Episode 123 – Three Story Method with J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon

Storytelling doesn’t have to be complicated. In this episode, Mark chats with J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon about their new book THREE STORY METHOD which proves that storytelling can be straightforward.

You could win print copies of these two books – see below for details…..

Bohannon and Thorn are successful co-authors, are the minds behind the Authors on a Train, Vampires of New Orleans, Sci-Fi Seattle, Night of the Writing Dead and Cleveland Rock Apocalypse writing retreats. They also launched their Career Author podcast in January 2018, the same week that the Stark Reflections Podcast was launched.

Prior to the interview, Mark waxes poetic about the previous times J. and Zach were on the podcast, including episode 74, where Mark had shared details about how he had proposed to his girlfriend Liz on the 50th birthday during an Alicia Witt concert, with a song Alicia wrote for him to use for the occasion. He also shares a short clip from the chorus of the song.

Mark then talks about working on getting a representative from Google Play Books to come on in a future episode, and reminds writers that it’s easier than ever to create a direct Google Play account for publishing:

  • New publishers can visit and create an account in just a few easy steps
  • There’s no longer an invite code or waiting period when setting up a new publisher account

Mark also shares a word from this episode’s sponsor, Findaway Voices…

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

Video of just the interview portion of this episode

In their conversation, Mark, J., and Zach talk about:

  • The origin of Three Story Method and how the process for it was developed over the course of publishing a dozen books together
  • The importance of a having a process that can be used in a similar way for multiple different projects
  • How the book is meant for getting from an idea to a first draft of a manuscript and should be all that a writer needs. There’s no up-selling or courses associated with it
  • The accompanying workbook that can either be downloaded for free or purchased for the lowest price they could set on Amazon for it
  • Ongoing dedication to learning, and re-learning, and continuing to refine the craft of writing
  • The importance of starting off with a good book before you even begin or consider heavy marketing
  • The value of the community that comes from running a weekly podcast
  • Why they value tight-knit, intimate groups when it comes to hosting author gatherings
  • The experience of brainstorming a universe for an anthology in a room full of engaged authors
  • J.’s ways and Zach’s hacks (a bit they do on their own podcast)
  • ….and more….

After the interview, Mark reflects on the importance of life-long learning of both the business and the craft of writing.

He then shares how listeners have until the end of day March 31, 2020 to leave a comment on the show notes for Episode 123 at for a chance to win a free copy of Three Story Method and the accompanying workshop, courtesy of J. and Zach.

Mark asks that commenters leave either a “Way” or a “Hack” that they’ve found useful for either the business or the craft of writing (in honour of the J.’s Ways and Zach’s Hacks bit that the two regularly do on their own podcast.

Mark also mentions that Patrons who support this podcast over at are all automatically entered into a drawn to win the same prize. $1 / month patrons will be entered in for one chance. $3 /month patrons will be entered in twice. $5 / month patrons will be entered in 3 times.

Links of Interest:

Zach Bohannon writes post-apocalyptic science fiction, horror, and fantasy. He is the author of the bestselling zombie series, Empty Bodies, as well as the bestselling post-apocalyptic horror series, Final Awakening. He’s the co-owner of Molten Universe Media. 

J. Thorn has published two million words and has sold more than 185,000 books worldwide. In March of 2014 Thorn held the #5 position in Horror alongside his childhood idols Dean Koontz and Stephen King (at #4 and #2 respectively). He is an official member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, and the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. 

The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

8 thoughts on “Episode 123 – Three Story Method with J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon”

  1. Another great episode! I especially enjoyed J. and Zach’s commitment to getting together in person in support of their collaborations. My way / hack, ironically, is for online collaboration: I recently discovered that Zoom has a setting called Touch Up My Appearance. I kid you not. It works, too. : )

  2. I think I remember most of the episodes you referenced in the intro. Huh I have been listening to you for a long time. Great wisdom always.

    I was worried that this conversation was going to just be a music conversation for the whole thing. Glad you guys stayed on topic.

    I am about half way through the 3 Story method and they do a great job of distilling a vast amount of source material into a concise series of steps to follow. I have my shiny copy of the work book sitting on my desk ready to be filled with ideas. Now it is just a time to execute on them.

  3. K8tymac’s Writing Hack. As a writer with a day job, I was in despair. No matter what I did in my few hours set aside for writing, I felt like I should be doing something else.

    Eventually, I broke the work of writing into four parts — Research, First Draft, Rewrites, Marketing — and every month I put my main focus on one of the parts (main focus – not exclusive; I’m not obsessed).

    That means I cycle through all the parts three times in a year, and when I’m torn between tasks, I can put some aside, knowing I’m not abandoning them; their turns WILL come up later.

    PS: Thanks for the intro to Zach & J’s Three Story Method. Definitely worth a deeper look!

    1. C.P. Hoff
      Love this podcast. My hack is go for a walk. A lot can be worked out in the fresh air.

  4. Loved this interview!

    My recently discovered writing hack is Aquanotes. This is a waterproof pad of paper with a pencil that you stick to the wall in your shower. I use it to storyboard scenes that come to me in the shower, write character notes, etc. No more coming up with a great plot idea, telling myself I’ll remember it when I’m done showering, then getting sidetracked and forgetting all about it.

    1. Thanks for the cool hack, Vanessa!

      FYI, your name was chosen via random number selection to be the comment winner of a print copy of J and Zach’s book and workbook. Please email me at mark(at) to let me know where it should be shipped. 🙂

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