The principles of powerful, artful storytelling haven’t changed. But the means of evaluating them in play within a story certainly have.
Story Coaching 3.0 – An upgrade from the 2015 Program
Empower Your Process… like never before.
Four levels of analysis.
Each facilitated by an enhanced, genre-specific Questionnaire that goes deep into your story and your vision for it.
Each setting a new standard of affordability and value.
Truly, a reinvention of the art of coaching a story toward excellence.
Don’t spend thousands of dollars having your full manuscript evaluated, when a few dozen dollars gets you the exact same outcome and value.
Save a year of your life writing a draft that was compromised out of the gate.
Dramatically improve the chances of your full draft with a final evaluation of its most critical working parts.
“Like an MRI for your story… this can save its life.”
– Art Holcomb
Award-winning playwright, screenwriter, story consultant and teacher
Here’s what the very first user of the new Dramatic Arc Analysis program has to say about it…
“Wow, I am BLOWN AWAY by how good this is! I’m about halfway through the “first draft answers” and I’m amazed at the info you’re pulling out of me. Hurts so good! It is the most detailed, but succinct, interactive step-by-step forced look-in-the-mirror that all of us novices need, that I’ve ever seen. (And like most writerly dreamers, I have a large library of writing how-to books, including yours.)
The Changes – Effective 11-01-15
The story coaching process I use is completely original. Thus, it becomes a work-in-progress. This third evolution of the service/billing model has evolved from an unexpected, but in retrospect completely predictable observation. I’m changing this to better serve my clients and streamline the process on both ends. Allow me to elaborate.
First and foremost, you can get almost the same feedback that comes with a full manuscript analysis (less writing voice and scene writing), but at only a fraction of the cost. In other words, the full viability of your story intentions, from concept and premise, then across the full arc of your narrative, can be culled out and analyzed either before or after you’ve written them… thus saving you months or even years of subsequent drafting.
Until now I’ve offered four levels of service, each of which accomplishes that goal: 1) the Concept/Premise Evaluation… 2) the Dramatic Arc Evaluation… 3) the Full Story Plan Analysis (with optional inclusion of up to 100 manuscript pages)… and 4) the Full Manuscript Analysis. All well and good… in a perfect world. But in the real world, the novel/screenplay writing proposition is a lot like singing an opera: the first step is to determine if you can carry a tune or create an arrangement – or even, if you can read music at all – or at least see how we can improve your performance at the most basic of levels.
What happens is this: people sign up for the Full Story Plan Analysis (a Questionnaire-driven analysis; this is not a full manuscript read, which is why it remains affordable), but it turns out the story is weak or broken at Square One, which is the Concept and/or Premise level. If either of those are broken, nothing in the ensuing story plan can save it (that’s like putting frosting on a really lousy cake), or at best will, upon completion, work all that well. Such a concept-weak story is like a car that won’t start, or cannot achieve a speed over 20 miles per hour.
A concept-rich premise is the engine of a story, especially within the genres (versus “literary fiction”). Which means your Concept and your Premise need to be optimized before we even consider the rest of the story. And yet, if you’ve paid for a Full Story Plan or, wose, the Full Manuscript evaluation… well, I think you can see the problem here.
And it happens… a lot.
So I’m fixing this.
This is why the NFL has a Combine prior to the draft. To see who has the tools (the best story elements) to play the game at the highest level.
From now on, I am encouraging (through pricing) a sequenced Full Story Plan Analysis experience, pricing each step separately (while offering a Bundled fee, as well, with a discount). A “green light” (a passing grade) is required to graduate from each level onto the next available level (1. Concept/Premise Analysis… 2. Dramatic Arc Analysis… 3. Full Story Plan Analysis, with or without first quartile – through the First Plot Point – manuscript pages).
For Full Story Plan submissions that have not previously undergone those first two levels (the Concept/Premise Evaluation and the Dramatic Arc Analysis) – which remains available – a higher fee is in place, one that considers the extra work required to retool the preliminary steps along the way.
Either way – sequenced steps, or the most expensive dive-right-in full plan option – your story undergoes analysis at a fraction of the cost of a full manuscript read and evaluation.
This isn’t a strategy to increase my revenue (by requiring clients to purchase three plans when they simply want the whole enchilada looked at; fee increases at each level reflect value, based on feedback… too many clients have told me the service is worth more than I’m charging, and I’m all about the win-win). I’ll adjust it all and make it equitable by offering two ways to opt-in.
- You can take it a step-at-a-time, purchasing each separate level (among the three levels available) in sequence, as you choose (meaning, you are under no obligation to move forward to a higher level, which remains available to you as a one-off, just as the lower levels did). If a criteria-meeting submission of a lower level Questionnaire is on file (meaning submissions requiring repair have been, in fact, repaired, and then resubmitted – the cost of which is included in the fee for that level – then the writer can move on/up to the next available analysis/coaching level.
- See below for this ala carte free structure.
- Or, you can bundle all three levels under one all-inclusive fee, knowing that you still must successfully complete each phase in sequence (including any repair/upgrade requested, based on the coaching provided) before moving forward on/up to the subsequent level. The timing of that process is completely up to you… some clients take many months to work through the phases.
- The Bundled fee (see below) delivers a discount on the purchase of each of the levels separately.
- Or, you can still purchase the Full Plan Evaluation without engaging with the previous steps (the Questionnaire for this incorporates all three levels of analysis). This fee reflects the extra coaching and back-and-forth required to revise and evaluate those preliminary steps after-the-fact, while incenting either a one-off sequence or Bundled opt-in.
This is the essence of story coaching – your story plan will evolve, level by level, in a manner that allows each submission to build upon a previous level that has been evaluated, upgraded and confirmed as ready… completely at your pace.
The option to include manuscript pages (the first quartile, or up to your First Plot Point) remains available for the Full Story Plan Evaluation under all three fee options.
Here is the new pricing:
- The One-Off, Step-at-a-Time Approach (client option to move forward after successful completion of each step):
- Quick Start Concept/Premise Evaluation – $79 (one revision cycle included)
- Dramatic Arc Analysis (focus on the all-important First Plot Point) – $129 ($160 without first completing the Concept/Premise level; one revision cycle included)
- Full Story Plan Evaluation (with previously completed previous levels, but without having purchased the Bundled Coaching Package – see below for that quote) – $245 (one revision cycle included).
- Full Story Plan Evaluation (without completion of previous levels ) – $545 (with one revision cycle only).
- Option to also submit first quartile manuscript pages – add $395 to any Full Plan opt-in option.
- The Bundled Coaching Package (each step submitted in order, but separately, with a “passing grade” required to move on, either immediately or after re-submission after feedback):
- The process focuses on each step (Concept/Premise… Dramatic Arc… Full Story Plan), including feedback, revision (one with each step) and evaluation, before moving forward to the next/higher step. It makes no sense to move to the Full Plan until the Concept/Premise and Dramatic Arc levels have been optimized.
- The bundled fee is $395 (saves you $61 compared to opting-in to each level separately.
- Full Manuscript Read and Analysis
- The Full Manuscript Level remains more straight-forward – you submit your pages, I read them and give you feedback across 12 essential story elements and essences, including an overall opinion regarding any suggested options and current marketability. The fee for a manuscript from 70,000 to 100,ooo words is $2250 (the fee for manuscripts under or over that word-count framework will be negotiated).
If a writer has completed a Full Story Plan with me (including revisions, as called for), the fee for a Full Manuscript Analysis is $1995.
Feel free to use the Paypal buttons on the home page (left column) or those shown below. Or if you prefer, you can send a check directly: Larry Brooks, Storyfix.com, 10015 E. Mountain View Road, #1037, Scottsdale AZ, 85258. Feel free to email me with questions.
This is how to make sure you’ve got it right.
Doing this will likely significantly reduce your time-t0-market by eliminating the number of drafts required, while enhancing your ability to determine if you’re done, or not (because I’ll tell you if you’re not)… as well as simply shooting for and reaching a higher qualitative bar in the process. If your submission needs more work, one revision cycle per level is included in the fee.
A quick word for self-published authors: this coaching may actually be even more valuable for you.
Because if you manage to land an agent or a publisher (this process serves that goal, as well, and in a big way), they will give you any feedback required (less of it, I would guess) to further optimize your story, or move it toward their own liking. Without such feedback – from me, or an agent – you’re on your own. Work with me and I’ll give you better and more specific and actionable feedback than any agent or editor you’ll encounter out there.
Each level of analysis includes its own customized Questionnaire (your take on the various elements of the story, as defined and prompted by the Questionnaire) as the baseline story-delivery vehicle. You will be challenged to define and support your intentions – there’s no hiding from this, given the nature of the questions – for various story elements and structural milestones within the context of the level you’re in. (If you choose to include an outline – beyond what is requested in the Questionnaire – or even actual manuscript pages, an up-charge will be agreed upon, based on word-count.
The Questionnaire and the Welcome Letter for each level include many links to TUTORIALS that help you wrap your head around the concepts and essences that comprise the storytelling experience.
In that context, each level becomes as much a tool in the story DEVELOPMENT process as it is useful as a story evaluation. Many clients realize they’ve received their money’s worth just by having the Questionnaire, even before responding to it.
Overview of The Four Levels of Analysis
Level 1 – The Quick Hit Concept Analysis… $79
Your Concept is what fuels your story.
Your Premise is the Engine that thrives on that fuel.
Concept and Premise are to blame for at least half of the rejections that occur among newer writers. The core story itself, even with stellar execution, may not strong enough at it’s core to move an agent or editor to say yes.
It’s one of the most common of many ways to weaken a story, even if you write like John Updike (depending on genre, not always a good thing). You can’t write your way out of this, correction is required at the highest level of conceptual intention. In many cases writers don’t even understand what a concept is, or how it differs from premise.
This is a story-killer, one you can now avoid.
This service examines your concept and premise in context to the key criteria for a compelling story (delivered to you via links), and suggests a direction for revision if necessary.
Hands down, this is the most dramatic price-to-value service in the history of story coaching. Even if you engage only with this singular, preliminary level of evaluation, your odds of success go up dramatically.
Turnaround is 3 to 7 days (unless notified otherwise). If you’d like a 24-hour rush on this level, elect the $99 fee option.
See Paypal button on the Home Page for payment access
Level 2 – The Dramatic Arc Analysis… $129
A premise is a promise made to the reader.
The dramatic arc is the means to fulfillment of that promise.
Premise is a make or break proposition. It creates the context, content and direction for the story itself across all four contextual arcs of delivery.
If the premise is weak, it’s almost impossible to elevate it through structural execution and even stellar character depth. And yet, even if the premise is strong, a weak dramatic execution can rob it of its inherent potential. You need both – premise and execution across the dramatic arc – for a story to truly stand out. And if the premise is fueled by something conceptual, it is even that much stronger.
The dramatic arc of your story is something that can be identified, isolated and analyzed for narrative and structural power. This level of analysis uses a customized Questionnaire about your intentions for the execution of your premise, leading to feedback that can either rescue or elevate that plan, or at least affirm it if indeed it already glows in the dark.
Under the Bundled program, writers must qualify for the Dramatic Arc Analysis through having first completed the Concept/Premise level evaluation, and any revisions called for. Otherwise, it’s like trying to start the vehicle without knowing if you have any fuel in the tank. Normal turnaround for this level is one week.
If you wish to skip the pre-requisite Concept Premise Analysis, you may opt in to the Dramatic Arc Analysis directly, but at a higher fee ($179).
For 24-hour Rush service, add $50 to the basic fee under either option.
See Paypal button on the Home Page for payment access. If your configuration of options isn’t shown there, go to Paypal to send the proper fee to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Level 3 – The Full Story Plan Review… $245 after completion of the first two levels…
Concept and premise are only the beginning. When they aren’t the beginning, both must be retrofitted into a story developed without them. And that is orders of magnitude more difficult and risky to try.
The dramatic arc of your story is where the promise made by your premise comes front and center as the spine of your story, and then is executed across the full arc of the story. That arc includes eight major story milestones supporting four sequential contextual narrative sections… all of which can be identified and analyzed, either as your intention or as a summary of what you’ve already written.
While the Dramatic Arc focused on the First Plot Point moment in your story (the most important moment in your story), there needs to be a strong and evocative Full Story Plan across there subsequent quartiles and at least five more (later) major story milestones that ensure the promise and potential of the concept, premise and dramatic arc have been executed and fully fulfilled.
This level of evaluation looks at the major moving parts, connections and narrative layering as part of an overall story architecture, with a view toward optimizing character, dramatic tension, pace and the reading experience. (Submissions over 4000 words may entail additional fee; the Questionnaire for this level covers the requisite ground, extra explanation often results when the author feels more is required, which usually indicates a softness in the answer to begin with… something the analysis and feedback will identify without any further explanation.) The Full Story Plan is the vehicle used to optimize the “physics” of your story – how well it works for the reader – in terms of dramatic tension, pace, character arc, vicarious reading experience and narrative strategy.
Again, the Full Story Plan Analysis is the third of three steps, and is included in the Bundled price ($395). If you have previously completed (including requested revisions) the first two levels (Concept/Premise, and Dramatic Arc), the fee for this level is $245.
If you choose to access the Full Story Plan Analysis directly, without having completed the first two levels, the fee is $545.
Normal turnaround for the Full Story Plan is two weeks or less. For 48-hour Rush service, add $100 to the basic fee (by choosing the proper button in the Paypal drop-down menu for this level).
See Paypal button on the Home Page for payment access.
Add 1st Quartile Manuscript Pages (approx. 100 pages, up to the story’s First Plot Point) for an additional $395, which correlates to the fee for a full manuscript read, at $1600; find this option in the Paypal drop-down menu for this level.
This facilitates an analysis of voice, flow and exposition, which are in themselves story-killers if not done well. They are also imprecise (unlike structure) and a matter of taste… but at the most essential level, a level of professionalism is required. Bad writing trumps a good story every time… but a good story often trumps “average” writing (among professionals), as well.
Rush service for the Full Story Plan evaluation with pages (48 hours) adds $250 to the basic fee.
See Paypal Button for this level on the Home Page.
Level 4 – Full Manuscript Analysis (with Questionnaire)…. (see below)*
I also offer traditional full draft analysis at an accessible fee that is far below comparable market standards. The fee (for projects of 70K to 100K words; variances are negotiated) of $2250 includes assessment across twelve critical story elements and variables (the six core competencies of storytelling, and the six realms of story power, also known as “story physics“). Other word counts are a negotiated fee. Email me to arrange scheduling and payment. Normal turnaround for a Full Manuscript read and evaluation is 30-days. For a 10-day Rush, add $500 to the basic fee.
Use the Paypal button for this level (see Home Page), or send a check directly to: Larry Brooks, Storyfix.com, 10015 E. Mountain View Road, #1037, Scottsdale AZ 85258.
All quoted fees are subject to revision at any time, with new posted amounts taking precedence over previously quoted amounts. Any special promotional pricing available only during the quoted time window for that promotion.
Comments from (and about) Storyfix-Coached Writers
“This is the absolutely best work of fiction about virtual reality that I have ever read. The blurring of the line between reality and virtual reality has never been more powerfully displayed in anything I have read.” – Rhetta Akamatsu, Reviewer at Blog Critics Magazine
“Overall, it had more action, less vacillation from the protagonist, and was a stronger and more engaging story. I was caught up in it enough that I actually cried when Serge died – and that was a big change from my reaction to the characters the first time around. Congratulations to the author and editors for polishing up the story line and characters and making the book more irresistible.”
“I’m not sure what sort of voodoo magic (the author) pulled out for this edit/rewrite, but OH MY GOODNESS, this is like a completely different book! I just cannot wrap my head around how far this book came from the original ARC I received; it’s jaw-dropping astounding!”
“I’d definitely recommend this updated version to lovers of sci fi/fantasy, headstrong and independent characters, and fascinating complex plots! There’s still that touch of dystopian that keeps it well-within that genre…but it no longer screams “just like all the others.” It’s unique, well-written, and concussive in its explorations. I’m SO glad I gave it a re-read!”
“This is like a TOTALLY different book!; awesome plot line; independent and strong-willed characters that make sense; everything has a purpose and is in its rightful place; no more info dumps!; I actually WANT to read book two now.”
“I am totally rewriting my review because the second version I received was such an improvement.”
” The character of (hero) is presented in a way that makes it much easier to like her and yearn for her to succeed. She retains the vulnerability of the previous version, but has more determination and inner strength. The information about the background of the characters and her involvement in animal rights movements was an interesting addition.; it made her seem much less of a helpless female.”
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