Skip to main content

Blogs / How to Use Fictionary / Why you should become a Certified StoryCoach Editor

Why you should become a Certified StoryCoach Editor

storycoach editor

Want to become a developmental editor? Want to help writers turn their words into bestsellers? Maybe you’re a structural editor already, but you’re struggling to get clients? If any of these describes you, then you should seriously consider becoming a Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Editor!

Hang on there, Shane.

Everything okay?

I’m fine, thanks for asking, but let’s pull up the oars and row back a bit… like, all the way to the boathouse. I have a question.

Storycoach editor

What is a developmental editor, and what in the name of Stephen King’s typewriter do they do?

Ah! That’s a fantastic question, with two distinct parts.

Part 1: What is a developmental editor?

There are a bunch of different terms bandied about in the author community for what a developmental editor is.

A few of the choice synonyms include:

  • Content editor
  • Structural editor
  • Comprehensive editor
  • Macro editor
  • Substantive editor
  • And the list goes on… and on… and on… and on

But none of those paints a clear picture of the role.

The term we prefer at Fictionary is Story Editor. And, if you pass our certification course (more on that in a moment), you’ll become a Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Editor.

Using terms like Story Editor or StoryCoach Editor makes things much clearer and easier for you, and crucially, your clients, to understand.

Which brings us nicely on to…

Part 2: What does a developmental editor do?

Imagine you’re a writer who’s just finished the first draft of a novel. You’ve sent these words you’ve sweated over for hours on end off to beta readers and the overwhelming feedback is, “You need an editor!”

“Okay,” you say. “Sounds simple enough.”

But writers, particularly newer writers, don’t know about the different kinds of editors and whereabouts in the writing process they should use them.

As a guide:

  • Story Editor/StoryCoach Editor (the latter, if they’re Fictionary Certified): writers  should use this type of editor immediately after they’ve self-edited their draft to the best of there ability
  • Line and/or Copy Editor: writers should use a line and/or copy editor next to tighten up sentence structure so the meaning of their words is clear
  • Proofreader: writers should use proofreaders to catch those last minute pesky typos and weird sentence constructions

Storycoach editor

Okay, get to the good stuff, already! What does a story editor actually do?

In case the name didn’t give it away, story editors examine a writer’s story to see if it’s solid. They should tell clients what they excel at and where they need to improve things. And at Fictionary, our Certified StoryCoach Editors (me included) pride ourselves on being kind.

There’s no need to eviscerate a writer’s work (or the writer themselves… believe it or not, that does happen) to help them level up their writing craft.

In short story editors focus on:

  • Character development,
  • Character arc,
  • Story arc (or plot structure),
  • Story Goals,
  • Setting (and it’s emotional impact on the point of view character),
  • Conflict and tension,
  • Pacing, and;
  • Style for genre.

The important thing to note is that a story editor or Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Editor isn’t a:

  • Line editor,
  • Copy editor, or;
  • Proofreader

While you can mention a few line and copy editing things during the course of the edit, that’s not what a writer  is paying you for.

They’re paying you to look at their story, plain and simple!

Now you know what a story editor does, let’s take a peek at the charm of being a story editor.

Storycoach editor

If you’re a StoryCoach Editor then kindness is key

The relationship between writer and story editor is just that: a relationship.

If you want repeat client business, then you need to establish a reputation in the author community as an editor who is:

  • Knowledgable: you need to know story inside out
  • Helpful: you need to give clear, specific, actionable advice to writers
  • Kind: this last one is vital—be kind to your clients (you can tell an author how to improve their story without being a bully and, let’s be honest, nobody likes a bully)

A word of warning: The writing world is small and tight knit. If you become known as an editor who’s ignorant, vague, and horrible to work with, your reputation will precede you (in a bad way) and no-one will want to work with you.

The opposite is true.

Build street cred as a knowledgeable, helpful and kind story editor, and people will be clamouring to work with you.

storycoach editor

The Story Arc drawn by the Fictionary StoryCoach software

Why Become a Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Editor

This is a question I get asked all the time. I’ll be merrily going about my day and someone will DM me asking why they should become a StoryCoach Editor with Fictionary.

There are tons of reasons, but I’ve narrowed it down to three main ones:

  1. The software: using the Fictionary StoryCoach software to edit a client’s book cuts down editing time by 50%. Once you’ve filled out the 38 Fictionary Story Elements for each scene and reviewed the Story Map, you can see exactly where a writer is crushing it, and exactly where (and what and how) they need to improve.
  2. The Community: In case you didn’t know, Fictionary has a free online community that connects writers and editors. Want to know the best part? The more you show your knowledge, helpfulness and kindness to writers in the community, the more likely they are to request to work with you. You can join the community HERE!
  3. The opportunities Fictionary give you that you can’t get anywhere else: if you become a Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Editor, you’ll get the opportunity to:
    • Write articles on our blog
    • Host live events in our community
    • Become a Fictionary Book of the Year Award Judge
    • And more…

What does this give you?


You get your name out there with some free advertising, and start to build your client base. Ask any StoryCoach Editor and we’ll all say the same thing: the support you get from Fictionary is unlike the support you’ll get anywhere else.

storycoach editor

Tell me more about the Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Certification Program

If you want to be one of the world’s best editors, the Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Certification program is for you.

If you take (and pass) this course, you’ll:

  • Become an exceptional story editor,
  • Efficiently deliver comprehensive, objective edits,
  • Quickly highlight structural issues in your client’s manuscripts and (most importantly);
  • Make your clients happy!

The program includes:

  1. 12 lectures,
  2. 50+ lessons,
  3. Visual examples,
  4. Learning videos,
  5. Quizzes, and;
  6. Additional resources and recommended reading

To get certified take the program and perform a story edit on the manuscript we provide. We’ll evaluate your edit and, if you qualify, you’ll become a Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Editor.

Find out more and enrol on the certification program HERE!

Further reading

You can read more fantastic articles related to this topic below:

Article Written by Shane Millar

Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Editor

Shane Millar is the author of the Myth & Magic and Chosen Vampire urban fantasy thriller series (writing as S. W. Millar), and the Write Better Fiction Craft Guides for writers. He’s also a co-host on The Storytellers Faceoff Podcast, and the Community and Customer Success Manager at Fictionary.

Shane holds a BA in journalism and is a member of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). He lives in Buckinghamshire, England.

He has taken too many writing courses to count and enjoys reading as much as possible. Shane is obsessed with five things: the writing craft, mythology, personal development, food, and martial arts movies.

Want to hire Shane to edit your novel? Visit:

Want to be part of a writing and editing community with kindness at its heart?

Do you know about the free Fictionary community?  We’re connecting writers and editors who all speak the same story editing language.

You’re most welcome to join.

  • Connect with other writers and editors
  • Get your editing questions answered by Fictionary Certified StoryCoach editors
  • Access free, live editing classes presented by editing experts
  • Learn about all things Fictionary: product updates, videos, webinars, best practices