I think of writing not as creating something out of nothing, but as an archaeological dig. When I’m writing a story, I believe that the story exists somewhere in its entirety, and my job as writer is to dig it up, to uncover it.
Sometimes as I start writing (excavating), I think – look! This giant white thing covered in dust is the vertebra of a T Rex! – but as I continue to chip away the hard soil, to blow away the dust, I discover that the thing is only a big white rock. It’s not the spine of my story.
I love helping other writers find the spine of their story. What to keep? What to throw away? What to develop? Where to dig more deeply? These are the questions I can help you answer, all while maintaining an unswerving commitment to your voice as a writer.
Shall we work together?
Jump Start: Overcoming Resistance & Getting Started
You’ve always wanted to write that story. You know the one – your grandmother’s autobiography, or a memoir of what it was like growing up the youngest of six kids, or the novel about World War II. The story has been calling to you for days, months, years. I’ll do it later, you promise yourself. When I have more time. When life calms down. When the kids are grown. When my career is stable.
But you don’t know where to start, or you can’t seem to gain momentum.
Jump Start is a 3-month program designed for writers who need help getting started.
We’ll work on a three-pronged approach to getting your project underway:
- Creating a writing habit – setting up a schedule you can stick to
- Setting up a writing process – crafting short assignments that help you maintain momentum through a longer work
- Honing your writing craft – identifying your writing strengths and areas for growth
The SupportJump Start is structured over 3 months:
- 4 hour-long phone calls – one at the start of the project, then one per month
- Extensive feedback on up to 30 pages of writing per month, for a total of up to 90 pages
- Twice-monthly check-in emails over 3 months
Getting Unstuck & Moving Forward
As writers we can get so focused on our work that we can’t see the forest for the trees.
When I finished the first draft of my novel, Catchlight, I thought, okay…now what? I knew it could be better, and I had no idea how to make it better. So, to quote Martha Beck, I “scampered off to do me some book learnin’” and I got an MFA. I learned to revise. My novel is so much better that it’s almost unrecognizable from its first draft.
It’s overwhelming to know you have a lot of work to do – and not to know what the work is. When you have a full draft of your memoir or novel, I can help you pull back, evaluate where you are, and chart a course forward.
The SupportI’ll provide a sounding board and feedback on your draft, in the form of:
- 1 hour-long phone call to discuss where the book is, your goals, and the places where you feel stuck
- A thorough reading of your manuscript draft and an extensive analysis of what’s working, what’s not working, what’s missing, and suggestions for moving forward
- 1 hour-long phone call to work through the notes
Pruning, Polishing & Perfecting
You’ve done it: you’ve written the thing you’ve wanted to write! And then you went back and finished a second draft!
Congratulations. You are almost done.You need one more pass at the book. You need a fresh set of eyes to make sure dates line up, sequencing is correct, chapter breaks are in the right place, and the character you killed off doesn’t accidentally show up for a scene ten pages later. (Believe me, it’s happened.)
The SupportA close reading of your manuscript for storytelling glitches, with notes geared toward helping you polish the work so it’s ready to send out to agents.