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 . .






Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Fragments of Once Whole Things

“The beautiful thing about a mosaic is that it is best when made up of the broken fragments of once whole things.”


Your characters are very much like that. Whether we want admit it or not, each of our characters is such a mosaic, made up of those conscious pieces we assemble and those unconscious fragments that we bring to the work.  And how could it be anything else? We are always the real source of all the tools and raw materials for our stories. We bring each character to our stories like a comet, seeing only the fiery tail, but knowing that it is the unseen – the fireball of our imagination and experiences – that is the real cause of that streak in the sky.
But how do we access that?  How can we really get in touch with what we believe?  How can we come to know ourselves?
One way is to look at our writings for quotes from our characters.  Their words are our words too, especially when they seem to disagree with who we think we are, or when they say something unwittingly profound.
If we believe that someday people will be quoting lines from our own works, why not beat them to it, and see what you can learn about yourself.
Let me serve as an example:  In preparing this post, I combed through my personal writing for quotes by my characters that, while seeming natural when I wrote them, now seem to reveal something new about how I might actually feel.
Here are a couple of examples:
From F8 – A Shade Story:
“Circumstances are revealed in the crime; character, in the cover-up.”
“The defining moments in the history of Mankind lie not in what a person CAN do, but in what a person Will or Will Not do.”
“A slap is just a very fast, very hard caress.”

From A Siren of Turbine
“Life is collaboration with victims.
“Beneath every desert, at some reachable depth, lies a spring.”
“Your wounds are like the knives you carry. There’s the one that you’ll show them, the one that you’ll let them find and the one they’ll never know you have.”

From Perfecting Your Premise:
“There has to be a High Country in every story where the derring-do is done.”
“Plot only matters when it is the means to transformation.”
“Every character has that one core value – that one unshakable belief – that is their impediment to growth.”

Through this second look, I found deeper meaning in these quotes than what they meant for the story. Why not pull some out of your own writing and give them a second look. And feel free to share them with us here through the Comment section.
You might just learn something new.

NEXT TIME:  More about our new seminar series for 2017!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Is This Your Problem Too?

I just came back from the largest annual writer's conference in Los Angeles and spent time listening to the triumphs and problems of over 200 writers.

Here's a truth that they told me.

I am not anywhere near where I  REALLY want to be with my writing.

And all of you reading this now...

You know it's true.

And I know it's true.

You are not putting in the time you need to make your work exception - and it bothers you because you do not know why.

Ask yourself:
  • Am I getting my writing finished?
  • Is there something that's keeping me from the keyboard?
  • Do I feel guilty sometimes because I'm not making the headway that I know I should be making with my writing?
  • What's really holding me back?
You're not alone.  I work with professional writer every day in my private practice - and they can have the same problem: the real world is constantly intruding on our lives.  It's hard to find the time or the peace and quiet and sometimes getting the words out and on to the page is like pulling teeth. 

I've learned that truly everyone goes through this - and I mean EVERYONE - at some point in their life.  I work with professional writers everyday who have faced these same struggles - writer whose income and livelihood DEPEND on their ability to produce . It can be one of the most serious hurdles any writer can face.

But it doesn't have to be so hard.

There is a way out.  A way that can make writing easier again - the way it was in the beginning.

What you need is a new approach to the work, a new way of looking at your talent and skills that can give you the confidence to move forward.

My career is build around helping professional writers succeed and I've helped over 500 professional screenwriters and novelists over my career get back on track. People who make a good living as writers.  They can literally not afford to let fear and procrastination affect them - and neither can you. 

The same techniques they use can help you too.

I've put together a teleseminar on eliminating procrastination and the fears that writers face.  It's entitled: PROCRASTINATION - How to Defeat it Forever!

In it, we'll cover:
  • The Journey that every writer makes through their career
  • Every possible reason that you may have to procrastinate - and a way to break through each of them
  • How to make sure you're able everyday to hit the ground running
  • The truth about Writer's Block and how to eliminate if from your life forever.
  • The three techniques professionals use to create quality work quickly
  • The realityabout the fear you may be facing - what it really is and how you can turn it from problem to motivating asset
Procrastinations a real problem  And it's impossible to be a successful writer without facing this issue head on.  I have shown my working screenwriters and novelists how to eliminate it from their lives -  and I will show you how the very same techniques can work for you.

The seminar will be launched on February 20th and would normally be $79 - but for the next week, I'm making it available to you for just $47 - if you sign up by February 10th.

Here's what some of my clients have said about the seminar.

      "Art's techniques got me from dreading my writing to making it the greatest thing I do all day.  I finally got my novel finished and I'll be able to do my next one in half the time. - Peter R.

     "I was amazed!  By just facing some truths and learning more about who I am as a writer, I found my output increase three fold. - Sheila B
   
    "I didn't think anything would get me back to my writing, I just couldn't finish anything.  But Art showed me where I had strayed of coarse and now my writing is getting finished and I'm starting new projects.  Thanks so much, Art!" - Peter W.

The teleseminar can be available to you at anytime through your computer or phone - to listen to whenever you need the boost, And the special price of $47 means that you can get your writing back on track - you can feel the joy of writing once more - for less than the price of dinner out for two.

To order, you can either:

(1)   Send $47 to PayPal (to account:
aholcomb07@gmail.com)

Or

(2)   Send a check for $47 to

Art Holcomb
3404 Donder Court
Suite 201
Riverside, CA 92507-4033

It's a small price to pay to change the way you write forever.

Make a difference in your own life today.  Become the writer you know you can be.

Take this small step into a much bigger world.  Join us today.

Art

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Write your own particular story


When you’re writing your particular story, it’s natural for you to wonder how it will appeals to the public. 

However, it’s okay if the answer is “it doesn’t.” Your work doesn’t need to appeal to everyone because all writers carve out their own particular niche.

Consider for a moment: as Seth Godin in a recent post says, most businesses (and writing is most certainly a business on some level) are built on a customer base that could be described as “almost no one.”

Most people in the world—or even just the country you live in—don’t visit your favorite restaurant or read your favorite author’s books. We all know about big name companies and that’s great, but lots of smaller businesses, freelancers, and artists thrive even though most people don’t know their names.

Rare indeed is a market where everyone is active.

We think we’re designing and selling to everyone, but that doesn’t match reality. It makes no sense at all to dumb down your best work to appeal to the longtime bystander, because the bystander isn’t interested. And it certainly makes no sense to try to convert your biggest critics, because they’ve got a lot at stake in their role of being your critic
.

Clearly, that doesn’t mean that you can reject any criticism you ever get because “Well, it’s not for you.”

It does mean that if you can find an audience for the work you do, then you can write and create as you please, tell the stories you long to tell and speak the truth of your soul as you know it.

All that matters is that it appeals to your audience, not to everyone in the world.

(Inspired by a great post in Lifehacker)









Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Our Year End Sale!!!

*** We're offering the extremely popular STORYSKILLS audio seminar class for only $147 dollars through January.  This is the lowest price ever for the class, and I want you to have the skills you need to be successful in the new year. See the message below on how to join at this very special price***



Hi – this is Art Holcomb

Let me ask you a question . . .

Is this you?

 - You have a story idea but do not know where to begin?

 - Are you looking for some real, valuable and useful training to start your writing career?

 - Are you stuck in the middle of your story, unable to complete your wok?

 - Are you tired of the "writing tidbits" and "top ten lists" that promise to help you, but that don't seem to work with your story?


I've been teaching professional writers (novelists with their first sales and screenwriters you have optioned movie scripts) for more than a decade, getting people from their most basic idea through to their finished drafts of their passion projects.

But I know that there are others out there who need information and help getting their first work completed.

Several years ago, I created a ten-week audio study course for my professional clients – working novelists, screenwriters, playwrights and graphic novel creators, which lays out my personal way to teaching story creation for people who were interested in becoming working, highly paid writers. A way of looking at the process of storytelling that was unlike anything ever seen.

I came to realize that the same skills are needed by beginners.

The course is called StorySkills and was the foundation of my “Two Drafts – Two Polishes” approach to writing. The goal here was to get these working writers to think about their skills, talents and abilities is a whole new way. It incorporates the whole of my 20 year career and experience as a teacher, author and widely read columnist on Story and Craft for Creative Screenwriting Magazine.

In short, it’s the cornerstone of my approach.

StorySkills works like this: 

Every Monday for ten weeks, you will receive a seminar that you can listen to on your smartphone or computer, and it’s available to you forever. You can listen to whenever and wherever you like - when you need an inspiration of a tune-up on your skills.

The ten-week curriculum is as follows:

Week 1 - Training:
The “Process”: A program to train you to create stories quickly and organically
Perfecting your skills: Using what you already know to your best advantage
Refining your method: Filling in the gaps in your natural process

Week 2 - Premise:
Finding New Ideas: Seeing the World of Story all around you
Perfecting your Premise: Starting right – ending right
How to build a story: The 10 steps every story needs

Week 3 - Process: 
Do you write in Marble or Clay? - Making the most out of your natural process
Two Drafts – Two Polishes: Getting the most out of your writing time

Week 4 - Depth:
Your “Personal Story Arc”: Using your life as the power behind your writing
The “Two Questions”: The guiding principles behind all great writing

Week 5 – Procrastination:
The Reasons why we procrastinate
How to stop procrastinating forever

Week 6 - Pre-Write:

Intro to Story Dreaming: Why the typing is that LAST thing you need to do
The “String of Pearls”: Stop worrying about structure and create great scenes naturally

Week 7 - Theme:
The Central Question: Answering the story question you most want to ask
Your Personal Themes: Understanding the real power behind your talent

Week 8 - Plot:
Obligatory scenes: Understanding the only two important parts to any story
Set-up and Pay-off: How to truly make a story compelling
“The Chain”: Scene and sequel

Week 9 - Character:
The Rule Book: Understanding your character's true motivation
The Relationship Chart: The real power behind great characters
The Protagonist/Audience Connection: The true path to finding your fans

Week 10 - Flow:
The Cabin by the Lake: The secret to instant motivation
Pomodoro: The key to great productivity
Achieving a Flow State: Write deeply no matter where you are

I’m very proud of the series. It has been used by more than 700 working writers here in the US and Canada, each one dedicated to making a career of writing. The series has been so successful that, starting next year, I will be teaching it internationally in 2017 – and it will be translated into Spanish, French, Italian and Cantonese.

As my way of saying thanks for joining me so far, I will be offering it for a brief time at a VERY reduced price!

Regularly, it is $497 – but it is available to you for more than 60% off – for only $147 until January!

In addition to the ten seminars, you’ll get these other FREE bonuses:
  • The teleseminar and workbook, Ten Steps to Building a Better Story– usually $79, but yours free.
  • My new collection of the best writing articles that internet has to offer, each one with information I believe is truly valuable to you now. Over 50 pages of great advice – all free to you when you sign-up for StorySkills.
  • My list of the only writing books you will ever need. The best of what’s available from the best teachers today. The list is yours FREE when you join StorySkills.

So to get the ten week StorySkills seminars, the Character seminar/workbook, the collection of great articles and my list of ten great writing books, all you have to do is either:

(1) Send $147 to PayPal (to account: aholcomb07@gmail.com)

Or

(2) Send a check for $147 to

          Art Holcomb
          3404 Donder Court
          Riverside, CA 92507-4033

You’ll get this all for one price, as my way to saying thanks for making these talks such a great success. It is you that helps make both me and my work better and I just wanted to show my appreciation.

Start your writing career off in an great way - get the skills you need to compete.

I hope you join us for this once-in-a-lifetime offer. Feel free to write to me at aholcomb07@gmail.com  with any questions.

All the best – and Keep Writing!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Introducing "Two Drafts / Two Polishes" teleseminar!

Hi - this is Art:

I have been thinking a lot about all of you recently. 

As a writer who has either come and heard me talk or have joined us on one or more of our audio sturdy courses, I know you see writing as a craft rather than just a hobby or a lottery ticket to easy money.

And so I want to talk directly to some of you today - those writers who have spent hours and hours working to prefect their novel or screenplay and who have written more that three drafts of your current project.

And here is an unfortunate fact:

Each draft that you do of this work from now on will likely only make your story worse!

The truth is, you have likely lost that spark that created the work in the first place, and with each new draft - with each new attempt to find that perfect passage or twist or turn, you are taking the story in a slightly new direction and diminishing your original idea.

One more draft is not going to get you where you want to be.

Experience tells us that originals idea are likely to be the best and the constant whittling and paring of a good concept only makes the story more and more unsalable.

I know.  I've been there.

But the real takeaway from all your hard work is that this is not your fault.

What you thought was real education - those internet columns, "top ten" lists and little secrets that you find in writing magazines and columns- are no more than the fast foods of knowledge.

Professionals know that every accomplished writer in the world  needs real craft knowledge and true mentoring and guidance to get where they are today.

Our new seminar series - "2 Drafts / 2 Polishes" - can be a real start down the road to real success. 

It's designed to get the absolute most out of every draft you make, cutting your time from premise to completed work at least in half.

The six-session audio study course offer the craft knowledge and techniques I teach professional novelists and screenwriter and can make a real difference in your career.

Click here for all the information.

You owe it to yourself to get the knowledge and training that you need now to succeed. 

Break away from the "Knowledge McNuggets" you have been living on -  and the dread that you feel when facing yet another draft of your work - and join us here in the craft or writing.

The fees for the course break down to just a little less than the cost of a dinner out each week - for knowledge that will last you a lifetime. and financial arrangements can be made to make it even more convenient (email me back for more information).

A community of dedicated writers are waiting for you to join us here!

And consider:

A year from now, you can either have a new, completed work being considered by agents and producers. . . or

You can be working on yet another draft of your project.

It's up to you

Click here to find out more.

Talk with you again soon,

Art