Novel Mentoring / Coaching

“One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you."
― Annie DillardThe Writing Life


Working with writers isn't work. It's a collaboration of ideas. I foster relationships, ask questions, and try to refine books with writers. My suggestions and ideas are yours to use or refuse as you see fit. I have a few rules, and they are merely guides for me.

Working with what is on the page.
Writing is important. I read your book before we get to work. I don't believe in throwing a book aside and writing something new. I want to work with what is on the page. I typically read the novel before I commit to the work. I have to believe in the book to help make it better. 

The writer's thought process is just as important as the words on the page, we may have lengthy conversations. 
I spend a lot of time thinking about your book. Our conversations may cover more than your book, but the idea is that we create connections and vision for the book. 

The writer should always be working harder than I am. 
I like when writers are haunted by their books, writers who are constantly thinking and looking for new possibilities. The book should be your obsession.  

Mentoring writers is a very important part of my life and I only work with writers that have committed already to the hard working of writing a novel. Before taking on a new writer, I like to read their novel to see where it stands. 

I am not a book doctor or a literary agent. I cannot secure publishing contracts for you or with you. Yet, if you want a fresh look at your writing and someone who has more than fifteen years as a writer, educator, book reviewer, and mentor. 

If you are interested in collaborating, read some of these reviews, and feel free to connect to discuss your novel projects. Email with your thoughts


Reviews

"I’ve been a creative writing teacher-mentor for over fifteen years. When I finally got the time to work on my novel, Two Spoons of Bitter, I searched for someone who had a similarly strong background in working with writers as well as experience writing and publishing in different genres. Additionally, I wanted a writing coach who would respect me as a writer, and who would trust my vision."

"When I started working with Ron Samul, I had many hurdles to overcome. One, I came from a creative non-fiction/journalism background and it was my first novel. Much of the storyline was autobiographical in origin. The manuscript itself had undergone numerous incarnations – beginning as a diary, which morphed into a grad school application portfolio and then to an unhappy creative non-fiction manuscript. Its eventual evolution into fiction had been a twenty-year journey, but there were still remnants of emotional attachments to people, facts, and events to overcome."

"Knowing the background, Ron approached the process gently with insightful questions and comments. He consistently honored the story’s roots while at the same time steering me firmly through the soupy seas of fiction writing. He pointed to moments when the characters came off inauthentic, where the dialogue fell short, where characters needed more development, the pacing, plot tension, gaps in the story, and threads left unresolved."

"Many of his suggestions related to fiction craft were things I already knew – but there’s this old saying: “We teach best what we most need to learn.” And it was so true for me, even after all those years helping students and other writers actualize their work – I was blind to my own. Indeed managing three-hundred-some pages, over 90,000 words, it’s so easy to get lost. The creative part is the fun part – but the crafting can be utterly tedious and mind-numbing. Ron was often that grounding voice of reason reaching into my writing fog – shining a light."

"And in the moments of despair: Who cares? Why am I writing this? I hate this story. I can’t do this. Who will even want to read this? Ron offered those wise words of encouragement that kept me going."

"Working with a writing coach is a collaborative process. Beyond experience, education and expertise, it depends on effective communication, trust, and respect. I found all those qualities in working with Ron. I additionally found him to be highly intuitive and with an excellent sense of story. He got my characters and their struggles. He helped me know them better. He facilitated effective revisions without forcing his point of view on the story. I strongly recommend him as a writing coach." -- from Sonja Mongar, Writer/Educator/Musician