Wednesday, July 13, 2011 by Larry Brooks

First off, go USA Women's soccer team today! We beat France in the semi-finals, and though some Americans have snarky things to say about the French, I love them. I lived there for 18 months and happen to adore them (and their chocolate).

So Blog Wednesday: Storyfix
I first heard about Larry Brooks, his website and books, when I was preparing to go to the 2011 LDStorymaker's Conference earlier this year. I signed up for his master class without knowing much about him. Then I attended his class. Let's just was a game changer.

My first impression of Larry Brooks was that he was a bit of a cocky cynic. He has been in the publishing industry for a long time, and some of his jokes reflected that. (Plus, he was majorly hitting on my beautiful, but married, friend Jaimie). BUT aside from all that, what he had to say in his master class was awe...some.  And here's what I learned:

I learned that writing a well structured story is a SCIENCE. No, I dont only believe in science like Escalito from Nacho Libre. Creativity is also crucial. But the importance of learning the physics of story structure is now apparent to me. My friend Kimberly Krey has a great post about this from yesterday: No Longer A Panster. Which is to say, not writing by the seat of your pants. But actually plotting out your book before you start. So that revisions aren't such H.E.double lollipops.

I learned about how studying screenplays, especially ones that really work, will help move your story to an unforgettable place. I like this method because I love movies. I have taken a better look at some of my favorite ones and tried to apply the effective strategies.

I learned the difference between THEME and CONCEPT. (BTW these are my notes...not his. I might say things differently).
Theme-is how your story relates to real life. Like: "Love is worth risking everything for." It is usually relates to the interior conflict of the protag.
Concept- is your big story idea. Like: "H.S. hearthrob is actually a sensitive vampire." It has to be big, fresh, compelling, original. And it usually relates to the exterior conflict of the protag. Her life is on the line.
Once I understood this difference, it helped me create a better story as a whole in my current ms. I actually left my previous ms. in the dust, and decided to start a new one from scratch with all that I learned in  mind.

I learned that the HOOK, the INCITING INCIDENT, the FIRST PLOT POINT, the SECOND-FOURTH PLOT POINTS, the CLIMAX, etc. all need attention. And honestly, I think implementing each one of these time-tested story structuring tools has helped me get to another level of the writing craft.

I learned a LOT more too, but that's enough for now. You should check Storyfix' sho'.


  1. Great post, my dear! And thanks for the mention. I have to say that since I started writing, I don't watch movies the same way. Though I'm still enjoying them (if they're good), my writer brain is taking notes about how it's done.

  2. I've learned so much too. It's such a steep learning curve, this writing biz. ;)

  3. Jessie - you just told my story in your example! Crap, now I've got to start over. Is everyone writing about the cool HS boy that's actually a sensitive vamp? Sheesh! LOL. I kid. Great info. Larry did seem cocky, but he knows his stuff.

  4. He definitely knows his stuff!

    And H.E. double lollipops made me snort very unladylike. (Not that you can really snort like a lady...)

  5. i remember when, like, two years ago i really internalized the idea of the inciting incident. Once i did that, my stories got markedly better. It was awesome

  6. Jessie,

    Thank you so much for stopping by From the Write Angle and commenting on my post. It allowed me to follow you here--great digs, by the way.

    You have a great sense of humor and a fun voice. Thanks for the run-down on Theme and Concept. I love to be enlightened by fellow writers.

  7. I love watching good movies too. It really helps me learn important concepts to making my novel better. I learned to write scenes by watching how movies were made. I'll check out that site.

  8. Very informative, thanks for sharing.