Jill Wright
Writing Coach

323-839-0535

Services:

Private coaching to fiction and non-fiction writers. Novels, screenplays, TV scripts, stories, plays, children's books, biography, memoirs and how-to.

What I Do...and don't do

My pen is my sword. My battle is the traps I set for myself, traps of ego, procrastination, fear, ignorance, illusion...

What are the obstacles that are stopping you from creating the finest work you can produce?

My work is to discover and liberate you from those traps that are holding you back. I do this with the usual read-and-critique but as you learn to foil the traps of ignorance, ego and fear inside, you also confront those pitfalls that appear to be outside: "too old", "too young", "not good enough", "not talented enough", "wrong time or place", "nobody cares", blah, blah blah. We cut through what's limiting both your craft and your belief in yourself - your audacity.


How?...

In addition to honing your craft, I teach you new techniques for finding solutions to story and structure problems and for breaking open new potential in your brain. We may do an exercise gleaned from my Buddhist mindfulness training; from playing one of the "Genius Games" that I created for the brilliant innovators of the Digital Age (see What I've Done) or I may create an exercise just for your particular project.


The Vision

As your work gets stronger, and you begin to free yourself, your capacity for expression develops and you can consistently create work that grows better, more effective and more successful with every project.

Every obstacle overcome is a victory. A victory for one writer is a victory for us all.


What I don't do

I don't ego-stroke or pander to my clients, no matter how successful. If I tell you something is good, I mean it. If something doesn't work I will let you know. But every problem has a solution and we will find it.


Format

I do one-on-one coaching. I don't do classes but I do work with writing partners who are working on a single project - both together and individually.

I have no set formula. Every writer is unique and our sessions will be tailored to your work and your project's demands. But you must be courageous and willing to work. If you don't plan to put in the work, do not waste your time or mine.

If you are committed to your dream, I will meet you where you are and take you as far as you want to go.


Confidentiality

I do not "coach-and-tell". If, for any reason at all, you don't want anyone to know that you're working with a coach your secret is safe with me.


What I've Done

I am a writer living in Los Angeles. I have written work across a spectrum of media. My work has won or been nominated for The Pushcart Prize, IFTC Audience Choice in Totonto, The Helen Laemmle Prize and the The Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize. My work with narrative and computers is taught in the Systems Design and Computing Science Masters Program at UC Berkeley and was the subject of a BBC documentary, Equinox.

I have developed award-winning interactive narrative and story-making games for Digital Pictures and Warner Brothers, among others.

I have been a consultant for Stanford University, UCLA, American Library Association, English Teachers of Los Angeles, UC Berkeley, Kachemak Bay Writer's Conference, Lucas Film, and Apple Computer, to name a few.

Currently I am working on my original musical, Beggars & Choosers: About the Other "F" Word...Finances. (See what Ed Asner has to say about this project.)


Apple and the Genius Games

I worked for 7 years in Research and Development for Apple Computer in Alan Kay's celebrated Vivarium Project. In exploring the idea that creativity can be taught or awakened, I developed "Genius Games" for the brilliant Xerox PARC minds and others who were inventing the digital world, including Bill Atkinson, Alan Kay, Bill Gates, Marc and Devorah Canter and many others.

We also explored narrative construction to see how myth and stories can be keys to unlock the mysteries of invention. Among those I "played" with were Richard Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker, The God Delusion, etc.), Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and Tim Gallwey (The Inner Game of Tennis).


Genius Games for Writers

For a writer, artist or any creative being, Genius Games are designed to bring a higher level of creativity by producing perspectives that have not been present before. They are constructed to bring into play another part of your brain that has previously been untapped to allow you to 'see' multi-dimensionally - in the way the true creative geniuses of our time perceive the world.

Think of your creative brain as your car's engine. It's as if your car could suddenly be made to fly, function underwater or run on orange juice. Except it isn't your car, it's your mind. A whole new set of brain patterns is awakened. You literally experience the world in a different way and your writing moves forward very quickly.

She meets you where you are and then 'insists' you grow… She will stretch you and love you while you reach your voice and hone the art of the writer.

Harriett Simon Salinger, Executive Coach/Personal Consultant/Aspiring Memoirist


Jill your workshops, storytelling, and panel presentations were really fabulous. Thank you for sharing your energy, your craft, your wisdom. It was a pleasure!

Carol Swartz,  Chairperson and Director, Kachemak Bay Writer's Conference


Working with her has been encouraging and inspiring, definitely one of the high points of my writing experience.

Jacqueline Liebman-Gentile, Screenwriter, Producer

Jill's expertise in distilling story and clarifying characters can turn foggy fiction into luxurious, heartfelt, God's-honest-truth storytelling. Not to mention her nurturing, creative support. Go to Jill! She's got the medicine for the creative writer blues.

TV writer with credits on NBC, ABC Family and CBS, working on her first novel


I would really like to thank you. I never saw myself as a 'writer'... But then you took me on with this project. You opened the door... [and] you pulled me in with your enthusiasm and glee... It was in that room, with you, that a whole new-old world opened up, giving rhyme and reason to all the things I see, hear and feel, the questions I ask, the conclusions I explore... and it was fun, dangerous and exciting.

Janice Todd, author of "Weaving to Gold"

What I Say

This is a page I update from time to time. Please check it out whenever you get a chance. I write about writing. Sometimes I give exercises, tips and tricks. Sometimes I just write.

Here's something I wrote recently. I hope you find it useful.

Successful Failure

When I was working in Research for Apple's Vivarium Project, my mentor and boss was Alan Kay.

I appreciated that Alan liked my ideas and games but I wasn't sure where we were going with our work. Alan's Vivarium Project - unique unto itself - was composed of writers, dancers, musicians, storytellers, philosophers, architects, physicists, visual artists, educators--and a few hardy programmers. The level of art, music and sheer creative x power was off the charts.

"But what are we doing?" I asked Alan at one of our meetings. "What is it all for?"

He responded, "Jill, we're building this thing...this tool..." He stared off into space as if he was seeing it.

"What kind of a thing?"

"Oh, it has all human knowledge and all humans have access to it." (Remember this was 1988!)

I pondered this. "What does it look like?"

He brightened. "Oh, it's small. A child can hold it in her hand or put it in her pocket. It's like a "learning buddy". The child can open it and say, "Buddy, where's Peru? Show me a picture of the tallest mountain in Africa. What does a meercat look like? And, Buddy, call my mom and say I'll be late."

Needless to say, I was energized! The iPhone in my purse is one realization of one of Alan's visions.

But there were other things about working with him that took me to new insights. In our weekly meetings, he always asked if anyone had produced any "successful failures" with our projects. He was more intrigued by our "successful failures" than our successes. Why? Because it meant we were pushing our ideas, our questions, to the edge of the cliff and then nudging them over. They either flew or fell. And when they fell... why did they fall? How many different ways could that question be answered? Each successful failure netted forward motion.

Think about it. You write something. It works. Great! Now you write something else. It doesn't work. Why? While you may not have questioned your success, you may now be in a deep process of discovery with your failure. What went wrong? Why didn't this work? Each answer moves you forward.

If you aim for successful failures, it frees you to push yourself beyond what you believe you can do. Ironically, you will be much more likely to have a success because you're not holding back or playing safe. This, also, goes for you actors, game makers, visual artists, musicians and, truly, all creatives.

So go out there and have a successful failure today! Push that project right off the cliff and see what happens.

Try It Out!

Here is an exercise to get you started. New games and exercises will be added periodically. So try it out and then call me! There's plenty more where this came from.

What Time Is It?

What time is it? Literary, game or screen time is as follows: T = p + e (Time = Place + Experience)

Time = Place + Experience.

Here's what this means. What time is it? It's 7 p.m.

Is it 7 p.m. in the Once Bar and you are in your new Manolos and that red dress and he has already stood you up once? Or is it 7 p.m. and time for the guard to come around for a last call before lights out?

Time means nothing without character and place. With it, it means everything.

Give yourself 11 minutes to come up with 18 different ways to complete this sentence:

"It was 3 a.m..."


Click here to see examples from the masters
On a rainy night in the winter of 1874, on an avenue in Paris, a drunken young girl came up and spoke to me.

Isak Dinesen, The Old Chevalier (from Seven Gothic Tales)


At 7 p.m. when this alleged crime was taking place, I was sat round the television with my Aunty and two Uncles. I well remember we was watching "The Newcomers".

John Mortimer, Rumpole and the Younger Generation


Within six hours after the appearance, the memorable accident on this Line happened, and within ten hours the dead and wounded were brought along through the tunnel over the spot where the figure had stood.

Charles Dickens, No. 1 Branch Line: The Signal-Man


July 16, 1833 -- This is a memorable anniversay for me: on it I complete my three hundred and twenty-third year!

Mary Shelley, The Mortal Immortal

Jill's expertise in distilling story and clarifying characters can turn foggy fiction into luxurious, heartfelt, God's-honest-truth storytelling. Not to mention her nurturing, creative support. Go to Jill! She's got the medicine for the creative writer blues.

TV writer with credits on NBC, ABC Family and CBS, working on her first novel

Meeting Options

In person: I live in Los Angeles and if you do, too, we can meet at my house - on the deck overlooking my beautiful garden when the weather's good, or in my cosy studio when it's not. Or we can meet at your favorite coffee shop.

Skype: Wherever you live we can Skype. I have worked with writers in Alaska, North Carolina, London, New York, Texas, Japan to name but a few. Distance is no barrier.

Contact information:

Jill Wright
jill@starrypuddle.com
323-839-0535

What They've Done

My clients have won literary prizes, have worked with Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, and other "A-Listers"; published memoir, fiction, poetry, and children's books with HBJ, Harper, and Independent presses; have performed plays and standup in LA, NYC and the UK; worked with Warner, Disney, NBC, Showtime, ABC Family, Lifetime, BET, Disney Channel and on-line distributors; and have found representation with William Morris Endeavor, ICM, and CAA.

Contact information:

Jill Wright
jill@starrypuddle.com
323-839-0535

Praise from Ed Asner for Jill's current project, Beggars & Choosers

Jill Wright is a prophet in her own country. [With this musical] she is taking a hammer to the walls that surround all these people who are ruining the nation.

Contact information:

Jill Wright
jill@starrypuddle.com
323-839-0535

It's fun...

I love what I do. I love the immersion in the worlds that my clients create. I love the process and the surprises that arrive in the writing. It's energizing and it's fun!

And even more fun when your hard work comes to page, stage or screen!

Contact information:

Jill Wright
jill@starrypuddle.com
323-839-0535

Your Work Is Unique

If the Universe had wanted to make another J.R.R. Tolkein, another William Shakespeare, it would have happened. Instead it made you.

Contact information:

Jill Wright
jill@starrypuddle.com
323-839-0535