creating the video library you could u-tube a few freebies and create incredible exposure for yourself, your books, your classes, etc. Just an idea. Good luck. Mindy in Seattle (

  4. I like the idea of video classes, however, another possibility would be application of the six core principles (and structure milestones) through deconstruction examples and exercises that focus on building skill at their usage. After reading the Story Engineering (and everyone should), I think we all understand the 6 core principles, the task then moves to practical application and skill-building. The classes would then become a natural extension of the book, revolving around its subjects and expanding on them.
    The guided class could then become an “Advanced class” for those that truly want to take this skill to the highest degree. Deep topic exploration, exercises and a higher level of feedback.
    Pricing for a one month class (8-10 “lessons”) is typically around $20 (at least the ones I have taken), however, these are all done on a Yahoo!loop. Not sure if that is what you are considering here. Not sure on how to price the advanced class.

  5. nancy

    I have already paid for the Portland workshop, so I would be interested in something advanced on the Six core comps also. Your Peer Review service was extremely helpful because it was specific. It involved an application of what people on this site have learned thus far.
    (I don’t know if this is helpful, but I just wanted to show my interest.)

  6. Nicole Andrews

    A free workshop on blogging for novelists. I’m blind, so a workshop with audio would be helful, especially inf the audio is downloadable. Also, I would like to see free workshops on bookmarketing for novelists.

  7. Gail Owens

    I love this idea. The process driven idea is what I would commit to. My choice would be along the lines of a ‘how – to’ approach with interactivity as the workshop moves forward. I’m new to story telling and absolutely love the approach that Angela Hunt uses with the plot skeleton. A webinar that uses good visual aids would be terrific. (I’m very much a visual learner as long as concrete applications are utilized in the process.) Thanks for the opportunity to suggest what we’d like to see happen. :o}

  8. Hi Larry,

    Whether you go audio, visual, or stay on the page, make each element of the workshop in three parts without identifying the parts.

    Each section would include steps for the beginner, intermediate, and advanced writer.

    Include a feedback element for subscribers to identify which level works best for them and if it’s beginner, intermediate, or advanced.

    My food analogy: If French cooking is the highest standard, is it because of the ingredients, the sauce, or the presentation. As the head chef, you can explain the importance of each step along the way.


  9. Jacques

    Perhaps the following problem is a good idea to shed some light on in the workshop:
    problem; getting around ‘unintresting segments that the writer wants to skip but still feel neccesary to fill in (in this example the midday time slot):
    nighttime: witness sees thieves
    morning: interview of witness
    evening:witness stays at inn
    I also think that the following line isn’t a solution: “the rest of the day was a haze/blurr of unimportant things till evening when X went to the inn”

  10. Martha

    Maybe hold off any more promotion until after the OWC workshop? 🙂

  11. Definitely something on plotting and structuring a story. It’s made all the difference in my own writing, with 3 successful contracts since following your model.

    I’m not a video type person. I like the go-at-your-own-pace type of workshops that I can go into the lesson site after my work day, read or view the lesson/lecture, then complete the assignments online, turn in, and then get feedback. With an active Q & A, of course. And maybe a chat or two with the class and instructor.

    I’ve taken a lot of workshops, and I think $25 is average for something like what I’ve described.

    And that’s my two cents…

  12. I totally second Gene Lempp’s comment. I’d love to learn more about how to apply the 6 core competencies. Still working on my first novel and having a hard time escaping the worry that I’m not using any of them the right way. 😀

  13. Dawn Peterson

    I like the video idea with writing assignments for the student to play with the principles, adding in some way to submit and critique the homework. I learn best from video/visual and the peer process. Picture me tapping into hundreds of virtual minds and storing away concepts like the squirrels in my yard preparing for winter.

  14. I’d really go for what to do with the circus tent when it’s sitting there in front of you. I’ve read everything, and I know why structure is important — but I’m still having issues applying said knowledge and have drifted away from writing anything lately. I spend a lot of time staring at a blank screen before leaving the computer to do something else.

    Perhaps because I second guess myself a little too often, but sometimes it is nice to just be a student to better absorb things instead of attempting to be my own teacher.

  15. I find myself agreeing with Rachel, while I know and understand the principles of story structure and spot them in stories and TV shows consistently now, applying it to my own craft is sometimes tricky. And because I’m an organic writer my outlines changes based on what comes out of my fingertips, though writing towards the goals of structure have helped a great deal. I have a better understanding of what scene I need, and where, in relation to structure. I can’t speak on price because most of workshops are free, but the prices put out seem reasonable.
    Because Process and Genre are specific to writers, a theory driven format would probably be the most helpful to a wider range of people/styles/and skill.

  16. I’m looking forward to your workshop ~ process driven with occasional One-On-One with you. Video, Workbook, Private Fanpage Group for aha moments and interaction, building community around the like-minded for support and nudges. Deadlines, lot’s of practical application with examples ~ you’re so good at it Larry! Let’s do it!

  17. RJ

    I’d like the occasional one-on-one, as Kathleen mentioned, and as Joyce wrote, self-paced and submitting for group feedback. I liked your review of “The Help” it was a perfect way to point out pacing and other elements of a best-seller. I want movies made out of my books and I keep that in mind as I write. Like you, I want to write a book that I’d like to go to the movies to see. I read Story Engineering & absorbed & applied the info easily. I’d like to see you offer some “specialized” workshops such as how to turn narrative into dialogue, etc.

  18. That’s easy.

    Create one “idea spark”. Create a what-if chain for it until it’s ready for story engineering magic. Take that and work it into a final beat sheet.
    Break this process down into chunks and provide diagrams of each stage as you did with the Tent Pole Diagram pdf.

    That’s what I’d like to see. Audio and video would be great with this too so we can listen to the process while in our cars.

  19. B J Culver

    Awesome idea Larry! It would be great to see a variety of specialized video classes to suit our own needs, ***assignments that we turn in with feedback from other students and the instructor are good,***how to practically apply the 6 cores to my own work is a must,***I love charts and examples that I can download,***Would love to have a video on writing for Middle Grade readers, maybe have a guest lecturer?***I learn best by a combination of seeing it, hearing it, writing it down and digesting it for a while by myself, then discussion of the ideas and how to apply what we’ve learned. Go for it….I am there. Thanks.

  20. S K Hampton

    Larry, I have all your books. You explain things so well. You are the best. I am sure that however you design your workshop it will be a winner. As for myself, I really want to nail Act I. Everyone worries about the hook, but for me, bringing compelling characters on stage, setting the time, place, and the mood, and asking the story question in Act I, is the hook. I know the first draft won’t be perfect but I feel I really need to get Act I down as solidly as possible to know where I am going. Maybe this is just my process.

    It’ll be fun to see what you come up with next.

  21. Bill Polm


    We have Story Structure, Story Engineering, and 101.
    That to me covers those areas quite thoroughly and very helpfully, I might add.

    But let’s say, to illustrate my idea, we have done all that. We have an outline or are working on a detailed outline. Say we finish it. then what?

    What’s missing? The writing, mixing all the ingredients into the dough that becomes a good or great novel. How do you personally do that? Coupled with this I would like to hear how you go about the actual writing, getting the words on paper in a text form. Or, if you will, how you go about any editing, revising or re-writing. The process past the planning.

    When I’m working on a novel, as I am now, I get lots of new ideas. Good ones that I want to incorporate into the final product. There are plants to remember, character traits remember to repeat, sub-plots to weave in and connect up with the main plot, themes to emphasize. It can become an organizational nightmare. A lot to remember and juggle during the act of writing. Your writing process.

    Also, I would like to add my vote to the idea of a DVD in which you expand some on your points in your books.


  22. Olga Oliver

    A lot of great ideas already, Larry. I’ve not done workshops on the internet other than a couple classes with Writer’s Digest University. Not too impressed. They were gently okay, but … . Keeping your Story Engineering on my desk, I can stay fairly well in the lane of my needs. My main problem at this point is the opposite of BJ’s problem – about four comments above mine. He asks how do you turn narrative into dialogue? I ask, how do I turn my dialogue into narrative, monologue or thoughts. I know my character’s thoughts and feelings, but how do I get into my character to express them other than through dialogue. I’m working on my story’s first revision and it’s easy to see that my story is mostly dialogue, terribly out of balance. In so many novels now there is little dialogue, much more narrative and thoughts.

    I would like a workshop that would help me learn how to cross what seems like the ‘great divide’ – turn some dialogue into interesting narrative, monologue, thoughts.

    Count me in for whatever direction your workshop takes.

  23. Hi Larry,

    Have you looked at SavvyAuthors? It has many types of offerings from a few days to a year in length, each with different pricing, but most with assignments, feedback generally to each contributor. You might get some ideas from them that will work for you.

    As for me, I like the idea of online written like this column. I like to print the material, highlight, study; currently doing with The Help deconstruction alongside the book.

    Having gotten so much from the workshops I’ve attended with you, I’m excited about the possibility of this opportunity.


  24. Christy

    Hi Larry,

    Oh yes, great idea!

    And I took the class you did on structure through RWA and thought it was fabulous and so very, very helpful.

    So, I think each of the core competencies or depending on the volume of information to present, maybe two competencies together, (though I couldn’t have managed anything else along with the structure information) should each be an online course.

    And then, depending on how much of your time you’re planning on spending with this, then you could also run the classes concurrently for people who wanted to start with theme instead of character or whatever they thought they needed most.

    I can’t wait for you to get this rolling — again, great idea!



  25. Looking forward to participating in whatever develops.

    Specific? Because things that happen in the pasts of our characters affect their present, I’d like to see some discussion of how to relate the backstory. We’re told to start the story at a critical point, which shoves backstory out of the way. Flashbacks are often frowned upon, but some seem necessary. I’ve restarted current WIP a number of places trying to solve that dilemma. That’s my SOS.
    Thanks for this opportunity.

  26. Olga Oliver

    Larry – another thought – would like some discussion on time line. Finding it difficult to keep time line in LINE.

  27. I teach through Savvy Authors. The pricing varies depending on the amount of feedback the instructor gives: intensive interaction means a higher fee. The length of the course varies, as well.

    It sounds like you could offer a series of written, automated courses (an email series) and possibly offer some video as an “extra.” Or you might consider doing a short series of videos to boost traffic to the site — you’ve got a good subscriber number, but I imagine drawing more would help promote your class and/or services you also offer.

    Beyond that, you might consider offering a membership thing: for a set amount of money (either up front or monthly) a limited number of participants has access to forums. You can have a conference call or online chat or whatever twice a month, and you can participate on the forums as well. People get the chance to brainstorm with each other, maybe swap critiques, and you can answer questions either at the set times or again, on the forums. That tends to be premium pricing.

    Anyway, just my .02 — all very Third Tribe stuff. I think it could work well for you.

  28. Molly

    Larry, I like the “real-time, lets-write-novel-together guided process, with specific assignments, milestones, tutorials and examples” idea. I would like some one-on-one feed-back as well and think using your Story Engineering book as a textbook and pre-requisite reading would be perfect.
    I do learn from reading other participants works, but I would like to limit the # I need to critique, as I work full time and write slowly.
    I see the need for audio, but I don’t understand the need for video. Maybe someone could enlighten me?

  29. Evonne M. Biggins

    Hi, Larry, I’m back from the IWL conference armed with four winning, contest stories: two first place (children and teen), one second and one third place (each adult).
    I gave you the credit. I told fellow conference writers that I used your 6 cores.
    Next year, our conference will be in Boise. Drop by for coffee. I’ll buy you lunch :-}
    I like all of the ideas I’ve read so far on your workshop, but I need instructor feedback on homework to know what is and isn’t right with my writing, and our Peer page is great, too.
    Also, you could charge a yearly fee for members to your workshop site of about $55.00 and leave a variety of info available as you add more, and more and more……..
    You could have a question and answer area, like here, and a lesson each month and allow a specific word space for us to send in our examples for you to comment on… heck, we’ll be happy with whatever you come up with. [ :-}

  30. Tommy

    Lots of excellent suggestions here. I must admit that I have thought that a website workshop writing site type thing would be precisely what you should do, Larry.

    Start with the idea of your Peer Review thing — and then go here:
    and possibly even join, but go in stealth, maybe not mentioning who you are, and just have a look around.

    Here are some things about Scribo.
    They have a free membership and a paid membership.
    Paid has its advantages but both offer complete access to the site.

    Scribo is for all kinds of writing.
    The idea is peer review.
    My experience: the peer review is good for opinions and for line editing, but except for the poetry, there is no basis for the reviewing aside from line edits and pure personal opinion, and perhaps some precepts that individuals have picked up on their own.

    And that’s cool — except that when you dial into novels, search specify novels to review — Whew! It’s the big wide wonderful world of not having a clue. DESPITE this, however, some really good first time novelists drop in and give the site a whirl. They’re great to read, and are imaginative as can be, but they ‘hit the wall’ just like all beginners when it comes to (novel length) story construction.

    So, I wondered what a site like Scribo would be like if it was generally for novelists and had some technical basis in the reviews, some commonality of approach for a structural review, that everyone had in common, that everyone kind of accepted as valid.

    Also, I feel Scribo is a little too open-ended, being a site for all manner of writing, but sites like Randy Ingermanson’s were to closed-ended, being basically just a paid tutorial business. Plus there are other sites that have their own open-ended and closed advantages.

    But I think Scrobo is the prime model right now for a peer review site. Something more dedicated to novels and to having a common review basis would, I feel, be an even greater success.

    I invite you and all others who read this suggestion to go sign up at Scribo — it’s free — and check the place out as a means for giving you, Larry, some feedback on its format and approach.

    And when you do, on the main page, click the authors tab on the top row and search out Cybertommy (that’s me). Then go to my page and leave me a note on my ‘scratch pad’ (middle left part of the page) so I will know who you are and that you are a fellow Larry-Follower.

    Then, you tell me how cool it would be if Larry had a site like Scribophile that was generally for novelists and for insights and reviews and such by Larry and by all of us aspiring story architects. How cool would that be?


  31. “A real-time, lets-write-novel-together guided process, with specific assignments, milestones, tutorials and examples?

    Process driven?”

    Yes! Basically, I’d like something that walks through the process of moving through the process from concept, to character creation, to outline, to actually writing the book. Right now I have all 6 competencies floating around in my brain, but not a process for corralling those and turning them into a story.

    Does that make any sense? 🙂

  32. John

    I’m a an aural learner. I learn by hearing someone talk about it. Also what I need more than anything is feedback. You can do all the exercises in a writing book but it doesn’t mean jack if you don’t have someone say ‘hey you nailed it’ or ‘try again’ Small modules that target a skill with an assignment that has constructive and honest feedback would work wonders for me. Thanks, John