3 months to transform your novel.
“Story Coaching provides a fantastic opportunity to weed out weaknesses of your story with experienced writers who speak the same language as you. My coach, Gabrielle, blew my entire plot wide open when she caught a single sentence I’d written and forgotten. My story is one hundred times better now. More emotion. Higher stakes. Deeper theme. The experience of having One Year Adventure Novel principles applied to your writing is invaluable. My stories will never be the same.”
What a Writing Coach can help you with
• “Reader feedback,” identifying the emotions your scenes produce
• Extra accountability to keep writing or editing
• 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 blind spots!
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
Q: Is there an age limit?
A: 13 and up
We take students of all ages—even very non-traditional students! If you’re too old to be on the Student Forum to offer critiques, we make alternate arrangements with you for that part of the track.
Just send us an email to get that conversation started!
Q: Can I do more than 3 months?
We start with 3 months to keep it simple, but if you love your track (and we think you will!), you are welcome to request extra weeks or even months! If you have a longer novel, just communicate with your Story Coach about your interest in extending.
Current Story Coaches
Rachel Garner was one of the seven students 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. Her goal in story coaching is not only to improve the story in front of her, but to encourage and equip the writer for future stories as well.
She is now a graduate of both homeschooling and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she earned an honors in history by willingly reading 650 medieval law disputes. Her next goal is to pursue a Masters in Cultural Heritage Management in the United Kingdom. She currently spends her days organizing books, alternatively laughing or crying over medieval people, pretending she’s a Guardian of the Galaxy, and writing Robin Hood stories.
To see some of Rachel’s thoughts on writing and stories, check out these posts on the OYAN blog: A Secret to Historical Fiction that Won’t Make Historians Cry, How One Smart Scene Can Pull the Weight of Many, and Telling a Religious Story Without Being Preachy.
Gabrielle Schwabauer has loved stories for as long as she can remember. (The Lord of the Rings holds the top spot, as it has for sixteen years running.) That love of stories translates to writing her own fiction (and poetry!), 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 who values helping every student achieve his or her vision for a novel.
Gabrielle graduated with honors in English from the University of Kansas. Her great loves include quality novels, Nintendo, long strolls around the neighborhood, and music with really good drums.
To see some of Gabrielle’s thoughts on writing and stories, check out these posts on the OYAN blog: Reading Poetry: A Little-Used Tool to Strengthen Prose, Challenging the Mental Default: Reasons to Fire Your Muse and Story Diversity: Creating Complex Characters.
Music and Story have been a part of Sarah Noe’s soul since childhood. She had the rare chance to take The One Year Adventure Novel live, in 2009, as part of the “Brightoneers” class. In 2014, she graduated from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. When she’s not bending her ear to shaping musical phrases, Sarah loves crafting witty wordplay and vivid characters and is always eager to listen to the imaginings of other writers. Sarah has a huge heart; she brings care and insight to everything she does on our team and that includes the feedback she offers to our students, whether it’s on the Student Forum or through Story Coaching.
Her few spare hours are filled with knitting, nerdy TV shows, reading, and writing her (fantastic!) fantasy steampunk novel.
To see some of Sarah’s thoughts on writing and stories, check out these posts on the OYAN blog: A Writer to Her Younger Self, When Words Stop Coming, and A Girl and Her Goggles: Tips for Writing Steampunk.
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 cancellation 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 offer 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.