Coaching and Editing

If you are looking for someone to help you take your writing to the next level, drop me a line!

Great coaching and editing bring out the best in writers. A coach helps writers reach the top of their game by teaching them how to perfect their performance. An editor reviews manuscripts and corrects errors of style, substance and grammar.

I offer a combination of editing and coaching, geared toward a client’s particular needs.  I offer basic copyediting and manuscript consultation, but most writers hire me to assist them with the complex tasks of planning, writing, publishing and marketing their work. The intensity and individualized focus of my sessions enables clients to rapidly master both craft and art.

I work with beginning and experienced writers in various genres, including history, business, memoir, New Age and spiritual, how-to, fiction and creative nonfiction. My clients include university professors, psychologists, entrepreneurs, nonprofit administrators, retirees and students. They are widely published and several have won writing  awards.

My skill as a coach and mentor will bring out the best attributes in your work.  I offer positive, constructive, specific, solutions-based feedback. When appropriate, I also offer clients a “team writing” approach, which is a joint brainstorming and writing session.  My broad background — editing, writing, teaching, academia, public relations and internet marketing — makes me well-suited to help writers in many areas.

In addition to my professional experience, I have studied with many outstanding writers and editors.  These include Bob Early, longtime editor of Arizona Highways, Lee Gutkind, editor of the journal Creative Nonfiction, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, award-winning fiction writer who teaches at Naropa University and John Shors, whose had several novels hit The New York Times bestselling list.  At Arizona State University, I’ve studied with creative nonfiction writers Stephen J. Pyne and Paul Morris, poets Alberto Rios and  Cynthia Hogue,  fiction writer Mike McNally and playwrite Jay Boyer.

I start by assessing my clients’ writing skills and the viability of their projects. We work together to clearly identify their personal and professional goals. From there,  we identify their strengths and challenges in writing, managing and marketing their work.

We then plan our sessions together to address their specific needs. I might, for example, recommend some additional reading or strength-training exercises.  Most sessions last two hours and I work with clients either in person or on the phone.

Aspects we address in coaching:

* Setting and sticking to goals

* Identifying writing strengths and weaknesses

* Kickstarting creativity

* Overcoming writer’s block

* Learning positive writing habits

* Meeting deadlines

* Crossing  genres

* Prose sharpening

* Setting scenes

* Supersleuthing

* Evoking emotion

* Telling the story

* Mining for character motivation

* Perfecting pacing and plotting

* Ethics

* Using poetic language

* Query letters

* Pitching proposals

As part of my coaching process I offer developmental editing and manuscript evaluation services for writers in most genres.  I draw on my experience in book and article marketing, magazine editing and website creation.

Developmental Editing–This type of editing is most useful after a rough draft has been completed, but can occur at any point in the writing process. I can respond to ideas before they have even hit the page.  As a developmental editor, I offer a high-level, in-depth review of structural and story integrity.  I will evaluate a number of key components, including character development, motivation, plotting, pacing, narrative, setting, themes, stakes, dialogue and so forth.  I will identify what works and what doesn’t.  We’ll discuss options for reshaping and revising the work so it is more robust and engaging.

Manuscript Evaluation–This type of feedback is most useful when you are finished with your book  and need a fresh eye before submitting it.  If you are a new client,  do not necessarily need to see your entire manuscript at this point.  I prefer to work with new clients on the first three chapters of their manuscripts and allow them time to make the necessary changes throughout the book. I find that whatever is troublesome in the first three chapters reverberates throughout the book.  Current clients usually have me sit down with a book in its entirety once they have finished their final draft and want to me to do a final read-through for continuity purposes before they submit to an agent or publisher.

While I do not offer my services as a pure proofreader or copy editor, I do edit people’s pieces as they work with me so their copy is usually pretty clean.  I do recommend that writers who are pitching books engage an independent proofreader go over their manuscripts before they submit to an agent or editor. I am happy to recommend editors I work with in Arizona and Colorado.

I am  familiar with various style manuals and conventions, including Associated Press, the Chicago Manual of Style and the American Psychological Association.  I can either work on hard copies  though I prefer to work on electronic copies using he track changes features. We  can meet in person or over the phone.

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