Guest-blogs on Craft


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The Write Practice: Start Your Story with the End

Ink & Alchemy: The Gift of Six Minutes

Individual Manuscript Consultations


My goal as a writing consultant is to help clarify what the work wants to say, in order to enable the writer to say it as effectively as possible. Since 2001, I have worked with clients to produce and complete manuscripts of many different sorts.

I try to serve as somewhat of a midwife to books and other storytelling projects: respecting the shape they naturally take, observing before suggesting, and always keeping the writing experience in the hands of the writer. I specialize in working with autobiography, memoir, and personal narrative of all sorts; I believe that writing one’s life story is one of the bravest and most important things a person can do.

Writing consultations take many possible shapes. In all cases, I strive to provide a trustworthy sounding board for the writer’s ideas and dreams regarding the project, and to help the writer build the scaffolding that will uphold the project until it is complete. Some clients require only one or two consultations to get a project started, while others find that a regular meeting time, once a month or once a week, helps them stay on track.

My experience as a writing teacher helps me to advise clients on producing work for a specific audience, and my experience as a journal editor offers insight into the publication process. My hope is for writers to leave these consultations with a greater sense of resourcefulness and wisdom about their writing decisions, as well as a greater motivation to do the work it takes to create the best possible project.

Cost: $120/hour for individuals, $240/hour for groups, including free phone conversation to discuss the writer’s needs and concerns, and to determine the best course of action.



Why might I want to meet with a writing consultant?

Writing consultants can help people meet their writing-related goals, whether that goal is to finish a novel, create language for a website, or compile a family archive of stories. All people have different goals, though often I meet with writers who wish to:

*gain a more discerning editing eye for their own work

*design a schedule that allows time to complete a project

*brainstorm and organize a project

*harness a great idea and actually start writing

*decide how to continue a stalled project


Does a writing consultant edit or revise your work?

No. A good writing consultant focuses on helping the client gain the resources and confidence to be his or her own best editor. Unless specifically hired to proofread or edit, a writing consultant should tend to the bigger issues of a project, and he or she should always make sure the final decisions rest in the hands of the writer.


What is the main thing I should look for in choosing a writing consultant?

The simple test is this: after talking with this person, do you want to continue writing? If the answer is yes, then you have found a good match. A good writing consultant should always leave you feeling like more of a writer, never less.


What types of projects are fair game?

Any and all. Truly, if the project involves words, story, or ideas, I can help with it. I have worked with writers who were:

*working on a piece of fiction, poetry, or a play that they hope to publish

*writing a memoir, either for public or private readership

*crafting an academic report or dissertation

*looking for the best publishing outlet for a given piece

*trying to integrate more creative writing into a busy schedule