Writing Consultations

Individual consultations with Angie Alban

Fine-tune Your Fiction 

Comprehensive manuscript evaluation* plus 60 minute phone consultation • Hosted via Zoom or phone
$250
* (first 10 pages of a novel or one 32-page picture book)

 

Angie invites you to submit the first 10 pages of your novel in manuscript format (see guidelines of submission below) or one picture book manuscript. She will illuminate the excellence in your story as well as provide written prescriptive feedback for creating quintessential characters, vivid settings, page-turning plots, and snappy dialog. Your consultation includes a 60-minute discussion by phone or Zoom.

Manuscript format: Use 12-point Times New Roman, double spaced. Pages should be numbered consecutively. The default margin settings that appear in Microsoft Word are acceptable, but if you are setting margins manually, use a 1-inch margin on each side of the page, 1/2 inch top and bottom.
 

Angie Alban is a critically acclaimed novelist and picture book author, and founded the Writer’s Tribe at Book Passage in 2010. Her debut novel, Anya’s War, was an American Library Association Honor Book and short-listed for China’s Panda Award. Her picture book, The Happiness Tree, a Florida Children’s Book Award nominee, is regularly performed by school drama departments throughout the United States and Canada. 
www.andreaalban.com

 

Praise for Angie

"Angie is a warm, thoughtful, and inspiring writer and teacher. She is one of the most positive people I have met in the publishing business."
Amy Novesky, author of Girl on a Motorcycle and Me, Frida, and Editor at Cameron Kids


"Angie is so enthusiastic and practical. I was energized and elated after our session. It’s amazing what some tightening, plus a dummy layout can do for a picture book."
— Diane Dalton, author of Cosette, The Country Bee: Adventures in Paris  


"Thanks to the wonderful Angie for her helpful comments and invaluable encouragement. My manuscripts have been critiqued at two different conferences as well as by my local critique group but it wasn’t until I participated in Angie's Tribe that I felt truly confident about my story!"
Teri Drobnick, author of Moving Day 

"Angie visited my Craft of Fiction class to discuss revision. A gracious and articulate teacher, Angie inspired the students to have fun while working hard at revision and digging deep."
— Matthew Clark Davison, author of Doubting Thomas, and founder of The Writer’s Lab

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Memoir consultation with Melissa Cistaro

The First 10 Pages of Your Memoir — Make them Shine! 

Comprehensive manuscript evaluation - Hosted via Zoom
$150

 

If the opening pages of your memoir don’t grab an editor’s or agent’s attention, your manuscript might not ever get read. How can you make your story stand out in the current memoir marketplace? Bestselling memoirist and writing coach Melissa Cistaro will read the opening ten pages of your memoir or memoir-in-progress and provide you with written notes and guidance tailored to the intentions of your work. A 40 minute Zoom session will provide time for questions, discussion, and ideas for revision and reflection. 

 

Melissa Cistaro is the author of the award-winning memoir PIECES OF MY MOTHER. The Canadian edition of her memoir was a Globe & Mail bestseller and remained on the Toronto Star bestseller list for eight consecutive weeks. Her stories, essays, and interviews have been published in The New Ohio Review, Brevity, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Huffington Post, PBS: To the Contrary, Good Housekeeping, and the anthologies Cherished, and Love and Profanity. Melissa holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. She loves helping people get their stories on the page, and has led writing workshops in Mexico, Canada, and the US.

 

Student Testimonials for Melissa

"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 Z.


"Melissa is an incredibly thoughtful reader who examines the sentences of her students, providing specific feedback that is both precise and visionary, as she sees the larger themes within a detailed text. 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 Melissa.
— Daniel P.  


"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 H. 

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Individual consultations with Pamela Feinsilberphoto of author and writing teacher Melissa Cistaro

Get That Book Started, Polished, or Finished

30 min consultation • Hosted via Zoom, or phone and email • $75

 

Do you have an idea for a novel or work of nonfiction but aren't sure how to continue? Do you have a finished draft and need big-picture comments on theme, structure, pacing, plotting, characterization, description, etc.? Are you ready for line and copy editing? Not sure? Set up a half-hour consultation to discuss how to proceed. The $75 fee will apply to whatever level of editing you need, from getting started to getting to the finish line. That can include advice on self-publishing.

Pamela Feinsilber has been with our Path to Publishing program from the beginning. After years as a senior editor at San Francisco magazine, she became a freelance book editor, working with both longtime and first-time authors. For more information, see pamelafeinsilber.com.
 

What Students Are Saying About Pamela Feinsilber

"When I finally decided to publish a family memoir, a friend in the publishing world recommended Pam. She was the perfect match. She took a rough text through meticulous editing involving language issues, historical references, and multiple voices, shepherding my entry into the literary world with patience, wisdom, encouragement, and enthusiasm. Her attention to detail and precision led to a book of which I am truly proud."
—Joshua Rassen, author of From the Shtetl to America: Jacob Rassen's Lifetime Journey


"Pamela Feinsilber’s astute eye gave my novel Kingdom of Simplicity just what it needed to go to press. Her touch is like applying every grade of steel wool, from scouring down unnecessary subplots to burnishing the finest thematic strands. Her editorial skills cover the gamut, from structural changes to line editing. Getting great editorial help like this is a necessary investment for any professional author."
Holly Payne, author of The Virgin's Knot and The Sound of Blue


"Pamela Feinsilber is the queen of questions. I appreciated her gentle manner in explaining the "why" behind the suggestions that guided me to write a more compelling story. Her skill, enthusiasm, and encouragement have fueled my desire to become a better writer and to forge ahead with my second book.
—Therese Crutcher-Marin, author of Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying Into a Family at Risk for Huntington's

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photo of author and writing teacher Melissa Cistaro
Individual consultations with Don George

Polish Your Prose: A Personal Consultation to Take Your Story to the Next Level

Hosted via Zoom • $250

 

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.

 

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Individual consultations with Nina Schuyler

Developing Your Story: A Personal Consultation

Hosted via Zoom • $150

 

Now what? You’ve taken your story as far as you can and can’t see how to fix it. Should it be told in first person? Third? Nonlinearly? Nina Schuyler will read up to 3,000 words of your nonfiction, essay, fiction, or memoir. She will look closely at structure, deepening character, tension, endings, imagery, point of view, and other craft elements. You also can provide questions about your draft that you’d like answered. She’ll meet with you for 45 minutes to discuss her suggestions and provide you with written feedback.  

Nina Schuyler teaches creative writing in the graduate program at the University of San Francisco. Her next novel, Afterword, will be published in 2023. Her novel, The Translator, won the Next Generation Indie Book Award for General Fiction and was a finalist for the William Saroyan International Writing Prize. Her novel, The Painting, was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award. Her book, How to Write Stunning Sentences, is a bestseller. Her short stories have been published by Zyzzyva, Fugue, Gold Man Review, Santa Clara Review, and elsewhere. She writes a column about style in writing for Fiction Advocate.

 

Praise for Nina

"I am starting on writing a novel. I have never written a book before, and I have little experience with fiction writing. But I feel strongly that I have a story to share. Nina helped me tremendously with understanding some of the key components of fiction writing. She also aided me in seeing my story arc more clearly. She asks very good, very probing questions. She also has a quick and deep psychological understanding of people and relationships, which is very helpful in fleshing out characters."
Uma

"Nina knows how to ask the right questions. I knew that my manuscript had problems, but couldn’t see what exactly they were. Taking my manuscript, Nina returned with a series of questions and signposts. She didn’t tell me what to write, but helped me understand how my book could be so much better; now my manuscript is something I’m proud of. I would definitely entrust my words to Nina again."
Jack

"I’m a beginning writer, and working with Nina was invaluable in helping me revise my memoir! She provided thoughtful, thorough, and insightful commentary, helping me find areas in my story that needed more development. She was prompt and flexible with scheduling time to meet. She is personable and encouraging and guided me towards other helpful resources. I highly recommend working with her!"
— Sarah

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Individual consultations with Britta Stromeyer Esmail

Customized Writing Support

1 hour consult online or in person, plus detailed written feedback

Corte Madera Store or Zoom

 $200

 

Let this be the moment you realize your dream of taking your writing to the next level. Share your ideas and up to 10 pages of story drafts (long or short fiction) and Britta will help you discover what's working, what’s not working, and how to progress toward fixing it. Grab a coffee or cup of tea at Book Passage or meet via Zoom. 

Britta is the author of award-winning children’s books. Her flash fiction appears in Bending Genres Journal. She was a finalist for the Bellingham Review Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction 2021. She is a teaching artist at Marin School of the Arts, CA, a member of the National Writing Project Council, Page Street, LitCamp, & PEN, and SCBWI. She has been a reader for the Firecracker Awards. A former editor for Tuxedo Literature & Arts & FastForward Magazine, she holds an MFA from Dominican University, CA, a Masters in International Communication from American University, and a Certificate in Novel Writing from Stanford University. www.brittastromeyer.com

 

Praise for Britta

"Britta has a gift of profoundly understanding the essence of a story. While she has a full grasp of all the elements of crafting a story, working with her never felt technical. I was glad that her feedback didn’t push me in a certain direction, but instead helped me to identify the missing elements of my story. Being a writer herself, she truly understands the struggle and her optimistic personality is very motivational. I am grateful for her help navigating on my path to uncovering the story I set out to tell."

Vera N. (Fiction)