How To Avoid a Character Takeover

I want to share a story about Sonee Singh, one of the members in the Writing Gym. Like many writers, Sonee has a very specific goal: traditional publication.

Traditional publication is not easy, especially with strict industry standards. However for Sonee, the goal seemed unreachable, because she didn’t even have a completed novel. 

Sonee had trouble progressing with the plot of her novel. She felt stuck. She had most of the story put together, but saw holes, and wasn’t sure how to solve that problem.

In March of this year, Sonee had a draft of her novel that didn’t have a complete ending. She had an ending per say, but it wasn’t where she wanted it to be.

She knew she needed more work and more clarity, but wasn’t sure how to get there. 

Her plot had big events that marked her protagonist’s journey, yet felt disjointed because nothing tied the bigger events together. 

Sonee looked at her work and felt frustrated, and considered dropping the piece all together. 

“I kept coming back to it, I just had no idea how to do it.” 

Sonee knew she had a story worth telling, but didn’t have the tools to express her writing the way she wanted. Reluctant to give the story up, she tried out some resources. 

She initially turned to beta readers that provided unhelpful, conflicting feedback. Afterwards, Sonee decided she had had enough. 

She decided to reach out to me.

We began working together, and I read through her manuscript twice. After some revisions, she created a second draft.

The first revision focused on details such as character arc, plot arc, the big picture, and how these could be used to create a cohesive narrative.

Through discussions around the revisions, I was able to help Sonee organize her thoughts and equip her with tools needed to look at these details on her own. 

Another part of the process is I asked Sonee guiding questions about her plot, helping her realize how to solve any issue she comes across in her writing. 

As a professional, I know what you need to do to make your book better, but most importantly I value your voice and want you to create the solutions to your novel. 

“I think the beauty of what you do is that you have that insight, but you also don’t give the answer. You just pose questions that force me to come to that answer and I think it’s become a very organic process.”

With my help, Sonee has had multiple breakthroughs in her writing, and is on the journey to finishing her novel with confidence. 

Before coming to me, Sonee knew she had a problem to fix, and traditional publishing was a far-off dream.

Today, Sonee believes she’s capable of meeting industry standards, and she’s one step closer to achieving her goal of traditional publication. 

I’m so happy to see Sonee grow as a confident writer, and am excited to see where she goes from here. 

Do you feel stuck in your writing and don’t know where to go next? Have publishing dreams but have no idea how to get there? Let’s chat.

Until next time. Happy writing. 

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