Working Through the Details with Larry Brooks of StoryFix

Cheryl Campbell

Cheryl Campbell

Continuing our conversation with author Cheryl Campbell

On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 7:07 AM, Cheryl Campbell <> wrote:
Hi Joel,Attached is the document I sent to Larry, which he returned with comments in red. I sent it back this AM with my additions in blue….I don’t know if he’ll respond again since I’m not sure if the continued back and forth is part of the $35 deal or not. But hoping to hear back some more. I feel like I have the pieces to the story that are needed, but I didn’t convey that well when answering the questionnaire. This makes me feel better about having independent eyes on it to an extent and getting validating feedback that the concept is there and the story is not 90k+ words of hooey.

I had planned to make another stab at the synopses after further understanding what I should do based on Larry’s feedback. But I ran out of time last night and didn’t get to it. But I still want to hear your input. Without an eye catching synopsis, this book won’t go far, so I know it is vital to nail this piece.

Hope you’re off to a great day!


On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 8:18 AM, Joel Canfield <> wrote:
That’s massive.

I think sometimes Larry misses the point that an author gets the concept, but his questions don’t perfectly elicit the real answer. But it all comes out in the end.

I have the impression he goes back and forth a bit, but glad to hear how it goes.

Last night I came down with my first cold in ages, so I’m taking the day off from any creative tasks. The more I read about your book, the more I want to help get the synopsis right, so if you’ll indulge me with another ping tomorrow, we’ll see how I’m feeling.

I’m curious, for my own purposes: what are the levels of sex, violence, and language in the book? I know your audience is younger folks, but that’s not always an indication. (I recently started a mystery that was billed as a “cozy” and chapter two started with enough serious profanity to make George Carlin uncomfortable.)

On Jul 25, 2013, at 8:07 AM, Cheryl Campbell <> wrote:
Ugh. Hope you feel better!Part of the questionnaire was confusing. It asks you to answer in one sentence, so when I did that, I didn’t have much room to elaborate. But then maybe that’s the point…to try to nail the answer in a few words rather than take a half page to describe a thought. I don’t know. Either way, his feedback was helpful. Thank you for recommending him to me!

As I’m reading Story Engineering, I’m finding that I started writing completely wrong (hence lots of scrap and re-starts early on), discombobulated, and once I changed tactics to do more of an outline, at least in my head, and plan and develop the story, I ended up landing on a concept that I didn’t know was a concept. I had been thinking of the premise all along, but the concept was still there. I’m learning so much! I need to do some re-writes for book 2 and will absolutely be doing it armed with vastly more knowledge (and much more knowledge to come I’m certain) on writing a good story.

And I’m truly honored and grateful for your desire to help me get the synopsis right. But I hope you get to feeling better first.

Level of sex – zero.

Level of violence – I’d say mild to moderate. PG-13 at most. The creatures in the book are violent. Rio’s mother has a small caliber rifle she uses on the creatures, but there isn’t any major blood and guts, limbs being torn off, or machine gun shooting sprees. Only one human character in the story dies.

Level of language – minor. probably rated G, absolutely no more than PG-13. No F bombs. I elude to swearing, like “Emma swore. Emma cursed under her breath…” etc. But the worst I have them saying during dialogue is crap, hell, maybe a damn. Emma has a Brit background so she occasionally says “bloody” as a swear…which is kind of a Brit F bomb, but it’s still no worse than PG-13.

Book 2, sex stays zero.

Violence probably goes up to a solid PG-13, definitely not up to R though. My gauge for PG-13 was the movie The Avengers. There are more characters in book 2, more guns, but it’s battle against the creatures so there are still no shooting sprees, and definitely no people shooting people. I added in the extra characters so I could kill some of them off. Didn’t want to have everyone survive by the end. I even kill off one of the more prominent characters in book 2.

Language stays the same, no more than PG-13.

I kept my nieces and nephew at the forefront when writing this, because I wanted to write it for them. They will grow up and learn swear words on their own and not because Aunt Cheryl taught them through her book. :) There were times I really wanted to uncork some swearing because it would fit with the story, but I curbed that urge knowing who my target audience was. So at one point in book 2 when Emma goes on a swearing spree, she’s doing it in German and there is only one other character that knows what she’s saying. But again, I don’t go into specifics of exactly what she says, just that she got the other character’s ears burning as a result.

Again…feel better!

On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 9:25 AM, Joel D Canfield <> wrote:
Confirmed: I want to read the book. I have a small circle of author friends who like the challenge of writing compelling stories without sex language and violence.

On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 8:28 AM, Cheryl Campbell <> wrote:
You have just made my day twenty times over! :)I’m so honored. I mean that!

On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 9:47 AM, Joel D Canfield <> wrote:
Oh, super :)

Let me know when and where I can get it, eh?

From: Cheryl Campbell <>
Date: Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 8:52 AM
Subject: Re: Concept kick start file
To: Joel D Canfield <>
It’s on Smashwords now.

Continued Monday.

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