About Fiction Coaching

Welcome to book coaching!

I’m a certified coach, a writer of genre fiction and an artist. I specialise in coaching writers in genre fiction, and I enjoy working with writers from beginners through to published authors to get the best out of their story and on to the page.

My goal is to help writers to learn to structure stories that work, create characters with conflict and dimension so they come alive in the reader’s mind. I aim to help writers build confidence to keep writing forward even when the work gets tough. And I celebrate and commiserate with you as we go through the various layers and, at times, emotional experiences, of writing a full length novel or novella together.

What I do:

  • Coaching and accountability to keep you writing on a weekly and fortnightly basis with deadlines for submission with booked in phone or zoom coaching sessions on the weekends or in the evening to go through feedback and next steps to move forward
  • Foundation Story / Novel blueprint – where we put your story through a set of exercises that will build the foundation of a story that works for the ideal reader
  • Manuscript Evaluation including an editorial letter outlining what’s working and what’s not working in the first ten pages and, if we move to a coaching agreement, on the entire manuscript

Coaching a writer to develop their story:

Do you want to write a genre fiction book but don’t know where to start? Or do you have a genre specific manuscript that’s drafted but needs more work, and you’re overwhelmed, feeling stuck and don’t know what the next step is to make it all come together?

Then book coaching can help you move through blockages and into action.

I work with work with writers on the foundation of story and manuscript development. I comment using track changes and the comments tool in word, and I provide editorial letters to clients who request a manuscript review. I outline what works in the story and what needs attention. I always give my writing clients next steps to help them to take action and get writing and creating.

When I am coaching, I meet with my writing clients via zoom or over the phone to discuss their progress against their goals and together we work on their story.

Here’s a taste of what I can help with:

  • Story Foundation – Does the story have all the foundation elements to build a ripping read for your ideal reader?
  • The Point of the scene/story – What’s the point the scene is making?
  • Point of View – Who is the POV boss in the scene/story? Is there head-hopping in the scene/manuscript? Are there too many characters trying to lead the reader through the story?
  • Narration – Whose story is it anyway? And where does the reader stand in time in relation to the story?
  • Audience analysis – Who is your target audience/ideal reader? And does what you’ve written/or intend to write meet genre expectations?
  • Structure – Are there any plot holes? Does the story have a rising-action-to-climax trajectory or does it fall flat? Are there tangents muddying the story’s strength?
  • Emotional Resonance – Does the character have emotional impact on the page? Are they letting the reader in or keeping them at a distance?
  • World-building – Does the world of the book have a mega setting and minor settings? Are all the nuances of the world fleshed out and sprinkled through the story transporting the reader into the world? If not, then let’s fix that.
  • Showing and Not Telling – Is there a lot of telling on the page? If so, we discuss how to turn it into showing and take action.
  • Characters – Do the characters have agency? Are they leading and/or making decisions that have clear consequences? Does the character have an internal conflict? Is it clear to the reader what the character wants? What’s at stake for the character? What’s stopping them from already getting what they want? What’s their misbelief? How does that affect their perceptions and experiences in the story?
  • Dialogue – Does it serve the story or is there too much weather talk before we get to what’s important to the story?
  • Scenes and Transitions – Do the scenes work? If not what’s missing? Do the transitions work or are they confusing?
  • Burden of Knowledge – Is everything that’s in the writer’s imagination/mind on the page for the reader to see, smell, touch, tastes, hear and experience?
  • plus more.

If you’re struggling with your writing or you’ve ever had feedback like, “…the story is a wild adventure and has an interesting premise but its confusing and there’s head-hopping and it needs more work…” I understand. I’ve been there. It’s frustrating.

If you’ve found that kind of feedback unhelpful, you may have wondered what does that even mean?

Well, it means there’s more clarity needed in the story. Maybe some of your story is still living in your imagination and isn’t actually on the page yet. Maybe the characters need further development. Maybe the structure needs to be re-jigged to make it work in a cause-and-effect trajectory that will pull the reader along and keep them reading. And if there’s a comment about head-hopping then point of view (POV) needs some serious attention.

If you’ve been told, “your characters are flat, they have no agency and they need more conflict because they’re boring… ” I get it. I’ve been there too. It’s a tough thing to hear but there’s a golden opportunity to be leveraged from this painful experience.

This kind of feedback means it’s time to work on what the character wants, why they want it and what’s stopping them.

In this situation (with a writer/coaching partnership) we’d go deeper to find out the why of the character’s conflict and them put them in situations where they have to make decisions, preferably difficult decisions that have them face their inner misbelief and face what they don’t want to face. We’d look for the moment they formed a misbelief and figure out how that moment has placed a filter over their perceptions and influences their interactions, wants and experiences in the story. It’s exciting stuff to go this deep into character and it helps to have a coach to help guide the way. 

If you’ve received feedback that, “your story has too much telling and not enough showing” then it’s time to get to work on learning how to transform those telling lines into showing in the scenes with active writing and strong verb choices. This is another area where a coach can help.

Alternatively, you might be starting out. You may have an idea simmering in your imagination and even after doing a couple of courses or reading how-to books, you’re still not sure where to start.

If that’s the case, then you might benefit from having regular book coaching to work on the foundation of your story so that when you begin writing your manuscript it has all the bases sorted and you’re off to a cracking start. And when it’s time to submit it to an editor the story structure, characters, world-building, point of view, book jacket copy, point of your story, audience analysis and much more are in place and ready to be refined. That’s a win for you and your editor.

If you’re interested in working with me or you’re not sure where to start, go to the Contact page and send me a message so we can discuss and find out if a coaching partnership might work.

My Coaching Style:

I am kind and honest, and I do my best to take into account how it feels to receive feedback on a creative project when commenting, asking questions and providing editorial insights.

I know it’s not always easy to receive constructive critique, however, that is part of what I do. I want you to see what needs work and help you take the steps needed to get it working.

My job as a book coach is to reflect back to my writing clients the areas they need to focus on in the story/manuscript and to help them to take actions that will improve their stories and writing skills. I sometimes make recommendations for reading up or going to a short course to learn a writing skills if that is needed. It’s not meant as an insult, only to help my writing clients to get where they want to go.

I ask a lot of questions and I ask my writing clients to answer those questions by writing their answers into the story or into the foundation document we go through. Every question I ask is about helping my writing clients to get clarity, write a stronger story and build in what’s missing.

I support my writing clients to build confidence and when things get tough I help them to stay the course as long as they believe the project is still worthy of the energy it requires to finish it. If my writing client feels, after a time of introspection, that this is not the story they truly want to write, then I will ask what is that story? And coach my writing client to discover what brings them joy and energises them.

It is a thrill to help my writing clients learn how to link scenes together in a cause-and-effect trajectory that strengthen their story’s logic, and to support them in their writing.

If this resonates with you, then go to my Contact page and let me know about your story and your challenges, and let’s see if we are a good fit for a coaching partnership.

What’s the enquiry process?

Please contact me to discuss your preferred package and let me know about what you’re writing, what you’re struggling with and what you’d like to achieve with your story.

Please note:

  • Prior to client confirmation I ask all prospective writing clients to complete a question and answer form to provide me with more information on the writing project so I can assess my ability to help you achieve your writing goals.
  • If you have written a manuscript I request to respond to a one page book summary about your story. I will send through a document for completion to ensure I have a good overview of what has been written. This will help me assess what I can help you with.
  • After the initial discussion I will provide a five page free coaching edit as a sample of my work to allow you to decide if you would like to continue with the coaching partnership or manuscript review.
    • All pages submitted must as follows:
      • Times New Roman font
      • 12 point size
      • Double spaced lines
      • 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, left and right of the page

Investment for Coaching and Editorial Feedback:

Foundation for a novel structural blueprint exercises, comprising of 17 steps, plus three x 60 minute phone/zoom coaching call with recommendations for next steps – this program is split into two week blocks with work to be submitted three days prior to a coaching call to allow time for me to read and provide feedback on the exercises. It will be a two month time investment for the writer. Submission dates will be discussed and agreed to between writing client and coach. No refund will be given for missing submission deadlines.

Your Investment: $660 AUD 

Manuscript Development Editorial Review including a two chapter edit review plus developmental structure editorial letter plus 1 x 60 minute phone/zoom coaching call to go through recommendations for next steps and further story development.

Your Investment: $880 AUD

Fortnightly Coaching call 1:1 via phone/zoom for 60 minutes, with coaching comments and editorial feedback on up to 10 pages provided three days before the call. Focus on developing your story and fiction writing skills, and overcoming blockages. Be held accountable for turning in writing and get feedback to work on chapters of your novel.

Your Investment: $80 AUD per call/10 pages submitted two weeks prior to call.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me via the Contact page.

Best wishes,

Selina

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