Helping Good Writers Write Good Historical Novels
Writing a novel is hard.
Writing a historical novel has its own unique challenges.
In many ways, writing a historical novel is just like writing any other kind of fiction.
Except when it’s not.
There’s the delicate balance between fiction and fact. The necessity to make the story fulfill all the requirements of page-turning fiction without distorting history.
Then there’s the research: so much to know, so much to discover, too much to deal with.
That’s why I was so excited when I became an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach. In addition to my own writerly instincts and editorial skills, my experience with research and writing historical fiction, I bring a whole arsenal of fabulous tools to the table for my coaching clients.
Coaching isn’t the same as editing—although being a good editor is vital to being a good coach. When I coach writers, we have an ongoing relationship over time with deadlines and Zoom calls every step of the way. I become a mentor, a friend, someone to cheer you on as you triumph and commiserate when things get difficult.
You’ll see below what some of my clients have said after working with me. I consider it a great privilege to have worked with all of them.
If you would like to know more about how book coaching could help you get started, get unstuck, or revise your historical fiction manuscript, just fill out the form at the button above or below. We’ll have an informal conversation—it’s up to you to decide where we take it from there.
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You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, “head hopping,” usually referred to as something that betrays an inexperienced writer at work. This generally happens when the writer is using third-person close POV, which means that at any given time, the reader is experiencing the...
I’ve been writing historical fiction for nearly 20 years.
New! The Historical Fiction Story Audit
An expert overview of your plot, characters, motivations, period, conflict and more!
Not quite ready to leap into coaching? Want to get a sense of whether your story is working or will work as compelling fiction—and fulfill the expectations of your readers?
This Historical Fiction Story Audit is a quick, affordable way to do that. Here’s how it works:
- You complete this detailed questionnaire about your story.
- I review it and write up an evaluation.
- You schedule a half-hour coaching call with me to discuss your story and my thoughts about it.
This is a great way to see if you’ve got your bases covered, and the elements of your story—plot, characters, theme, and more—are in a good solid place as you write or revise your manuscript.
(All your answers are confidential—I will not share them with anyone, and payment is due when you submit the questionnaire.)
Here are a few ways I might be able to help you:
I can help you get started:
The 4-deadline Blueprint Program is a great way to start your brainstorming about your project, even if you’re at the very beginning and haven’t written a word. It’s full of smart tools to get those creative juices flowing and help you see your project from the very start, including figuring out what you need to research for your story.
I can help you keep Going:
Ongoing coaching puts a cheerleader, editor, and taskmaster in your corner as you get those words on the page. You can start here, or do the Blueprint Program first. This is a 12-deadline intensive program to help you get that draft finished, revised, or polished.
I can help you cross the Finish Line:
When you’ve already got a draft and you need fresh eyes to help you revise, it’s a great time to talk to me about coaching you through your revision.
Hear what some of my book coaching clients have to say:
I have learned so much from working with Susanne. She strikes the perfect balance between encouragement and valuable instruction and feedback. Susanne brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her coaching. It is so helpful to sit at the feet of someone who has climbed the mountain. Most importantly, she has helped me rediscover hope in my writing and the joy and wonder of crafting compelling fiction.
Susanne is a joy to work with. She led me from a little glimmer of an idea for a book to a full fledged book proposal—and she did it all with an abundance of insight, good will, and grace. She knows what agents and publishers are looking for—as well as what makes for a truly compelling book—and her feedback is always spot on. She is an amazing guide and champion. I literally could not have done this without her!
When [my book club] asked about the feelings and the labor of [my book] Keep Calm, I realized that you coached me in writing the most important self help book I’ll ever read. So I am boxing up all the other self help books lining my bookshelf and donating to the Friends of the Library sale store.
I am an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach in both fiction and nonfiction, which means I have fulfilled the requirements of two rigorous courses and submitted practicums. I’m privileged to be among the premier community of book coaching professionals!
Interested in becoming an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach? Take the first step!
What is book coaching? How is it different from hiring an editor?
Book coaching is an ongoing relationship based on meeting pre-determined deadlines that include reading and commenting on pages; doing exercises to help focus your project on your genre, audience, and market; and having regular, scheduled conversations to discuss your work. It’s like having a cheerleader, project manager, editor, and friend by your side every step of the way as you reach your writing goals—whether it’s finishing that novel, finally writing your memoir, or putting together a top-notch book proposal that gets your expertise in front of readers to build your business.
The right book coach can help you conquer the challenges of writing your book. It’s a way to ensure that your book is in the best shape it can be—for submission to agents and editors or for self-publishing. And a book coach is also an experienced, professional editor.
I love working with writers at all different stages in the process and at all different levels—from those who have never written a book before, to those with publication credits under their belts and who just need specific help meeting a deadline.
How do you choose a book coach?
A book-coaching relationship is personal, one-to-one. Not all coaches are a fit for all writers. That’s why the relationship has to start with a conversation. After you complete an intake questionnaire, we’ll get on the phone or have a video call to talk about your goals and expectations.
If we work together, I will help you make a plan for your work with concrete deadlines, usually every two weeks. Each deadline includes a written review of your material and a half-hour call to talk about my comments and let you ask questions and share how it’s all going.
If you think book coaching might be the right answer for you, contact me using the form below. There’s no obligation, of course.
Will you help me write a bestseller?
The short answer is that there are no guarantees in publishing. Success in the market depends on so many variables that can have nothing to do with the quality of your book. Very few writers make those bestseller lists.
What I can do is help you write the best book you can, whether you’re going to submit to agents, self-publish, or hybrid publish your book. I can guarantee that I will bring to our working relationship all my experience as a published author and an expert editor who understands the mechanics and psychology of storytelling.
I put my whole heart into working with authors, and seeing you meet the milestones you set is one of my greatest satisfactions.