3 months to transform your novel.
We subsidize the cost.
An editor’s feedback on your novel doesn’t come cheap. Search the web for a “content” or “developmental” editor and you’ll find they charge upwards of $500 to read your novel and offer feedback on the structure and technique. Getting this kind of help is invaluable, but we understand that it’s probably beyond your means as a teen or college-age writer.
What about $39 per month? For 3 months?
Story coaching costs us $75 per month, per person. But you pay $39. In exchange, you contribute quality critique of other student work each week on the Student Forum. Critiquing improves your own writing and editing skills, but it has the added benefit of enriching the forum experience of our other students. And that’s what we’re passionate about: Seeing writers grow.
It’s why we’re subsidizing. It’s our investment in you. So you can have the experience of developmental editing.
What a Story Coach can help you with
• Extra accountability to keep writing or editing
• “Reader feedback,” identifying the emotions your scenes produce
• A second opinion when you find yourself having second thoughts about some of your ideas
• Feedback on believability of your character behavior, dialogue, and plot developments
• Help integrating your story goal and achieving value changes and pacing
• Input on the degree of precise detail you need
• Prose edits where problems get in the way of readability and clarity
• Forward-focused advice: tips to apply as you continue to write or rewrite your draft
• “Global-level” feedback if your draft is done—comments on the progression of the whole novel; not just chapter-level
You can tell your Story Coach what it is you feel you need most, but they will also help you see your blindspots!
Each week you submit a chapter to your coach by email; and it is returned to you with in-depth comments the following week. You also offer substantial critique on the Student Forum.
Length of weekly chapter submissions
Each week you should send one chapter, or up to 5,500 words (about 21 pages in the manuscript formatting outlined in lesson 77 of the textbook).
Total word cap
If your first draft is done, and it exceeds 66,000 words, that’s fine! But your story coach will not comment beyond 66,000 words. More is beyond the scope of this 3-month track. You will be able to select which 66,000 words to submit (for example, you may want to prioritize getting comments on the ending over part of the middle section).
Student Forum critiques
Each week, you should offer critiques on a total of 4,000 words of other student writing—it is up to you whether you do 4,000 words for one writer or divide your time between several excerpts. When you complete a critique, you email a link to your coach, to show that you have made good on your end of the exchange. Our coaches aren’t scouring your comments to find fault with them, but if they think you could beef up your comments—or feel you are working harder than you need to—they’ll let you know.
You have to have written drafts of chapters 1–3 of your novel before sessions can begin. This is because we want to see that you are on your way and that it will be worth our time to join your heroic quest.
What students & parents have to say
I really was thrilled when OYAN accepted Holly as a candidate for Story Coaching. I am so proud of both of my daughters for completing their OYAN novels. But I was not prepared for just how much Holly’s writing improved after both the Story Coaching and the critiquing she received from the Summer Workshop critique groups. The difference between her work before and the work after this input was staggering to me. It was still all Holly’s work, but she had been able to run with some great suggestions, and it changed the quality of her writing markedly.
– Angie F., OYAN parent
Getting feedback was wonderful! Whether it was a funny comment or an in-depth question, all of the comments were for finding the true story and questioning the out-of-place pieces and for suggesting missing pieces. I am honored that I was chosen and got to participate in this program!
Cliff Notes: The experience was practically flawless!It really gives you an experience of what random people would think. It was completely unbiased and helps develop your skills writing your work, editing your work, and finding the good and bad in other people’s work.
Story Coaching has been so amazing. It’s changed my perspective about both writing and critiquing, but most of all, it’s changed my novel. It’s the best feeling, seeing your writing improve so rapidly.
2016 Story Coaches
Rachel Garner was one of the seven students—or self-labeled “guinea pigs”—who took part in the pilot class for The One Year Adventure Novel (OYAN). It would be hard to say who has stood to benefit more from her involvement, OYAN or Rachel! Known as “Nairam” in the extended OYAN community, Rachel is an example of dedication to her craft and a gifted editor. She is also a kind and forthright writing mentor to students at every level of the program. A homeschool graduate, she is now in college studying history. When not hiding out in the medieval England section of her school library, she edits her Robin Hood retelling and pretends that nine years is definitely not too long to spend on a single writing project.
Gabrielle de Waal has loved stories for as long as she can remember. (The Lord of the Rings holds the top spot, as it has for thirteen years running.) That love of stories translates to writing her own fiction, but also to understanding what other writers’ stories need. That’s why she does developmental editing for our Story Coaching program—she’s a great judge of Story. Gabrielle is studying English in college and was recently married to fellow OYAN student Kyle de Waal. She likes reading novels, playing video games, eating stromboli, looking at pictures of sloths, and having already written today.
Frequently Asked Questions
You make your first $39 payment once you receive notification that your application has been accepted. Making the payment involves entering your card information and choosing a day of the month when the next two monthly payments will be withdrawn. You can cancel payments at any point. Read about our cancelation and refund policy below.
Any student 13 or older who uses The One Year Adventure Novel under a valid license. If you are 20 or older, you are welcome to apply even though you are too old to have an account on the Student Forum. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can make alternate arrangements for the critique work we require in exchange for subsidizing the cost.
If you are 13–19 years old, you are required to have a Student Forum account to participate in Story Coaching. We will make special arrangements with writers who are older than 19, since they are not allowed on the forum.
- An email account
- Working, stable Internet connection for timely submissions and communication
- A word processor, so that you can submit your writing in the prescribed format (see chapter 77 of your textbook)
Coaching continues on the basis of your timely submission of excerpts and critiques. But if you can’t do your 12 weeks in succession because of a vacation, special event, illness, etc., you can schedule in “off” weeks. We just ask that you complete your track within 120 days (roughly 4 months) and communicate as soon as possible about these conflicts with your coach, by email. Our coaches are flexible and compassionate; as long as you communicate with them, they can work around any unforeseen conflicts you may have; that said, if they come to feel that you are unlikely to complete your track, they will talk to you about canceling. Read about the cancelation and refund policy below.
You can cancel your Story Coaching track at any time. You pay on a monthly basis, so if you cancel your track, future payments are also canceled. Once your track has officially begun (i.e., once your story coach has put time into commenting on your work), we no longer off a full refund. Partial refunds are calculated based on work completed. So, for example, if you were to cancel midway through a month, we would refund you for weeks in which your coach has not already done work for you—in this scenario, probably 2 weeks.
If you are under 18 years old, you are required to list the email address of one of your parents on the application form, in addition to your own email address. Your story coach will communicate with you through your personal email address, but if a concern arises about timely submission or missed deadlines, your parent will be copied on emails about the concern. We do this because (1) we know that your parent may be the one paying for the Story Coaching track, and (2) if you homeschool, it may benefit you if your parent educator is also aware of your Story Coaching obligations.
Yes! If you are accepted, but there is no slot available at that time, we will notify you and put you on the waiting list. If one of our coaches is able to take on another student, or if someone forfeits their spot, we will offer it to you! So apply—even if you think we may not be able to take you right away. It gets you closer in line.