Services

I believe in the power and possibility of true stories: Memoir, personal essay, travel writing, environmental writing, reportage, oral histories, or hybrid forms that combine all these sub-genres. The possibilities of narrative nonfiction are as endless as the material of the real world. Whether you are looking for manuscript editing, for coachingand mentoring as you pursue an evolving writing project, or for assistance collecting family stories so that your children can get to know more about the generations that preceded them, I'm here to help! Below are the details of the services I provide and the rates I charge. 

Editing

When I read your manuscript, I bring with me more than a decade's worth of college-level teaching experience and editorial insight. As a writer myself, I understand how difficult the revision process can be and how fraught the writer-editor relationship can feel. As an editor, I respect the work you have done while pushing the writing to that next level. My goal: to be kind and supportive while also being tough and challenging. The manuscript critiques I offer are lengthy and detailed. In them, I address both the big-picture problems of your work as well as the smaller issues that are nevertheless distracting and/or prompt questions or concerns that need addressing. The options and rates are:

  • First 10 pages - $149: Do you need help gauging whether your beginning is catching your reader's attention and compelling him or her to continue turning pages? I can give you an honest 2-3 page assessment of how effectively you are embarking on the opening pages your story.
  • First 50 pages- $399: A strong start to your manuscript is fundamental to the success of the whole: without a solid foundation the entire endeavor comes crumbling down. With an eye towards laying critical groundwork, the editorial feedback I provide for the first 50 pages averages 4-5 single-spaced pages and pushes you to both tighten and expand your draft as necessary for maximum narrative tension and development.
  • Full manuscript assessment - $1200 for the first 60,000 words ($165/10,000 words over)Once you have completed a book-length manuscript, you often need an impartial set of eyes to identify where and what work remains. These critiques range from 7-12 pages and address the manuscript from start to finish.
  • Comprehensive edit- by quote only: This edit includes not only the critique letter addressing large and small issues, but line edits as well, meaning a comprehensive edit will include margin notes and editing for grammar, punctuation, and general readability in the manuscript itself.

Coaching and Mentoring

There's no two ways about it: writing is hard. It is a process that can lead to dead ends as easily as it can lead in circles or veer dramatically from the proverbial track on which you began. It is also often a lonely process. Having someone as your designated support system as you navigate the process can help minimize those circles and dead ends. Whether you need a sounding board, a cheerleader, an editor, a teacher, or all of the above, I can do this. For $750/month, I provide:

  • Weekly 1-hour Skype meetings to troubleshoot problems, provide feedback, cheer you on, and generally lend a sympathetic ear for the inevitable and necessary kvetching
  • Weekly writing exercises and assignments tailored to particular challenges you are facing or your project presents
  • Monthly reading recommendations to provide models for structure/approach and to offer inspiration
  • Monthly written feedback (line editing and critique letter) on submissions up to 20-pages

Family Histories

One of the most valuable gifts a family member from an older generation can give to those in a younger generation is a written account of the life he or she lived before all those family stories are lost to history. By interviewing older members of a family in-depth about their lives from childhood and adolescence through love, marriage, children, work, aging, and beyond, I compile and transcribe oral histories that I then edit for clarity and assemble into a one-of-a-kind document that captures the voices of loved ones. Rates by quote only as they vary depending on the scope of the particular project.

Testimonials

  • Nell has an amazing eye and heart for reading and editing people's stories. While she brings sharp, observational questions that every writer needs to produce better work, she does so in a way that is kind and generous, and always in a manner that leaves you feeling encouraged to get back to the writing. I can't recommend her highly enough to any creative writer, at any level, who seeks coaching, editing, and high-level manuscript guidance. -Jane Friedman, Consultant www.janefriedman.com
  • For five years, Nell has been the first reader of my written work. Her edits have allowed my stories to emerge, unburdened.  She sloughs the fat while maintaining an appreciation for subtlety, for tenderness. She asks the questions that make my pieces find their focus. Anyone to get her eyes on their work is a lucky soul. —Lulu Miller, co-founder Invisibilia podcast & author of Why Fish Don't Exist (forthcoming, 2019)
  • Nell is an outstanding, memorable writer and editor with a particular gift for giving spot-on feedback. I trust her absolutely to improve whatever writing crosses her desk. Without a doubt, if Nell has edited it, it's going to be a far better piece in the end. - Abby Farson Pratt, Editor and Content Strategist, Journey Group
  • Nell is part of the small writing group I'm in. I always look forward to her editorial feedback—which is, without fail, spot-on. Her own writing is a pleasure, even in early drafts, rich in detail and research; Nell is that rare bird who can synthesize literature and old-fashioned reporting. - Jennifer Niesslein, founder and editor of Full Grown People