Get a handle on your hero’s WHY by understanding the seven Character Core Values. These behaviors are the key to unlocking your hero’s story, the legend to their transformation map.
Backstory is a powerful tool in your writing skillset, and a strategically crafted backstory can even help you break through writer's block. In the How to build a Breakthrough Backstory playbook, I walk you through the 6 steps that will simplify and focus your writing time.
⯈ Learn more about How to Build Breakthrough Backstories here.
What I teach
Your hero's transformation journey is the story
Hi, I'm Sue! If you struggle with plotting, there is a simpler way to write a better story in less time without having to outline every single plot point (and then feel guilty for going off-track later).
As a developmental editor, I specialize in building stories around the character transformation journey. When you plan a story from the heart of the character, those plot points that felt so mystifying before now serve a specific purpose (and they're much easier to plan out).
A tuned-in, savvy, humbling creative
I’ve never worked with a more tuned-in, savvy, or humbling creative. Sue can see through to the very heart of a story, then weaves pure magic to draw the very best from your words. She has an effortless control over the art of storytelling that allows her to mold plot structure, character motivation, and story arcs into things of utter beauty.
EVIE DRAE // Romance writer, 2019 RWA® Golden Heart® Double Finalist
Who I teach
My lessons are best suited to writers of character-driven fiction who want to hone their craft in a positive and uplifting atmosphere.
My superniche is helping romance writers find the heart of their dual-POV stories, but my methods and techniques work for most types of fiction character-development and plotting.
"Sue has a way of making me feel like she loves my story even as she rips it apart. It’s a gift. "
How I teach
Telling a good story is a lot harder than it sounds, especially when we focus on the wrong building blocks.
I use my own personally developed logic frameworks and top-down decision funnels to guide writers through what choices to make at what point in a story's development.
That may sound complicated, but techniques like the Emotional Gap Funnel, the Story Snapshot Method, the 8-Scene Story Setup, and the Elev8 Line Editing Approach will simplify your writing processes.
And, my personal mission is to empower you, as the writer, to do your best work and live your best professional life. So my teaching space is a safe, friendly, encouraging environment that elevates the quality and skill of your work. Learn more about my teaching style here.
study at your own pace
Learn the character foundations that guide your plot flow
I don't believe in putting everything valuable behind a paywall. I like to learn on my own, and I want you to have that same freedom. You can start building and growing your storytelling skills with the free articles that explain the foundations of the storysmithing techniques I have created through my years as a developmental editor for fiction writers.
One of my favorite ways to teach is through live workshops. I work with writing groups and other creatives in the fiction-writing space to cover new and unique topics that sync with my storysmithing techniques and style. The best part about attending a live workshop is being able to ask me questions directly and get immediate answers.
I created Storysmith U to bridge the gap between finishing that first draft and working directly with a developmental editor. The stronger your self-editing skills are, the more you'll get out of your next dev edit. Educating yourself means spending less time in rewrites and more time crafting stories that will resonate with readers forever.
My courses range from quickie workbooks that get you back on track before you hit a snag, to recordings of live workshops that you can watch as many times as you need, to comprehensive, in-depth instruction on exactly how to use my professional editing methods to nurture your own pre-edit manuscripts.
Sometimes a simple tool can solve problems that seem complicated (but actually aren't). I've designed these worksheets, guides, and quizzes to help you get quick, targeted wins in your writing journey.
What my clients and students are saying
Romance writer, 2019 RWA® Golden Heart® Award Finalist
"When Sue says she’s focused on empowering romance authors, she’s not exaggerating. Advice is presented in Sue’s positive and encouraging style, so it’s almost like having a friend cheering you on when you open your work-in-progress."
Author of Queer Paranormal Romance
"Sue pushes me to write better and better novels. I don’t know how long it would’ve taken me to sharpen up my game without her, and I really don’t want to speculate on that either."
work with sue
Let's create powerful stories together
Sometimes you need some one-on-one help to solve a tricky plot snarl or take your storytelling to the next level. Here are a few ways you can work with me directly.
Signature coaching methods
Do you write this style of fiction?
What the heck is character-driven fiction?
Who’s in the driver’s seat for your story: the hero or the plot? The answer determines what type of plot you need to write. And there’s one question you can ask yourself to find out if you’re writing the RIGHT story.
Book a group workshop
The Story Snapshot Method exposes problems with a story before it’s written, making this technique a powerhouse tool for pantsers and plotters alike.
Here's what past attendees had to say...
"The workshop saved me weeks of plotting time"
"The Line Lib template uncovered a story problem"
"Quick-paced brainstorming sparked ideas"
This comprehensive 2-day workshop is currently only offered for private groups. Click below to reserve dates for your writing group or event.
⯈ Learn more about the Story Snapshot Method here. (Or check out my other workshops)
I'm sharing everything I know about writing romance.
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