Though my writing education started with the short story, I’ve recently branched out a great deal—into novel writing, creative nonfiction, screenplays, and even some poetry. In all of this, though, my emphasis is narrative. I live in awe of the many various forms stories can take. Often, it’s just a matter of following our stories rather than trying to control them. We think we’re shaping the work, but the work has a shape of its own, if only we can find it.
I don’t believe in rules, but I do believe in choices. Writing any narrative is a series of choices—about who our characters are, about tone, point of view, plot, genre and so on. Many of these may be subconscious, but they’re choices we make all the same.
My Ph.D. helped me learn about the wide variety and deep history of narrative. So, when I’m working through a conundrum in my own work, I can often look into how other writers have tackled similar conundrums. As an editor and teacher of writing, then, I see my role as helping the writer see some of the choices open to them. For the most part, I focus on the bigger picture issues that give a narrative life and shape.
As a reader, my interests tend to vary quite a lot. I love the giant drama of Charles Dickens and Patrick O’Brian. I love the quiet precision of Virginia Woolf and James Salter, the sheer mastery of James Baldwin and Alice Munro, the imaginative force of George R.R. Martin and Neil Gaiman, the quirk of Kazuo Ishiguro and George Saunders, the lyrical power of Toni Morrison and Jhumpa Lahiri. And on and on . . .
Really, I can fall in love with any good story, no matter the genre or subject matter. And I don’t believe that my interests need to be your interests. More, I want to help you see what’s happening in your work already, and how you might help it along. I love diving into the guts of a narrative to really see how its built—and how it might be made even better.
I can also work with you on poetry, creative nonfiction and anything in between. To my thinking, the mode of a piece is just another decision we make as writers. And sometimes, the reason a given piece of writing isn’t working as well as it could is because it’s a short story that needs to be a poem, a poem that needs to be an essay, a piece of flash fiction that needs to be a novel and so on.
I’m happy to work with you on short pieces as well as longer, whether you’re writing to publish or to apply to an MFA program. And I welcome genre work of any variety.
Above all things, my goals are 1) to make your writing stronger 2) to help you become the kind of writer you want to be. In keeping with that, my feedback is honest and clear. I’m here to offer solutions.
I charge $50 an hour.
Please don’t hesitate to an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have.
“Working with Adam has helped me take the next step with my writing. He gives specific and actionable feedback.” – David Degusta, Fiction Writer