Produce… X 3

Please click HERE to see an interview/discussion I had with, who ask some great questions about story architecture, process and why it works.

Then come on back to read another piece from regular Storyfix contributor Art Holcomb.


Produce, Produce, Produce

a guest post by Art Holcomb

“Two pieces of paper hang above my desk.”

The first, you may remember, is a portrait of Scheherazade.

The other is the following quote copied in my own hand from 1975:

“Produce, produce, produce . . . for, I tell you, the night is coming.

Whether it is, as stated here, a quote from the British poet and critic Mathew Arnold, or as paraphrased in the New Testament (John 9:4), or as a line in a Supertramp song, the sentiment is the same.

Your hours are finite.

Your time at the keyboard is stolen from your other life.  If Larry is correct and it will take you a daunting 10,000 hours to hone your craft to the point that it is ready to show your wit and skill to others, you know that you have to make each moment count.  

Each story, each poem, each capsule of yourself that you set out on the page must be the best that it can be.  

You are finite; your words are not.  Your immortality lies in your ability to tell that story and through it to make the connection to another person that you have been so desperate to make all this time.

Publishing is important but it’s not why you write.  It is not the point of your work.  To you, in the moments you write, what are important are the secrets that you learn about yourself and the world in which you live.    Your ability to translate those experiences and dreams into something the reader/viewer can feel – that ability to take the reader/viewer somewhere they have never been – is at the heart of being a writer.

You have so much more to say than you know.  And the night is coming, and sooner than we imagine.  Whether your desire is to have a book with your name on it, a credit on a film or a poem that will be recited by another, it will all depend on your ability to build your stories as well as you can and move on to the next challenge.  

That means you must learn your craft. 

No more hemming and hawing. No more stumbling into your story while freewriting.

Never in the history of Man were the tools needed by a writer to make glorious story more easily and readily available. 

You’ve already taken a giant step. You’ve found this website and the treasures within.

Find the tools.  Own the tools  . . .

And then use them to create something new, something better.

Something amazing.

That’s the way to create a body of work.  

That’s the way to build a career.


Art Holcomb is a screenwriter whose work has appeared on the SHOWTIME Channel and a comic book author of such comics as Marvel’s X-MEN and Acclaim’s ETERNAL WARRIORS. He is a regular guest blogger to STORYFIX.COM.  A number of his recent posts appear in the Larry Brooks’ collection: Warm Hugs for Writers: Comfort and Commiseration of The Writing Life.  He appears and teaches at San Diego Comic-Con and other writing and media conventions.  His most recent screenplay is 4EVER (a techno-thriller set in the Afterlife) and is completing a work book for writers entitled,  The Pass:  A Proven System for Getting from Notion to Finished Manuscript.  He lives in Southern California.



Filed under Write better (tips and techniques)

7 Responses to Produce… X 3

  1. spinx

    Art- my dear, dear helper———————-your words kept hitting my ears right and left, left and right, all the way down to that black ugly mass in my brain———–and even as write this, I feel the bits and pieces of it snapping off, falling down, peeling off.

    Work, work and then work some more……..of course that is true, the truest thing on this planet.
    Produce, yes- yes, and YES agaun!

    Produce! Produce, write, draw, make music- and not even to look for the right style, the right words, notes,- but actually to get the wrong stuff out of your system. And trust me — there is so much wrong stuff to get out there.

    To cut off has always been easier to me than to build something from scratch–at least that´s how it worked in the beginning.

    Right now – I feel closer than ever to finally getting all that mess sorted out up there, close to my brain, my mind, or whatever it is that keeps me awake at night.

    Thanks for another great post.

    You really do have a great skill in saying very much, with very few words, that none the less, have more weight than ten pages could.

    Peace out ;P

    (Hehehehe—- watch out, Larry! This guy is impressive!)

  2. Kathy B

    I love the phrase about writing not being first and foremost about being published, but about the secrets you learn about yourself and world. Thanks.

  3. Art Holcomb

    I started posting to Storyfix after reading Story Engineering and found it the most concise, comprehensive and easy-to use reference I had -and that’s coming from someone who owns upward of 50 writing books and who was first published in 1969. It started when I sent a letter of appreciation to Larry and he invited me to post. It’s been great. Others of my guest post apprear elsewhere but I love the members and Larry’s guidance here.

    My screenplay work takes most of my time but, as long as there are people like you who appreciate my little missives, I’m happy to share.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Hi Art!
    I’d suggest sticking the word “finished” right before “page.” Some beginning writers think the first draft needs to be perfect, and that daunting thought keeps them from telling their story. It’s okay to make mistakes, clear up to submission time. We just need to make sure we’ve cleaned out all the clutter and mediocre writing and replaced it with “the best that it can be.” Larry provides us with loads of information on how to do that.

    Lots of great thoughts in there, Art. Thank you!

  5. Whoops! Here’s the quote of Art’s that got cut out of my comment:
    “Each story, each poem, each capsule of yourself that you set out on the page must be the best that it can be.”

  6. Olga Oliver

    Art, I’ve been trying to bring into words exactly your words: Publishing is not why I write, not the point. Learning the writing craft is my point. I know I have much more to say, I only have to learn how to bring it into words. Owning the tools of ‘knowing thyself’ is a privilege.

    Indeed, I thank you.

  7. Art Holcomb


    You are not alone. Every writer deals with this. I’d like to say you’ll get over it but in fact you WILL certainly just get better at it.

    I’m writing a piece now called “Between The Dream and The Draft” which talks about this very thing.

    Writing is essentially exercising . The more you do it, the better you will get. It is like a catechism, a beck-and-call to the spirit.

    You’ll get it. Never give up. There is so much at stake.

    All the best!