September 23, 2018

Lisa Poisso, Story Coach





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

Traditional approaches to editing extrude your words through a lengthy editorial process before you’re even certain the story’s got a good thing going on. That’s a lot of time and money before you’re sure you’re on solid ground.

There’s a better way.

Story coaching ensures that a strong, compelling story beats at the heart of your book. Nurture your story from its creative seeds. No more stumbling through rough drafts in search of the story.

Story coaching is where theory and practice come together.


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

Story Incubator coaching shows you how to nurture your story over three months of high-impact coaching on story structure, scenes, and writing.

Begin by fully developing and melding your plot and character arcs to create a deeper, richer story. Next, discover how to bring the story to life on the page. Finish with an excerpt edit designed to capitalize on your strengths as a writer and head off pervasive issues before they’re woven into your next draft.

Story Incubator coaching is a cross between a developmental edit and one-on-one coaching. 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.


  • This is the first novel you’ve written.
  • 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’re seeking a more collaborative, long-term editorial relationship.
  • You want the process of editing your book to teach you more about writing it.
  • 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

The Plot Accelerator gives you insight into the story form and theory driving your instinctive storytelling choices.

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.

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



  • You want to understand what makes a story work and how to apply those principles to your manuscript.
  • You’d like to launch your next draft from a developed, informed foundation.
  • You’re uncertain that your story or characters are 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


The Scene Accelerator

Getting 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 different types of scenes and how to avoid the number one mistake new authors make when planning their scenes.

In Scenecraft, you’ll learn techniques such as the 3 W’s of kicking off a scene, the screenwriting tactic 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, you’ll learn about the five types of writing that build scenes and find out how to decide when to use scene and when to use summary (the infamous showing versus telling).


  • You’re having trouble moving from the story in your outline or head to scenes on the page.
  • Your book includes 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.


One-on-One Consultations

A face-to-face conversation with an editor from the comfort of your home could be just the thing to keep your writing moving forward. Spend time with me on a video or phone call to pinpoint issues, brainstorm through knotty issues, or plot your next moves.

  • Get face-to-face, real-time feedback to shake free from creative blockages
  • Discuss how to apply writing advice and techniques to your book
  • Establish a collaborative connection for future coaching and editing

Before our call, you can send me up up to three questions, along with background material to help me grasp the issue: an excerpt from your manuscript, 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.



Lisa Poisso, book coach


FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About Story Coaching

The popularity of story coaching is soaring as more authors realize the importance of getting 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. We work together to tune the plot, character arcs, and themes of the story. We may also hone techniques for handling scenes, point of view, narrative modes, and more.

Story coaching is not the sort of book coaching that walks alongside you as you write your book (a process that could be seen as a sort of incremental editing). Story coaching positions your first draft to do the work of several early drafts, getting you closer to an edit-ready manuscript sooner in your writing and revision process.

This is not motivational or accountability coaching, which is designed to keep you on track with deadlines and completion goals. To be a good fit for story coaching with me, please arrive with your creative energies and motivation fully and amazingly ablaze.

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.

Story coaching is not designed to help you create your story from scratch or from early ideas. Before you begin working with me, you should already have a complete story in mind. You may not yet know all the road bumps or how's and why's, and you may be stuck at some point in the writing, but you should be clear on where the story is headed and how it ends. You're probably ready for coaching if you can write a coherent one-page outline or synopsis of the story, even if that includes some uncertainties at points along the way.

Although I do edit books that are part of a series, I don't do story coaching on books that are intended to be part of a series. Here's why. If your first book could be successfully published as a stand-alone title and features a satisfying, conclusive ending, let's keep talking.

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 range from $499 to $799 per month—about as much as the typical monthly new car payment.

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