West-Seattle marketing professional Emily Frogget always wanted to write a novel. She graduated from the University of Washington MFA Program in Poetry in 1997, but years went by, and she couldn't seem to carve out the time to write. The demands of a full-time job seemed to preclude the many hours required to write a novel. Also, she wasn't even sure how to write a book.
“When the twins were born two and a half years ago, time became even more of an issue,” the 42-year-old says.
Frogget is one of a growing number of fledgling writers in the Pacific Northwest who are turning to coaching to realize their dreams to write novels, memoir and screenplays. For many, the demands of jobs and children drive their creative passion underground. They reach their 40s and 50s and realize if they do not write their novels now, they never will.
A friend recommended Frogget contact Art of Storytelling, a coaching service for novelists, memoirists and script writers.
“The first thing I had to admit to myself was that it is was OK to even have a coach,” she says. She began working with Art of Storytelling in November 2011 on a twice-monthly basis. In one-on-one sessions, over the phone and via email, coach and client studied characterization, setting, plot and theme; brainstormed chapter ideas, evolved characters, explored vivid setting, and studied plot arcs. Together they learned the technicalities of writing a book.
Almost as important to Frogget, however, was learning about the process of writing a novel. “So the coach tells me, this is a rough draft, just keep going, you’re sweating the small stuff, and what you're worrying about are issues related to the revision process - I think I've needed that almost as much as the technical training,” she says.
Art of Storytelling was born in Seattle 15 years ago. Starting from humble beginnings in community college extension classes, it has grown today to include three coaches, an intern and clients across the globe. Clients write memoir, screenplays and novels, and live locally in the Pacific Northwest, across the US, and as far away as Singapore. With the advent of Skype and easy billing techniques like PayPal, national borders are no longer an issue.
A Russian writer in Boston penning a novel that spans Perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union; a Slovak journalist in Singapore writing about her time hanging out with Roma gypsies; and a West-Seattle healer whose memoir transforms abuse into healing –Art of Storytelling clients prove that the desire to tell a story, the need to create mythologies through the written word, are profoundly universal. AofS clients are corporate big wigs, alternative healers, journalists, and they’re in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.
“In less than a year, with a full-time job and kids, I’ve progressed through dozens of chapters. Without coaching, the creative ideas would still be just that, ideas. I see myself as a novelist now; before it was just a dream,” Frogget says.
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