What is a fiction writing coach?
A fiction writing coach helps writers develop strong stories—of any style, genre, or length. A fiction coach might support writers who are creating short stories, novellas, or full-length novels in any one of a number of genres. Among them,
- children’s fiction, including middle grade, and young adult
- genre fiction, such as sci-fi, horror, and cozy mystery
- general fiction, including women’s fiction and historical fiction
- literary fiction or scripts meant for stage or screen
Like literary agents, though, fiction writing coaches tend to specialize in the genres or styles they most enjoy.
For instance, while I read and enjoy all types of fiction, I specialize in coaching novel writers—especially early career novelists. I have experience and particular interest in working with authors who are writing middle grade and young adult novels, historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers, literary fiction, and women’s fiction.
Wondering what it’s like to work with a fiction writing coach?
As your fiction writing coach, I show up to help you do the following:
- construct a strong plot (also known as narrative or external arc)
- develop interesting characters (especially main characters) and provide dynamic character (or internal) arcs for them
- assign your story’s point(s) of view (POV) and the “person” for telling your story (first person? third person?)
- discover the most engaging voice for your characters and the best tone for your story as a whole
- write scenes that put your reader there and deliver your story one compelling moment after another
Together, you and I will establish a plan—a road map of sorts—that includes setting your goals for your fiction writing and detailing the steps that will help you get there.
But most of all? I’ll be your biggest fan! I’ll eagerly await your work—perhaps weekly, maybe monthly. After l read your pages closely, we’ll discuss your plot—or pacing or voice or character arc. And you’ll leave each meeting with clear, actionable steps and a rocket-booster’s worth of creative fuel to make the most of them.
Whether you’re just embarking on a novel or short story collection or have a solid draft in hand, I can help make your writing journey easier—and a lot more fun! Let’s connect and see if we might be a great fit to work together.
If you’d like some professional insight on whether hiring a writing coach is right for you, here is an excellent resource from THE WRITER magazine to help you make your decision.
Fiction writing resources for you!
How to write a book: Whether you’re writing a novel, a memoir, or a nonfiction book, this article offers steps that will explain the basics of book-writing.
5 Fabulous tips for plotting your novel: Plot. Easy for some. Hard for many. The tips in this article will help you finesse the underlying events that propel your characters (and your readers!) forward.
The Plot Clock: Here, you’ll find an introduction to what I consider the most valuable approach to creating a strong, compelling plot.
WRITING FICTION, by Gotham Writers Workshop: [In this book], you’ll find: The fundamental elements of fiction craft―character, plot, point of view, ―explained clearly and completely; key concepts illustrated with passages from great works of fiction; and exercises that let you immediately apply what you learn to your own writing.
WRITE YOUR SHORT STORY, by Lorena A. Falcòn: Whether you’re a beginner or a published writer always looking for new ideas, this little book is for you! After a quick introduction to short stories and their elements, you’ll find tips on short story writing and a list of 101 ideas for your next short story.
THE EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION, by Donald Maas: If you want to write strong fiction, you must make your readers feel. The reader’s experience must be an emotional journey of its own, one as involving as your characters’ struggles, discoveries, and triumphs are for you. This book, by a true story genius, will help you learn to take your reader on a satisfying emotional journey.
A few of the fiction writers who’ve included me in their acknowledgements
Melody Maysonet, author of A WORK OF ART (Merit Press) starts her acknowledgements with this: Huge thank-yous to Joyce Sweeney and Jamie Morris for teaching me about the craft of novel-writing and cheering me on in every stage.
Author Anne Hawkinson (writing as A. K. Hicks) opens her acknowledgements this way: Heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to Jamie Morris (my editor and writing coach), who worked persistently and diligently with me to bring this story to life.
In her third novel, KEEP NO SECRETS (Fresh Fork), Julie Compton says: Jamie Morris believed in this one from the beginning and encouraged me to follow my heart instead of the market. I’m fortunate to have met such an amazing writing mentor.