START You’ve got an idea that’s been hanging around forever. You think it would make it great story but every time you try to get it down on paper – it slips away. Or else. You tell your friends a story. They love it. You really ought to write it they say. Only you don’t know where to begin.
Your 10th grade teacher or your college lit professor read an essay. You had a feeling it was pretty good – they thought it was brilliant. You should be a writer someday, they said. You meant to, but then life got in the way and wouldn’t it be crazy to start now?
Let’s not even talk about: lack of confidence, lack of motivation, what feels like lack of imagination. Just getting started may put those worn out excuses to rest. We’ll figure it out together.
FINISH You’ve got a drawerful of unfinished manuscripts and you’re worried you may never finish any one of them.
Three hundred pages in and you’re stumped. No idea how to finish the novel, the memoir, the self-help book that seemed so promising months ago now feels a little dull and maybe even dead.
Your writing group read the first five chapters. They loved it. But then you got the flu, and now your kids are home from school full-time, and 15 minutes to yourself in the morning just doesn’t seem like enough to get to chapter six.
I’ve seen worse. We’ll find out how to find the time.
FIX You’re way ahead of those who can’t get started or can’t keep going. Or are you? You thought the book was good enough but at least two agents said they “weren’t in love” – so now what?
Let’s be honest. It’s a big 125,000 word mess. You thought you’d killed all your darlings but it’s still too long and you can't see a way in to start pruning.
Last time you read the manuscript it all seemed to fall apart. Why bother when nobody will care? But the worst part is you can’t move on until you get this one right.
I know a few secret tricks for ways to make it all better. I’m happy to show you and we might even have fun in the process.
Why Work With Me? If you’re ready to dig in, use your imagination and your sense of humor, I’m pretty sure I can help at almost any point in the process.*
I tend to work intuitively. I may not always be able to outline a book ahead of time, but I do get a sense of how to improve it when I sit down to read.
Not surprisingly, I work well with with others who would love to outline but need some help. Who would love to plot it all out ahead of time but get stuck after the first few chapters. Writers who would love to have a perfect story arc and a character who changes in time for the climax but get there almost by accident.
So yes, I'm happy to work with anyone writing or rewriting a novel or memoir, I'm happy to use whatever system you prefer. At the same time, I have a soft spot for fumbling pantsers and stumbling intuitives. I'm sure you already know - sooner or later we'll figure it out.
What exactly does a book coach do?
A book coach is someone who cares about your manuscript as much as you do. Someone who knows how to spot the holes in your plot and the tears in the fabric of your story. Someone who'll keep you from writing a boring book.
Someone who's there to talk through all the little details of your work that would drive your friends crazy. Like:
Should I write in first person or third?
Past tense or present?
Where do I start?
What's a character arc and do I have one?
Is anyone ever going to read this or should I just give up?
Honestly, no matter what point you're at in your writing - there are no questions we can't tackle together.
"Michele Orwin is a thorough, perceptive, and constructive book coach. Having her as a coach was extremely productive and educational and my manuscript is much stronger as a result. It was a joy to work with her!" Kathryn Abdul-Baki, Dancing into the Light: An Arab-American Girlhood in the Middle East