Writing Consultations

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Melissa Cistaro - The First Ten Pages of Your Memoir - Make Them Shine! (via Zoom)

photo of author and writing teacher Melissa Cistaro

Individual consultation with Melissa Cistaro • $120 • Hosted via Zoom
Submissions can be emailed 5 days prior to the scheduled Zoom meeting (10 pages max, double-spaced, 12 pt. font)

If the first pages of your memoir don’t grab an editor or agent’s attention, your manuscript might not get read. How can you make your story stand out in the current memoir marketplace? Bestselling memoirist and industry insider, Melissa Cistaro will read the opening 10 pages of your memoir or memoir-in-progress and give you specific guidance and feedback. We’ll look for the strengths, the takeaway, and underlying emotions in those vital pages. The consult will include editorial suggestions and a 40-minute Zoom call to discuss your opening pages and ideas. Let’s get those opening pages polished!

Melissa Cistaro has worked on multiple sides of the literary industry including helping authors complete and publish their manuscripts, collaborating with publishers, editors, and working in the bookselling trade. She is the author of the award-winning memoir Pieces of My Mother (US edition) and the Canadian bestseller Without My Mother (HarperCollins Canada). Her stories, essays and interviews have appeared in The New Ohio Review, Brevity, The Huffington Post, PBS: To the Contrary, Good Housekeeping, and the anthologies Cherished, and Love and Profanity. Melissa’s taught on faculty at The San Miguel Writers’Conference, Writing Pad SF, Book Passage, San Francisco Writers’ Conference, and Word Wave Literary Festival in Tahoe.

What Students Are Saying about Melissa Cistaro

"Melissa’s compassionate feedback as a writing coach along with her generosity in sharing her years of experience, greatly enhanced my journey from manuscript to book signing. Her passion for mentoring writers is an absolute blessing."  —Nisha Zenhoff, author of The Unspeakable Loss

"Melissa is more than an inspiring teacher; she is a wise human being who combines a macro passion for books, with a micro ability to connect with the ink words of her students. Melissa creates a very safe space for writers to share their work, and encourages the finding of one's own voice. I can say emphatically that I am a better writer and more reflective person having taken not one, but two classes with her."  —Daniel Polk

"As a published memoir writer, Melissa knows the genre and the publishing business first-hand. She encouraged me through the tough parts of writing my memoir and celebrated the little victories with me along the way. Her positive attitude, good humor and honest feedback made the writing process a joy for me. I wanted to get up every morning and get to my computer."  —Julie Hines


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Don George - Polish Your Prose: A Personal Consultation to Take Your Story to the Next Level (via Zoom)

Individual consultation with Don George • $140 • Hosted via Zoom

In this one-on-one consultation, Don will read your manuscript of up to 3,000 words and offer specific guidance and feedback, including comments on structure, evocation and development of theme, and strengths and infelicities of style. Manuscripts can be non-fiction stories, essays, works of fiction, or chapters of a book. The consultation will include written editorial suggestions and a 50-minute story discussion by Zoom.
 
Don George is the author of The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George and of How to Become a Travel Writer, the best-selling travel writing guide in the world. Don has also edited 12 acclaimed literary travel anthologies, including The Kindness of Strangers and Tales from Nowhere. He has been Travel Editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and Salon.com, and Global Travel Editor at Lonely Planet. He is currently Editor at Large for National Geographic Travel.  Don has taught travel writing in the MFA programs at UC Berkeley and San Jose State University. He is the co-founder and chairman of the annual Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference.