Michele Orwin


my favorite part is when I can see some way a book can be improved and I'm able to explain it to the author so that she or he gets it too


What is your favorite part of the coaching process?

Once I get to know a writer's style, my favorite part is when I can see some way a book can be improved and I'm able to explain it to the author so that she or he gets it too.

What's your coaching style like?

Funny, encouraging, and tough if I know an author can do better

What genres do you love to edit?

Contemporary fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, memoir, and nonfiction books of all types

What do you love most about editing?

When I'm working with an author and he or she suddenly catches on – after that point, everything changes.

Who's your ideal writer match? What are you looking for in a coaching client?

A committed writer with a sense of humor who is willing to listen to suggestions and ask questions.

What was the moment when you felt like a real book coach?

The first time a writer in a workshop I was leading asked if she could work with me privately once a week. And then the first time an author listed me in the acknowledgments of her published book.

What do you believe the most prominent difference between an editor and a coach is?

The biggest difference is the point when each of us becomes involved in a manuscript. A coach can be helpful at any point along the way, but an editor is often most helpful when the work is completed. Sometimes we overlap. I really enjoy working with a good editor. Especially one who can see things I've missed or adds a different perspective.

What's been your greatest achievement in coaching so far?

A writer I'd never met called to ask for help revising a thriller – not my usual area of expertise. His book was all over the place with a wild plot and over the top action. Somehow we managed to tame it and he got an agent and a publisher. He's gone on to write many more.


What genres do you love to read?

Contemporary fiction, literary fiction, memoir, and contemporary nonfiction

If you could meet any author, who would it be and why?

There are so many writers I admire, I think rather than meeting them, I'd prefer to go to a reading and hear them read their work.

What are you most excited about right now?

I'm excited about meeting new writers. I'm also excited about meeting the other coaches.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A writer, no question. Then a mother and a teacher.

If you could fast-forward a year from now, what would your writing life look like?

I have a few novels I put aside when I just couldn't figure out how to improve them. Now I have an idea how to fix one of them. A year from now I'd like to have it revised and published.

What about 5 years from now?

I'd like to have either revised or finished at least two novels and one short story collection.