Thursday, January 25, 2018

UNDERSTANDING HUMAN NATURE - A New Seminar Series


You were the inspiration for this!

I have been, for a long time, very disappointed with the quality of stories that have been coming out of Hollywood and publishing. I have watched all of the nominated films this year and have read over 40 of the best-selling novels of 2017 and - across the board - I find them lacking.

Lacking in the power of great story-telling that was the hallmark of the stories of the late 20th Century.

And I am not alone.  I've polled some of the other leading writing teachers in our industry - McKee, Hauge, Truby, Allesandra, Vogler, Maass - and we all feel the same:

That while there is some great storytelling out there, especially in long-form television - most films and novels lack the personal drama and understanding of human beings that make a story great

For example, Robert McKee recently wrote to me and said:

"The most important source of knowledge for writers is self-knowledge. What we want in a writer is somebody who is aware of the processes of thought and feelings that go on inside of oneself, and possesses a sensitive mind to the truth of human behavior. Essentially, writers need to recognize bullshit in the people around them, and in themselves"

And the film director Tony Gilroy recently said in a speech to BAFTA:

A writer's career is capped - that is, completely limited - by their understanding of human nature."

This mirrors what I have believed for some time - that you must dig deep into what makes human being tick in order to write compelling stories.

I began approaching this in both of my recent seminar series STORYSKILLS and DEEP WRITING.  I have worked with many of my private clients on aspects of this as they seek to writing their individual stories and build their careers.

But more was necessary to make this work for each of you.

To that end, I have created a Master-level Workshop called Understanding Human Nature (UHN).  It is an eight-week audio course beginning in February 15th and will be debuted in a limited 20-student series designed for you (my dedicated readers and my past private students). This series was first offered at university late last year and received exceptional reviews, and I have created a home audio version to bring to you.

In it, we will:


·         Look at the events in your life and find how to relate them to your characters and your stories

·         Teach you how to write for real emotional impact, and to get down to the real drama that turns readers into fans

·         Show you how to make your stories have a dramatic and real effect on your readers.

This class is meant for any writer who is not satisfied with the power and impact they have in their own writing.  It's meant to bring about a life view-altering mind shift in the way you look at your life, the lives of those around you and the characters that you create.

The cost is $197 for returning and private students (it will go up to $395 when widely released) if you enroll before January 31st. It is first-come, first served and, as I mentioned, space is limited to just 20 people. Announcement to the general public will go out in the next few week.

To enroll, just send the fees through PayPal to account: aholcomb07@gmail.com and we’ll get you signed up

It has been my greatest goal as a teacher to bring back great story telling in my students and in myself. This seminar is designed to do just that.

I see this as an integral part of the work you and I will be doing in the months to come.  Please take a minute to sign up.

I hope I can see you there.  Call or drop me a line if you have any questions.

Until next time, keep writing!

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

The SUCCESS BOOT CAMP - Enrolling NOW!

Hi – This is Art Holcomb.

You know me . . .

You’ve read my posts here and on StoryFix.com and many of you have taken my seminars, so I know I can speak plainly with you.

So, let me ask you a question:

Are you happy with your progress as a writer?

I spend so much of my time as a writing teacher and mentor dealing with this seemingly simple question. But over the years and through working with hundreds of students, I know that it really goes deeper than that.

The real questions at play here are:

· Are you finishing what you start every time?
· Do you have the skills you know you need to succeed?
· Are you afraid to face your rewrite?
· Afraid to actually send your work out into the world?
· Are you getting the valuable critique that you need to really improve your writing?

I believe that, for the vast majority of aspiring writers, the answer to this is a resounding NO!

But here is the secret that you need to know.
It’s not your fault.

You’re out there working alone, hoping that your story will succeed. Book can help, but not enough. “Top Ten” lists and writing tips from the internet never go far enough to make a difference.

And hope itself will never be enough.

You simply cannot learn to write well without valuable guidance.

Why?
Because writing is a craft - a set of skills and experiences that can only come through training.  

And what you really need is:

· Real and valuable instruction on the craft of writing
· Timely feedback on your work to keep you on-track and on deadline
· A community of writers to share your successes and problems with
· And a system to get your work done right, on time, every time.

Simply put, any writer who does not have access to these four things may spend YEARS writing a story that never had a chance to succeed in the first place.

Now . . . is that you?

Have you been trying to do this all by yourself without help or feedback? Spinning you wheels and getting nowhere?

Years ago, I started offering my seminars because I found so many of you in this exact situation.
I found this intolerable and so should you . . .

And so, we have done something about it.

From January 8th to February 16th, we are offering
THE SUCCESS BOOT CAMP for writers. A six-week, internet-based course designed to give you the skills you need to succeed by leading you through the writing process.

During the six-week class, you will:

· Write and complete three (3) stories for publication
· Receive written notes and feedback from an expert novelist on each story
· Get guidance through the rewrite process
· Be shown how to submit that work to publisher eager to find your stories
· Be taught a proven system for getting your work done simply and quickly every time.

There will be a weekly seminar that you can listen to at your convenience, as well as video instruction from some of the best writers in the business. And we’ll show you the same techniques that famous writers have used to learn their craft over the past century – that is, learning the skills of the novelist and screenwriter by learning to write short pieces that will receive the critique you need to improve every aspect of your writing. And we’ll all join together on conference calls to discuss our experiences and learn from our fellow writers.

And we’re lucky enough to be joined by Howard V. Hendrix, award-winning author of seven novels and countless short stories, who will be providing the expert notes for each writer!

In all, a boot camp to make you a better writer - all in six week - from the convenience of your own computer.

This boot camp is the same tool I use in my private practice to help new writers begin their careers, now available to you.

We start on January 8th. And since you have joined us on some of our other seminars,
we’re offering the boot camp to you for $495 (usually $695 – that’s nearly 30% off).

We only have a limited on spots left and we will be closing enrollment on January 1st.

So - if you’re interested, reply to this email (
aholcomb07@gmail.com) and we’ll personally be in touch right away.

We’ve had great success with this series in the past and some of our past students will be joining us to help you along.

Don’t you owe it to yourself, your dreams of writing, and the fans that are out there just waiting for you, to join us now.

Think of it - by the end of spring, you could have stories under submission and valuable tools to use to improve your writing . . .

. . . by the beginning of summer, everything to change for the better.

Remember – time and space are limited. Respond today and we’ll get you started.

I really look forward to having you join us.

Keep Writing!

Art

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Let me tell you about the best story you'll ever write in your life




What are three things that are absolutely true about the best story you will ever write in your life?
  • It will be VAULABLE: You will sell it for the most money in the history of your career
  • It will be MEANINGFUL: It will a deeply personal statement about who you really are - as told through fiction
  • It will be RARE: You will look back at the end of your life and say "my career changed the day I wrote this".
And here's a truth:  I know you haven't written this story yet - and it's not your fault.

The problem lies in the way we all work today.

I've trained novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, comic book creators and professional business communicators on the art of storytelling and we all have had one thing in common:

We do not teach ourselves to write DEEPLY and AUTHENTICALLY.

Consider for a moment:

 - Modern society demands us to multitask, to cram in our writing time within the busy schedule and hectic life of the 21st Century and accept the fact that this is the way it must be.

 - Modern training for most of you relies on the Internet and books, which are filled with Tips, Hints, Hacks, Top-Ten Lists and the ridiculously named "SECRETS TO WRITING" - that may tell you WHAT to do but never explains just HOW TO DO IT!

 - Modern Life that never gives you enough time and energy to really get down to the story that you really want to tell - the story you see so clearly in your imagination.

But the best writers in the world treat their work - and their time - much differently. Their success depends upon it.

In our new seminar series DEEP WRITING, we'll teach you how to write as they do -  and show you how to:
  • Create your SACRED HOUR - a time EVERYDAY for serious writing - no matter how busy your life
  • Eliminate the distractions and demands on your attention as you write
  • Show you the techniques of DEEP FOCUS - by actually LIVING in the story as you write it
  • Create a system for instantly jumping deeply back into your work within seconds - anytime and anywhere
  • NEVER have to wait for inspiration again - because inspiration is YOUR ENEMY!
  • Forget about GOALS and create valuable SYSTEMS FOR SUCCESS for your writing instead
  • Understand the incredible value of WRITING RITUALS
  • Learn from the natural way you like to write - and maximize that time and effort once and for all
This seminar is for any writer who is unhappy with the progress they're making (or NOT making), who knows they can do much better work if they could just find the time and focus - and who knows they owe it to themselves to finally get serious about reaching a new level in their work.

We recently launched this new seminar series and we're offering you the opportunity to sign up at a reduced price.

The six-week series is usually $397 - but you can sign up for only $197 - more than 50% off. But this price is available for only a short time!

As with all of our audio seminars, they are delivered weekly to you, and you can listen to them of your smartphone, tablet or computer whenever you like (many of our students listen to them on their daily commute).

To join us, just send $197 through PayPal to account: aholcomb07@gmail.com and we'll get you signed up.

And, as a bonus, the series comes with its own workbook and checklists to help you implement the ideas inside.

Don't you owe it to yourself to reach the next level in your writing? Come and join us today.

Remember -  the reduced price of $197 is only good through November 15th. After that, it goes back to the original price.

I really look forward to having you join us.

Keep writing!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Introducing our UNFAIR ADVANTAGE Package





Hi – this is Art:

That’s really what we all want, right?  An unfair advantage over the SYSTEM as a writer! 

A way to navigate all the creative blocks, the isolation and the resistance - all the things that stop us from getting the stories we see in our head down onto the page - and into the hand of the people we know could be our next real fan.

Over the years that I have trained screenwriters, novelists and playwrights, I’ve found that the same problems, traps and pitfalls occur in every writer’s life – stumbling blocks that every writer faces on a regular basis. 

And here’s the truth: You’ll only succeed as a writer if you have the tools to face these problems head on.

That’s why I created this special one-time educational package – to give you the tools you need to sail over these problems once and for all.

The package includes the following:

My new eBook, The Art of Preparation: a collection of all the things you need to consider before you start writing your next story. 

In it, we discuss:

  • Writing in Marble or Clay – learning how to make the most out of the natural way that you already write.
  • Understanding Theme: learning what it is that you really have to say - and getting it and onto the page.
  • The Emotional Rulebook: How to understand why your characters do what they do and how to make them authentic and compelling.
  • The String of Pearls: How to plot a great story without understanding structure.

In addition, you’ll receive four  - FOUR - of my best seminars:

- Creating Great Characters: Your characters are the heart of your stories. Understanding what makes a character compelling is the difference between a boring read and a story you just can’t put down.

 - Defeating Procrastination: This beast can be stop cold unless you know the secret of why you procrastinate and have the tools to defeat it.

 - Eliminating Writer’s Block: This can be a career –breaker, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn the secret to plowing through this obstacle once and for all.

 - How to be a Successful Writer in the 21st Century: Being a success today looks nothing like it did just 20 years ago.  The market and the world has changed. Here are the tools you need to find your own, personal success.

These resources have never been offered like this before!

And this package is only availableto those of you who have either joined me in person for one of my classes or have taken one of my on-line seminars in the past - this is not yet available to the general public.

Normally valued at $395, you can receive the entire package – a great eBook and four of my best seminars – for only $147if you act now.

Because this offer is only good until September 30th

***To enroll, just send the fee of $147 through PayPal to account: aholcomb07@gmail.com and we’ll get you signed up.

This is a special offer limited to my group of students who are committed to growing as a writer. Why not join us in building your writers toolbox – and having the career you really deserve.

Remember – this deal will only be offered through the end of this month – September 30th.  Act today!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

NEW SEMINAR - Writing The CINEMATIC Novel

Hi - this is Art:

It is a lifelong dream of most novelists to have their novel made into a feature film.   In fact, more than 80% of all movies made today are based on novels and other source materials. 

But did you know that you can greatly increase your odds of making that sale to Hollywood simply by understanding what makes a great adaptation.  Many writers today- like John Le Carre, Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, and others - write in such a way as to grab the attention of directors, actors, producers and major film studios with each new work. They write stories meant for this world-wide audience . . .

. . . and you can too!

I created this course based on my years as a story consultant and writing teacher.  I’m lucky enough to stand at the intersection of these two worlds – I train both screenwriters and novelists - and understand the skills and techniques common to both. And more importantly, we know that, while a novel can reach thousands, successful films are able to reach millions -  and one successful book made into a hit movie, such as Andrew Weir’s The Martian, can give a writer a very successful career.

The 6-week class includes such topics as:

·         What do a great book and a great movie have in common
·         The Novelist’s Guide to Basic Screenwriting
·         The Foundation of it all – The Story
·         Perfecting your cinematic premise
·         Film Story Structure
·         Writing Characters that live on the screen
·         Theme and The Secret to the Narrative Question
·         Understanding The Audience’s Journey
·         The Location/Setting as Characters
·         Pacing
·         How to GRAB THEM and HOLD THEM
·         How to Write Winning Scenes

The class includes weekly audios videos and a workbook to put your ideas and techniques into practice. You can listen to the talks and watch the videos at your leisure on any tablet, smartphone or computer at any time – forever!

The class also includes its own Facebook Group and conference calls where all students can get together and discuss the work.

The course begins on August 15th and normally costs $395 but you can enroll  for the reduced price of $197!

To enroll, just send the fee of $197 through PayPal to account: aholcomb07@gmail.com and we’ll get you signed up.

Remember, spaces are limited.

If you have any questions, feel free to write me at aholcomb07@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Come and join us increasing your possibilities as a writer. 

I hope to see you there.

Art

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The SUMMER SUCCESS BOOT CAMP - ONLY 5 DAYS LEFT!

*** UPDATE:  There are only FIVE (5)  DAYS LEFT to get the SUMMER SUCCESS BOOT CAMP at more than 50% Off!  See below for more information on how to enroll!  Don't wait -  there are only FOUR SEATS LEFT!!!!***


Hi – This is Art Holcomb.

You know me . . .

You’ve read my work and have taken my seminars, so I know I can speak plainly with you.

So, let me ask you a question:

Are you happy with your progress as a writer?

I spend so much of my time as a writing expert dealing with this seemingly simple question. But over the years and through working with hundreds of students, I know that it really goes deeper than that.

The real questions at play here are:

· Are you finishing what you start every time?
· Do you have the skills you know you need to succeed?
· Are you afraid to face your rewrite?
· Afraid to actually send your work out into the world?
· Are you getting the valuable critique that you need to really improve your writing?

I believe that, for the vast majority of aspiring writers, the answer to this is a resounding NO!

But here is the secret that you need to know.

It’s not your fault.

You’re out there working alone, hoping that your story will succeed. Book can help, but not enough. “Top Ten” lists and writing tips from the internet never go far enough to make a difference.

And hope itself will never be enough.

You simply cannot learn to write well without valuable guidance.

Why? Because writing is a craft - a set of skills and experiences that can only come through training.  

And what you really need is:

· Real and valuable instruction on the craft of writing
· Timely feedback on your work to keep you on-track and on deadline
· A community of writers to share your successes and problems with
· And a system to get your work done right, on time, every time.

Simply put, any writer who does not have access to these four things may spend YEARS writing a story that never had a chance to succeed in the first place.

Now . . . is that you?

Have you been trying to do this all by yourself without help or feedback? Spinning you wheels and getting nowhere?

Years ago, I started offering my seminars because I found so many of you in this exact situation.

I found this intolerable and so should you . . .

And so, we have done something about it.

From July 1st to August 15th, we are offering THE SUCCESS BOOT CAMP for writers. A six-week, internet-based course designed to give you the skills you need to succeed by leading you through the writing process.

During the six-week class, you will:

· Write and complete three (3) stories for publication
· Receive written notes and feedback from an expert novelist on each story
· Get guidance through the rewrite process
· Be shown how to submit that work to publisher eager to find your stories
· Be taught you a proven system for getting your work done simply and quickly every time.

There will be a weekly seminar that you can listen to at your convenience, as well as video instruction from some of the best writers in the business. And we’ll show you the same techniques that famous writers have used to learn their craft over the past century – that is, learning the skills of the novelist and screenwriter by learning to write short pieces that will receive the critique you need to improve every aspect of your writing. And we’ll all join together on conference calls to discuss our experiences and learn from our fellow writers.

And we’re lucky enough to be joined by Howard V. Hendrix, award-winning author of seven novels and countless short stories, who will be providing the expert notes for each writer!

In all, a boot camp to make you a better writer - all in six week - from the convenience of your own computer.

This boot camp is the same tool I use in my private practice to help new writers begin their careers, now available to you.

We start on July 1st. And since you have joined us on some of our other seminars, we’re offering the boot camp to you for $395 (usually $695 – that more than 50% off).

We only have a limited on spots left and we will be closing enrollment on June 21st.

So - if you’re interested, reply to this email and we’ll personally be in touch right away.

We’ve had great success with this series in the past and some of our past students will be joining us to help you along.

Don’t you owe it to yourself, your dreams of writing, and the fans that are out there just waiting for you, to join us now.

Think of it - by the end of summer, you could have stories under submission and valuable tools to use to improve your writing . . .

. . . by the end of summer, everything to change for the better.

Remember – time and space are limited. Respond today and we’ll get you started.

I really look forward to having you join us.

Keep Writing!

Art





Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Character / Plot Connection

I’ll tie this all together at the end, so stay with me . . .

I want to begin with a story about growing up with my 10-year old brother Ray and his Hot Wheels tracks.

Ray loved Hot Wheels from the moment he first saw them. If you don’t remember, Hot Wheels was a system of cool replica cars and these road segments that you could configure all-which- ways to make more and more elaborate tracks. Click here to see them in all their glory.

Ray started out with just one set but kept adding more and more parts. He collected all the tracks from several different kits, borrowed pieces from his friends and went on to build more and more elaborates stunt track formations – loops, 90, 180, 270 degree turns. Twists and jumps. At some point, he went beyond the guidelines of the toy manufacturers and created lay-outs that no one had thought of.

Sometimes the cars would make it through to the end and he’d get so excited. Sometimes the cars flew off the track – maybe they were going too fast, or the turn was too steep and the car couldn’t handle – but he kept pushing the cars to do the most elaborate and interesting tricks.


The All-Important Test

And the way he tested these configurations was very simple. He had very basic criteria
  • Did they make it to the end of the track?
    Did the cars perform the way he wanted?
    Was it exciting?
He pushed himself to make more unique and death-defying configurations. But the test was always the same. Could the car perform? Could the car make it all the way to the end, instead of spinning off of one of the loops or turns?

He spent hours designing configurations and then choosing just the right car for each.

Remember that.


The Truth about Plot

So – What is the true definition of a plot?

It is the mechanism by which the truth and humanity of a given character is delivered to the audience.

And, in the argument of what is more important – Character or Plot – I believe that character wins every time.

Why?

Because there are only a limited number of master plots and an assortment of variations;

But there are an infinite number of unique characters!

Each – both plot and character – are vitally necessary to the process of storytelling.


The Job of the Audience

And what is the difference between a plot (that just relates a series of events) and a story that is compelling to an audience?

It’s Audience Engagement.

And the storyteller’s purpose? – to keep the audience doing their job – which is, staying engaged in the story.

Engagement means that the audience must be made to work for their supper.

Because a good story is not meant to be like syrup poured over pancakes – giving all the elements PRE-CHEWED to the reader or viewer. A good story is not something that HAPPENS to the audience.

The audience, in order to stay engaged, must be constantly longing to find out what happens next. So long as that’s going on, the story is working; you have them just where you want them.

And, more importantly, the Audience is just where THEY want (and need) to be.


You as the Imagineer!

Imagine a story like a roller coaster and you’re the designer.

Your job is to create the RIDE. Everything is under your control.

You decide everything: the length of the ride, the timing, length and details of every twists and turns, rise and drop.

Everything they will see, hear, think and feel is completely under your control

Don’t think for a moment that Space Mountain at Disneyland – or any other roller coaster you’ve ever been on – is about anything other than the drama of the moment and the rider’s emotional reaction to it.

The rider enjoys it because the designers did their job well.

It’s exactly the same with story.


To Wrap this Whole Thing up . . .


Let’s return to the story on my brother and his Hot Wheels.

Ray worked to get the most out of each part of his equipment. He pushed the limits of the track to get the best out of the cars. And he pushed the cars to get the best out of the track.

This is exactly how I see writers and their plots in the best stories. 

This is the nature of the all-important Character/Plot Connection

A Story is about the WHOLE of what you create.

The plot is how we put the characters through their paces, show the extent of what they can do.

But it is through our characters that we illustrate to the world the truth and humanity of our lives.

Your stories are ultimately judged by the success of this interplay.

Because, as my young brother knew, you build the track to race the cars and you race the cars so that the crowds in the stands can feel the thrill.

It is as simple as that.

Goodnight, Ray . .