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Coaching and Editing

I wouldn’t have become a published author without the help of my agent, my editor, and my writing coach. I can’t imagine trying to navigate the solitary and confusing waters of writing and publication without these professionals. As an English professor for more than twenty years, I have taught many university students to write well and to manage their anxiety about writing. I am passionate about helping others achieve their writing goals!

I offer an initial free 30-minute consultation by Zoom or Skype in which we can discuss your needs as a writer. I work with beginning writers as well as published ones and will tailor my services to your needs. This initial consultation offers both of us a chance to figure out if I will be a good fit for you. If you are interested in my editing services, I also offer a free evaluation of the first 5,000 words of your manuscript.

Coaching

A writing coach acts as a mentor to help with problems related to writing, everything from writer’s block to motivation problems to plot/character problems. I take a holistic approach to my coaching: a writer isn’t just the words they write but a whole person with a history and personal experiences that affect what and how they write. I’m an excellent listener who will do my best to help you move forward with your writing, whether you are in the ideas stage and haven’t written much yet or are in the middle of a project. However, I am not the coach for you if you want to be pushed hard to meet your word count or “whipped into shape” (like a traditional athletic coach): instead, my approach is more gentle and healing as I do my best to help you remove the obstacles to your creativity.

Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Editing

A manuscript evaluation is a big-picture assessment of a completed manuscript and focuses on large chunks such as scenes and chapters. It will be most useful to you if you have revised your manuscript on your own a few times and it is not a first draft. You will receive a detailed letter with comments on aspects of your manuscript such as structure, pacing, character development, narration, and point of view. A manuscript evaluation does not include line editing or in-text notes on the manuscript, though my letter may include specific examples and page references from your work to illustrate my points.

Line Editing

An editor is concerned with paragraph- and sentence-level details. As an editor, I will make comments and edits in the text of your manuscript, noting problems and inconsistencies with tone, tense, clarity of expression, grammar, punctuation, and word choices. (Some people make a distinction between line editing and copy editing, but I do not: after many years of marking student essays, I can easily do both at the same time.)

Qualifications and Experience

I have twenty years of experience teaching English and writing as a university professor. I have taught both academic and creative writing, logging thousands of hours helping adult students hone their skills.

With degrees in both psychology (BA) and English literature (PhD), I’ve been fascinated by the intersections between psychology and fiction all my life, and I’ve included a psychological component in every aspect of my literary studies. For example, my MA thesis was about gender differences in the grieving process in Victorian poetry. I have a special interest in Jungian psychology and dream work, believing that the metaphors and archetypes that show up in our dreams are powerful tools to unlock our creativity.

Genres I prefer to work with: historical fiction, women’s fiction, mystery/suspense, romance, and Christian fiction. (Note: at this time I am not working with nonfiction).

Genres I will not work with: erotica, high fantasy, science fiction, and manuscripts with a misogynist or racist protagonist.

Confidentiality: Please be assured that I will keep everything you share with me confidential, including any problems you are struggling with and your writing itself.

As a writer myself, I know how difficult it is to show one’s writing to another person, and I applaud your courage in taking this step. I look forward to hearing from you! Contact me at clarissa@clarissaharwood.com