Frequently Asked Questions
A fiction book coach is a developmental editor, writing coach, cheerleader, and accountability partner all in one. They study fiction and work with writers to help prepare them for the marketplace. A fiction book coach meets writers right where they are, at precisely their stage of development, and helps improve the manuscript, their overall craft, and builds a writer’s confidence and skillset.
- You have an idea or story seed and need help focusing the concept before you start writing.
- You’re stuck and need support. You’re asking, “What is wrong with my story? Why won’t it work?” Let’s book a discovery call and consider pathways to you get writing.
- You’ve completed the draft and you’re getting mixed feedback from your beta readers. Book a discovery call with me and let’s plan a way forward.
Selina uses the hierarchy of editorial concerns to do a structural review of the manuscript, and provide editorial feedback. Details outlined in the Manuscript Evaluation package.
Developmental edits are tailored to the individual manuscript and what it needs in the next phase of rewriting.
However, in general, a developmental edit covers the following:
- Word count and story alignment with genre expectations.
- Cast of characters (too many characters?) and the arc of change/development.
- The protagonist and antagonist’s goals, motivation and conflict are clear and on the page.
Is the protagonist active and engaged or passive?
- Narrative drive.
For example, is the story moving from an inciting incident into rising-action to the climax, and the denouement? If not, then there are likely plot and structure challenges that need to be addressed.
- Worldbuilding - believable and logical?
- Point of view (POV), showing over telling, info-dumps, the passage of time works, and dialogue/scenes are tight and progress the story forward.
- Is the story’s promise being fulfilled?
- Patterns that need addressing such as tangents, repetitions, over the top prose, some passive sentence issues if required etc.
The manuscript evaluation/developmental edit does not include line editing.
It’s not easy to hear that our stories aren’t ready for a developmental edit. If this happens, please know this is a golden opportunity to study writing craft and strengthen key writing skills so you can step closer to your goal.
Selina may suggest a different package, taking writing craft courses or reading books to help you acquire what is needed to write the story. It’s an individual thing.
- professional coaching and developmental editorial services.
- a deeply creative and personal journey.
- a positive shift in your writing.
- I cannot guarantee landing an agent or publication.
- Romance, fantasy, speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror – not extreme), thriller, Gothic, and mystery.
- Young Adult and Adult fiction only.
Selina's is not the right coach for:
- extreme horror, literary, historical, erotica, or nonfiction like memoir.
- picture books, children’s fiction, or middle grade fiction.
Manuscript format is the standard format used in the publishing industry for manuscripts. To learn to format your story professionally, please read the ‘Modern Manuscript Format’ at Shunn.net. It is an excellent resource for writers.
MS and ms. are shorthand for manuscript.
Created by Jennie Nash, CEO of Author Accelerator, the inside outline is a specific style of story outline that suits plotters and discovery writers alike. The action points of the story, and the meaning of each scene are mapped out to show the cause-and-effect trajectory of the external plot and internal emotional meaning of your story. It’s ideal for developing a scene, a chapter, an entire manuscript, and it is scalable to help you keep on track with your story. In the Plan Your Novel coaching package we’ll work through the Author Accelerator Blueprint for a Novel and you’ll learn how to create an inside outline for your story.
A fiction synopsis is written in 3rd person present tense even if the story is written in past tense 1st person POV. The aim is to write a tight synopsis that shows the whole story from start to finish. It has the following key elements:
- Context and setting – where are the characters in time and space? What is the setting?
- Who is the POV protagonist? Who are they in the world just before the story starts?
- The inciting incident – what kicks off the action? Why should we pay attention to the story?
- What does the protagonist want? How do things change for them in the story? What does it mean to them to change?
- What keeps the protagonist from getting what they want? Who or what stands in their way?
- The main plot line of the story – what is the central action? Include the climax.
- How does the story resolve? And, what does it mean to the protagonist/s?
The synopsis has the whole main story on the page.
Below is an example of 3rd person present tense romance synopsis with two protagonists. Capitals are used for character names when they are first introduced:
DANIEL MCGINNIS is an ex-military no-nonsense mercenary on a mission to catch a rare silver were-fox rumoured to live in the heart of the Nightshade Woodlands. He doesn’t care about were-foxes, the black market fur trade or whose body the fur came from as long as he gets paid. He’s got a job to do: get in, catch the fox, get out, get paid. Don’t go near were-fox women. Don’t get involved. Don’t fall in love. Ever.
OLIVIA DAYFOX is the silver-moon were-fox fighting to save her kind from extinction. She hunts the hunters, but when she’s captured in were-fox form, and is being taken to the TRADE BOSS by a mercenary who looks vaguely familiar, she feels like a fool for trying to put a stop to the trade of were-fox furs.
But when she recognises Daniel McGinnis, the man she never stopped loving, she realises with him by her side she can finally take down the fur trade and save her people. But he’s in human form and she’s in fox form, and he’s still angry with her for leaving in the middle of the night. All because she couldn’t tell him her were-fox secret.
Now Olivia’s forced to reveal her secret. In human form, she tries to heal the rift between them, and win Daniel’s trust back. Daniel swears he’ll never let her get close to him again, but she’s so beautiful, and damn, her wild pheromones call him to forgive her. He can’t keep his mind on the job. OIivia tries to keep her heart safe, but she can’t fight his magnetism, and she wants him.
Suddenly, Daniel’s fighting for more than a big fat payout, and they team up to free her people, shut down the were-fox trade, and fall in love forever.
A character list summarises each character’s role, goal, motivation and conflict in 1-2 sentences on one page.
Below is an example based on the romance synopsis above:
Protagonist 1 – Daniel McGinnis (love interest) is an ex-military mercenary. His goal is to hunt a were-fox and get paid, but when he realises the were-fox is the woman who broke his heart, he’s forced to reckon with his love for her versus his desire to protect his heart.
Protagonist 2 – Olivia Dayfox (love interest) is a rare were-fox who hunts hunters to stop the fur trade and save her kind from extinction. When she’s captured by the man she still loves, she’s forced to reveal her secret, reckon with her past mistakes, and risk falling in love again to save herself and her people.
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