Who is Memoir Guru–that’s me, my handle on Twitter: @memoirguru.
Check me out there too!
Writing a memoir is rewarding and satifying–you get to explore your memories, capture moments of meaning, and show your inner and outer world. It’s also a journey into yourself, and a journey of learning how to write. You begin with a first draft, and along the way have questions and doubts. It’s important to keep going, it’s important to get the help you need to finish your work.
You may have questions like these:
- Does the book make sense to the outside reader?
- Is it ready for an agent or publisher to read?
- I have a feeling it needs some help, but I’m not sure what should be done.
- Was I too hard or judgmental about certain people in the memoir?
- Does the plot work?
- Will the reader feel that I’m feeling sorry for myself when I write about abuse and other sorrowful things?
- Can I change names in the memoir and not call it fiction?
- What about changing places, descriptions, and identifying information—can this still be a memoir?
- Can I write well enough to get published?
- Is my grammar and spelling okay?
Writing a memoir requires that we come to terms with the situations in our lives, painful and joyful, the dark nights of the soul, life challenges, and moments of great joy and ecstasy. A memoir makes demands on us—it requires us to unzip our hidden selves and stand naked to the world, once we are published. Writing is a journey of self, soul, and creative artistry. Through writing we discover more about who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going. It is a rewarding journey, and it is helpful to have wise helpers along the way, as do those who journey in mythic worlds. They come upon a Gandalf or a fairy godmother helper to work with the energies for a successful outcome.
Not that mentoring is magic, but it IS helpful to have a coach, someone cheering you on, and teaching you the path at the same time. One day, you will be able to share that knowledge with someone full circle.
Private coaching/mentoring at $125/hour
We meet on the phone or in person for personal consultation about your work. I listen to what you book is about, read some pages with you, and sort through what needs to be done to create success for you as a writer and author.
A writing mentor guides you through the process of writing a book, not just the techniques. It can be frustrating and challenging to maintain focus and energy to become the writer we want to be. Time, support, and focused feedback help you reach your writing goals, and keep up your spirits too.
Additional Coaching Packages Available
$595.00 (Premier Coaching Package)
$289 (3 hours)
Ongoing support helps you by
- Giving you structure
- Setting up a schedule
- Making demands on your creative muse
- Giving you deadlines and assignments
I have worked with many writers at different stages of their work—from beginning to finished manuscript. A manuscript consultant reads your printed out draft and makes sure to answer the questions you have about your work, in addition to the kinds of questions listed above.
The fee for up to 250 pages is $300.00.
For this fee I will:
- Answer your questions about your work.
- Assess readiness for publication.
- Made recommendations for how to change the book, though helping you with the changes falls under editing or coaching.
- Help you understand some of the questions an agent or publisher would ask you if you sent in your work.
- Help guide you to the next stage so you can complete your book and get published.
Feedback is by email and on the phone for a ½ hour consultation. Payment is made before mailing the manuscript.
Shaping a work into its final form is an opportunity to sing the high notes and tune your vision. Your task is to bring your work into its final form—the end product of your creative journey.
An editor shares your vision and even sees beyond it as she approaches your work. You and the editor become partners in the final creation as you examine words, paragraphs, and sentences. You also need to look at themes, character development, and plot.
Understanding how to work with the deep structure of prose is important. And all this is interwoven with attention to details—the correct use of commas, semi-colons, apostrophes, and capital letters.
I draw upon several resources for my editing skills:
- the MFA program at Mills College
- working closely with different editors for my book, 13 years of coaching memoirists
- avid reader of all kinds of books—memoir, fiction, and nonfiction
- blogs and websites about editing and proper usage
- a frequent contest judge of memoirs
I bring a refined ear for story development and language, and an eye for the narrative arc. Being a poet and studying poetry, which I highly recommend, helps to hear your voice and the lyricism of words and phrases.
The goal of editing is to: lift a memoir from this happened and that happened—an episodic telling of the story to
- developing potent themes
- sparkling descriptions
- a strong voice
- a universal connection with others that threads through the story
I respect the author’s story, style, and preferences. I will explain the reasons for my choices, but final decisions belong to the author.
How Do You Know When you Need an Editor?
Learning how to shape your work is an ongoing process, and along the way you learn how to edit yourself. If you are through your first draft, you may be ready for an editor to look over the whole book and evaluate what it needs to become publishable. Writing and editing is a long process and you need to be patient, but in the end you will have a successful, finely crafted publishable book, and a series of publishable essays to send out separately as well.
Different Levels of Editing
Spell check and grammar check are not enough to make your work perfect—yes, it has to be perfect—at least the parts you send out for assessment by an agent or publisher. They have a lot of manuscripts to read, so if there is any reason at all to throw one into the trash, there it goes. If your query letter is perfect, and your manuscript is flawless, you rise to the top.
The first level of editing is to examine correct word usage, spelling, and grammar. The editor at this level is looking at the basic manuscript for flow, language, and clarity. A small amount of moving paragraphs and sentences fall under copy editing, but for deeper work with structure, a developmental editing is needed. Editing is the most important task in preparing a work for public view. Good writers always hire an editor before publishing. You have one chance for that agent, editor, or publisher to view your work, so make it the best it can be.
This is deep work with the structure, placement and coherence of the manuscript. Figuring how what goes where, the basic plot points, and the dramatic structure fall under this kind of deep editing. It may be time consuming, but it’s a necessary part of making a book work.
Copy Editing Fees:
Contact me for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org