10 episodes

Author and writing coach Kevin T. Johns interviews the instructors, editors, coaches, and mentors that help writers and authors create their art, build their audience, and sell their work. If you enjoy podcasts like I Should Be Writing, Grammar Girl, and Writing Excuses, be sure to check out The Writing Coach. Interviews with Tim Grahl, Shawn Coyne, Cathy Yardley and more!

The Writing Coach Kevin T. Johns, author and writing coach

    • Arts
    • 4.6 • 14 Ratings

Author and writing coach Kevin T. Johns interviews the instructors, editors, coaches, and mentors that help writers and authors create their art, build their audience, and sell their work. If you enjoy podcasts like I Should Be Writing, Grammar Girl, and Writing Excuses, be sure to check out The Writing Coach. Interviews with Tim Grahl, Shawn Coyne, Cathy Yardley and more!

    Active Voice: The Easiest Way to Improve Your Writing

    Active Voice: The Easiest Way to Improve Your Writing

    Writing Coach Kevin T. Johns explains how to use active voice to instantly improve your writing.

    • 11 min
    Can you break the rules of writing?

    Can you break the rules of writing?

    Many writers draft an entire manuscript before learning the fundamentals of the art form.

    When they come to me looking for editorial advice and discover their characters lack an arc, and/or the book’s theme is murky, and/or both their scenes and story as a whole lack structure, and/or the story doesn’t demonstrate clear causality, and/or any other of a number of common problems that can emerge in a first draft, they are often startled.

    After all, no one becomes an artist because they want to follow rules.

    And no one wants to write a story only to be told they are doing their art “wrong.”

    But creative writing, like all art forms, has fundamentals.

    Many writers see these fundamentals as “rules” limiting their creativity, and the question thus becomes:

    Are there actually rules to writing and, if so, can you break them?

    That’s the question we tackle in this episode of The Writing Coach podcast.

    Listen to the episode or read the transcript below:









    The Writing Coach Episode #139 Show Notes









    Join the Fall 2022 edition of STORY PLAN INTENSIVE: sign-up now. The program kicks-off on October 3, 2022.











    Get Kevin’s FREE book: NOVEL ADVICE: MOTIVATION, INSPIRATION, AND CREATIVE WRITING TIPS FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS.









    Click the above image to get the book for free now!







    The Writing Coach Episode #139 Transcript





    Hello, beloved listeners and welcome back to The Writing Coach podcast. It is your host as always writing coach Kevin T Johns here.











    I am recording this episode Saturday afternoon. I got a good sleep last night. I’m feeling pumped, I’m feeling energized. And so are the kids. They’re in the background right now, screaming their heads off. You probably won’t be able to hear it, but if you do happen to hear children screaming maniacally in the background, that’s just the kids having fun. All is well. And no one has been injured or run over by a car or anything like that.











    What I want to talk to you about today dear listener is the idea of following rules when it comes to the art and craft of writing.











    Now, if you’ve listened to the last couple of episodes of the show, you might have heard me talk about my free program STORY PLAN INTENSIVE. This is a program all about helping people learn the fundamentals of story craft while simultaneously planning a rock-solid outline for their book. All in a month’s time.











    It’s a great program. If you’d like to participate, head on over to my website and get signed up.











    Here’s the thing though, as a writing coach, and especially as a one-on-one writing coach, most people don’t come to me the way they do via STORY PLAN INTENSIVE with the concept of saying, “Hey, I want to write a book. Where do I get started?” For my one-on-one people, most of them come to me with most of a manuscript completed, if not a completed manuscript. People spend months or years working on a first draft of a manuscript. They finish it. They look at it, and they say, “Huh,

    • 12 min
    How to Start Writing a Book

    How to Start Writing a Book

    Writing a book is a complicated process and figuring out where to start can be confusing, especially for new authors.







    Some writers start with character.







    Some writers start with a theme.







    Filmmaker and painter David Lynch starts with transcendental meditation!







    In this episode of The Writing Coach, I describe the perfect way to begin developing a story and exactly where you should start.







    Listen to the episode or read the transcript below:















    The Writing Coach Episode #138 Show Notes







    Join the Fall 2022 edition of STORY PLAN INTENSIVE: sign-up now. The program kicks-off October 3, 2022.







    Get Kevin’s FREE book: NOVEL ADVICE: MOTIVATION, INSPIRATION, AND CREATIVE WRITING TIPS FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS.







    Click the above image to get the book for free now!







    The Writing Coach Episode #138 Transcript







    Hello, beloved listeners and welcome back to The Writing Coach podcast. It is your host as always writing coach Kevin T Johns here.







    One of the questions I get asked when I’m doing interviews about my novels and books is the question, where do you start? Where does the idea for a book begin? And there are a lot of different ways that a book can begin, and a lot of different writers come at it in different ways. I think for some writers, you start with an idea of a certain moment. There’s just this scene or this set piece that you have in your mind, or that you’re basing on something you’ve read in the past or seen. And then you kind of build a story around that little moment. Something I haven’t seen as much of in the clients that I work with—but that might just be because I largely work with action-type stories—is starting with character.







    But I think in literary fiction, we often start with characters. Look at Mrs. Dalloway, the book is named Mrs. Dalloway, certainly starting with character is probably where Virginia Wolf started when she wrote the original, short story, Mrs. Dalloway, which ended up becoming the masterpiece novel. Another place that some people start is the concept of theme. There is some sort of thing going on in the world. That’s making you upset, or there’s some sort of message that you want to share with people. And that can be a starting point. You say, “I want to tell a story about friendship,” you know, and some theme as simple as that can be a great place to start stories.







    Now, one of the reasons I had this topic of starting places in my mind is because my daughter, she’s in grade seven, and in her English class, they did a really cool project. The kids were asked to read two graphic novels. Then they were asked to create a Venn diagram, demonstrating what the two graphic novels had in common and what was different. You understand how a Venn diagram works, I’m sure. Then the teacher assigned them to take those things that cross over in the Venn diagram and write their own comic book or graphic novel based on these ideas, which I thought was a really interesting starting point to tell your own story, take a look at two things you really enjoy and maybe two things that are similar or maybe two things that are very different,

    • 15 min
    The Big Problem with The Rings of Power -- The Writing Coach Episode 137

    The Big Problem with The Rings of Power -- The Writing Coach Episode 137

    Amazon’s billion-dollar streaming series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has now been released . . . and it’s not very good.







    In this episode of The Writing Coach podcast, I explain the biggest problem with the show (Hint: it’s writing-related) and then describe how you can avoid making the same mistakes when developing and drafting your fiction writing.







    Listen to the episode or read the transcript below:















    The Writing Coach Episode #137 Show Notes







    Get Kevin’s FREE book: NOVEL ADVICE: MOTIVATION, INSPIRATION, AND CREATIVE WRITING TIPS FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS.







    Click the above image to get the book for free now!







    The Writing Coach Episode #137 Transcript







    Hello, beloved listeners and welcome back to The Writing Coach podcast. It is your host as always writing coach Kevin T Johns here.







    Like most writers out there, like most people out there. I love Lord of the Rings. I love the books, and I love Peter Jackson’s films. And so when it was announced that Amazon was going to be making a Lord of the Rings television series that they were going to spend a billion dollars on. I was tentative. Like a lot of people, you know, you hope they don’t screw it up , but I was also really open-minded and even looking forward to seeing what they came up with.







    Unfortunately, however, the series has come out, and like a lot of people, I don’t really like it. And I would say the biggest problem with the series is a writing-related problem. And that’s why I want to talk about it on the show today.







    This is a really important issue that I think you want to keep in mind as a writer when you are creating your protagonists. And the issue is that the show’s protagonist Galadriel is completely unlikeable. Within the first 20 minutes of the first episode, she’s revealed to be arrogant, standoffish, selfish, unwilling to consider other people’s opinions, disrespectful of authority figures, and also seems not to care about the lives that she’s responsible for as a leader, willing to risk soldiers reporting to her in order to achieve her own mission.







    Many people have commented on this issue of how insufferable the character is to the point that Amazon this week has now issued a public statement saying, you know, hang in there, she’s on a character arc. And you know, we all assume she’s going to learn some humbleness at some point. Well, good. You know it’s kind of shocking that a corporation needs to issue a press release assuring its audience, that the character is on an arc. Every good character, every protagonist should be on an arc of some kind, so that doesn’t exactly comfort me in any way.







    And here’s the other problem: giving Galadriel an arc does not solve the problem that they have created because character arc is not supposed to be about taking an unlikeable character and making them likable over the course of their story. It’s about taking a likable character and making them even more likable over their growth in transformation.







    So let’s talk about character art for a little bit. Here, here is how character arc works: In our character’s backstory they suffer some sort of wound or trauma that gives them a misunderstanding about themselves or about the world that they live in. So they begin the story flawed in some way. Then over the course of the narrative,

    • 13 min
    Phillip L. Wray on Writing Historical Mysteries

    Phillip L. Wray on Writing Historical Mysteries

    I love these kinds of episodes.







    I just love it when one of my clients works hard, makes steady progress, and keeps with it through all the highs and lows that go into creating a book.







    Then, one day, their book is launched, and I’m able to interview them here on the show as a published author!







    Today is one of those days.







    In this episode of The Writing Coach podcast, I speak with my client: author Phillip L. Wray.







    We discuss the creative process of his debut novel, THE PONTCOURT MURDERS, how his love of French culture inspired the story, as well as his unique approach to combining musketeer adventure with Agatha Christie-style murder mystery.







    Listen to the episode:















    Or watch the video:



















    The Writing Coach Episode #136 Show Notes





    Get your copy of Phillip L. Wray’s novel, THE PONTCOURT MURDERS.

















    Get Kevin’s FREE book: NOVEL ADVICE: MOTIVATION, INSPIRATION, AND CREATIVE WRITING TIPS FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS.







    Click the above image to get the book for free now!







    The Writing Coach Episode #136 Transcript







    Hello, beloved listeners and welcome back to The Writing Coach podcast. It is your host as always writing coach Kevin T Johns here.







    These episodes are my favorite episodes. I love it when one of my clients publishes their book, and I am able to bring them on the show and interview them as a published author.







    Today, I am talking with my client, Philip Ray. His book, THE PONTCOURT MURDERS, came out today and I interviewed him just a few moments ago. Now I’m recording the intro, and I am just so excited. It’s been such a delight to work with Phil on this book and on the sequels in the series. As I mention in the interview, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a client who is as productive as Phil has been over the last couple of years. He has written several excellent novels. And the first one came out today, so head on over to Amazon and pick up your copy of THE PONTCOURT MURDERS. You’re not going to regret it.







    It’s an amazing mashup of historical fiction, musketeer adventures, and a traditional murder mystery. If you like Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries, if you’re interested in historical France, and you want some fun, adventure, sword fights, and a little hint of the swashbuckling fun that we see from musketeer stories, you’re definitely going to want to check this book out.







    With all that said, let’s cut to that interview now.















    Philip, welcome to the show.







    Thank you.







    Today’s a very exciting day. Your debut novel launched literally today.







    Yeah. It’s been a, it’s been kind of a whirlwind day, but it seems to have come together. All right.

    • 32 min
    How to Plan a Book in 30 Days (or Less)

    How to Plan a Book in 30 Days (or Less)

    There are, of course, many ways to go about writing a book.







    But having worked with hundreds of authors over the last decade, I’m absolutely convinced the most efficient, effective, and productive way of doing so is by planning ahead.







    Knowing where your book is going, who it’s about, what it has to say about the world, and why readers are going to love it before you even write the first page frees up creativity, relieves stress, and speeds up the entire writing process.







    In this episode of The Writing Coach podcast, I explain my personalized approach to story planning and explain how you can create a rock-solid outline for your novel in thirty days or less.







    Listen to the episode or read the transcript below:















    The Writing Coach Episode #135 Show Notes







    Get Kevin’s FREE book: NOVEL ADVICE: MOTIVATION, INSPIRATION, AND CREATIVE WRITING TIPS FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS.







    Click the above image to get the book for free now!







    The Writing Coach Episode #135 Transcript







    Hello, beloved listeners and welcome back to The Writing Coach podcast. It is your host as always writing coach Kevin T Johns here.







    In a recent episode—I don’t remember which one it was—but recently I remember talking about how life isn’t binary, how especially these days, for some reason, we love to think of things as being good or bad or black or white or, or white or laughed. And I think the whole idea of pantsers and planners, it is a bit of the same misguided thinking. There are shades of gray all over the place in the world. And so the idea that you’re either a planner or a dancer, and that these are two completely different things. I think it’s largely a failure of creative thinking and really doesn’t reflect the reality of what storytelling involves and what writing a professional quality novel that people actually want to read involves because there are indisputable fundamentals of the craft.







    A story needs a beginning and a middle and an end; a story needs conflict. A story needs a theme. A story needs a character to go on a journey or have a character arc, learn some skill, or overcome a flaw. I mean, these are the fundamentals of Western storytelling at least. And so if you sit down and you make your book up as you go along, if you’re a pantser or a discovery writer, you write your book and then you go backwards and you apply all those things to it. You say, “Okay, when does act one end? And when does act two, start?” Your book needs to be getting in a middle and an end, regardless of whether you were thinking about those, whether you, when you were writing them or not, your book needs characters, all the things I just outlined you apply them retroactively.







    So you get to this point where you have a book where all the fundamentals have been executed on. You’ve just applied them after the story’s been written planners on the other hand, think about all of these things beforehand, in hopes of making the writing experience quicker, easier, and more productive. And ultimately you get to that same spot. You get to a draft of the book that isn’t close to being done that needs a lot of work and Polish, but that tells a full story and has most of the fundamentals of the craft executed on can both options work? Absolutely. I’m not disputing that, but is one option quicker, easier, and more fun . And that is planning ahead.

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

lo mink ,

Great Resource & Interesting Interviews

Great information for writers at all levels!

KarenDimmick ,

Super Useful

Really good content - lots of value - you want to check this one out! Kevin does a great job of keeping it conversational yet pulling out the good content from his guests.

ShumateAuthor ,

Bringing together great minds

Kevin does a great job at bringing together great coaching minds to help the audience figure out what's next for their writing. The people he brings on the show will help you improve your craft and even will help you find a resources to people you may need. If you need a writing coach Kevin is your guy. If you need plot work and not a full out coaching session, then Kevin has an episode for you. Want to know how to get organized? There's an episode for that too. Kevin is a wealth of information. If there's something he doesn't know he'll do the hard work of find it out for his audience. This podcast is evidence of that.

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