Musings On a Memoir, a Movie, and a Two Billion Dollar Story Model

The Memoir

Just finished reading one of the best books of the year in any genre, and probably the finest memoir I’ve read, ever.

It’s the autobiography of tennis legend Andre Agassi, entitled Open.

If you haven’t heard about it – it’s the most highly publicized non-fiction book of the past few months – then you’ve been too busy.   Hopefully, writing.

An occupational hazard, that.  Nothing inspires and motivates writers quite like reading something spectacular that sets a high bar for the rest of us.  Agassi’s ghostwriter, J.R. Moehringer, is a Pulitzer Prize winner, though he refused cover credit despite Agassi’s insistence.  

If you love and follow professional tennis, then this book is a sure thing and a must-read.

It’s also a must-read if you enjoy memoirs, and even more so, if you’re writing one.  

The Movie

A couple months ago I suggested that once we understand the basic elements of story structure, we can actually see them in play over the two-minute course of a movie preview.   In that discussion I referenced the film Edge of Darkness starring Mel Gibson, the preview for which reveals both plot points, the mid-point, and a hefty portion of the Part 1 set-up.

You could almost write the first 27 pages of that script just by soaking up the trailer.

The movie is now out, and if you’ve seen the preview you can arrive 28 minutes late and not miss a thing.  Because Part 1 indeed unfolds precisely as the preview promised.  (I recommend finding and studying the preview online before you see the film, then watch it again after you’ve seen the film.)

If you’re a thriller fan, the movie is definately worth checking out.  And for the same reasons I called attention to the preview.

And if you’re not a thriller fan, but you are a student of story structure, then do yourself a favor – see it anyway.  That, and The Lovely Bones, which is an entirely different flavor of story, this one based on a book that sold 15 million copies.  I’m just sayin’.

Why?  Because this film is a clinic not only on structure, but also on character arc, and thematic resonance, all played out in context to a concept that is much more than this or any preview could possibly convey. 

Also, notice the emotional power of the ending, and how the narrative has been carefully set up to make you feel it.

Bring a notepad, a penlight and a watch, then sit back and observe the pristine form and function that makes this thriller so rewarding.  Fair warning, though – it’s as violent as it is unafraid to suggest some dark truths about our newfound national security resource.

The Model

No, I didn’t land an interview with Gisele.  Damn.

A Storyfix reader recently suggested – close to a chide, actually – that I include specific examples to empower the theories and principles that are the bread of butter of this website.

Fair enough. 

She suggested I deconstruct and chart a familiar story… such as the two billion dollar and counting megahit movie, Avatar.

Fair enough again.

So that’s coming soon.  I’ll offer a part-by-part deconstruction of the story, with specific scenes (and their timecode) called out as plot points, pinch points, the mid-point and other notable points.

Not sure if James Cameron will return my call to help, but I’ll press forward without him.

I’ll be doing other deconstructions here, as well, in the coming year.

Other Stuff

I’m in the process turning two recent series of posts here on Storyfix into new ebooks:

–         The Three Dimensions of Character, and

–         Get Your Bad Self Published

By turning, I mean an embellishment that includes expansion of those posts (which remain available here on the site) and some carefully crafted new material, including specific examples from well known books and movies.

Both books will sell for $14.95 here on Storyfix

If you’d like to pre-order a beta copy of either ebook, you can do so – and at a pre-publication discount – by sending $10 for each title you want to my Paypal account:  Just be sure to specific which title(s) you’re ordering.

I’ll send you both books immediately upon completion, which will be within the next two weeks.  This offer remains open until the official launch dates.


Because several of you have asked… the road to publication for my book from Writers Digest Books is coming along nicely.  The full manuscript will soon be on the publisher’s desk, with publication set for one year from now.

Yeah, that’s now long it takes in the big bad world of New York publishing.

As is usually the case when a manuscript changes owners, the original title (“The Six Core Competencies of Successful Storytelling” has been tweaked.   The book is now called, and proudly so:

“Story Engineering: Mastering the Six Core Competences of Successful Writing”

Let the journey begin.

My New Novel

Oh.  That, too.

Whisper of the Seventh Thunder breaks March 1, from Sons of Liberty Publishing.  It’ll be available through the normal online channels, including and, and also through major bookstores and many independents.  If it isn’t in stock, please ask your bookseller to order you a copy.

Did I say please?

The goal is to make this timely apocalyptic thriller go viral.

The website is up – – with more content to be added prior to release date.  At this writing the synopsis of the story is available, and of course, you can see the cool cover design.

Don’t be scared, it’s just a story

Never mind that the ultimate outcome of it was foretold – with a bit of literary license… not relative to the apocalypse, but to the events leading up to it — over 2000 years ago. 

Believer or not, whatever does happen in that regard will affect all of us.  Which is precisely the conceptual centerpiece of this story.

And no, it’s not a religious book.  It’s a secular thriller – so was The Davinci Code, even though it shook the religious community to its core – that explores the relevance of today’s headlines to prophecy that many believe has begun its ticking clock.

Thanks for your continued interest in Storyfix.  I am committed to making this the finest resource on the internet for fiction writers seeking to get closer to making their writing dream a reality.

(Storyfix is an affilate marketer for


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11 Responses to Musings On a Memoir, a Movie, and a Two Billion Dollar Story Model

  1. Colleen Shine Phillips

    OMG, could I LOVE this blog any more than I already did? Evidently. Meaty stuff. And I am going to watch that movie with paper and pen in hand. Thanks, Larry, for your constant encouragement and straightforward butt-kicking. I am amazed at how well you administer your time and THAT would also be a terrific blog post. Sure, it has been done a zillion times by others, but have you posted it here? If so, it was during my pre-Brooks era. You might consider it again? Still loving Demystified and promoting it like crazy!

  2. You may have tweaked my interest in “Whisper of the Seventh Thunder”. End Times books have pretty much hit the ad nauseum mark for me, but this quote, “Believer or not, whatever does happen in that regard will affect all of us,” contains a clever little hook. Nicely done.

  3. As an avid reader I have of course heard of Open but I don’t think I realized the the buzz was for actually being a great read. Thanks for shedding the light! I will check it out.

  4. Looking forward to the deconstructions -thanks for taking the time to do this for us. (I do the whole watch and notebook thing at home with DVD’s, but it means waiting a while for the current blockbusters to end their runs.)

  5. @Colleen, Peg, Rebecca and Janice — every have one of those mornings where what you really need is a hug? I got up to your comments, and I consider myself hugged. Thanks for that, a great way to begin the day. Big hugs back atcha! Let’s write something amazing today.

  6. I’m looking forward to the deconstruction of Avatar! Love the new title for the Writers Digest book. Happy writing!

  7. @Gwen — thanks for the encouragement, Gwen, I do appreciate your support! L.

  8. Fantastic!

    I find myself deconstructing everything I read and see these days. It’s so helpful. One that stood out for me recently was Stephen King’s Misery. It aligns perfectly. So did Avatar; I can’t wait so see how your chart matches up with mine.

  9. Lloyd C

    Looking forward to seeing you deconstruct Avatar. While the visuals were incredible, especially in 3D on an IMAX screen, I felt the story was very lacking in originality.

    It was basically a rehash of the basic plots of “Dancing With Wolves” and “The Last Samurai.”

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