Previews of Coming Storyfix Attractions

Yesterday I ran a post on how to recognize story structure in movie trailers.  You can also see it shine through in book jacket copy and, if the reviewer is any good, reviews.

I offer that because today’s title might confuse you, at least if you spent any time with yesterday’s post.  Because today isn’t about that.  It’s about what I have planned in the near-term for this site.  Which means, for you.

First off, as we near the 1000 subscriber milestone after six months online, I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks for your support.

I’d also like to state my goal for 2o1o.  I’m one of those self-help seminar grads who believes that throwing it out there is an important step in making it happen.  So here goes: I’m shooting for 3,000 subscribers by the end of next year.  Double the growth rate of the first six months.

This is good news for you.  Because to accomplish that, I need to really jack the quality and relevance of the content you find here on Storyfix.  Which is just as important a goal as the number itself.

So count on it.

Also, I could use your help.  The best growth strategy strives for referrrals from satisfied subscribers.  So if that’s you, and if you know a writer who might benefit from this material, I’d appreciate you sending them here.  You snag ’em, I’ll bag ’em… with killer content.

Upcoming Guests

I’ve recently launched a series of posts from published authors, who bring a unique perspective on both process and product.  If you haven’t read the articles by Jim Frey, Jennie Shortridge or April Henry here on Storyfix, then you’ve missed something special.

There are more on the way.  Bestselling YA author and National Book Award nominee Deb Caletti is up next, within the next two weeks.  And I have commitments from New York Times bestselling authors Chelsea Cain, Phil Margolin and Lisa Jackson, so look for those within the next couple of months. 

There will also be guests who bring expertise in specific narrative skills, such as Bill Johnson on characterization, and Pat Bertram and Carolyn Howard-Jones (see below) on using social media and newsletters to build an author base, as well as their take on writing great stories.

Next Killer Skill Series

Among the most impactful offerings here on Storyfix have been two series — one on Story Structure and the other on building compelling characters.  I’ve been thinking about the next series, and I think I have one you’ll like: getting published.

I’m planning a ten-part series on the requisite steps authors need to get published, and in a legitimate commerical manner.  Not that I have anything against self-publishing or small presses (doing the latter myself), they’re certainly legit.  But let’s be honest, we all want that New York logo on the spine of our published work.  Having been there, I know what it takes and what it means, and it may not be what you think it is.

Look for this to begin in December.

Reviewers Wanted

Not long ago I announced that I’d found a publisher for my next novel, Whisper of the Seventh Thunder.  It’s coming out in February from Sons of Liberty Publishing, a small but hugely courageous and big-thinking east coast house.

If you are a book reviewer who places reviews on established sites and/or newspapers and magazines, and if you’d like to review it, let’s talk.  I can arrange to have a ARC sent your way.

And if you’re not a professional reviewer, I’d welcome your online reviews to sites like and elsewhere once the book is released.  If nothing else, you’ll see all the principles I write about here on Storyfix put into play in this story of apocalyptic prophesy gone terribly, inevitably wrong.

Member of a Writing or Critique Group?

Then click HERE.  You missed a great opportunity, and the window’s still open.

Story Structure – Demystified

Yeah, that’s my new ebook, which has been out nearly three weeks now.  It’s selling pretty well, but the most gratifying aspect of the experience for me has been the reader feedback. 

Here’s one from Carolyn Howard-Johnson, a published author on writing well, a writing coach and guru, a writing teacher at the university level (see the credits below her quote, pretty cool).  I’d sent her the ebook to review, here’s her initial response:

“I am on about page 26 and am in love. This book is so needed. And, of course, you are right. There are not many out there. But that isn’t the major point here. The major point is that you are convincing and that you set an example with a voice (even in nonfiction). You offer something in that voice that writers can identify with.
Further, you are my savior. I have a novel sitting a drawer. I was going about it (even though I knew better) in a circular fashion like I had my literary novel (This Is the Place) where it worked out just fine (a la The Hours) but wasn’t working so well with the new one. (Yes, I know Joseph Campbell and myth.)  But still, something there is about this book. You make it clear. Yes, much clearer than Syd Field though we really should leave him out of this because of the differences between novels and screenplays (as you aptly point out).
So, in short, you are my savior. I think I will return to my novel.”
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for writers, including USA Book News’ award winners
Frugal Editor
Frugal Book Promoter
The Great First Impression Book Proposal

Love LinkedIn:

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You can read more about the ebook here, and you can order it here.

A Case Study in Soft-edge Structure in a Character-Driven Story

On a final note, here’s a movie you should see.    It’s called An Education, with a script by noted novelist  Nick Hornby.

Why?  For starters, it’s the best-reviewed flick out there right now, bar none.  And it’s worth every gold star it’s receiving.

If you’re a writer, though, it’ll deliver more than a terrific movie-going experience.  It’s a clinic in story structure, and it’s not remotely a high concept thriller.  Thrillers often make it easy to spot the Plot Points and the Mid-Point, which thus makes it easy to sense the progression of the four contextual parts.  Character-driven stories can be harder to analyze, even though those same parts and milestones are there.  You can see them in this film if you know what to look for, and moreover, you can sense how and why they empower this story to greatness.

In addition, this movie is one of the strongest thematic narratives I’ve seen in a while, and the character-arc is astounding.

It’s a case study in serious, even literary storytelling, and I recommend you run, not walk, to the nearest theater to check it out.  And take a notepad to jot some notes (sit in the back so you can use the light of your mobile phone).


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3 Responses to Previews of Coming Storyfix Attractions

  1. Thanks for recommending the film, “An Education.” My little town has a pretty sad excuse for a movie theatre, and we only get a couple of channels on tv, so I rarely even hear about new movies, let alone get to see them. I’ll keep an eye out for this one though, and maybe be lucky enough for it to come to the local theatre.

    I’m actually reading a Nick Hornby book at the minute (the second one I’ve read by him), so when I watched the movie trailer I was a bit surprised. It seems to be quite a departure from his usual stuff. I welcome this though, because I find his books crude, but I love his effortless narrative. So, I think I’ll really enjoy this film. Thanks 🙂

  2. Mary E. Ulrich

    Hi Larry,

    As always, I enjoyed your post and the easy way you present complex information. I’ve finished your book and actually took a copy of page 125 with me to a writer’s conference today.

    I also tried to follow-along as you described the last movie. But I hadn’t seen the movie and it was a stretch.

    I’m wondering, it would be a terrific help for me, and possibly others, if you would outline (use page 125) and sketch out the main headings for “An Education” the movie you suggested today. ie. a reference sheet we could take with us to see the movie.

    I know some of your readers may find this naive and an insult to their experience, but for us newbies, I think it would be a great teaching tool and learning experience.

    I would also find it interesting to see other book/movie reviews from other readers as we all try to figure this out.

    I don’t see many movies, but do plan to see New Moon when it comes out. In return, I’ll send you my first attempt at using the story structure template to plot out New Moon movie.

    Thanks. Mary

  3. @Suzannah — thanks for checking in. I was a little surprised to see Hornby’s name on that screenplay, too. But the dialogue really crackles, vintage Nick stuff. Hope you get to see it soon.

    @Mary — that’s a GREAT idea… I try to work it into the sequence here on SF soon. Thanks for the idea!