Jeff Lyons

Jeff Lyons - Editor

Long Beach, California

Traditionally published author, developmental editor, and story development consultant in the publishing, TV, and film industries.

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Overview


If a story is going to fail, it will first do so at the premise level. I specialize in helping authors and screenwriters fix stories in trouble. When you get lost in the story woods, I can show you how to find your way back to your story's real premise idea, and teach you how to not get lost in the future. I will teach you a story development methodology ("Anatomy of a Premise Line") that you can use for your entire writing career that will cut your story development time in half, and help you figure out if any story idea will have legs as a book or screenplay—BEFORE—you start writing. I have worked with literally thousands of novelists, screenwriters (TV/features), and creative nonfiction authors, and my clients have won major literary prizes like the “William Faulkner Gold Medal,” placed as finalists in major screenwriting competitions like The Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and include New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors.

How I Work:

I DON'T READ MANUSCRIPTS :) I say that with love. I say that because I'm not interested in your writing. I'm interested in your storytelling. How strong are you with structure, characterization, subplotting, narrative design, etc.? How are your story skills vs your writing skills? Storytelling and writing are not the same thing. In fact, they are unrelated and unconnected. You don't need to be anywhere near a pencil and a piece of paper to tell a story. Stories can be danced, painted, spoken (you get the idea). Writing is just one way to tell a story.

Most people are good at the writing function but weak with the story function. That's what I help you with. If you have a 400-page manuscript, that's fine, but there is no point reading it if the story is out of kilter. We find that out very quickly in our first consult. Then I work with you to fix your story and position you to successfully rewrite whatever manuscript you might have. If you don't have a manuscript—terrific. In this case, less is more. I almost prefer you have no or little writing done.

Basic Reedsy Services:

Logline Development: One hour consult where we break down your story into a pitchable logline for query letters. We record the session so you can refer to it in the future. $375 USD

Story Premise Evaluation: 90-minute recorded consult where we break down your basic story idea to uncover story structure weaknesses/strengths and brainstorm story solutions. Next-steps advice is also given for further development steps. $675 USD

Premise Line Development: A full week of consulting to develop a workable premise line for your story. Premise lines are an essential development tool for your own writing, but also for pitching agents and editors. It is used in conjunction with the logline in pitching. You get: unlimited video chat session on Zoom (recorded), daily work assignments with notes (email), lots of one-on-one coaching. $1200 USD

Long-Term Coaching: This is a variable package that can go for two weeks to several months, depending on your needs. We'll have to negotiate and see what you need. Contact me for pricing, but the ranges go from $1800—$3500 USD depending on your budget and needs. We'll talk.

(All services are negotiable , esp. due to financial hardships due to pandemic.)

My approach is designed to help you get a solid story and build a narrative foundation that will support the actual writing of manuscript pages. Develop first, write second. That is my mantra (one of many).

If this sounds interesting and useful to you, then we should talk. Drop me a message and we'll begin the conversation and you can tell me your story.

————--——————

—If you hire me, I highly recommend you read my book "Anatomy of a Premise Line: How to Master Premise and Story Development for Writing Success" (Focal Press) Check my Amazon page — it will make things a lot smoother :)
Languages
English (US)
Fiction
Action & Adventure
Fantasy
Horror
LGBTQ (Fiction)
Mystery & Crime
Plays & Screenplays
Young Adult
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs

Work experience

Magazine Contributing Writer

Various National & International Magazines
August, 2011 – Present (about 9 years)

Ongoing contributor to leading writing industry trade magazines, including: Writer's Digest Magazine, The Writer Magazine, Writing Magazine (UK), and Script Magazine.

Story Development Mentor

Producers Guild of America
May, 2011 – Present (over 9 years)

The Producers Guild has one of the leading screenwriting and producing fellowship programs in the entertainment industry. I teach all of the story development workshops for their "Power of Diversity Producers Fellowship" participants. Only working entertainment industry professionals can join the program. I teach feature film, television, and documentary story development.

Stanford University—Instructor

Stanford University
July, 2012 – Present (about 8 years)

Regular instructor through Stanford University's School of Continuing Education. I teach premise development and story structure classes and guest lecture on story development for other Stanford writing program instructors.

Developmental Editior

Createspace & Author Solutions
January, 2009 – June, 2013 (over 4 years)

Worked with two of the largest subsidy publishing companies as an editorial consultant and developmental editor. Worked with fiction, nonfiction, and creative nonfiction authors to improve their book's structure, story, narrative design, and assure book elements conformed to publishing industry best practices. Consulted with thousands of authors across all major genres.

Story Consultant

Storygeeks
January, 2006 – Present (over 14 years)

Founded Storygeeks, a professional services company offering story consulting, editing, and story development services to the entertainment (film/TV), publishing, and subsidy publishing industries.

Portfolio (10 selected works)

Rapid Story Development: Commercial Pace in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction

Jeff Lyons

Narrative pace can make or break the reading experience, but few people describe what real pace is or how you can achieve it. Most just discuss writing, style, and sentence structure, but pacing in any story is so much more than that. This e-book gives a clear explanation of pacing and then shows you how to achieve a solid commercial pace for any story, thus assuring reader engagement and more... read more

Narrative pace can make or break the reading experience, but few people describe what real pace is or how you can achieve it. Most just discuss writing, style, and sentence structure, but pacing in any story is so much more than that. This e-book gives a clear explanation of pacing and then shows you how to achieve a solid commercial pace for any story, thus assuring reader engagement and more... read more

Rapid Story Development: Bust the Top Ten Creative Writing Myths to Become a Better Writer

Jeff Lyons

The world of how-to creative writing is filled with quick fixes, flavor-of-the-month techniques, and fortune cookie wisdom. This e-book has compiled the top ten creative writing myths that may writers accept as gospel, and then describes each of the myths to show you that they are not just innocent memes, but rather destructive and potentially derailing traps that can cripple your writing and ... read more

The world of how-to creative writing is filled with quick fixes, flavor-of-the-month techniques, and fortune cookie wisdom. This e-book has compiled the top ten creative writing myths that may writers accept as gospel, and then describes each of the myths to show you that they are not just innocent memes, but rather destructive and potentially derailing traps that can cripple your writing and ... read more

Rapid Story Development: Ten Questions Every Writer Needs to Ask Before They Hire a Consultant

Jeff Lyons

The reality of being an author today means that you can't do it all alone. The writing, designing, editing, publishing, and marketing of a book is no longer a one-man or one-woman show. Authors, if they want to put their best professional face forward, must now build their publishing team and rely on third party consultants to help them realize their dreams of publishing gold. But, most author... read more

The reality of being an author today means that you can't do it all alone. The writing, designing, editing, publishing, and marketing of a book is no longer a one-man or one-woman show. Authors, if they want to put their best professional face forward, must now build their publishing team and rely on third party consultants to help them realize their dreams of publishing gold. But, most author... read more

Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel

Caroline Leavitt

Caroline Leavitt is at her mesmerizing best in this haunting, nuanced portrait of love, sisters, and the impossible legacy of family. It’s 1969, and sixteen-year-old Lucy is about to run away with a much older man to live off the grid in rural Pennsylvania, a rash act that will have vicious repercussions for both her and her older sister, Charlotte. As Lucy’s default caretaker for most of thei... read more

Caroline Leavitt is at her mesmerizing best in this haunting, nuanced portrait of love, sisters, and the impossible legacy of family. It’s 1969, and sixteen-year-old Lucy is about to run away with a much older man to live off the grid in rural Pennsylvania, a rash act that will have vicious repercussions for both her and her older sister, Charlotte. As Lucy’s default caretaker for most of thei... read more

Pictures of You

Caroline Leavitt

Two women running away from their marriages collide on a foggy highway, killing one of them. The survivor, Isabelle, is left to pick up the pieces, not only of her own life, but of the lives of the devastated husband and fragile son that the other woman, April, has left behind. Together, they try to solve the mystery of where April was running to, and why. As these three lives intersect, the b... read more

Two women running away from their marriages collide on a foggy highway, killing one of them. The survivor, Isabelle, is left to pick up the pieces, not only of her own life, but of the lives of the devastated husband and fragile son that the other woman, April, has left behind. Together, they try to solve the mystery of where April was running to, and why. As these three lives intersect, the b... read more

Is This Tomorrow: A Novel

Caroline Leavitt

In 1956, Ava Lark rents a house with her twelve-year-old son, Lewis, in a desirable Boston suburb. Ava is beautiful, divorced, Jewish, and a working mom. She finds her neighbors less than welcoming. Lewis yearns for his absent father, befriending the only other fatherless kids: Jimmy and Rose. One afternoon, Jimmy goes missing. The neighborhood—in the throes of Cold War paranoia—seizes the opp... read more

In 1956, Ava Lark rents a house with her twelve-year-old son, Lewis, in a desirable Boston suburb. Ava is beautiful, divorced, Jewish, and a working mom. She finds her neighbors less than welcoming. Lewis yearns for his absent father, befriending the only other fatherless kids: Jimmy and Rose. One afternoon, Jimmy goes missing. The neighborhood—in the throes of Cold War paranoia—seizes the opp... read more

Rapid Story Development: How to Use the Enneagram-Story Connection to Become a Master Storyteller

Jeff Lyons

This book offers a unique approach to storytelling, connecting the Enneagram system with classic story principles of character development, plot, and story structure to provide a seven-step methodology to achieve rapid story development. Using the nine-core personality styles underlying all human thought, feeling, and action, it provides the tools needed to understand and leverage the Enneagra... read more

This book offers a unique approach to storytelling, connecting the Enneagram system with classic story principles of character development, plot, and story structure to provide a seven-step methodology to achieve rapid story development. Using the nine-core personality styles underlying all human thought, feeling, and action, it provides the tools needed to understand and leverage the Enneagra... read more

Anatomy of a Premise Line: How to Master Premise and Story Development for Writing Success

Jeff Lyons

If a story is going to fail, it will do so first at the premise level. Anatomy of a Premise Line: How to Master Premise and Story Development for Writing Success is the only book of its kind to identify a seven-step development process that can be repeated and applied to any story idea. This process will save you time, money, and potentially months of wasted writing. So whether you are trying ... read more

If a story is going to fail, it will do so first at the premise level. Anatomy of a Premise Line: How to Master Premise and Story Development for Writing Success is the only book of its kind to identify a seven-step development process that can be repeated and applied to any story idea. This process will save you time, money, and potentially months of wasted writing. So whether you are trying ... read more

Jack Be Dead: Revelation

Jeff Lyons, Stephen David Brooks

London—Today—Guys named “Jack” are being killed across the city by a female serial killer with an almost supernatural ability to stay hidden. When Jack Tate, an emotionally bleak detective sergeant, is called in to investigate the brutal killings, he teams with Mae, an intellectual wannabe-detective, and Albert, Mae’s packrat psychic father, to unravel the killer’s taunting clues, until the de... read more

London—Today—Guys named “Jack” are being killed across the city by a female serial killer with an almost supernatural ability to stay hidden. When Jack Tate, an emotionally bleak detective sergeant, is called in to investigate the brutal killings, he teams with Mae, an intellectual wannabe-detective, and Albert, Mae’s packrat psychic father, to unravel the killer’s taunting clues, until the de... read more

13 Minutes

Jeff Lyons

One room. Six People. No way out. And every 13 minutes one of them dies—horribly—unless they can figure out what their nameless, faceless, and creepily mysterious captor wants from them. One woman holds the key to their survival or deaths. But, only if she faces her own bloody past and the earth-shattering truth of why they are all trapped together. Her final choice to own the truth can bring ... read more

One room. Six People. No way out. And every 13 minutes one of them dies—horribly—unless they can figure out what their nameless, faceless, and creepily mysterious captor wants from them. One woman holds the key to their survival or deaths. But, only if she faces her own bloody past and the earth-shattering truth of why they are all trapped together. Her final choice to own the truth can bring ... read more

Jeff has 3 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Marilyn M. Williams
It was a pleasure to work with Mr. Lyons. He did pretty well in , encouraging me without reading my book. I appreciated his suggestions.

Marilyn M. Williams, August 2020


Sharon Thayer
Jeff is a seasoned professional with a down to earth personal manner. In spite the fact that he doesn't generally work with picture book authors, the techniques he taught me to clearly identify and stay focused on my true goals of a book will take my writing process not just to the next step, but but up a flight or two! And, the time it will save me as I write new books is a delightful, additio...
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Sharon Thayer, July 2020


Rachel Yobs
I came across Jeff on one of the Reedsy live-stream events, and I could see that his particular approach might be just what I needed to get me "unstuck" in my novel project. True enough! He responded promptly, was appropriately priced, and set up collaboration straightaway. His conversation was friendly, yet professional, and I found the encounter quite successful. It's very hard to find profe...
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Rachel Yobs, July 2020

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