Whether developmental brainstorming to begin your book or surgical restructuring of a draft manuscript, my work with you & for you will be invested, insightful, generous and nurturing.
- Literary Fiction & Nonfiction: Novels, Novellas, Story Cycles, Memoir, Essays, Mixed Genre
- Food Writing, Motherhood & Parenting, Travel Writing, Literary & Art History, Current Events, Subjects of Particular Interest to Women
- Structure, Language, Characters, Tension, Imagery & Patterning, Narrative Momentum
"Kate Moses is a GODSEND, a literary fairy godmother for your Cinderella project. She was my thesis/book advisor during my MFA program, and she shepherded me through my hybrid, genre-crossing family memoir. I had all these disparate stories and was struggling with how to put them together into a cohesive book; plus, I did not want this book to be a conventional, chronological memoir-narrative. Kate figured out the book’s scaffolding and structure, and placed the stories in a non-chronological order that still gave the book an overall arc. She transitioned from big-picture craft issues to smaller ones, such as tone, POV, and word choice, with ease. She also curated a selection of memoirs and novels for me to read that further enhanced what I wanted to happen with my book. Modified excerpts from my book have been published or will appear in The Washington Post, The Rumpus, Ninth Letter, and Fourth Genre. I have several agents interested in seeing my full-length memoir, the final version of which I am working through. So much of this is because of Kate's mentorship and editing prowess. My autographed copy of The Woman Warrior--which Kate procured from Maxine Hong Kingston herself because Kate thought I'd appreciate it--reminds me what a fantastic, warm, and caring person Kate is, and she remains one of my cherished friends today." – S. Isabel Choi
"I have been working privately with Kate Moses since August of 2016. She is the most endearing, tenacious, persistent writing teacher I have ever had. And she carries off her brilliance in the most gentle of ways. She takes a draft of something I have written and finds needles in hay stacks: she finds metaphoric connections between concepts that are powerful and real, but that I hadn't realized were there. Kate’s writing retreat in Essex was one of the most incredible learning experiences of my life. And since then, we skype regularly about my memoir and about writing contests for which I am writing. I mark down her every word on paper as we go along, because it all matters so much! Under her tutelage, I have recently won a major writing contest, and I could not have done it without her gentle, guiding force and brilliant spirit. If Kate could be my fairy godmother, or godsister, I would sign up in a heartbeat. I hope never to lose contact with her, as my writing is immeasurably enriched by her comments and her kind, kind heart." – Elizabeth Fortescue
"I was fortunate enough to be one of Kate’s students when she taught in the writing program at the University of San Francisco. Her critiques were insightful, thorough, and always spot-on. She’s a kind editor and an incredible mentor. She’s also a gifted writer, with impeccable publishing credentials. I highly recommend Kate to any writer, editor, or publisher. You’d be lucky to have her." – Angela Knight
"Kate is organized, disciplined and knowledgeable about the editor’s role. Her experience as a book editor and at Salon helped me to trust her. . . she’s positive and encouraging and respectful." – Pari Chang
Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story.
– Homer, The Odyssey
"There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you." – Zora Neale Hurston
Are you burning with a story you must tell, but don’t know how or where to begin? Has your MFA thesis been approved to meet your program’s academic requirements, and now it’s time to revise and refine it into the book you want it to be? Are you stuck in the middle of a manuscript and need someone to help you find your way? Is this the year you’ve vowed to finish your novel or memoir?
I offer mentorship to writers who are committed to their projects and to whom I believe I can be helpful, whether they are in the beginning stages of turning an idea into words or far along in the completion of a manuscript draft. A mentor is more than an editor or a teacher: a mentor supports and guides your writing process & practice as much as she helps to refine the product of your effort. A mentor understands your vision and believes in your potential to fulfill it. A mentor offers expertise and honesty, and invests in your writing and in you as a writer.
As your mentor I will keep you accountable to your project while nurturing your growth as a writer. Like a midwife, I will encourage you, anticipate the next stage of your labor, and give you periodic updates on your progress -- and I will also tell you when it’s time to push.
Together we will create a strategic plan for completing your writing project. I will promptly read & respond to your work in writing and via phone or Skype. I will direct you toward readings, writers, and writing exercises chosen for your interests and challenges. And I will be available for advice, feedback, questions and concerns.
Mentorship is available in 6-month, repeatable increments. How we proceed during those 6 months will be personalized to your goals and availability. The status of your project and your desired level of interaction – as intensive as a weekly, personalized MFA-level tutorial, as streamlined as a once-a-month conference, or anything between -- will dictate the fee (sample fee schedule available by request).
Interested? Want more information? Tell me about yourself, your project, and what you’re looking for in a mentorship here.
CONSULTATION & EDITING
"She could see it all so clearly, so commandingly, when she looked: it was when she took her brush in hand that the whole thing changed." – Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
An initial consultation, including reading the first 10-15 pages of your manuscript, is complimentary. We will discuss your goals and challenges and I will give you my thoughts on how to proceed based on your project’s particular requirements and state of completion, as well as how I believe I could best be of help – whether for a Manuscript Read-Through, Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit, Editing (Line Editing, Copyediting & Proofreading), Mentorship, or a combination.
I will be happy to provide a rate quote for our work together on your project once we have discussed your needs. You are welcome to request my schedule of sample rates here.
This level of consultation is for writers who want immediate feedback on a manuscript, whether a complete draft or a significant chunk, to assess its strengths and weaknesses in macro terms (is the story compelling, the characters surprising & convincing, does the narrative have forward momentum, is the point of view appropriate, what needs more attention) rather than micro (a Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit). A Read-Through is often useful to experienced writers who are looking for general revision input for their next draft of a work in development but who don’t need more detailed analysis, or for beginning writers to get early feedback and guidance.
A Read-Through entails my complete reading of your manuscript with first-level margin notes followed by an overall evaluative written report that will give a broader context for all of the annotations in the manuscript. After looking at your manuscript and reading my report, our follow-up phone call will allow us to discuss my observations in terms of your vision for your work, and how you can move forward. Think of a Read-Through as a one-off consultation to get a sense of how you’re doing so far, and what to do next.
A Manuscript Read-Through is the least expensive but also the least extensive way to get my feedback on your writing project.
Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit
A Full Manuscript Evaluation/Developmental Edit is a more in-depth, detailed evaluation of a complete draft as it is, as well as a comprehensive “road map” for the writer to follow in developing and revising the work to bring it to a higher level. A developmental edit (also called a content or substantive edit) it delves deeply into the content of the work – its underlying logic and ideas and concept, and how they hold together – as well as its “scenery” in terms of line-by-line evaluation of craft issues specific to the work’s genre, such as narrative arc, situation vs. story, characterization, conflict, retrospection, point of view, time management, structure, pacing, language…and technical issues such as grammar, punctuation, spelling, consistency, and formatting.
This service is for a work that you feel you’ve taken as far as you can, probably through several drafts, but you know needs another round (or two!) and the fresh eyes of an experienced editor. In addition to fully marking up your manuscript (using a blue or green pen, not red, to be friendlier!), making suggestions for cuts, changes, additions – from single words or phrases to deleting or rearranging whole chapters and even characters – I will also write a comprehensive report addressing all of the particular issues related to your manuscript: your roadmap to follow as you continue to work on your own, after an exhaustive conversation to go over all of your questions and concerns and ideas.
If you don’t feel your project is ready for a Full Evaluation/Developmental Edit but you’d like more detailed input than a Manuscript Evaluation provides, I can give your manuscript a Full Evaluation with a Partial Edit (the first 25-100 pages), which will give you the benefit of a complete evaluation and a “partial road map” to follow as you revise, without paying for a full edit of pages you expect to rewrite.
Other Consultation Services
I am happy to advise and work with you on your book concept, your writing practice, conference & residency opportunities, MFA programs and applications, book proposals, and publishing, queries, and submissions.
I am also available to advise businesses, nonprofits and organizations on any written content needs you may have. Please see more information under Writing.
Other Editing Services
This level of line-by-line editing is for manuscripts that have already been through several drafts to eliminate all or most conceptual and structural problems. Line editing is a thorough and detailed edit that will refine any lingering substantive issues, structural kinks, and other inconsistencies in your manuscript on the sentence level and larger, smoothing the pace and preparing the manuscript for its final polish in copyedit.
The copyedit is the final stage of editing, intended to correct superficial flaws (awkward word choices, grammar, syntax, punctuation) and make adjustments to formatting on a manuscript that has already been exhaustively revised and refined. (At the publishing level, the copyeditor also marks the manuscript for typesetting; after the author signs off on the final copyedit, the manuscript goes to the printer.)
Proofreading literally means just what is says, “reading proof,” or the last-ditch opportunity to catch mistakes on the printer’s proof pages before a book is printed. Believe me, even the most seasoned editors miss obvious blunders all the time! Spell Check will take you only so far. A final proofreading of your important document is good insurance against embarrassment later.
"If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it." –Toni Morrison
Press releases, book jacket copy, annual reports for nonprofits, wine labels, blogs, op eds, book proposals, query letters, grant applications, ad copy, researched materials, ghostwriting. . . I have written for individuals, universities, corporations, small businesses, and charities on projects large and small, and I believe there is a compelling story to be found in everything. Versatile and reliable, I can write to your schedule and specifications.
I would be happy to discuss your original content needs. Depending on the scope of the project, we can agree on a retainer, hourly rate, or flat fee. Contact me regarding your project here.
"The workshop hums and the honey reeks of thyme." – Virgil
Several times a year or by request I offer intimate writing retreats at my historic home in idyllic Essex on Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks. Limited to small groups of 2-6 writers, participants receive intensive one-on-one manuscript consultation and targeted critiques, as well as daily workshop-style feedback from the group, dynamic conversations about literary life over wine and sumptuous meals, and time for writing in the company of inspiring, supportive, like-minded writers.
Retreats include workshops, manuscript consultation, boutique-style lodging, airport pickup and dropoff, and all of my farm-to-table organic meals, including the bountiful results of my therapeutic baking. Optional activities in this lakeside paradise include morning yoga, hiking, swimming, kayaking, antiquing, seasonal leaf-peeping and birdwatching, and sampling from local farm stands and artisan makers.
Individual and private group retreats are also offered. Who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend being cooked for, pampered, and talking about their writing?
Retreats details are now being finalized for late summer & fall 2017, and additional retreats in Portland, Maine, a quiet village in Tuscany, and the bohemian beach town of Bolinas, California are in the works. For more information or to schedule an individual or private group retreat, contact me here.
"I don’t trust people until I know what they love. If they cannot admit to what they love, or in fact love nothing, I cannot take even their smartest criticism seriously." – Stephen Dunn
For thirty years Kate Moses has been passionate about guiding writers toward realizing the full potential of their literary projects. She has been an actively publishing writer of fiction, creative nonfiction, & literary criticism for just as long.
Her award-winning first novel, Wintering has been published to international accolades in 16 languages. Cakewalk: A Memoir was chosen by NPR as one of its favorite memoirs of 2010. Kate is also the coeditor of two bestselling anthologies of essays on motherhood, Mothers Who Think and Because I Said So. Kate and her books have received numerous commendations including an American Book Award, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, a Prix des Lectrices de Elle, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship as well as fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Resident Artist Program, and Karuna.
Kate’s high-level professional experience in the literary field includes being a founding senior editor and staff writer at Salon, a senior editor of acquisitions & development at North Point Press, a senior or managing editor at several monthly magazines, and the literary director of Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. She has been on the creative writing faculties at San Francisco State and University of San Francisco, and has taught at twenty-plus universities in the U.S. and England. She is currently on the faculties of the Gotham Writers Workshop and Key West Literary Seminar.
She holds an MFA in Fiction from San Francisco State University and a Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa, from the University of the Pacific. Books under Kate’s editorship have won the James Beard Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the PEN Faulkner Award. Among the writers Kate has worked with as an editor are Evan S. Connell, M. F. K. Fisher, Peter Matthiessen, Jayne Anne Phillips, James Salter, Ayelet Waldman, and many more.
For more information on Kate’s writing, please visit katemoses.com.
Contact me here for more information and rates.