A writing coach is a person that helps you through the process of writing and revisng your novel, according to your goals. This person may or may not be a writer, editor or author, but they should have experience in the industry, preferably on how to write, edit and publish novels. It's important to note that most writing coaches are authors.
What Does a Writing Coach Do?
You can think of your writing coach as the life coach for your novel. This person will take you through every stage of the novel planning and writing process until you complete your novel and are either ready to find an agent or publisher or are ready to self-publish your book.
They Help You Set a Writing Schedule, Including a Completion Date
One of the biggest things a writing coach does is help you set a schedule for writing your novel. One of the biggest problems many new and established authors have is finding time to write. A writing coach can help evaluate your current schedule and lifestyle as well as your writing goals in order to help you find a novel completion timeline that works for you.
What Might a Novel Writing Timeline Look Like
Preplanning – 1 day to 2 weeks
First Draft – 30 to 60 days
Second Draft – 30 days
Third Draft – 30 days
Fourth Draft – 30 Days
Fifth Draft – 30 days (Your writing coaches job stops at the end of your drafting process, unless they happen to offer additional services, like editing, proofreading, cover design, formatting and/or agent or publisher finding services)
Proofreading – A few days to one week (You can do this yourself or hire someone)
Cover Design and Formatting (If self Publishing) – A day to 3 weeks (Depends on if you do this yourself or hire someone)
Self-Publishing – 1 to 3 Days
Finding an Agent – 6 months to never
Getting Your Book Traditionally Published – 12 to 36 months (Assuming you or your agent finds a publisher. Never is a possibility here too)
Your Writing Coach Helps You Organize Your Thoughts, Notes and Book Idea
The primary objective of a writing coach is to help you stay focused on the writing of your current novel so that you can finish it in a timely manner. Your exact coaching package and the help you receive will depend on where you’re at in your planning, writing and drafting process.
Title, Theme, Premise and Overall Plot
Your writing coach will help you develop your book’s title, theme, premise and overall plot. This typically takes the form of instructing you to write down your book's title, write down a single sentence for your book’s overall plot and theme and writing a detailed paragraph about your book’s premise, what you hope to accomplish in the book and a detailed overview of the plot. You may also be instructed to write down the names and jobs of your main characters and to list the importance of any secondary characters as well as their names.
Preplanning your novel can involve as little as what was mentioned in the Title, Theme, Premise and Overall Plot section, or it can be much more involved and include character biographies, several pages of main plot and subplot notes, long and short synopsis and full chapter by chapter outlines. Your writing coach’s job at this stage is to help you organize all your thoughts about your book, it’s major and minor plots and characters into a form that is usable. After all, it doesn’t do much good to preplan the entirety of your novel if you never plan to look at those documents again. Your writing coach’s second job is to make sure you finish this in a timely manner. The preplanning stages can completely absorb an author to the point where they never write a single word of their novel.
Once you have your preplanning completed, you can start your first draft. This starts with header: Chapter 1. Skip a few lines: The…
If you wrote down a lot of chapter and scene notes, the first paragraph of your book is probably in there somewhere. At a bare minimum, you should know what happens in your opening scene. If you don’t know, start by waking your character up. You’ll delete your wakeup paragraph later, but this is always a good way to start a novel and make progress. As you write, you’ll either follow your outline and notes or you’ll continuously ask yourself – What happens next?
If you get stuck, your writing coach should be willing to read what you have so far and offer suggestions. This will help you avoid stalling on the progress of your current novel and keep you headed toward your goal, which is the completion of your current work of fiction.
Drafting/Revising Your Novel
Once you finish your first draft, it’s time to start revising and editing your novel. New authors typically perform between six and 10 drafts. However, with the help of your writing coach, you may be able to halve that number. This is because during your drafting and writing process, your coach can help you by critiquing your book after every subsequent draft. This helps take some of the guesswork out of trying to figure out what needs changed in order to create the strongest, most interesting novel possible.
It’s important to note that your writing coach may or may not offer editing services. Critiquing should be part of the writing coach package, but editing may not be part of that package. If your coach does not offer editing, you’ll either have to edit your work yourself or hire an editor.
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Self-Publishing or Finding and Agent or Publisher
Once you are finished drafting, revising and proofreading your novel, you’ll need to decide if you are going to find an agent or publisher or self-publish your novel. This is typically a personal choice, and there’s a good chance you already made your decision the day you started writing your novel. If you plan to self publish, keep reading. If you are going to find an agent, you can start with this list.
Getting a Cover for Your Novel
Once you finish the drafting process and your writing coach and possibly editors have deemed your novel complete, you’ll need a cover. You can design your cover yourself or hire the services of a graphic designer. That choice is up to you. Your writing coach probably won’t offer cover design services, but he or she may know a few good cover designers.
Formatting Your Novel
Now, it’s time to format your novel. This involves putting your manuscript into its digital and print book formatting styles. The good news is that Amazon tells you how to do this. It’s also in my new writing help book: The First Five Drafts, which actually takes you through the preplanning and drafting stages for far less than hiring a writing coach.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Writing Coach?
The cost to hire a writing coach depends on what their packages offer. It can cost as little as $500 a month to more than $3,000. It really depends on the writing coach and their packages. At a bare minimum, your writing coach should be available to you at least twice a month and preferably once a week. They should be able to read and critique your manuscript and offer you feedback.
When Can You Hire a Writing Coach?
You can hire a writing coach at any point in your writing process. You can even hire a writing coach if all you have is an idea for a book, but in general, writers who would truly benefit from this are in the early stages of planning their book and may have even completed the first draft. If you’ve completed several drafts of your novel, you may benefit more from a critique of your work or a developmental or drafting edit rather than hiring a writing coach.
Do You Really Need to Hire a Writing Coach?
It’s up to you as to whether or not you need to hire a writing coach. A writing coach is not essential in the writing process. What’s essential in the writing process is that you write your novel, revise it, edit it and get it finished and ready for publication. A writing coach can help you in that process, and they may even be able to save you a lot of time in that process by eliminating a lot of the guesswork and keeping you focused and on track. In other words, they are going to hold you accountable, and if you have problems holding yourself accountable when it comes to your writing, you may want to consider hiring someone who can coach you through the process.
Read More on Drafting Your Novel
- The Minimalist’s Way to Start a First Draft ...
- Best Approaches to Start a Second Draft ...
- Writing the Third Draft of a Fiction Novel ...
- How to Write the Fourth Draft of a Fiction Novel ...
- How to Write the Fifth and Final Draft of a Novel ...
- How Many Drafts Should You Put on a Fiction Novel? ...
The First Five Drafts: Prevent Over-Editing and Get Your Novel Done Faster with the Five Draft Method (SC Writing Book 1) Kindle Edition
This is the no-fluff, serious writer's guide to getting your novel started, edited and finished.
The five draft method is designed to help you reduce your chances of over-editing, which can stall your writing process and cause you to either never deem your novel finished or ruin it in any number of ways, including inputting too many slow sections, taking out all the interesting details and doing too much ‘showing’ versus ‘telling’.
In this writer's self-help book, you will learn how to write your first draft and revise your manuscript to the point where it's ready for self-publication or submission to agents and/or publishers.
The Five Draft Method
Draft 1: The Junk Draft
Draft 2: The Structuring Draft
Draft 3: The Rough Draft
Draft 4: The Analytical Draft
Draft 5: Final Draft
Plus! Proofreading for Publication
Write Your Novel Notebook (SC Writing)
Are you ready to write your novel? Are you looking for a journal or notebook that can help you get it done? If you answered yes, the Write Your Novel Notebook may be the notebook you've been waiting for.
20 pages per chapter
Add notes and other information at the end of each chapter
Pages to add additional notes at the end of this notebook
400+ lined pages for all your fiction writing fun
This notebook starts by allowing you to write down the date you started and the date you finished your manuscript, the title of your work in progress, the subtitle and your name. Next, answer a few basic questions, including:Why are you writing this novel?Why will this novel appeal to readers?What genre is this novel?What is your estimate of the finished word count?Add any additional notes!!!