Conquer the Boring


Your readers show love

by flipping the page

Whether you're new to novel writing or have ten books to your name, all writers share the same yearning. Writers want their stories read and their characters to be loved and remembered for years to come. Just picture that scene for a moment. Really feel it.  

The Editor's Pub

The Editor’s Pub is here as your refuge along your writer’s journey. You’re here because you have a gift, skill, or some amazing knowledge, and you want to share it with other people. Your ability to get better and better at writing stories is the very thing that will allow you to share more and garner more readers.

I can't promise that the journey will be a smooth ride. Just like any good story, there are obstacles along the journey. In fact, did you know …

Agents often don't read past page three

What do they want?

What does any reader want?

They want to feel something!

Step back from the world you created in your manuscript. Is it possible that the characters you hold so dear are not so irresistible to others? Of course, these readers don't know them like you do, right? Well, why not? Perhaps you're loving your characters in the wrong way. To get readers (and agents) turning the page of your manuscript, you have to get them to care. And getting them to care comes down to three powerful verbs: invoke, provoke, and evoke.

Invoke their imaginations, provoke their senses, and evoke their emotions. At the core of the matter, readers want to have an emotional response—to be transformed, transported, taken on a journey of their own. Otherwise, they get bored. And a bored reader stops turning the page.

Conquer the boring

Give your characters a little TOUGH LOVE and

give your readers an EXPERIENCE

In this Editor's Pub course, you will learn to

  • Take your readers on an emotional journey and build fans for life.
  • Revise for emotional impact and keep them turning the page.
  • Evoke their imaginations, provoke their senses, and evoke their emotions.
  • Make your readers (and agents) fall in love with your characters … and you, too!

This Editor's Pub course will be your sherpa when you get lost on top of the mountain (a.k.a manuscript draft). It's a messy process, but you don't have to trek through it alone.

Transform Your Characters

Create an emotional landscape

All characters are on a journey.

Readers care more about a character who wants something and knows it. And they fall in love with a character who actively tries to get it, especially against all odds. Unfortunately, many heroes lose their way, and their writers don't even realize it. You are your characters' sherpa. You got to get them up the mountain, across the chasm, and back down again.

Transform Your Readers

Take them on an emotional journey

Readers don't just read, they respond.

But here's the rub, they won't feel your character's joy, anger, sadness, or urgency automatically.  I am not talking about pouring a character’s heart out on the page or dumping an ocean of tears. That doesn’t necessarily make a reader feel anything. What I’m talking about is The Reader’s Journey. Readers conjure their own feelings. You are not the author of what readers feel, but you are your readers' sherpa.


Sherpa Techniques

Lead from INside Out

Hook the Unexpected

Inflict Micro-Tension

Give Us an Experience

Invoke the Imagination, Provoke the Senses, Evoke the Emotions

Raise Evocative Questions

Meet Your Writing Sherpa

Val M. Mathews

Editorial Coach, The Exit 271 Studio

"Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground."

I love this quote from President Teddy Roosevelt because it's good advice for all writers. I've worked with many aspiring writers who have at some point wavered between losing their footing and losing their dreams. The kicker is, to stay on the writer's path, we need both stars and steady feet. For a lot of writers, that takes a village. I am just one of your villagers. As an inspirational editorial coach, I guide aspiring writers who need love, support, and a kick in the pants. My commitment is to help you conquer the boring in your stories and keep your characters on track so that you can more fully experience the writer’s journey—while keeping your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.

My not-so-boring credentials

In the past, I flew airplanes for a living

and once ate an entire bag of Fig Newtons on a spontaneous road trip from New Orleans to Philadelphia to see the Live Aid concert (I puked). No more fig bars for me! After my flying days, I founded The Exit 271 Studio, an editorial coaching service for aspiring writers. I earned a Master of Arts in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia.  When in graduate school, I taught English Composition to first-year students, tutored in the university’s writing center, worked as an editor for the English department's newsletter, and helped start the digital literary magazine for the Georgia Writers Association. Over the years, I have volunteered as an editor for several digital literary journals, including the Georgia Writers Association. I love editing because it's always like a road trip (but without the figs and puke).


Every time I work with Val and her team, I learn an immense amount about the craft of writing. They cheer me on while keeping me on track, which is invaluable to an author. Knowing I have a group of experienced and encouraging editors in my corner gives me the confidence to continue my writing journey.
Eliza Peake Author
Working with Val makes the entire editing process easier. I feel supported and encouraged, and that can make all the difference to an inspiring author. I learn something new every time I work with her.
Vickie Carroll Author, Witches of Half Moon Island
I found my dream editor! Val's sensitivity to my manuscript made it a pleasure to work with her. She knew exactly what had to be cut and what was needed to make my manuscript soar. Val is easy to talk to and her quick turn-around time is a huge plus. I can honestly say after working with Val, I have become a better writer & a client for life.
Stephanie Baldi Author
I have to say that, looking at the final versions with all of the suggestions incorporated, I am extremely proud of these two poems. I was thinking of TS Eliot’s comment about Ezra Pound (though I am no Eliot and these are certainly not The Wasteland!): il miglior fabbro, meaning the better maker. Your staff certainly qualify for that label. Thank you for your generosity in time and effort. 
Robert Covel Author, Wind Song
I have thoroughly enjoyed working one-on-one with Val Mathews. The editing process is so helpful to me as a writer. I completely trust Val’s judgment and spot-on suggestions. Her skills as an editor have made my stories stronger. I highly recommend Val and The Exit 271 Studio to anyone looking for editing services. 
Cynthia Wilson Author
After my short story Samuel’s Wife was accepted for publication, Val Mathews worked with me to improve it. Respectful of me as a writer, she suggested no changes that would upset my voice and writing style. With an expert’s eye for detail, Val caught redundancies and irrelevancies, mistakes that muddled the clarity and disrupted the rhythm of the story. I would not hesitate to work with Val again. A true professional, she’s a meticulous editor. I loved working with her and would recommend her to anyone in search of an editor.
Brenda Sutton Rose Author, Dogwood Blues


Sherpa Base Camp

  • Welcome
  • Onboarding

Learn How to Take Your Readers on an Emotional Journey of Their Own & Keep Them Turning the Page

  • The Briefing
  • Inflict Micro-Tension
  • Editor in Action
  • Action Step
  • Hook the Unexpected
  • Editor in Action
  • Action Step
  • Raise Evocative Questions
  • Editor in Action
  • Action Step
  • Writing Challenge
  • The Debriefing

Learn How to Make Your Readers Fall in Love with Your Characters & Build Fans for Life

  • The Briefing
  • Lead from the INside Out
  • Editor in Action
  • Action Step
  • Give Us an Experience!
  • Editor in Action
  • Action Step
  • Invoke, Provoke, Evoke
  • Editor in Action
  • Action Step
  • Writing Challenge
  • The Debriefing

The Final Summit

  • Review
  • The Final Challenge

Bonus Material

Read like an Editor:

Tweaks that will make your writing instantly stronger

Watch as Val makes little tweaks that you can easily do right now.

Weave the Mini-Scene:

Put the reader in your story

Watch as Val takes bland dialogue and weaves in action beats, active setting, and story details.

Deepen Point of View:

Bring story people to life

Watch as Val fleshes out a boring, "surface" character.

Included in the Course

Editor in Action

Learn from an editor with video-taped editing sessions of actual manuscripts.

Learn how to edit like a pro!

Steps, Challenges, Checklists

Watch, apply, challenge, and experience results.

Stay on track! Write that page-turner!

Video, Slides, and Pdfs

Learn on the go!

Conquer the Boring in Your Storytelling

I love it! Sign me up!

$65.00 Preorder and Save $64 (normally $129). We will notify you when the course opens. Buy $65.00

All images are from Johnny Linder-Comfreak, Pixaby, or Presenter Media.