Get it written.  Get it right.  Get it published. 

Need some story coaching? Click HERE to have your story plan evaluated and empowered. Ridiculously affordable, astoundingly valuable.

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

Storytelling: The Key to Everything

Welcome to my new site design!  If you’re reading this you’ve arrived at that transitional moment between swapping out the design template and dusting off some of the new parts, most notably the updating of details to my coaching  programs.  An official “rollout” is days away… until then, happy reading.  Let me know if you have questions or comments… I’d love to hear what you think of the new Storyfix!

My New Writing Book – A Preview

In case you hadn’t heard… in case I forgot to bang the drum here… I’m writing another book for Writers Digest Books, this one called:

Story Fixing: The Repair, Resurrection and Redemption of Your Novel or Screenplay.

I’m turning in the manuscript this week.  Don’t have a pub date yet, but I’m guessing late 2015.  This one focuses on how to do what the title promises, yet it is completely applicable to new projects nearing the starting gate.

I’d like to share a sample with you today, from Chapter 8, entitled “The Key to Everything.”  It’s about the power of a compelling premise, and how to determine if yours meets that criteria.  You may find it jarring, or illuminating, but in either case here’s a taste of the truth, right in your face.

Adjust your story plan or your manuscript accordingly.

This excerpt is the finale of the chapter, a sort of locker room speech in case one has nodded off earlier.

If you’d like to read the entire chapter, click on this: 8 The Key to Everything. It’ s not a final draft – so there are some copy edit issues – but I wanted to share it with you now.

Here’s the excerpt:

Allow me to bottom line this for you.

You need to know your core story.

Not a bunch of threads leading to something unclear and irresolvable. You need to unspool that story along a core dramatic spine, a linear sequence of setup, twist, response and revelation, more twist, proactive response and yet more revelation, all in the presence of an antagonistic force (usually a villain) seeking to block your hero’s path, then one more major twist, setting the hero toward an inevitable confrontation, perhaps with a final shocking twist in story, allowing the hero to confront the villain and resolve the goal, one way or another.

And here’s the kicker – all of this concerns a singular core story. The one you promised in your premise. The one that met all those criteria for effectiveness. The one empowered by an underlying conceptual context.

No slice of life stories. No “adventures of…” stories. No episodic ramblings. No chronicles of simply being there.  No sagas  that read like biographies.  No plotless character profiles. No life-sucks-then-you-die diaries of miserable people who are simply unhappy and unfilled, without them doing something about it.

If you’re writing in a genre, you need a plot.  That’s non-negotiable.

Your readers want hope. They want to be engaged, they want to be emotionally involved. They want to empathize, to root for something. They want to be scared, they want to root against something. They want a vicarious ride, to feel as if they are in the story. They want to feel the weight of the story’s stakes and the urgency of the pursuit of resolution. They want to relate to it, even if they can’t because it’s not real. They want to feel, to laugh and to cry and to lose themselves. To be entertained, moved, changed, enraged, terrified, turned on and seduced. They want to fall in love again. They want to live within your precious pages.

Does your story do this? Does your premise create a vehicle that can achieve these reader outcomes?

If not, then you aren’t done. You haven’t found your best story.

You need to go deeper, wider, think outside of your box and take some risks. you need to let the principles in.  You need to play within the lines of the genre and the highest criteria of fiction. Which can be boiled down to this: drama and conflict are everything. They are the catalysts that allow character to emerge. They are the forces of story.

Without them your story dies. It’s really that simple.


I’m relaunching the site later this week, with a sizzling new graphic layout and more features.  I’m also over-hauling my story coaching programs, with a deeper level of analysis and more resources across all three levels.

The Concept/Premise evaluation is actually going DOWN in price, to only $49.  Given the critical role concept and premise plays in your novel or screenplay, this becomes hands down the best story mentoring service in the entire industry.  That’s a guarantee.  It can save you a year of work on a draft that may be dead out of the starting gate, simply because the concept and/or premise doesn’t cut the mustard.

The Full Story Plan analysis will see a price bump, but the deliverable value is going up even more.  Full manuscript reads remain available at $1800.

Check back over the weekend, I hope you like what you see.


Filed under Write better (tips and techniques)