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When I'm not writing books...

Book Coaching & Developmental Editing

As much as I appreciate being immersed in novel writing, I discovered long ago that writing alone doesn’t meet my need to be part of a literary community. I treasure the opportunity to learn alongside my clients and students, who have fascinating stories to tell! I get incredible satisfaction from seeing progress on the page and from getting updates from writers who are finishing novels or memoirs, finding agents, and getting published. Coaching other writers replenishes my own love of writing and reading.

Developmental Editing vs. Monthly Book Coaching:

Developmental editing involves a one-time full critique of a complete (or nearly complete) manuscript, normally 60,000 to 100,000 words. If you’re on track to complete and revise a book-length manuscript soon, this is the type of coaching I recommend. I focus on developmental editing, which encompasses content, structure, style, and the major elements of craft, not minor errors. My passion is for the big-picture view, including what isn’t yet on the page. This is in contrast to copyediting, which is the final step in the editing process and is usually undertaken by freelance editors or publishing staff.

Monthly coaching is a custom-made arrangement, involving a set number of contact hours (usually five per month) between writer and coach; this is better suited to those who haven’t finished a manuscript or who have specific tasks to accomplish, like writing a great query, finding an agent, coping with writer’s block, or developing a new writing habit.

I work with clients on a selective basis, only after we have exchanged enough information and work samples to know that we are a potentially good match. 

More on my coaching philosophy: 

The first role of the coach is to be a careful, sympathetic, and reflective reader who is able and willing to see what’s on the page, but also what the author intended and what may one day be on the page, with further revision. The coach tries to understand the work on its terms and help it become even better, not according to some universal standard, but according to the writer’s vision and voice, embedded within a larger context: the ongoing cultural conversation that literature makes possible. Finally, a coach can help provide motivation, inspiration, and accountability. It's hard and lonely work being a writer. Knowing what we are doing right, that our work matters, and that a reader is waiting to enjoy the next draft can help provide the stamina required to make a story, novel, or memoir the best it can be.

To find out more, please contact me.

Sharing my love of books, writing, sport, nature, languages, travel (or whatever else I'm obsessing about)

I love newsletters and a I write a bunch of them. Consider subscribing!

PRESENT TENSE: a gathering place for suspense fiction readers and writers is the weekly Substack newsletter I co-founded with Caitlin Wahrer. 

FROM MY ISLAND TO YOURS: Andromeda's adventures in authoring is the monthly (approximately) newsletter where I share things that interest me about writing, publishing, and other mostly bookish things. 


UNLIKELY is where I chronicled my middle-aged quest to become an Ironman triathlete, culminating in one of the happiest (and most tiring!) days in my life, the day I became an Ironman. 

I also blog frequently at 49 Writers, the Alaska statewide nonprofit writing center I co-founded with Deb Vanasse and Jeremy Pataky. I no longer live in Alaska but I am extremely proud of this writing center, led by an incredible board and team of volunteers. 

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