Editing & Coaching

For several years I’ve been consulting and coaching writers to develop, improve, and publish their manuscripts — memoir, personal essay, autobiographical fiction, poems and more. Learn more about these services below, and email me with questions and current rates at nancyagabian@gmail.com.

 

Editing:

These one-on-one services give in-depth editorial feedback and guidance on your creative writing projects, book manuscripts, academic articles, personal essays for applications, and/or any other text that you’d like to be seen by a professional eye.

 

Coaching:

Coaching sessions are individually designed for creative writers and others who would like to improve and expand their writing skills and/or who need help completing a project. Services include readings and exercises tailored specifically for your needs and incisive editorial feedback on your drafts.

To Inquire:

Email me at nancyagabian@gmail.com with a description of the work you need help with (one to two paragraphs), a 5-10 double-spaced page sample of your writing, and your time frame, and we will work out an editing and/or coaching plan, including hourly rates and procedures.

Areas of Interest:

I love writing that is personally brave and socially conscious, that innovates and breaks boundaries in order to find the true shape of a story. It’s an honor for me to work with writers to encourage their unique voice and to reflect their strengths. My suggestions for development are based on what’s already on the page, rather than relying on so-called writing rules or formulas. I work with writers to find inspiration in other books as well as other art forms, such as film, visual arts, and performance. My primary interest is creative nonfiction but I have a background in fiction and poetry and find inspiration in mixed genre work. Thematic interests include cross-cultural stories of immigration, exile, and diaspora. I am drawn to family histories, multi-generational stories, and explorations into inter-generational trauma. Stories of social change and social justice, especially in the lived experiences of BIPOC queer folx, are of prime interest to me. Literary heroes include Gloria Anzaldua, Audre Lorde, and Jeanette Winterson, more recently Carmen Maria Machado, Alexander Chee, and Randa Jarrar, among others. With thirty years of experience teaching at the college level and in community settings, I’m well-versed in devising writing prompts, giving individualized feedback from line-editing to structural suggestions, and breaking down projects into lessons and goals. I’ve helped writers to publish their work in literary journals, to enter MFA writing programs, and to draft and complete manuscripts. Finally, as a mentor, I believe active listening and a sense of humor can inspire writers to find their own creative and professional solutions.

Testimonials:

Nancy was my biggest supporter from the moment we connected. She understood where I was attempting to go with my story and provided me with insightful suggestions. My confidence grew under her direction and my story strengthened. She was a valuable editor every step of the way.

–Linda L. Peterson, 2023, Author of the novel Adjoining Rooms

Nancy Agabian is a gifted editor and writing coach. She offered actionable and thoughtful feedback on a memoir needing a sharpened focus, as well as clearer connecting threads between the essays and overall content. From the beginning of our work, she was clear about the timeline that would be needed and shared candid initial feedback from reading a sample to assure the project would align with her interests and approach. She brought personal insight from her own life experiences, as well as concise and detailed editing and suggestions. She’s excellent at connecting with content and the writer’s objectives, and fostering an elevated vision to take the work to a higher level.

–Daniel Sprehe, 2022

I’ve had the privilege of experiencing Nancy both as a teacher and a reader, and my writing has greatly benefited from both. As a teacher, Nancy impressed us all with her quiet but commanding intelligence. She maintained the perfect balance of allowing the class to interact naturally and stepping in to offer astute, spot-on critiques. By treating us as peers, expertly guiding but not dominating discussion, she created a truly magical sense of community. I later hired Nancy to read my memoir When We Knew Nothing, which I’d started during her courses, and her notes were specific, insightful, and immensely useful. She crystallized my understanding of what I’d accomplished while giving me a clear sense of what must come next — worth every penny.

Victoria Adler, 2021, author of the memoir When We Knew Nothing, a winner of the 2022 IML Memoir Contest

 

I selected Nancy as an editor for my work because I felt drawn to her as a writer. I soon discovered that her careful sensibility made her an effective editor.  Nancy’s vision for my work helped me to finish my novel, and I am happy with the results.  I would turn to Nancy with my new work without hesitation! 

Olena Jennings, July 2017

 

Over several months in the Spring and Fall of this year, I worked with Nancy to develop short stories and on other assorted projects. We read and discussed examples of contemporary American and Armenian American fiction, and Nancy gave me writing exercises to help me to develop new work. She also edited and offered critique on my drafts, including the English translation of part of my novel (in French). She even helped me with a chapter synopsis and “elevator pitch” of my novel, which will be published in Switzerland in January 2016.

In every domain Nancy proved to be an excellent and attentive coach who gives advice in a professional manner. Nancy’s sense of humor and her kindness make the working sessions very pleasant moments, no matter how serious the subject. She knows how to encourage and guide aspiring writers while letting them find their own voice.

I highly recommend this inspirational teacher.

Harry Koumrouyan, November 2015

Harry’s book on Amazon.

 

Early this year Nancy edited the first chapters of my novel. She’s very professional and punctual with the timetable. Everything from grammar to the elements of fiction were covered by Nancy in writing and through discussion in person, always with a good disposition. I recommend Nancy without hesitation and, in fact, I will look to her editorial skills again, for the ending of my novel, in the near future.

Silvia Valentini, November 2015

Silvia’s book on Amazon.

 

I heard Nancy read from her work at a local reading  and asked her to be my editor because I felt her writing was clearly expressive, detailed in important parts, very moving  and  sincere.  When we were working together, Nancy was efficient in keeping appointments and reading my manuscript, and she always had a positive attitude about my work and its potential.  Her comments on my poems were very helpful, clear, never confusing, pointing out the thematic aspects that could be developed and improving individual poems as well as the direction and organization of  the whole manuscript.

I strongly recommend Nancy for manuscript consultation. If you work with her your  writings will be refreshed and improved and suggested changes will always enhance your own voice and style.

Lydia Chang, November 2015