Diana Renn Coaching and Editorial Services

MYSTERY WRITER, EDITOR, BOOK COACH

Diana Renn. Mystery Writer, Editor, Book Coach.
Photo by Jessi Vultaggio

MYSTIFIED BY YOUR STORY? I CAN HELP!

 Are you excited about your book idea, but paralyzed by decisions?

Are you stuck in a plot hole, or stalling out? 

Are you endlessly rewriting the same opening pages with no clear plan?

Have you written a novel, but you’re not sure if it’s suspenseful . . . or holding together?

I’m Diana, author of six mystery novels for kids through adults. I’m also a book coach and an editor who loves a mystery!

I help writers make clear decisions, solve plot problems, and finish their books.

Whether you’re writing a genre mystery or a story with mysterious elements, I’m your go-to mystery maven who will help you plan, problem-solve, finish and polish your novel.

I enjoy helping people plan drafts and big revisions from the ground up.

And I love solving impossible problems (which seem to come up a lot in mystery writing!)

If you wish to skip ahead to see my menu of coaching and editing services, you can do so here. Otherwise, scroll down to learn more about me and why I love this work!

I LOVE A MYSTERY!

I’m the author of six published mysteries written for different age markets: middle grade, young adult, and adult. I’ve published articles about writing mysteries in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Publisher’s Weekly, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. I teach workshops on mystery writing craft.

I’m fascinated by the endless possibilities the mystery genre offers, including the overlap opportunities with other genres — historical, literary, speculative, and more. All stories have an element of mystery, so my approach to thinking through mysteries translates to other genres. But there are particular issues that mystery writers wrestle with, often related to plot (ugh, right?) — and that’s where I love to help people.

Mysteries involve LOTS of decisions! Mystery writers are especially prone to getting tangled up in plot problems, overcomplicating things, and second-guessing ourselves. We can lose perspective quickly: if we know how everything works out (because we’ve been writing and revising the same pages over and over), how can we be sure the reader will still enjoy the feelings of suspense and surprise? We can also get so focused on the intricacies of plotting that we neglect character — and character is what brings readers into our stories.

Or we might enjoy character work so much that we gloss over story structure and plot, and have no idea what to do with the entire middle of our books. Manuscripts can also shrink and swell in unsettling ways when we start ruthlessly cutting words with no plan, or piling on problems to plunge ahead to the end.

The most painful thing for many mystery writers is confronting a massive problem that seems to have no solution. The seemingly fatal flaw in the story. And we can feel so alone in the book, in these problems we’ve created. We can start to forget we ever thought this project would be fun.

Believe me, I know what it’s like to get stuck in a plot hole despite best-laid plans, or to feel the finish line of a book receding endlessly into the distance.

I also know the value of having a trusted sidekick who can help you to investigate the situation and get you out in one piece. I promise I won’t leave you in a plot hole.

Your mystery matters. Your story is worth telling. If you’re feeling stuck or stalled, I’ll help you walk it back and figure out how to get back on track. If your writing process isn’t working well for you, I’ll help you to find a new one. 

My mission is to help writers feel empowered to make clear decisions, problem-solve, and chart a course forward at any stage of the process, whether they are planning a first draft, stuck in the middle, or revising an entire manuscript. I help writers see their story more clearly, shore up foundational decisions, learn craft strategies, level up their writing, and become a sleuth of their own stories.   

Diana Renn is an author accelerator certified fiction book coach
Diana Renn is an editorial freelancers association member
Diana Renn is a 2023 Sisters in Crime member

Here’s a bit more about me!

For over three years, I worked at Author Accelerator as the Director of Coach Development. Author Accelerator is the premier book coach training and certification program, and the only accrediting organization for this profession. It was founded by book coach extraordinaire Jennie Nash, who also runs her own highly successful private book coaching business.

Working closely with Jennie over the years, I learned so much about how to deliver clear, compassionate, high-level editorial comments with a project management approach and emotional support for the writer at any stage of the process. At Author Accelerator, I worked with our team of thirty founding coaches, offering mentorship and professional development training. I matched writers with founding and newly certified coaches who came through our training program. I advised writers on coaching and editing paths to move their project forward. I reviewed practicums and certification portfolios for book coaching students, offering detailed feedback on their coaching.

As a certified coach myself, with an ongoing professional connection to Author Accelerator, I have access to the coaching materials developed by Jennie Nash (such as the Blueprint for a Book planning system). I’m happy to incorporate those tools into any coaching program I offer, and I also work eclectically, incorporating tools of my own as needed.

For more information on the benefits of working with an Author Accelerator certified book coach, and what book coaches do, please click here.

Prior to working at Author Accelerator, I worked at an academic coaching company. As a coach and a supervisor there, I worked with teens and adults with ADHD and other executive function issues. I enjoyed helping clients organize their ideas and words, so I specialized in coaching academic writing. I discovered many systems and tools that can make the writing process less mysterious. Helping all writers with project management and accountability is integral to my coaching approach. I’m also happy to customize programs and feedback delivery to accommodate different learning styles.

I have over two decades of professional editorial and teaching experience. I worked in educational publishing, authoring and editing many types of textbooks and online educational materials, from writing texts to videos. My clients included McGraw-Hill, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and the University of Michigan Press. For over three years, I served as the Fiction Editor at YARN (Young Adult Review Network), an award-winning online magazine featuring short-form writing for teens.

I have also taught writing and literature at Boston University, Brandeis University, and Wentworth Institute of Technology. I  teach workshops at Grub Street Writers in Boston. I frequently present at conferences. I view teaching as part of my coaching approach. My clients can transfer skills to their next book and other projects – and ideally learn how to coach themselves! I am committed to helping writers articulate their opinions, organize ideas, work through the writing process, balance research with storytelling, and write clearly with an audience in mind. 

I bring my publishing industry knowledge to the page. My professional affiliations include SCBWI, the Editorial Freelancers Association, and Sisters in Crime. I’ve published four books with agent representation and sold two on my own. I understand and can advise on the various paths to publication (traditional, hybrid/indie, and self). I do developmental editing for one of the leading hybrid publishers. I’ve worked as a bookseller. While I don’t believe in chasing trends, I strongly believe that all writers should be empowered and know how to sell their stories. It’s important to learn about how the publishing industry works, and stay abreast of industry news. I have many resources I’m happy to share with clients.

In short: my entire career has involved working with words, helping people to tell their stories.

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