Story sessions


You don’t have to be stuck.

Do any of these sound like you?

  • You’ve been working on your story for a while, but for some reason, it’s not working and you don’t know why, or how to fix it
  • You’ve been thinking about a story for a while, but you’re not quite able to start because you can’t figure out where it’s going to go
  • You’re a plotter, but your plot points or outline have somehow jumped the tracks and you don’t know how to get them back on the rails
  • You’re a pantser, and you have no idea what to write next or how to wrap this big amorphous mess of a story up


How a session works.

I’ll ask you about your story:  who it’s about, what it’s about, and some gut level “what story do you want to tell” questions regarding theme, scenes, and genre.

There is usually a five or ten minute block of confusion when I ask questions, and you’ll probably answer with a big chaotic “mess” of half-formed possibilities.  This is normal. Please don’t feel self-conscious. Literally everyone I work with has this “mess” moment. It’s completely natural and totally expected… and if you’re worried that “no, my story is a total disaster, you have no idea!” I promise you, I have heard more chaos than you’d believe. We’ll get you through it!

Once that’s on the table (and out of your head,) the fun begins.

During the course of our call, I’ll ask lots more questions to help you get clear about what you want to write (and why you want to write it.)  I’ll make suggestions, but always based on your choices.  Ultimately, this is always going to be your novel: you have the final say, and we’ll brainstorm until you reach writing choices you’re happy with.

By the time the session is over, you’ll know your characters: what they want, why it’s important, and what the obstacles are. Depending on your comfort level with plotting, or how much of a story idea you had to start with, you should have the plot points/major turning points for at least two of your protagonists

Pricing & Scheduling.

Plot sessions and coaching hours cost $150/hour USD.

Email with the amount of hours you’d like to purchase, and you’ll receive a Paypal invoice and the coaching scheduling link, which again, can be used at any time in the next twelve months.

Plot sessions are conducted via phone or Google Meet for US and Canadian clients, Google Meet for international clients.

If you haven’t done coaching before, I strongly recommend the half hour free consultation to decide if this is right for you. Otherwise, you can simply schedule a session.

Sessions can be recorded, at the client’s request when scheduling, via conference call. If you prefer Google Meet, you can request a video recording.

All sessions are domestic U.S. phone calls, or international Meet video calls. There may be internet issues, in which case you will be issued a refund or a reschedule.

Sessions are prepaid via Paypal.  There is a 50% cancellation fee for less than 48 hours notice.  (See the boring policy page for more details.)


I’ve worked with Cathy for years now, and I’m always impressed by her thoughtfulness, kindness, wisdom and ability to help me sort out my own thoughts as I work through a draft. I’ve recommended her to friend after friend mired in their own drafts because her unique perspective and feedback is so helpful.

  • Sabaa Tahir, NYT bestselling YA fantasy author of the Ember in the Ashes series

I wouldn’t want to write a book without Cathy! She is the Dumbledore of the writing world — a wizard at plotting, planning, and brainstorming who will navigate your ideas with great insight and grace. Her expert knowledge of story structure and character development has been invaluable in helping shape my convoluted notes, half-baked ideas, and odd plot tangents into the well-crafted, richly developed stories I’d been envisioning. If you need clarity, motivation, and help pushing past writing roadblocks, Cathy is the one to call.

  • Nina Lane, NYT bestselling romance author

​I can’t start a book without talking to Cathy Yardley. Seriously. When I have a story idea, something I want to explore and pitch, she’s my first port of call. We talk characters’ needs and goals. We talk story arc. We talk conflict. We talk point of view and whose story it should be. Through incisive questions and mad brainstorming – and within one hour! – she takes my chaos of ideas and themes and helps me hone it into a cohesive whole. Then I am ready to write. She is truly madly amazing.

  • Kim Taylor Blakemore, bestselling author of After Alice Fell, The Companion, and The Deception (Oct 2022)

Cathy Yardley is a wonderful human as well as brilliant sounding board for characters, plot and themes. She has such an incisive mind — talking through stories with her always helps to crystalize whatever it is I’m trying to do with the project before me. I highly recommend her to everyone who approaches me looking to grow as a writer.

  • Abigail Hing Wen, NYT bestselling author of Loveboat, Taipei