Story Coaching — The Enhanced $195 Level

          The Amazing $195 Professional Full-Plan Story Coaching  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 $195 full story-arc evaluation (read more on THIS page)… and a shorter Kick-Start level $95 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 $450 (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 $195 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.

What’s Involved

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 synopsis 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 $195.  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.  A short synopsis (using up the 3000 word limit) is welcomed, at your option.

Or, rather than a synopsis, use my “9-sentences” model to relate your story.  This counts toward your 12-page/3000 word 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 ($195) via Paypal (destination: 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.

The Outcome/Deliverable

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 $195 base ($245 total), which in essence will put you at the front of the line, resulting in your feedback within TWO BUSINESS DAYS.  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, 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 195 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 $95 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.)





Contact Information:


Paypal: use the above email address as payee/destination information.

Or use the drop-down menu on the Home Page.


{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Bonnita Davidtsz August 12, 2012 at 1:50 am

Hi Larry, Many thanx for latest post. Absolutely GREAT as is your norm. So sorry ab yr ankle. Get well soon. Pse book me in for the full manuscript enchilada. Take care.

Shaughn Marlowe August 12, 2012 at 6:27 am

I wondered what happened to you. I must have missed that you intended to decrease the number of your hyperactive newsletters. I tend to be a determined plodder and stand in awe of your prodigious literary output. However, I find it difficult to separate chaff from grain in your newsletters. The sheer amount of verbiage, clever as it is, sometimes obscures the point you make.

For example, the latest rant about writers claiming not to pre-know their story endings is a study in semantics. I’m one of those writers who makes no formal outline, but outlines in his head, AND I actually live the story in my head, for months or however long it takes, revising the storyline where necessary as I go along (plus many overall revisions when the work is complete). I do not know the specific ending of a story, but I have a general idea of its direction, and I do, at times, have the feeling that the story is writing itself through the characters becoming real in my head. Bottom line? Each writer has his/her own process. Whatever works for that person is fine. If it’s NOT working, change it. That’s where your process analysis can be helpful.

As I see it , your primary genius as an advisor is with wannabe writers who need to have the basics of storytelling pounded into their obtuse heads with a jackhammer. I’m a more seasoned writer, with two self-published books, and a third completed manuscript forty years in the making, but my marketing skills are extremely weak. I need to stop writing and start selling (blogs, query letters, etc. for my third book, a memoir). My question is this: Do you critique all genres? Or, do you specialize in the more popular, formulaic ones, like romance, mystery, etc.?

My first book of original humorous vignettes was an experiment, the second antebellum historical novel, UNDER THE LION’S PAW, is available on Amazon and Kindle. The third manuscript, UNITY OF OPPOSITES: A Memoir of Social and Spiritual Rebirth (spiritual in the sense of all-inclusive religious views) is in need of a traditional publisher, if possible. I would like your opinion on a synopsis and/or chapter outline and/or query letter, along with agent referrals for this type of memoir, if possible and, most important, a referral to a marketing specialist I can trust (many advertise online, but I can’t trust them to provide what they claim to offer).

I trust YOUR expertise, Larry, but do not know if it includes critiquing of a memoir, although this one does employ ficition techniques, like dialogue and fast-pacing. And I doubt if you provide agent or marketing referrals, but no harm in asking (I have agent Paula Balzar, affiliated with Writers Digest, in mind to query first, but I need to make the story as perfect as possible before I begin the query process).


Shaughn Marlowe
1214 Puerto Rico Av.
Alamogordo, NM 88310

Steven Daniel August 12, 2012 at 6:40 am

Hello Larry,
Sorry to hear about the foot. Gives butt-in-chair a whole new meaning.
I am finalizing my manuscript to send out to some agents that I met at the PNWA meeting three weeks ago.
Your offer is a perfect opportunity to help with this process. Count me in for the limited review. It sounds like a great deal and I’m not in a hurry. I want to do this right.
Meantime, heal, baby, heal.

Christine Lind August 12, 2012 at 7:50 am

Hi Larry – It was wonderful to sit down this morning relaxing with my first cup of coffee in my robe and terry flip flops enjoying every morsel of your newsletter. But now I feel like it’s Black Friday and need to get dressed! I’m getting in line as early as I can and order the questionaire today. Even though your last feedback has been very helpful – I’m still early in my structure part to get clarification on it all. I know the questionaire will save me time in the long run.

cheryl petty August 12, 2012 at 8:34 am

hi larry, great getting your newsletter this am. altho I am devastated that fareed is not on cnn (plagiarism) your newsletter was a pick me up. put me on your list, I’m getting my paypal started.
feedback on willamette sessions: I LOVED your style. I like to say you speak like a machine gun, spitting out bullets of ideas, while I’m in the front row scribbling like crazy, grabbing what I can. Your motivational speaker style jacked me up and got my juice running. thanks for your energy.
I knew I wanted to analyze my pile of words (my ms) but didn’t have any tools. thanks to your toolbox I’ve been boring into my story mechanics these past several days with post-its and your big tent handout. I think I’ve already started the analysis, following your “Questions you must ask….” handout.

mindy sitton-halleck August 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Loved the newsletter, Larry. Thanks for the mention.

Gabi Coatsworth August 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm

You should have the money by now…looking for5ward to the bquestio9nnaire. The timing is perfect; I’m just revising and nI know the structure could do with some scaffolding :)

Gabi Coatsworth August 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Jeez. My typing is terrible. Sorry. Anything submitted will be proofed.

Todd Hudson August 13, 2012 at 10:20 am

Great idea, Larry. Now whenever I actually get something going (a novel centering around procrastination, perhaps?), I’ll know where to come.
thanks as always

Tonii Kelly August 16, 2012 at 2:23 am

Need a reference? I’ve got it for you: your questionnaire and resulting comments have

Monica T. Rodriguez August 16, 2012 at 9:21 am

I was thrilled to see you offering this. I can’t wait to have your eyeballs on my outline. My only question is how long you expect to offer this. While this is a terrific offer at a great price, I’ve had very little work lately, so it’s hard to justify any expense at this point. I hope to have some money coming in soon, and I’ll be able to jump on this. I just don’t want to miss the opportunity.
Thanks for all your hard work!

Matthew Shields August 28, 2012 at 9:40 am

Larry, I’ve seen you dropping hints about this for awhile and was just waiting for the launch. Payment sent, my Indiana Jones hat is on, I’m ready for the adventure. XD

mindy sitton-halleck August 29, 2012 at 8:49 am

I’m sorry but I just had to comment on a post above; I find it interesting that someone felt the need to insult Larry’s services and then ask for his help. He’s a big guy and can take the hit, but I just had to remark on the condescending note regarding the note sender’s expertise as a ‘self published’ author and comments like, “As I see it, your primary genius as an advisor is with wannabe writers who need to have the basics of storytelling pounded into their obtuse heads with a jackhammer” Statements like that insult both Larry and his readers. There are more gracious ways to ask for help. Just sayin’.

Janet Taylor September 4, 2012 at 7:43 am

First– AGREED, mindy sitton-halleck!!

Uh– does the above poser–erm, sorry… poster condescend much or what?? I have yet to find a ounce of chaff among Larry’s newsletters, if one has but the wit to absorb it. And I say that any so-called “seasoned writer” that is not yet published (and even many who are) should be more than happy to avail themselves of these services.
As one of the “wanna-bes” mentioned above.. I’m happy to have that jackhammer in place.

Anyway- Just signed up for the new program, and am thrilled to pieces! Larry’s ideas have changed the way I think about writing forever, and I can’t wait to get some insight from the man himself!!

Kate MacNicol September 7, 2012 at 6:45 am

I think this is brilliant and if I wasn’t already working with an editor, I’d jump on it. You’ve changed how I write for the better in so many ways I can’t possibly list them all and I know that anyone who signs up for your new venture will have awesome insights into their books, their writing and themselves as writers — not just for one book but for the remainder of their careers. Keep us posted on how it’s working for you and what you’re learning from the experience.

Looking forward to your next book, fiction and nonfiction!

Matthew Shields September 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I have finished the Larry Brooks Coaching Adventure! I just want to say that it was easily worth at least four times more than what I paid A) for time it saved me and B) for the increased confidence I have in my story now as I continue with my rough draft. Thanks Larry!

Matthew Shields September 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm

For anyone that didn’t notice, Larry posted the Story Coaching Adventure questionnaire!

Janys Mikel October 2, 2012 at 7:54 am

I really liked this post. I have finished a novel, had it professionally edited and am not working on marketing it. I am trying to learn all I can about the process. This is harder than teaching. I am so glad I am retired.

Gail Owens October 13, 2012 at 9:39 am

Larry, I just read about your $100 ‘ticket’ offer and couldn’t be more excited. I am an unapologetic wanna be writer who knows a golden opportunity when she sees it. I will gladly/definately take you up on the offer. Thank you so much!

David October 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Dear Larry and readers…

The story engineering book was my number-one read out of a hundred ‘how to’ books ordered from Amazon on everything from characterization to plot summary to emotional stimulation, structure , outlining, writing a novel, etc; Larry takes you from start to finish and pretty much covers all the bases, with a voice that makes it hard to put down the book. It was not a hard read at all! Very inspiring and very helpful. I went ahead and plunged in with my $100 because, well, so far the lessons learned have been astronomical. I’m trying not to make this sound like a commercial for Larry but I can’t get over how helpful he has been for me. Even that questionnaire, at first, seemed repetitive from the engineering book, but I went ahead and have been doing it 100%, and guess what? It helped me fill in blanks in the book by answering all the questions; after skipping questions I went back and forced myself to answer all the questions and the ones I had skipped opened up doorways that patched up my plot, just through the nature of how the questions were asked. So again, I tip my hat to you sir, and look forward to submitting my work for feedback, which I am sure will be inspiring as well. Thanks again,


Jacques November 30, 2012 at 9:46 am

ok i just payed. im really excited.
hope to get the material soon.

John Baxter January 15, 2013 at 2:24 pm

If you are considering having Larry do a structure analysis of your story, my advice is to DO IT. I recently received my analysis back from Larry, and if you read his response, you would likely say, “Why in the world would you recommend this? He ripped your story apart. You must be devastated.” Actually, I’m very pleased. I made some mistakes (well, a lot), and Larry set me on the right path. Here’s the primary mistake I made: I had my story long before I discovered Story Engineering. I tried to shoe horn my story into the four quadrants, selecting scenes that I thought fit the core competencies. I started with my story, when I should have started with assuring I had a compelling concept (I thought I did, nope, it’s weak). My story was doomed from the start. My advice if you sign up, is to not make the mistake I made. Start with the principles Larry teaches, and build from there. Don’t try to fit your story to the competencies, without 1) making sure you have a compelling concept, and 2) the plot points and pinch points cause a change, establish a mission, create a goal, move the story forward. All this is covered in Story Engineering and on this site, but it is easy to be too close to your story and go at it from the wrong direction. Consider that what you are attempting to structure may need to be rethought.

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