Help Writing Your Novel or Memoir With Sarah Lovett
Do you need an experienced ally to help you move forward with your writing goals? Would you like to fast-track the first draft of your novel or memoir? Have you hit a wall, lost confidence, and need help getting back in the flow with your writing and your book? These are all good issues to bring to a writing coach. As your coach and ally, I offer insights and guidance and I work with you to keep you on track and accountable with your writing at any stage of your creative journey. This usually consists of regular one-on-one sessions, scheduled and timed to suit your needs and keep you moving toward your goal with ease and well-being.
Story Coaching, Consulting and Development:
Do you have an idea for a compelling protagonist in pursuit of a meaningful goal and now you need to develop your story? Do you want to get to the heart of your memoir and avoid writing a 700-page autobiography? Is your story both unique and universal? When I’m wearing my “story consulting hat” I draw upon my experience as author, story editor, coach, and reader, and I work with you to help you find your way to your story’s heart and core. Often, we writers dive into writing the “idea” of our story before we fully explore its depth and breadth. My goal is to honor your process, while I serve as a sounding board, a bit of a story detective, and a source of ideas, techniques, and key story markers. My aim is to help you realize the full potential of your story, a story that will truly touch your readers. Story coaching often starts with 3 or 4 sessions and then check-ins as needed.
As you write your book~
First Draft Coach/Editorial Mentor:
Fiction and Memoir authors write in drafts. Ideally, a first draft takes 3 to 4 months from beginning to end. The process is intentionally fast, designed to keep writer-as-channel flowing, surprised, curious, and away from “figuring it all out.” As your first draft unfolds, I will encourage you to stay curious and to connect to the story world, the protagonist’s driving impulse and dilemma, develop the forces of antagonism, and discover key action and pivotal scenes. While there are no rules when it comes to writing your story, there are excellent techniques, universal elements, and guideposts that will encourage your muse and your ease of writing. When we work together as your first draft unfolds, I keep my “story coach hat” handy at all times. I can also provide you with new writing tools and a new awareness of your writing craft and process. Ultimately, this alliance can help streamline your next step, revision.
Revision-2nd Draft/Final Draft Coach/Editorial Mentor:
Every first draft needs revision—and the most effective way to revise is to save your rewriting for Draft 2. I will work with you during the revision process, moving you from your first quick read of the newly written manuscript, through a new outline, through the fleshing out and revising of scenes. Character and story arc and story dilemma drive your revision choices as you explore ways to heighten conflict, and hone your characters—your unique and compelling protagonist, worthy and equally powerful antagonists, and fully orchestrated, dimensional cast of characters. This is where you truly discover the theme of your story, and you make sure your narrative embraces these story requisites: desire, surrender, and transformation.
After you have written your book~
You have written your first draft and perhaps you have even revised your book. Now, we will be working with you on the content of your book. There are several content editing options.
Full Manuscript Evaluation:
When I provide you with a full or partial manuscript critique, I am looking at the macro. A full manuscript evaluation includes a careful read of your entire manuscript (double-spaced, 12-pt font). I offer specific feedback on your story’s hook, character arcs, subtext, core story dilemma, structure, pacing, prose style and technique, and market potential. After my read, you and I will discuss your manuscript thoroughly during a phone or Skype session (typically lasting 75 to 90 minutes) that you are free to record for later reference. I also include notes within the manuscript as well as a concise written overview of my feedback. I am available for follow-up questions and support. I can cater the evaluation to suit your needs. I’ve had writers tell me their critique experience was more informative and insightful than their MA program.
Partial Manuscript Evaluation:
As an alternative to a full evaluation, I often recommend that writers begin with “a partial”—an evaluation of the first 50 pages or so of your manuscript. Frequently, what I find in those chapters is applicable to the rest of the manuscript. A partial read allows you to ‘sample’ my feedback. We can always proceed with a full read after beginning with a partial. If you are interested in a partial evaluation, ask me about my “First Fifty Pages: Manuscript/Story Evaluation package.”
SCHEDULE YOUR INTRODUCTORY CONVERSATION WITH SARAH AND GET STARTED ON YOUR BOOK!
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We can also narrow an evaluation down to the micro level of your scenes. Together we can analyze the elements of a dynamic scene—including scene goal, who drives, status and parity, effective use of dialogue, subtext, scene arc, gap, reveal, payoff. (And, yes, we cover the difference between scene, summary, and sequel.)
If you have completed a revision of your memoir or novel and you know it still needs work but you’re not sure how to make stronger, so it lives up to your original inspiration, you may want a substantive edit. In the Substantive edit, I analyze your book as a whole, tracking the narrative flow, character arcs and the overall arc of transformation—the steps in a full manuscript evaluation. But I go beyond the evaluation, noting and suggesting specific edits within the manuscript. I consider the thematic terrain of your narrative and how thoroughly and effectively you’ve allowed it to drive your characters and your narrative. In the substantive edit, I focus on the relationship of each chapter to the others and broad stroke changes that are necessary to help make your book the best it can be. Together we can discuss and make decisions on how best to implement my edits and suggested changes.