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Why I Enrolled in The Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Program

Kara Henderson Fictionary

Before this post motivates you to follow your dreams, I’d like to introduce Kara Henderson. Kara is enrolled in the 2021 Summer Fictionary Certified StoryCoach program. Kara is new to fiction editing and shares with us why she took the leap into a new career.

So over to Kara.

Why I Enrolled the Fictionary Certified StoryCoach program.

In the late spring I attended (virtually) the Editors Canada Annual Conference, and I was intrigued by a session on StoryCoach given by Fictionary CEO Kristina Stanley. Something clicked for me—fiction editing was what I wanted to do! Professional editing certification and training in this field is hard to find, and as someone with no training I liked the idea of a state-of-the-art editing tool I could use to ensure all the bases are covered.

Kristina reached out to me to see if I was interested in learning more about StoryCoach, and what was intended to be a quick 10-minute chat turned into an hour of talking possibilities. One of the things we talked about was an apprentice program: I’m a perfectionist, and I appreciate the idea of doing my first StoryCoach edit with someone looking over my shoulder, making sure I am doing an excellent job for the client. ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is a good description for those of us just starting out in the field of editing. What if everyone finds out I don’t really know what I’m doing??

StoryCoach takes away that fear—I know I won’t miss out on any of the vital elements that go into story editing—and with a chance to apprentice under a StoryCoach editor, I am confident that by the end of the process I will know exactly what I am doing, and that I can provide authors with the best possible structural edits for their stories.

What If?

We all secretly have Great Plans. When I was younger, those included, at various times, being an astronaut (motion sickness quickly ruled that out), being an astronomer (physics—yikes), and marrying Prince Edward (a little out of my league). As we get older, our dreams become a little more realistic; the youngest CEO of our company, a breakout talent in the acting world, or franchising our small business into a multi-million-dollar corporation. And then, with some maturity, we look at accomplishing different things; mastering watercolour painting, writing a novel, or starting a new career.

However, we also have that inner voice—you know, that inner voice, aka the devil on our shoulder, telling us we are frauds of the worst kind…

“That painting you just did? Grade-school stuff. You’ll never be able to master this, so give it up.”

“You want to write a novel? BAHAHAHAHAHA!! Nice one, Loser.”

“You could never ever do that, you know. You just DO NOT have what it takes, so why would you even bother?”

I’m not sure why it’s so easy to let that voice have sway in our lives, but doesn’t it hold us back from so many things? But what if… what if you looked at what you wanted to do, quieted that inner voice, and made the plans to achieve those things?

Being a beginner is hard. We want to instantly be good at the thing we are trying to do, but there are very few humans who can nail it on the first try. So maybe, instead of giving up, you take the painting classes and then paint a little every day. You accept the mistakes you make, and you learn from them.

Or you take those creative writing classes, or read the books, or sign up for StoryTeller, to help you figure out what you are doing as you write that good idea you have into a great story. You accept the idea of the Shitty First Draft, and you’re ok with having to make revisions and more revisions. Or you take the classes you need for that new career, and you find the people to encourage and support and mentor you along the way.

  1. What if we paid attention to Nelson Mandela’s quote, “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”?

What if… Your paintings will be a source of great joy for others? You may have the ability to create something that is just what someone else wants, and you can make a great income doing something you love.

What if… Your book will be just what the world needs? Perhaps your story will inspire someone in ways you could never imagine. (Quite a while ago, I read an interview with Neil Gaiman; he was commenting on how many people came up to him with a tattered copy of Coraline and told him how it had inspired them to be brave in horrible circumstances.) You may never win awards or make millions, but you’ll know you’ve made a difference in someone’s world.

What if… you do something utterly unique in your new career, or think about some way of doing things that no one has ever thought of before? Maybe you will be the one to find a cure for cancer, or you will be the editor that clicks with that soon-to-be-famous author and can make their story shine, or perhaps you will simply be an amazing example for others to follow.

You are unique. You are the only one who sees the world from your point of view. You might be the best person to fill the need that someone else has. So, kick that devil off your shoulder—it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work!

(I Googled “Famous quotes by Nelson Mandela” to find the quote above and found many more that fit the theme of this post. Read on, and be inspired!)

  1. “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
  2. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
  3. “Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
  4. “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
  5. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
  6. “There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to helping others without expecting anything in return.”
  7. “There is no passion to be found playing small in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
  8. “One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.”
  9. “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
  10. “After climbing a great hill. One only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
  11. “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”
  12. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
  13. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
  14. “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
  15. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
  16. “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived; it is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
  17. “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

Kara Henderson

Tara Henderson FictionaryMy name is Kara Henderson. I live with my husband on beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. I had the privilege of staying home while we raised our four girls, and now that they have launched, my thoughts have turned to what might be next for me.

“What do I want to be when I grow up?” is a big question at any age, but it takes on a slightly different slant when we ask it in our mid-50s! What can I train at where my age is an asset, not a liability? I had tossed around the idea of training to be an editor many years ago with a friend – I love literature – and while it wasn’t a good fit then, it has become a good fit now.

I started by taking editing classes through Simon Fraser University, and I am a student affiliate with Editors Canada.  I’ve had the opportunities to do the work of editing by helping friends with their manuscripts: an online blog; a short, creative non-fiction book; a full-length non-fiction book; and an initial edit of a YA novel. I really enjoy the process of taking something someone has created and helping it to be even better. It’s important to me that the manuscripts they have created, whether 1,000 words or 80,000 words, retain the author’s voice and creative stamp.


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A Fictionary Certified Story Coach helps writers tell  better stories and makes a writer’s voice shine! If you’re not ready to become a certified coach but need a tool to help you become an exceptional editor, try Fictionary StoryCoach for editors for free!

Learn more about becoming a Fictionary Certified StoryCoach.

Try StoryCoach

Ready to become a Fictionary Certified StoryCoach? Check out Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Training and become a cutting-edge structural editor for fiction.

Special Discount

If you’d like to take the training, send me (Kristina) an email at [email protected] telling me why you’d like to become a Fictionary Certified StoryCoach, and I’ll give you a discount.

The next program starts on October 1st, 2021, and spaces are limited.


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