First Draft Coaching Support
I work with published and unpublished writers alike through the process of writing their first draft. I offer accountability, structure, and plenty of support. Each week for the first three weeks of the month, writers submit ~3,000 words via email. I review their work, writing feedback, questions, and ideas on the manuscript. Then, on our predetermined meeting day, we talk via Zoom or in person for 30 minutes, exploring emerging ideas and discussing content. Together we choose what the writer will focus on for the following week.
I focus on:
what works—strong imagery, message, characterization, voice, etc.
identifying the writer’s voice and the piece’s tone
“listening” to what is being said between the words, and asking questions to bring forward more detail and information
what is not yet clear, and asking questions to suss out if this information is important to the developing story
emerging themes and messages
I also coach on the creative process, most often around how to stay engaged in the process, getting unstuck, and trusting what emerges.
The fourth week of the month, we do not meet. Rather, writers take the time to re-read over their growing manuscripts to see what is developing, catch up on anything needed, exploring outside information, or simply taking a break.
$540/month or $50/hour, depending on the project
At some point in the writing process—be it the second, third, or fourth draft—authors need a second set of eyes to help identify what works and what does not.
This process begins with a conversation in person, over the phone, or via Zoom. I ask the writer about their overall story, intention, where they feel stuck, and what support they are looking for in general. Then the writer sends me their manuscript and and I do a complementary read through (usually 3-5 hours of reading), focusing on what works and does not work structurally. Then we work together for a week or two to clarify the arc of the story and make a game-plan for the project. Then each week, for the first three weeks of the month, the author submits a chapter for edit. While I edit, the writer works on the next chapter, which I receive when I give back my edits on our predetermined meeting date. Meetings for developmental editing are one hour long.
When developmental editing, I focus on:
Organizing and streamlining the plot line
Adjusting the pace, creating emphasis and emotional connection
Developing characters through description and dialogue
Strengthening setting, tone, and details
Articulating personal and universal themes
Drawing forward the writer’s Voice as an author, through humor, word choice, and sentence structure
We take the fourth week off, either to catch up, do further research, or take a well-deserved break.
For shorter projects—applications, short stories, professional letters, etc.—I work by the hour and can usually have a project turned around within a week or two.
Sometimes an author just needs someone to read through their manuscript and give feedback, but does not need the hands-on editing of developmental work. I have done read-throughs for thematic development, time consistency, problem-solving regarding character development, and finding places that need more information. In these cases I offer notes via track changes, mostly questions and suggestions for structural reorganization.
Every now and then an individual cannot write their own story—be it age, medical limitation, time obligations, or family constraints. In this case, I support the storyteller by interviewing and recording her/his/their story, and then crafting the story into written form, be it an essay or a book.