September 23, 2018

Lisa Poisso, Story Coach


Story Coaching:




Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.—Pablo Picasso

Lisa Poisso, Editor, Book Coach, Story ConsultantTraditional editing extrudes your words through a lengthy, expensive process before you’re even certain you’ve got a good thing going on. That’s a lot of time and money to spend on a manuscript. It’s a huge commitment.

There’s a better way. Story coaching ensures there’s a strong, compelling story at the heart of your book.

Begin with Story Incubator coaching to nuture your book from its creative seeds—story, scenes, and narrative technique—and eliminate stumbling through rough drafts in search of the story.

Or turn to story coaching once your early drafts are complete, to ensure your manuscript is ready for professional editing. You’ll write smarter manuscripts from the start.

This is where theory and practice come together. Let’s accelerate your novel.


The Story Incubator: The On-Ramp to an Edit-Ready Manuscript

Whether you’re just beginning to write or you’ve already completed one or more drafts, the Story Incubator shows you how to nurture your story. From the kernel of a creative concept through story development, plotting, and writing, the Story Incubator is your on-ramp to an edit-ready manuscript.

The Story Incubator is three months of high-impact coaching: writing, story, creative development. Begin by fully developing your story and character arcs with Plot Accelerator coaching. Next, discover how to bring those events and characters to life on the page. Wrap up with a partial edit to capitalize on your strengths as a writer and head off pervasive issues before you weave them into your next draft.


  • This is the first novel you’ve written, or you’re a seasoned writer hoping to break out to the next level.
  • Story Incubator book coachingYou want to write using best practices and proven, classic techniques.
  • You want coaching and editing.
  • You want the process of editing your book to teach you more about writing novels.
  • You need efficient, effective methods for turning the big-picture story into scenes on the page.


Lisa is undoubtedly some manner of sorceress when it comes to identifying and fixing the dissonance that can so easily creep between the story you thought you wanted to tell and the one that landed on the page.—Luke R. Mitchell


The Plot Accelerator: A Developmental Edit in a Bottle

I love how you’ve distilled all these approaches … into a practical guide. Your material takes it from theory to practice. Brilliant!—Scott Jarol

Ever get the feeling that something in your story just isn’t clicking? No more crossing your fingers, slogging through 80,000-plus words, and handing over your manuscript to an editor to fix. The Plot Accelerator gives you insight into the principles underlying your instinctual story choices.

This is not a writing course. We’re not here simply to onboard new ideas and techniques; we’re here to apply them. You’ll spend most of your time analyzing, discussing, and developing your story with me, not boning up on theory and technique. You get eight revelatory weeks of coaching that show you how to take control of translating your ideas into plot and story. It’s been called a developmental edit in a bottle.

Now you’ll see what your reader feedback was really getting at. Now you’ll be able to make sense of your editor’s recommendations. Now you’ll be equipped to make informed creative choices.

I love using the Plot Accelerator prior to drafting a book. Based on my experience, it results in faster, cleaner drafting and reduced need for major revisions and edits. Reader reviews of my first Plot Accelerator-planned book are a full star level higher than its predecessor, making it a valuable part of my process.—K.A. Wiggins

Find out how to stop writing for yourself and start writing for the readers you want to buy your book.

Choose the point of view that supports the story, not the one that “feels right” or that you just like best.

Find out why narrative tense works precisely opposite of the way you probably assumed.

Discover the two elements that drive every aspect of your story.

Pull your protagonist out of the pit of passivity by discovering how stories are about characters happening to the plot, not a plot happening to the characters.

Develop a character arc that reveals the story behind the plot—or find out why your story doesn’t need a character arc of change and what to do instead.


  • You want to understand what makes a story work and how to apply those principles to your manuscript.
  • You’d like to launch your writing process or next draft from a developed, informed foundation.
  • You’re uncertain your current draft is on the right track.
  • You’ve received conflicting feedback from readers or editorial professionals.


After completing the Plot Accelerator course with Lisa … here’s to words that grow organically! Stories shouldn’t be forced. Motivation drives the characters. Characters drive the action! Action and reaction IS the story.—J. C. Thomas

I highly recommend the Plot Accelerator to authors as one of the best investments you can make in your writing career.—Vikki Walton


New ServiceThe Scene Accelerator

Manuscript Prep guideGetting your story from outline to scenes is another one of those processes that can seem inscrutable until you learn the technique to the madness. The Scene Accelerator takes the mystery out of building effective scenes that move the plot forward and deepen characterization and setting.

In How Scenes Work, you’ll learn the anatomy of an effective scene and sequel scene, how to use them together, how to build strong scene goals, and how to avoid the number one mistake new authors make when planning their scenes.

In Scenecraft, you’ll learn the 3 W’s of kicking off a scene, the screenwriting technique of going in late and getting out early, and how to find your book’s sweet spots for scene and chapter length.

In Scene Construction Materials, you’ll learn about the five types of writing that build scenes, find out how to decide when to use scene and when to use summary (the infamous showing versus telling), and how to assemble the very smallest units of narrative form to create scenes.


  • You’re having trouble moving from the story in your outline or head to scenes on the page.
  • You’re showing a lot of exciting events, but readers don’t seem to be engaging with the story.
  • Your book is all talk and no action, or all action and no thought.
  • The manuscript reads like a report instead of a story.
  • Your story is solid, but your manuscript is too long or too short for its genre.



A consultation may be just the thing you need to keep you moving forward. Spend time with me on a video or phone call pinpoint issues, brainstorming through knotty issues, or plotting your next steps.

Before our call, send me up up to three questions plus up to 2,500 words of background material to help me grasp the issue: a sample of your writing, a query letter and submission packet, your synopsis, an outline—whatever will give me a sense of what you’re struggling with. All feedback is delivered during our consultation; written edits or comments are not included.

An hour-long phone or video consultation is $149. If you only have one or two questions, a half-hour call for $99 could cover the bases. Get in touch with me now to book your consultation.


Lisa Poisso, book coach


FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About Story Coaching

Coaching is becoming popular as more authors realize the importance of the strongest possible start for their writing careers.

Story coaching is designed to help you develop a compelling story and tell it in a way that readers can't resist. We talk about your story idea itself and how it fits into today's marketplace. We examine the techniques and creative choices you've used to tell your story and consider other options to make the story tighter, deeper, or stronger. We work together to tune the plot, character arcs, and themes of the story. We may also hone techniques for scenes, point of view, dialogue, and more.

Story coaching typically comes in before or after your first (or an early) draft. It's not the sort of book coaching that walks alongside you as you write your book, which could be seen as a type of incremental editing. Story coaching shows you how to make your first draft do the work of several early drafts, getting you closer to an edit-ready manuscript earlier in your writing process.

Story coaching isn't the same thing as motivational or accountability coaching, which isn't part of my coaching services. Want to work with me on your story? Please arrive with your creative energies fully and amazingly ablaze.

The beauty of story coaching is that it helps you head off common storytelling problems before you've woven them into your first draft—even in the outlining and prewriting phase. Before you begin working with me, you should already have a good idea of how your story will begin and end. You may not yet know all the road bumps or how's and why's along the way, but you should definitely have a final destination in sight. If that's the case, you're ready for story coaching.

You could—but I don't recommend it.

Many new writers figure they'll begin with a simple proofread—“just clean it up,” they’ll say. They want to see how the book does before they invest significant money, or they figure it’s not worth spending a lot of money until their books begin selling enough money to make back the investment in editing.

This is flawed thinking. A novel isn’t a weekend crafts project. This project will consume months or even years of your time as you vie to get noticed among the tens of thousands of books published every week. Welcome to Thunderdome—thousands of books enter, few books leave. Why waste your time and effort writing an entire novel with anything less than an intelligent, informed approach?

I love using the Plot Accelerator prior to drafting a book. Based on my experience, it results in faster, cleaner drafting and reduced need for major revisions and edits. Reader reviews of my first Plot Accelerator-planned book are a full star level higher than its predecessor, making it a valuable part of my process.—K.A. Wiggins

Not every author needs story coaching. If you’re a seasoned author who’s already mastered the techniques of storytelling and writing fiction, coaching or multiple rounds of editing could be overkill.

Even so, most of my established clients run a compressed version of Plot Accelerator coaching before or after their first drafts. It's an invaluable way to ensure your story is on track.

My fees align with the industry-standard rates published by the Editorial Freelancers Association. Your quote will be based on our conversations about your publishing goals and the needs of your manuscript.

Coaching plans typically run $399 per month.

Absolutely, although you may find the information you need on my success stories page.
If your agent query is struggling to achieve liftoff, a consultation can help you identify what parts of your submissions package could be holding you back and tune it to get your manuscript in the door. I'm not currently offering written query and submission critiques. Line editing clients get automatic access to self-paced Query Accelerators (traditional publishing) or Blurb Accelerators (self-publishing) along with their edits.


Now I can’t imagine working with another editor . . . I really felt I was being pushed in the right direction from start to finish.—J.C. Thomas


Lisa Poisso, Book CoachThanks for reading all the way to the bottom. You rock.

Looking for an editor to accelerate your journey from new writer to emerging author? That editor could be me. Or maybe you want a story coach to steer you through story development and writing; I can help you with that, too.

If you’re ready to accelerate your novel, let’s work together.

Story coach, book coach, book editor, mentor, book editor, developmental editor, line editor, copyeditor