The Write Calling

Is writing your true calling? Here you'll find encouragements for writers, book reviews, publishing industry insider tips, and market news. Read musings on writing and publishing by Katey Coffing, Ph.D.: Life Coach for Women Writers.

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Location: Colorado, United States

Published fiction and nonfiction author who embraces her creativity and coaches other women to do the same. For information and prices, visit

Friday, April 28, 2006

Plotting a novel

Current Music: Tears for Fears—Shout

I once had a discussion about writers' favorite writing books with agent Cheryl Ferguson. We agreed that writers have varying tastes—much like humanity in general. Neither of us cared for Robert McKee's Story, though others adore it. That's life in all its idiosyncratic glory, and it's up to you to choose what works for you. Heck, that's half the fun, and Amazon greatly appreciates your research dollars.

With that disclaimer out of the way, here are a few suggestions for authors in the plotting stage. They'll be particularly useful for those of you writing genre/commercial novels.

Prescription for Plotting is a fantastic tool for organizing your novel and constructing its plot. Long after using and loving this workbook, I found myself sitting next to the author, Carolyn Greene, at an RWA National Conference. She's every bit as wonderful as her workbook, and the tips she shares in it can help you create excellent fiction.

Two alternatives are First Draft in 30 Days by Karen S. Wiesner and The Marshall Plan for Writers by Evan Marshall. Both will help you flesh out your book with a minimum of fuss.

The Fiction Doctor

Current Music: Paul Young's Tear Your Playhouse Down on Generation 80s (

I've known Dr. Beth Seltzer for (egad!) nearly twenty years, ever since we were lab partners in sophomore year college biology. For the first few days of the class, we'd smile and say goodbye at the end of each lab, then walk home separately—until we realized we lived in the same dorm. We've been fast friends ever since, and share the same scientist/creative push/pull. She's a talented physician, writer, and editor, and an all-around fabulous woman.

If you have a story involving hospitals or doctors and want to make sure your hero's symptoms or the doctor's surgical techniques don't provoke laughter from the medical community, check out The Fiction Doctor.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Setting (of a different kind)

Current Music: Burning Flame by Vitamin Z.

I love the parchment in this template. It reminds me of luxurious hours penning stories. Of a time and place when writing desks were not considered accent furniture. Of Julia Cameron (patron saint of writers) and fabulous self-care. If you're quiet, you can even hear the scratch of the pen as it rides the page...

I'm not as keen on the surrounding drab flower pattern. For some reason it reminds me of men's ties, the kind that should never leave their taped-up box in the attic. I'm amused I chose this particular template, which through sheer accident is in the same color family as the one I use at Brown is the last color I would have thought I'd want, even there. It's prominent on my list of Least Favorite Colors. But then I recall the brown leather bindings of favorite books, and that enticing smell of old leather and memories. (Stables and saddles give me an equally happy feeling.)

Article of the day: Holly Lisle's "One Pass Manuscript Revision". I sent this one to clients and they were delighted with the tips.

In the Beginning...

Hmm, 'bout time I started a blog. (Done. And now I can check it off the Gargantuan To-Do List.)

Who am I? Katey Coffing, Ph.D., a certified life coach who specializes in working with women writers. I help women to pursue their writing goals, finish their manuscripts, and achieve their dreams. Click to read more about what I do at

I hope you'll enjoy what this blog will become: a source of writing tips, publishing news, reviews of books for writers...and encouragement from a kindred spirit.

Welcome to The Write Calling.