Nancy Rawlinson knew exactly what my book needed and exactly how to tell me. My work with her made my book easily twice as good as it would have been otherwise.
Nancy is an outstanding editor – keen-eyed and very smart about finding what matters most. She was a great help to me.
Ron is the former president of the AWP, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs,
and author of the story collection, A Bed of Nails, winner of both the G.S. Sharat Chandra Award and the Towson Prize for Literature and now in its second printing.
The creative coaching and editorial guidance that I received from Nancy Rawlinson have helped me immensely. With Nancy’s assistance I was able to complete my second book and actually start making my living as a writer. Her feedback was invaluable — I felt that she truly understood my work, and knew how to bring out the best in it, and she communicated her insights with real warmth and compassion. She helped me deal with the confusion and conflict that was getting in the way of my creative life.
Author of Tea and Sympathy
I have been a professional writer for ten years, and Nancy Rawlinson is one of the best editors I know. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better writing instructor.
Nancy is delightful. She is helpful, and skilled at critiquing, and provided lots of helpful resources for writing and MFA programs. As my MFA prep teacher, she made the application process easy and gave great feedback on my personal statement. She is honest and does not pander; she is the best writing teacher one could have.
Nancy’s class was by far the most useful writing class I’ve ever had. Her analysis was rigorous and thoughtful, and the way she structures classmates’ feedback ensures that you’ll receive detailed and informed criticism from them as well. Workshops are often hit or miss, but everything about how Nancy sets up her classes almost guarantees that you’ll leave with everything you need to make your manuscript stand out. Highest recommendation.
I’ve worked with Nancy as both a workshop leader and an individual coach. She is pragmatic, craft-focused, and incisive. She pays careful attention to both words on the page and the larger themes and drift of the work. I can’t imagine where my writing would be without her sane, practical guidance.
With Nancy’s guidance, I became a better, more effective writer. She saw things I didn’t, made suggestions I couldn’t, and was as invested in my work as I was. (I have the pages upon pages of feedback to prove it.) As someone new to writing, I was worried about being either coddled or criticized; Nancy did neither. She told me exactly what I needed to hear to improve. What’s more, she was able to accommodate all writing styles, backgrounds, and goals in the class. She fostered an environment in which honesty and comfort were prioritized. And there’s nothing like tea and cookies to set the right tone!
I am truly amazed at how Nancy was able to take me from the idea stage to the writing stage of my FBI thriller novel. She helped me with the outlining process, then she gave me writing deadlines, scene by scene. What’s it called? Accountability? As a result, I am halfway through my first manuscript! In addition to being a fabulous editor, Nancy is also a natural born teacher. I’ve learned so much about the craft of writing fiction just by reading Nancy’s comments in the margin of my work. She doesn’t just edit, she explains in detail why she’s editing. I highly recommend Nancy as a teacher, coach and editor. What a package deal!
Nancy is an excellent teacher. She has wonderful writing skills and a keen eye for detail. She also has a warm way of making you feel comfortable, and making you want to be a better writer. Her straightforwardness lets you know where you stand. She’s a terrific teacher!
Without Nancy there would be no first draft of my novel. She is not only an extraordinary editor but also a true writing coach. She guided me to better, sharper choices, pushed me when necessary, and created short-term projects to keep me motivated and moving ahead.
Nancy provides excellent, focused, usable feedback. But she also does so much more. From thinking about how to structure a longer piece to using writer’s block to get at the essential questions of my work, she helped me channel the challenges of writing into creating a better product. Other teachers have helped me by interrogating my writing; Nancy helped me by teaching me how to step back and interrogate it myself. I now have a more focused vision for my memoir project, and I feel more confident and more excited about writing than I ever have. Plus, she was a supportive, wise presence as I went through the process of applying to MFA programs, minimizing my stress and maximizing my potential!
I came to Nancy’s non-fiction writing class via the recommendation of a friend and I’m glad I did. Nancy is smart, frank, and encouraging. She knows the publishing business and had much helpful one-on-one advice. She’s able to work with all types of projects, big and small. Don’t hesitate. Let her help you take your writing to the next level.
Nancy is excellent at identifying the message the writer intends to convey and then finding the places in the piece where it breaks down. She framed her feedback in a way that gave me a much better understanding of my own work and allowed me to maintain ownership of the piece. Yet Nancy is willing to occasionally lend her opinion on how she might fix a piece, and I learned a lot from understanding the differences in our writing styles.
Nancy is a pleasure to work with. She’s insightful, enthusiastic, and efficient. She does not sugar coat her feedback. She’s an honest critic, and I wouldn’t have wanted anything else. Her feedback helped me significantly improve the pieces I showed her. More importantly, she helped me get to know my own style, its strengths and its weaknesses. For me, she was a writing teacher as much as an editor.
Nancy works with me one-on-one on my short stories and memoir. She has taught me how to develop writing skills, including tightening my control of language, establishing characters, editing cliches, identifying themes and producing pages. Working with Nancy has been a successful experience for me – she has kept me focused and motivated to write. I have learned to look at my writing from many different perspectives and how to tap into and identify emotional themes, bringing them out as subtexts or exposition. Nancy has been a supportive force in my writing career.
I worked with Nancy on a book proposal and appreciated her knowledge about proposals, her professionalism, and her encouragement. She’s a careful and perceptive reader, and, with my project, I felt like she was able to accomplish a lot in a relatively short amount of time. I received from her a several-page written assessment–very thorough–with specific suggestions for focusing and strengthening my proposal, and was able, in turn, to write a stronger book proposal.
One Year of Writing and Healing
Nancy’s sharp, insightful reading and critiques have been invaluable to me in my work on both my novel-in-progress and short nonfiction pieces. She is always able to step back and look at the big picture — the larger goals and themes of the piece, the overall strengths and weaknesses of my writing — while at the same time addressing line-by-line issues rigorously. She is a great resource for writers — use her!
Nancy Rawlinson is a fantastically gifted editor. She has the rare and enviable capacity to zero in on the most important structural and thematic issues and the uncommon ability to unearth and articulate clearly the essential purpose of a piece of writing. Her edits are spot on and she has helped my writing process immensely.