Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Daniel Fusch, Book Coach

A skilled teacher and a young, dedicated book coach, I thrive in helping other writers hone the skills needed to bring their characters alive on the page. I excel not just in critique but in coaching - in helping you discover both where you need to push your writing and what strengths will carry you there. A session with me is intensive, tailored to your goals and needs, and effective.

As writers, you face two significant challenges. One is getting published, without your manuscript being tossed into an editor’s slush pile. The second challenge: Getting readers. The largest obstacle to getting an editor, agent, or any other reader excited about your book is when they just don’t care enough about your characters and their problems.

The first key to writing (and marketing) a compelling story is to write characters that your readers care about. To do this, you need to understand what makes your character tick, and you need to write in such a vivid way that your reader gets to live that character’s life.

I will help you learn and practice skills that will aid you in developing powerful characters so that your story comes alive and stays alive with each page turned.

Interested, but uncertain of the value of a book coach? Contact me. Let's test whether this would be a good fit by having coffee and talking about your writing, your goals, and what you would most like to improve or learn.

Please peruse this blog to learn more about my services, my philosophy, and about book coaching in general.

Daniel Fusch

What is a Book Coach?

A book coach is like a personal trainer for writers. A book coach helps you refine specific skills - such as writing believable characters or believable dialogue, or such as making your character arc more impactful. A book coach brings you resources and exercises, pushes you to new levels in the craft, and helps you develop routines that work for you -- routines for keeping momentum in your writing, or for overcoming writer's block.

A coach gets a thrill from working with you to push yourself, to make your characters thrive with vitality and urgency on the page. A coach is in love with good fiction or good storytelling (whether in a novel or a memoir or a travel piece), and can bring you exercises and specific critique that will help you write characters your readers will care deeply about.

A coach may offer critique of specific scenes, but is focused not on editing your one chapter but on helping you sharpen your story and your characters as a whole.

A good book coach is usually another writer with editing experience. A coach is not a literary agent and will not represent you to publishers or ask for a sales commission -- though a coach may offer assistance with writing query letters, book proposals, and with helping you research the right agents or editors for your work. A book coach's primary aim is to facilitate your growth as a writer.

What to Look for in a Book Coach

* A passion for good storytelling - a love for the work of writing itself
* A practical and craft-focused approach
* Editing experience
* The ability to quickly break down complex ideas into specific examples
* Ability to think fast on their feet
* Ability to try multiple tacks, adapt to your specific needs and learning style
* Facility with getting you resources and exercises that will help you continue to develop your skills beyond your sessions with the coach

Ideally, a book coach should be able to help you on a number of fronts - character, plot, setting, outlining - as well as aiding you with writer's block, finding a writing routine that works for you (if you don't have one), and advising you on resources that will help you press further - or even connecting you with a local critique group that's right for you. It is essential that your coach not offer you a canned approach, but instead focus on your needs and goals.

Working With Your Coach

The best way to work with a book coach is to offer a scene or a couple of scenes as a starting point, and consult together on how to improve specific aspects of your storytelling. Or you could bring an outline of your story, and work together to refine your character arc, or identify and highlight key themes or other recurring elements.

A one- or two-hour session with a book coach can work a number of ways, depending on your own learning style:

* A quick lecture on one aspect of the craft, followed by specific examples or exercises
* Hands-on work
* Brainstorming together
* Reviewing your outline and experimenting with it to nudge particular elements further
* Reviewing a sample of your work, identifying key areas for improvement, and practicing
* Identifying key areas for improvement and identifying the resources that will help you

I excel in hands-on work with a client and in synthesizing much of what has been written and tried in the craft of storytelling to help you identify approaches that will work for you.


I charge $90/hour for a coaching session, with a reduced rate for group workshops. I prefer individual sessions because of the intensive focus on your work. However, a group session can be effective in certain cases.

As with an hour spent with a massage therapist, an attorney, or any consultant, a single session of an hour or two will offer a lot of value, introducing you to new ideas and new techniques, helping you to rethink your approach to a particular challenge (or several).

Recurring sessions (once a week, once every two weeks, once a month) will allow you the opportunity to build quickly on what you are learning.

I am based in Denver, Colorado, and my clients are primarily local. I am open to book coaching long distance (over the phone, for instance), but it is certainly a different type of communication. I would be open to discussing the logistics and goals for long-distance opportunities on a case-by-case basis.

Contact Me

To chat about your writing and determine whether we would be a good fit, please contact me to set up a phone appointment or a meeting over coffee. I can be reached fastest at:

Daniel Fusch
Book Coach

The best thing to do is to grab coffee and chat about your needs. I am not a salesman, nor pushy; this is work I enjoy deeply, and something I hope to pursue with you only if this looks to be a good fit for your writing goals and only if you are certain of the value that coaching could bring to your journey as a writer.

My Qualifications

* 5 years experience book coaching
* 15 years experience in critique, workshop, and volunteer editing
* 15 years of experience tutoring, mentoring, and teaching
* Ph.D in English (University of Denver)
* Studied under Pam Goodfellow of Goodfellow Press, one of the finest book coaches in the Western US
* Editor of a small literary journal, Dante's Heart
* An avid writer

About Me

I look forward to getting to meet you over coffee - but here is a little about me in the meantime.

When I am not book coaching, I can be found at work on a novel (likely scribbling on the back of a receipt while waiting at a red traffic light), or teaching a writing course at a local college, or a class at my local church. I also work fervently at a Colorado-based firm that provides high-quality training for leaders in higher education. My two great passions are storytelling and education.

In liesure, I enjoy haiku, good stories in whatever genre I find them, travel, the study of ancient languages, dancing, and live music. I love classical violin and country. I have a deep love of gardening - but absolutely no skill at it. There is just something about the warmth of dark, freshly turned earth in my hands. I am a lapsed recreational rock-climber. A child of a small dairy farm, I am ill at ease in the city where there is much white noise and few stars visible, but fortunately in Colorado the mountains are always near. Though I would likely be happy in a quiet home outside Anchorage, my wife loves the city, and often finds ways to share the romance of the city with me.

So I live in Denver, CO with my beautiful wife, who is a skilled photographer and beauty consultant. You can see her art at Seaelven Studios.

I would identify my core values (those by which I live and strive to make decisions) as:


My private ambitions include establishing myself as a novelist, mastering Greek and Hebrew, and living a life of mentoring and teaching until my last breath.

Daniel Fusch