I met with Publishing Coach Robin Hoffman on my Dad’s birthday. Although he passed away in 2008, he was a big supporter of my writing career. Having an hour-long session with Robin that day was a way of honoring my connection to him.
I met with Robin once before. She impressed me with her knowledge and positive energy. Her suggestions were specific to my situation. After speaking with her, I wrote 17,000 words of a new novel.
But then, something inside told me to stop. Some hard choices were approaching, and I needed feedback on my book concept. Was I headed in the right direction?
Theater doesn’t have the equivalent of a publishing coach, so I was very nervous about the meeting. Could I articulate my book concept accurately? Would she laugh at me or think it was stupid?
As it turns out, she listened with an open mind and heart. Immediately, we began bantering back and forth about the strengths and weaknesses of the concept. She was able to pinpoint right away where the idea needed more work. There was nothing in my story that was wrong, but there were parts that weren’t fully conceived. She gave me tips to discover where I could take the story, since the concept had so much potential.
Aside from the story itself, Robin did something for me that no one has ever done before. She reflected my voice back to me. Instead of being a generalist, she told me I sounded like a suspense author. It stunned me since I never thought of it that way. Running several other ideas by her confirmed it. I write thrillers.
It made sense. My most successful work in theater used elements of suspense. I love conspiracies and pulp fiction. Everything came together, but I had never seen it that way before.
My hour-long conversation with Robin changed the direction of my writing career. It also altered how I see myself. She gave me a plan that was simple and complete. Now it is my responsibility to write a new chapter.