Story Coaching — The (Newly Enhanced) $150 Level
The Amazing $150 Professional Story Coaching and Empowerment Adventure
“Your Story on Steroids”
There’s never been anything quite like this in the story coaching niche.
Not even close.
And it’s ridiculously affordable.
“This is like an MRI for your story… it can save its life.”
Two affordable levels of story coaching are available for your consideration: a $150 full story-arc evaluation (read more on THIS page)… and a shorter vision-level $50 program that focuses on concept and how it relates to the First Plot Point in the story’s structure, the common make-or-break-intersection of the two. Click HERE for more on that program.
I also offer a First Quartile manuscript review for $400 (same full-arc Questionnaire), as well as full manuscript evaluations (beginning at $1800).
Either way, what I do in the way of analysis and coaching resides at the story level. My evaluation and feedback focuses within two realms:
- Underlying story physics… how compelling your core ideas and key characters are, broken down into six categories: 1) core story essence (the power of your initial premise)… 2) dramatic tension… 3) pace… 4) hero empathy… 5) vicarious journey… and 6) narrative strategy). The goal is to optimize your premise and its requisite essences… even before you’ve actually written the manuscript… or, if you have written a draft, before you put the word “FINAL ” on it and stuff it into an envelope (or hit “SEND”). (This, by the way, is the arena for my new writing book, “Story Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling,” coming from Writers Digest Books in mid-2013.)
- The six core competencies of successful storytelling: concept, character… theme… structure (architecture)… scene construction and execution… writing voice. The goal is to optimize your execution across all of these essential core competencies. Weakness in any ONE of them can sink your story.
The former is the heart and soul of your story, the latter is the blueprint and blocks of execution of the story. When a story works, it becomes a sum in excess of all these parts, criteria, essences and intentions, resulting in an effective reading experience, made possible only through an empowered writing experience.
It should be noted that a significant area of potential for a story resides in the first of those story physics: a compelling narrative premise. Which is to say, you CAN’T make any story idea that is remotely pedestrian and/or intrinsically less-than-compelling into an effective story (at a commercial level), even with the best of execution (this is the “cow’s ear” in that “silk purse” analogy)… without evolving it into something more. My feedback will cover this important criteria as well as your story’s structure and exposition… the idea/premise/concept is where the gold is often found. Let’s see if we can make yours stronger (or if it even has the inherent potential to become, in fact, a silk purse).
One of the biggest pitfalls writers stumble into is when they settle for (or ignore) one or more areas of physics and core competencies.
It’s easy to do, it happens a lot, and it’s not always easy to fix. It happens when writers get swept away with the story landscape itself — they fall in love with the idea and the passion behind it without vetting and then integrating its parts, either through story planning or a series of drafts. They focus on setting and place and theme to the exclusion of dramatic tension and pace. For example, a writer may be passionate about a theme or a character – “my story is about a woman trying to find herself in the world” – but at the risk of failing to use a DRAMATIC ARC to get there. A STORY. The result is too often episodic, disconnected scenes that, while perhaps fully fleshing out a character and exploring a theme, fail at the story-level.
The passionate writer too often misses the very pit into which they’ve fallen. I won’t, on your behalf, miss it.
The mantra, “butt in chair, write, repeat… see what happens,” is rarely enough. The goal is to write IN CONTEXT TO SOMETHING, and that “something” is a combination of vision, criteria, story physics and the principles of effective execution. “Story” is the vehicle that makes your passion work.
My philosophy is this: we’re all better if we understand what should happen, and strive for it – set it up as criteria and objectives – as we plan our stories and/or write our drafts (which, when done right, takes us to the same place).
All of this — the risks and the potential – applies to both novels and screenplays and short stories and even memoir. It’s the essence of successful storytelling, in whatever form.
This program isn’t for full manuscripts.
That particular coaching service remains available, but the cost and parameters are, well, different. If you’ve opted in here, your $150 investment will apply toward that level of analysis should you wish to proceed. Many happy camper references are available at both ends of this spectrum.
In fact, the information I’ll ask for relative to your story will yield almost the SAME LEVEL OF FEEDBACK that occurs after a full manuscript review (which, by definition, embraces your writing voice in a way that a planning document cannot)… for a fraction of the cost. Because I’m looking for, analyzing and coaching the VERY SAME THINGS in either case.
Relevant analogy: if you know what you’re doing, what to look for, you can determine if an airplane will fly, or not — and how well — by analyzing the blueprint, long before you build the thing. Which saves a truckload of money and years of inefficient development time. That’s the idea here, too. And even if you’ve built it (your airplane OR your story) and want to see how it works before you take the next step, the place you start to look is, once again, at the design and physics of the machine itself.
This new service is designed to add value in one of two ways:
- at the story planning stage, or…
- as a summary of a completed manuscript (which you are not sending me… you’re only sending me summarizing documents), that you are open to revising (as you see fit) based on the feedback received.
To make this program work at this price point, I need to put a fence around what is sent to me, and the means by which I deliver feedback.
The idea is to send me your intentions and your vision… as a story summary and/or blueprint… formatted as answers to a carefully constructed QUESTIONNAIRE, the outcome of which is no more than 12 total pages, or 3000 words (1.5 spacing, 12-point font) in length. You’ll see that the questions prompt you to tell your story somewhat sequentially, allowing you (in essence) to deliver a condensed and focused OUTLINE of the story for my analysis. Even if you haven’t written an outline yet. (And if you have, I cover that particular base below.)
One might ask… why not show the questionnaire here and now? Good question. Good answer: because the questionnaire itself is worth every dime of your $150. It presents a planning template, with identified story criteria and sequencing. In beta testing this program, some writers have taken weeks, even months, to return the questionnaire, because it sends them deeper into their story in ways they hadn’t considered. It’ll test you, it’ll expose what you know — and what you don’t — about your story.
IF YOU PREFER… you can skip the questionnaire entirely, or use parts of it, and instead send me up to 12 TOTAL PAGES (or 3000 words) of story outline. Fair warning, though: I’m looking for the elements addressed in the questionnaire, as these are the significant variables that define a story’s chances of success.
A THIRD OPTION: use my “9-sentences” model to relate your story. This counts toward your 12-page total limit, and can be used with your questionnaire answers to illustrate your handle on the story. An overview of this 9-sentences development tool can be found at:
Submissions are digital via email attachment (encouraged and preferred;), or you can print it out and send to the address provided below.
How To Get Started
Like going to a movie or a workshop, the first step is to buy a ticket.
If you haven’t already, send the fee for this service ($150) via Paypal (destination: email@example.com) or to the address below. If you don’t have or want a Paypal account, let me know and I can invoice you through their system, which then allows you to pay by credit card without a Paypal membership.
A drop-down menu appears on the home page (right column) to make this a one-click deal for you.
Once that base is covered, I’ll then send you the Big Bad Questionnaire.
When I receive your answers and synopsis (optional, within the 300o word cap), I’ll engage in the read and prepare my feedback. I may come back to you with further questions (via email) to help clarify and/or facilitate my response.
Feedback will be in the form of comments imparted directly to the document(s) you’ve submitted, shown in RED FONT. It will also include summary closing thoughts, which return the feedback to big picture issues. You’ll know what works, what doesn’t, what’s clear, what isn’t — and WHY — and what might work better.
You’ll get your feedback within 7 working days.
IN A HURRY? Of course you are. You should be.
You can get a RUSH OPTION with an extra $50 added to the $150 base ($200 total), which in essence will put you at the front of the line, resulting in your feedback within ONE BUSINESS DAY. This isn’t mere profiteering on my part, you aren’t pushing others back (which is why this is fair)… what happens is simply that I work longer days and nights to cover these RUSH OPTION submissions IN ADDITION to those that are otherwise on my daily agenda. Nobody gets screwed. It’s more like paying extra for front row seats, or opting for the FASTPASS ticket option at Disney World.
You should know… my feedback is never brutal honesty.
Brutality has no place in this process. But I do seek to be clear, and sometimes when I’m not delivering the affirmation(versus assessment and constructive feedback) you may have hoped for, it can be a bitter pill. My intention is to help you, through an application and juxtaposition of storytelling principles that are as universal as they are proven and powerful. I’m like a tough story editor, only before you actually get to an editor in the submission process.
I didn’t make this stuff up. I’m just applying what I know and believe about storytelling physics, processes and properties as reflected (or not) in your story, with a view toward making it the very best it can be. All of these principles have been written about at length on Storyfix.com, so help yourself to the Archives. It’s all there.
This service, at this cost and with this level of project-empowering outcome, is unprecedented in the story coaching business. The price may change (based on supply and demand physics… I only have so many hours in a week), but for now, this is a win-win proposition.
Don’t have 150 bucks lying around? Not sure if you’re ready to be grilled on the more specific elements of your story, yet would like to be comfortable knowing that your conceptual framework and approach has killer chops? Click HERE to learn more about “The $50 Conceptual Kick-Start Story Analysis.”
Keep this in mind as you begin work on the questionnaire:
USE ANY REMAINING PAGES – UP TO 3000 WORDS – TO ADD ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE ME TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR STORY. THIS COULD TAKE THE FORM OF A SYNOPSIS/OUTLINE OR BEAT SHEET, OR JUST FURTHER CLARIFICATION AND RATIONALE, IF YOU CAN SQUEEZE IT INTO THIS 12-PAGE BOX. (If you absolutely need more pages, that’s simple: add $10 per page beyond 12 pages. But know this: if you can’t say it in 12-pages or less, if it’s that complicated… that’s a symptom of something, usually not good; I can help you identify and fix whatever that problem might be.)
IF YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO EVALUATE AND COACH LONGER VERSIONS OF YOUR STORY PLANNING – FULL FIRST QUARTILE (up through the First Plot Point – for $400), OUTLINES, BEAT SHEETS, PARTIAL OR FULL MANUSCRIPTS (that’s $1800, by the way) – TELL ME WHAT YOU HAVE AND I’LL GIVE YOU A QUOTE FOR THAT SERVICE. I ALSO COACH ON-GOING STORY DEVELOPMENT ON A CONSULTING BASIS (@ $75/hour, this usually takes two to six hours, in most cases, depending on need), USING A DEPOSIT WORK-DOWN.
Example: you’ve opted in here at the $150 level, but you have a 25-page outline you’d also like subjected to the same analysis and criteria-based feedback in addition. If, after getting your feedback on your questionnaire answers, you’d like to take that next step, that quantity of material would entail a fee of $280 (roughly twice the quantity – and thus, cost – of this baseline program).
THANKS FOR OPTING IN. THIS CAN CHANGE THE OUTCOME OF YOUR WRITING EXPERIENCE, AND CREATE A NEW CONTEXT FOR IT GOING FORWARD. IT CAN ALSO HELP TAKE YOUR STORY TO THE NEXT LEVEL. THIS IS MY SINCERE INTENTION AND HOPE.
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