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Critiquing an article or a novel is not the same as getting a tune-up for your car. You'll never hear two mechanics arguing over whether or not to put oil or water in the radiator. But you can bet your bottom dollar that even the most basic critical beliefs can and will be contradicted by someone, somewhere, sometime.

Without context, literary criticism is next to useless and sometimes damaging. In other words, there is no universal "right or wrong" in writing. There is only, "Does it work or not."

It is an undisputed fact that review by a second pair of eyes is of immense benefit to any piece of writing. It is also clear that the more experience and specialized knowledge that second pair of eyes commands, the greater the benefit. Like many writing coaches, I have worked for several decades as a writer and an editor (language and substantive editing, in my case), a combination that has helped me develop my own "voice" in working with writers. In addition, I have a passion for literary criticism and for writing book reviews, both of which are invaluable for explaining to writers when, where, and why certain literary concepts and conventions came into being.

It is less widely appreciated, especially with regards to fiction, that the feedback of the editor or writing coach needs to resonate with the writer. Each editor or writing coach brings her own special skills to the table. To put it bluntly, if the writer and coach don't click, there is no point in working together. The last thing you want to do as a writer is to be headed off in a direction that doesn't appeal to you. This is the reason I offer a free trial to writers interested looking for an editor or writing coach—to give you the writer a chance to see what I do, so that you can decide whether you think it will help you or not.

Just as each editor or writing coach comes to the table with her skill set, so too does each writer come with a specific set of experiences, goals, and needs. I offer a range of editing and coaching services, including book critiques, line editing, substantive editing, rewrites, and long-term coaching (in which I provide feedback, line editing, and discussion as you request). Line editing includes grammar, usage, punctuation, and structure. I do not proofread, because I don't do it very well. Spelling is up to you—as it says in my sig file, I never said I could spell.

I am a believer in informed feedback—that's the currency of the coaching process. If you are writing non-fiction, that means writing with clarity and purpose, economy and panache. If you are writing fiction, add to that list the ability to create an emotional, intellectual, or spiritual reaction in your reader. That is the secret of good writing.

Check out Le Bio, for specifics on my education and experience.