Storyfix is Accepting Requests

You may have noticed that things have been a bit slow here lately.  Chalk it up to tax season, a cluttered personal life, a major workshop, some guest posts on other sites (a cobbler’s children/shoes paradox) and some freelance gigs… and that’s only an explanation, not an excuse.

Yeah, I do have a personal life.  I’m surprised, too.

I continue to be committed to this site, and to you who come here.  I appreciate your support and readership more than you know.

This little hump has nearly been mounted and conquered (ya know, that sounds really kinky when you take it out of context… not my intention), which means I’ll be even more focused on Storyfix going forward.

Toward that end, I’d like to invite you to participate in creating the lineup of upcoming features and posts. 

Tell me what you’d like to see covered here.  Could be review and expansion of the fundamentals we’ve been focusing on.  More story deconstructions (feel free to suggest specific books and movies).  Author interviews.  Guest posts.  Humor.  Even short fiction. And any other ideas you may have.

And feel free to leave any other feeback about the site, as the goal remains to make this venue the best it can be.

I’m anxious to hear from you on this.  And again, I appreciate you reading and contributing to Storyfix.

Larry

46 Comments

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46 Responses to Storyfix is Accepting Requests

  1. Monica Rodriguez

    I’ve been spending my blogging time at your (terrific) workshop myself, Larry. Let me think about your request. I’ll be back.

  2. Dale Ivan Smith

    I’ve also been taking your terrific workshop this week at Savy Authors–it really reinforces the material in your Story Structure book. Thank you.

    As for what requesting topics here at storyfix.com

    I would be interested in your deconstructing a novel or two here, and the same for a film. Also, how about showing us your take on applying story structure to short fiction?

    Thank you, Larry, for all the hard work you put into sharing this material.

  3. Melissa

    My daughter, age 14, and I both love Storyfix, and the advice you give here. Story Structure Demystified has been more helpful than a thesaurus. For this site, maybe a deconstruction of a popular YA book (JK Rowling, Diane Duane)? Thank you for all you do.

  4. Monica Rodriguez

    I’m voting for more deconstructions, also. Your deconstruction of Avatar was phenomenal, so keep ’em coming. 😉 And yeah, go ahead and do a deconstruction of a Harry Potter book. That would be great fun. (Course that would mean you’d have to read Harry Potter! Go ahead, they’re fun! ;-D)

    I’d ask for more on beat sheets, but you did a great job today at Savvy Authors on the topic, so I think I’m good. If anyone is looking for more on beat sheets, take a look at that post.

    Oh! I almost forgot my old nemesis: the idea of stakes. I think I’m getting a handle on it, but I still get lost on it at times. It’s possible there are others in the same boat, so I thought I’d make the suggestion.

    I think that’s all I can come up with at the moment. I’ll offer more suggestions if I come up with anything.

  5. Steve

    Maybe a permanent “suggestion box.” Maybe that’s a can of worms you don’t dare touch.

    Off the top of my head, I would like to know genre specific requirements and flexibility in structure.

    Action adventure vs. romantic comedy. Murder mystery vs. horror etc.

    Inter-genre structural variability and requirements.

  6. Hey Larry,

    You’ve done a good job of pacing yourself, so no worries about a little bump in the road. I’ve often wondered myself how you’d keep up with the content into the future.

    Something that crossed my mind…

    It would be great if there was a way to make it interactive, beyond the comments below. I don’t know if that means you pose a challenge and we submit for feedback from you and the group or if it means there’s a way for us as a group to help a specific writer that is struggling.

    I’m just thinking something that generates it’s own content, builds your community, and gives some real hands on help to members here.

    Take Care,
    Chris

  7. Greg

    Hi Larry,

    I really appreciate the obvious time and effort you freely give to those of us just getting started. You really have a way of breaking things down that speaks my language.

    I do have a few requests that I would love to see in future posts. If any of this has been covered in past posts, please feel free to smack me on the head and point me in the right direction. I have been tearing through your archives but haven’t caught up on everything yet.

    1) Your posts on characterization have been very helpful, and I find myself very curious about the idea of multiple protagonists. I don’t know what to make of them. Can a story have more than one true hero? If so, it would seem that they both (all) would need to follow the structure that a single protagonist would: the arc of orphan to martyr, stakes and growth and all the notes that make up that jazz. This would be even more difficult to pull off with a natural flow, but does not seem impossible.

    Or are all ‘other’ protagonists merely an illusion? Is there one true hero, one true center to every story, perhaps surrounded by extremely well-rounded major characters? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    2) Along these lines, I would also enjoy a deconstruction of one of George Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, such as A Game of Thrones. This seems to be an example of multiple protagonists, each seemingly headed down their arcs. (I say seemingly since the entire saga has yet to be completed, and in the end one primary hero may indeed emerge.)

    3) Finally, I would enjoy hearing more about Scenes. Is there a structure for building a killer scene, as there are for characters and stories? (Killer as in awesome, not murder mystery) For that matter, are their different types of scenes? And this one we can keep just between us, but what the heck does ‘enter your scene at the last possible moment’ mean? ‘Cause right now I’m picturing a long winded scene where my protag jumps onto the page at the last possible moment, head butts a villain or two and leaps back out. . .leaving everyone (including me) wondering what just happened (but all agreeing that it was an awesome scene!)

    . . .and with that, I better leap out of this scene myself. Thanks again for all the excellent advice!

  8. Hi Larry,

    I’ve been following your blog since your last guest post with Darren on problogger.

    For me, the recent posting frequency is perfect, but that’s me and not a reason to enjoy tax season.

    Once everything is said and done, washed, rinsed and repeated a few times, the way to go is story deconstruction.
    I would love to have you deconstruct “The Name Of The Rose” by Umberto Eco.

    Have a great day,
    Fred

  9. Megan

    Hi Larry,

    I, too, would like to learn how to structure a great scene, and is structuring a short story any different from structuring a novel? How do you fit all the plot points and characterization into 20-40 pages?

    Thanks for your workshop at Savvy Authors and for everything you share here! I’m really glad I found your site.

  10. Hey Larry,
    New here and enjoying your blog a lot. If you haven’t deconstructed Batman: The Dark Knight yet, I’d love to see you do that one.

  11. Your series on Story Structure and Character quite possibly couldn’t be any better. I would love to see more series on the 6 Core Competencies. Perchance one on Scene Execution?

  12. Lee

    Hey, Larry

    I got a lot out of the 10 parrt structure series, great stuff. What I’d love to see is something on subplots, it’s a subject I don’t see a lot of disscusion on.

    Cheers,

    Lee

  13. Shirls

    I really enjoyed your workshop over at SavvyAuthors and was fascinated by the beat sheet for part one of a story. Could you perhaps continue this for the other three parts please?

  14. Rob

    I’m going to second (third? fourth?) the request for more on scenes. What kind of missions do scenes have? How do scenes change based on which of the four parts of the story they fall into? What’s the basic structure of a scene (if there is one)?

    Also, I’m having issues with Part 2 in the four part story structure. I can’t help but think all that reacting to the first plot point is going to get boring for the reader. After all, the protagonist spends most of Part 1 as passive, now that he has a story goal, should he really continue to be RE-active rather than PRO-active? Or am I missing something about how that works?

    Thanks!

  15. Sharon

    Hi,

    Thanks again for the great workshop!

    How about a deconstruction of a series? Both of the individual books/movies – but also the overall story?

    Like – Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter or the Godfather 1, 2, and 3?

    Cheers,
    Sharon

  16. LD Madison

    I took your Savvy workshop – and immediately I was able to figure out what was wrong with my WIP! Thanks so much…

    I would like to second (or third) the request for how to apply story structure to short stories and/or a check list on how to take a finished ms and revise it using your story structure model… I have a finished ms. that I need to ‘fix’ after the fact.

    BTW, I would like to see any of the Harry Potters or Godfathers deconstructed.

    Cheers,
    LD

  17. Colin

    I’d love to read a post on point-of-view: When is it better to have an omniscient narrator or to have a character narrator? How much does it matter? Etc… Thanks!

  18. nancy

    It is uncanny how your topics thus far have always arrived on the day I needed them. Like last week. After I gave some copy to a writer friend to read, I realized I had used her name for a character that was illiterate. I referred her to your blog as my disclaimer and apology.

    Request: I, too, would like more scene work, which includes raising the stakes. I know that adding a time factor will raise the stakes, but what else can I do?

    What about chapter openings? Anything to know there?
    (I suppose if I had outlined, this would have been clearer.)

    My husband keeps asking me–are you sure your guys sound like guys? Any hints on crisping up the dialogue?

    Thanks for everything thus far.

  19. Sandra S. Richardson

    Hi Larry,

    Definitely short story structure. So far I’m nowhere near starting a novel. (I thought I was but I know better now) I’m writing short stories and I know they need to have a different flow to them.

    Deconstruct “Whisper of the Seventh Thunder” by Larry Brooks . . . wait a minute . . . that’s your new book! I’m almost finished with it and would love to have you show us your structure in your story.

    Any of the individual HP books would be good or the challenge of an epic like Lord of the Rings.

    Thanks and hugs!
    Sandra

  20. Jan

    Larry, I just finished your work shop this week and it was great.
    I’d like to see more information on how to flush out the story goal from an idea to a story. What questions do you ask to get from a generic idea to a full blown conflict/story idea.
    I, like Shirls, would like to see the beat sheet for the other three parts of a story.
    I’d also like to hear your thoughts on sub-plots. Do all sub-plots need to relate to the story goal? It seems to me that they would because otherwise you are taking the reader out of the story.
    Thanks.

  21. Larry,

    Busy time here too, lambs are being born all over the farm!

    I’d love some more in-depth look at creating good chapters. How to start and end a chapter, how the structure of a chapter equates with the structure of a book. I seem to be struggling with this aspect of writing the most.

    A review of the different points of view and which is most effective under what circumstances would be good. When and how to change POV in the story. Some well known writers are head popping all the time, but I have a feeling that doesn’t fly with editors until you get that well known name. 🙂

    A closer look at which comes first, the character or the story, would be fun.

    A list of “no-no” words to avoid in writing, I’ve read a few, and they are helpful when editing. I find I’m entirely too fond of “even” and “just,” just to name a couple.

  22. Just a humble suggestion. Why don’t you create a page where
    Storyfix followers can submit their short stories and see which
    gets the most vote. Many sites like Bookrix are popular because of that.

  23. Hi Larry,
    All you do is so helpful, but I would find it very helpful if you could deconstruct a romance and explain how to carry off the two main POV characters as they bounce their way back and forth into love.
    Thanks, Clancy

  24. Monica Rodriguez

    Wow, such great suggestions! As I read, I’m saying, oh yeah, that too…

    I wanted to second Steve’s suggestion to address the question of genre-specific needs for a story’s structure. That would be terrific.

    Did you realize the can of worms you’d be opening up with your request, Larry? You’ve got enough suggestions here to work with for the rest of the year, it seems! 😉

  25. It’s good to read everyone’s requests. I tend to agree with Monica’s second of Steve’s comments about genre identification, and Colin’s question on POV.
    My “problem” is by reading your (and others’) great posts I am not writing as much myself. That is, of course, my problem in time management.
    Thanks for your time management efforts that allow you to share with us.

  26. Gabi

    I’d like to know how to fit backstory into a novel without slowing the pace. Better to get it all over with in one chapter? Or should I try and spread it out along the way?
    Thanks

  27. How to structure a series of novels. Each novel has its own 4 parts, how about a series? Do we end one novel with a cliffhanger into the next?

  28. Gabrielle

    I can’t even keep up with your posts, but I learn from and appreciate everything you have to say. I just wanted to say thank you.

  29. Larry, all of your posts are helpful, informative, and just plain great. Like a few others have suggested, I would love to see more deconstructions of both novels and movies. I also like it when you suggest cool indie movies 🙂 Loved “500 Days of Summer,” but still waiting to get my hands on “An Education.” Funny enough, it didn’t make it to our local video shop. Yes, it’s a very small town!

  30. I would say maybe take on deconstructing character-driven or literary novels. There isn’t as much in the way of “formula,” therefore more of a challenge to write.

  31. Patrick Sullivan

    Couple thoughts.

    1) As others have said, scene deconstruction and how to focus a scene on it’s task/tasks would be interesting, especially discussing how it can tie into the larger story structure.

    2) other examples of forms of structure and how they tie into the 3 act structure we all know and love now. Joseph Campbell’s Heros Journey/MonoMyth being the prime example I am aware of.

    3) this one would be tough and I can’t even imagine how one would tackle it, honestly, but genre comparisons. What’s interesting to me about this one is if you look at the standard way various genres use the various parts of story structure, stealing the right bits to cross polinate might be more obvious. Taking the hook from a thriller novel and finding a way to make it work in a romance, for example, could create for a crazy thrill ride like no one has ever experienced who loves Romances.

  32. Thomas

    An interesting subject might be the structural/plot-element differences between different genres. What’s different in the pure-action stories where the (super)hero has no arc, as in 007, and “normal stories”? What’s different in a tragedy, when the hero loses, as in “Romeo and Juliet”? What’s different (going heavy here), when the hero’s arc goes from pro- to antagonist, as in Macbeth? You get the idea ;o)

  33. nancy

    Let me second the request for the smooth integration of back story.

  34. How about occasional writing prompts for those folk who like writing exercises when the muse is resting? Or another post on creating erotic tension as you’re ace at it? Or maybe serialised fiction, a long short story or short novella in several parts that clearly illustrate your story architecture? Maybe you could showcase a blog post on a writing theme from a different subscriber’s blog every week (Subscribers’ Sunday) or showcase some ace extracts from readers’ work on ‘Fiction Fridays’?

    But I think the response to this post is an idea in itself. Keep asking for suggestions and input; it creates communities. I also think it would help you if you got threaded comments so folk could interact more with each other, and a subsribe to comments plugin so you can see which posts generate the most ongoing dialogue. Maybe do a Dear Larry slot where you don’t do an actual post, but feature one or two writing queries you’ve been sent and ask readers which questions they’d most like to see you answer?

    Personally, I’d love to see more posts that are specifically geared towards different aspects of screenwriting.

  35. pamala owldreamer

    I entered the Golden Acorn contest and the results weren’t good. I was told i had mega grammatical errors and I’m working on that. I understand from the comments about having to force themselves to continue past the opening paragraph where the heroine punches the hero in the mouth they didn’t understand why. My fault maybe for not making it plain in the first few paragraphs why. I thought I did. Anyway the comment that concerned me most was that I had no voice. I would love to see you address this issue. As a newbie to the craft(Three years writing seriously) everything I read about “Voice” just doesn’t tell me enough. I follow StoryFix and hope you can explain better and more in-depth. I am working hard to learn the craft and have taken your advice on many issues.I am a pantster who now understands the value outlining combined with my pantster ways. Thanks

  36. Larry, Can’t offer much more than saying keep doing what you are doing, because it’s working.

    One thing, though. I’d like you to add a video to your clickbank affiliate page of you explaining why people will benefit from your books. This should increase your(and our) conversion rates substantially.

    ps. Deconstruct Weird Science. I read your book, but am still not sure I can spot the 9 points in this movie. I was, however, able to see so much more after reading your book. For example, I never realized that not only do they foreshadow in the first 5 minutes, they foreshadow 5 events, and these events unfold IN ORDER. Never would have seen that without reading your book. Very cool.

  37. What about something on log lines? Give us some examples from movies, books (yours) and others.

    Thx for your blog, I enjoy it.

  38. I just finished your Story Structure for Romance Writers mini-workshop. I’d love to have you deconstruct a romance movie to show us where all the structure points happen. That I think would really tie into the workshop, as well as help us use the information you gave us to our full advantage. “Seeing” examples always helps me digest information better.

  39. @Jennifer “Seeing” examples always helps me digest information better.

    I couldn’t agree more.

  40. Martha Miller

    If you’ve already deconstructed “Shutter Island” and I missed it, shame on me — but if you haven’t, please do!
    I was fascinated by the movie, so I bought and read the Lehane book. It was equally fascinating, but its structure eluded me. How in the world did Lehane fool this reader so adroitly even when I knew that spine-tingling twist was coming?

  41. Kelly

    Larry-
    Ever consider deconstructing one of your own books for all to learn from? Serpent’s Dance, perhaps…? I’d be interested to see your analysis (and compare it to my own- for accuracy).

  42. Scott

    Larry,

    Personally, I would love to see a short story deconstruction or two. “Nightfall” by Asimov or “Sandkings” by Martin would both be favorites of mine that I would love to see.

    I would also be interested in seeing an interview with Scott Sigler, J.C. Hutchins, Dan Wells or Larry Correia.

    ~Scott

  43. Wow–I didn’t have time to read through all the suggestions, but I have to say–definitely more deconstructions! The Shutter Island deconstruction is fabulous so far and we could probably make a very long list of fantastic movies to take apart.

    Something that might be interesting to your readers is taking apart a movie that bombed and see why it bombed–if it was the story, the structure, the acting, whatever. Or taking a B-rated movie and talking about it in terms of what was done as well as suggestions to make them better.

    You might give your readers challenges such as deconstructing a movie/novel alongside of you.

    🙂

  44. Matt

    Hi,
    Love Story Engineering. Love the site. Really enjoyed An Education deconstruction. Would love to see you do some deconstruction on POV, specifically third-person limited POV. For me, it’s a question of balancing the megawatts empathy of a single 1st person POV with the extra dramatic licence of an omniscient or an unregulated yet still limited within individual scenes 3rd person POV. I was just hoping you could comment on this problem writers (me! right now) face, and offer some wisdom when making a choice. Do you think there’s a max number of POV characters that’s advisable? Should there be a balance between male and female in certain types of works? I know it’s a question of feel, but any advice? Thanks for the site!

  45. @Matt — a great question, this. I’d wrestled with this — the mingling of first and third person narration within a story — until I saw Nelson Demille do it in “The Lion’s Game.” That’s where I’d start. Then I did it myself in my most critically-successful novel (“Bait and Switch”). The trick is, I think, to make sure you keep the POV the same within any given chapter. When you change voice, change chapters. If you try to pull this off within a chapter, even if it’s a new scene using white space separation (skipped lines), it’ll muddy the water. Demille alternated voice/chapters… I didn’t quite, but almost. I think you need a nearly equal amount of time/space for each voice; otherwise, it seems weird if one of the voices suddenly appears in what seems to be a totally singular voice.

    Hope this helps. Story planning is essential to make this work, because the “curtain of awareness” for the reader can and should be different for each segment. L.

  46. Matt

    That’s great advice. And you just made a sale for yourself and Nelson Demille. At the mo, I’m thinking of using between 4 and 6 POV’s, (with a hunch towards 5) but all in the third person limited, basically doing a Dan Brown. I’m the that earth dweller who hasn’t read The Da Vinci Code, but I’ve read all his others. I think the way he cuts between POV’s while using a single narrative voice and tone really adds momentum and excitement, in an extremely unselfconscious way. I’ve seen the technique you talk about above before, but back in college in very literary novels. I’ll check it out in the above novels and see how it works on commercial fiction, which is what I’m endeavouring to write. Thanks for the response. Matt