Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday #102

What kind of writing coach do you need? When you have to coach friends, what kind of coach are you?

(Having spent the last few hours working through revisions, I've come to the conclusion that my mom is the best writing coach ever.  You never really know what you need unless you have it and it's working, and thankfully, it's working so much better than before.)

Build half, not half-ass

The kind of writing coach I need is someone who tells me that I am a good writer, and also tells me that my writing, as it is now, is not proof of this fact.

I can be better.  I can work harder.  I have inestimable potential.  And yes, I can half-ass it and still produce something enjoyable, but it's not as good as it could be, and it's worth it to do everything I can to make it that good.  So get to it!

As a writing coach what I try to do, first of all, is respect my friend's story.  I want to respect what they're trying to do, support them in doing it (because keeping those boys running laps is the hardest part), and try and figure out what sort of advice will be the most useful for them.

Mostly I seem deal with people who want to write, but have trouble finishing a story.  With them, I just cheer.  99% of learning to write is doing it, and if they finish one story, the next one will be easier.  With more advanced writers, I try to offer concrete tips and techniques that might help out in certain cases.  Maybe just pointing out the problem would be better, but offering a possible solution, even if it's not the best, might spark other ideas for fix-its in the author's mind.  So why not?

All I can do is hope that I help.


  1. I take whatever feedback I can get. Even if the beta reader/CP says "something's not right here, but I can't put my finger on what..."--if I hear this more than once, or I read the passage and agree, I'm good with that. Sure, specific suggestions are good, but the problem may be to do with the rhythm, or something subtle that's not obvious to every reader. As the writer, I should be able to deal with that.

  2. I like that you talked about how you alter your coaching styles for different writers, at different stages in development. I do that too.