Upcoming Classes

Stanford University offers an online creative writing program for adults through Continuing Studies that gives writers a chance to work in a strong, supportive community, deepening their fiction and learning more about both craft and process. I teach novel writing and publishing in this program as well as courses in the Stanford Continuing Studies Online Certificate Program in Novel-Writing. In the fall, I’ll be teaching a ten-week online novel-writing course. Check this space for updates by the end of summer.

One-on-One Coaching/Critique and Manuscript Consultations

One of my greatest delights is helping other writers on their journey as they finish their novels, story collections, and creative nonfiction books. I'll read your work not only as a long-time professional reader, but also as a person interested in life, death, and the peculiar challenges of living in this world: my responses will always include a consideration of your book's human and thematic aspects, in addition to the craft.

Below you’ll find the descriptions for both coaching/critique sessions and full manuscript consultations.


My coaching/critique clients send me up to 6,500 words at a time, and a few days later, we have an hour-long video chat or phone session to talk through ideas and questions. When we work by video, the writer can have a recording of the session as well. Most writers find that once a month works well for these sessions, though everyone sets their own individual schedules. Coaching/critiquing provides accountability and regular feedback in ways that help keep the writing a priority. Clients also occasionally email me in between sessions with quick questions or to celebrate milestones and accomplishments.

The writers I work with like this interactive approach because when a suggestion or idea seems particularly exciting to them, we can brainstorm about it. Or we can switch course easily if an idea or question sparks a new line of thought or set of possibilities. I give feedback on large-scale structural and character development, and any relevant craft or thematic questions, along with specific notes on particularly great passages and those that raise questions.

If you're interested in discussing the possibility of ongoing coaching/critique, send an email about your project and the kind of help you're looking for to sarah(at)sarahstoneauthor.com.

Manuscript Consultations

I take on a few select clients a year for private mentoring/editing of full manuscripts, working with writers of novels, story collections, and creative nonfiction.

As I read your manuscript, I make notes and occasional line edits, describing what's already working well, asking questions, and suggesting a variety of possible strategies and areas for revision. I believe very strongly in the usefulness of specific praise, as well as honest, supportive, and individual criticism. This is a developmental edit, rather than a copy edit, but I will make suggestions for taking your writing to the next level and will extensively line-edit selected passages as examples of where and how the work can be clearer, stronger, richer, and more urgent.

I'll also write you an in-depth letter that covers character, point of view, structure, plot and narrative tension, pacing, language, dialogue, the handling of time, and any questions particular to your work, whether those you've raised in our initial exchange of emails or those I see as I read.

After the critique of a full manuscript, we will have a follow-up phone call or video chat for brainstorming, conversation, and answering any questions you have. I'm also available for follow-up readings for sections of the rewritten manuscript or a complete revision. And because the contemporary publishing landscape has become so complex, I also offer assistance and information for navigating both traditional and self-publishing possibilities.

If you're interested in finding out more, please write to me at sarah(at)sarahstoneauthor.com, or use the contact button below, to send a description of your book and attach the first twenty pages as a Word or RTF document. In your email, please describe the events and characters of the book, as well as your history so far in writing and revising.

I'll read your opening and letter and write you an email with my initial thoughts about your project and a quote with my rates if I think I can be helpful. Each book gives rise to its own artistic and craft questions, so this first email exchange will help us both to get a deeper sense of your aesthetic and aims. It's very important for you to find an editor who's a good fit for you and your book.

(Please note that, for full manuscripts, I’m currently scheduling for slots in fall 2019. If you’re interested in working together one on one, email me and we can discuss what you kind of help you need and find you a place in the calendar.)

Sarah Stone is an extraordinarily accomplished author, as anyone who’s read her novel, The True Sources of the Nile, can attest. She is also a brilliant, experienced teacher, with the ability to suggest a variety of approaches to the development of character, plot and structure as well as language and style. I’ve been fortunate to have her read and respond to most of the stories included in my first book, and she read my second book, a novel, in at least three different drafts, providing me the feedback and encouragement to press on with new perspective. I enthusiastically recommend Sarah to beginning, intermediate and advanced writers at any stage of their novels or short stories.
— Angela Pneuman, author of Home Remedies and Lay It On My Heart
I have had the great fortune to get Sarah Stone’s feedback on my writing for many years, and I always come away from her reading with brilliant notes that give me enthusiasm to dig in to the work again. Sarah is that rare editor: someone who gets inside another writer’s project, really trying to see it for what it is, for what it wants to be, without trying to change its peculiar essence. Her reading is always ‘for’ the work, but it’s also very rigorous. Anyone who is lucky enough to get her editorial input will be sure that she will not ignore failures of nerve or missed chances for complexity and depth. Nevertheless, she delivers her opinions in a way that makes the problems seem clear and solvable. She is widely read—from mainstream to experimental fiction, from literary to genre novels—and she brings her knowledge to the discussion to suggest works that might inspire or inform the project. Sarah is a trusted, sensitive, experienced reader. You would be lucky to have her in your corner.
— Lisa Michaels, author of Split and Grand Ambition
Sarah Stone is a wonderful writer and a generous reader of other people’s work. She reads thoughtfully, with insight, and I always understand my work better after hearing from her.
— Cornelia Nixon, author of Jarrettsville and The Uses of Fame
Sarah approaches your work with a combination of great intellect and open heart. She is a thorough, thoughtful reader whose suggestions for revision are never heavy-handed. Rather, she gives the kind of direction that allows you to find your own path, always respecting the integrity of your voice and your story. Genius!
— Michelle Anderson
Sarah Stone is among the most insightful and generous readers I’ve ever encountered. From the level of the sentence to the manuscript as a whole, she articulates exactly what a writer most needs to hear. I can’t imagine publishing anything without first showing it to her and receiving her brilliant feedback.
— Ann Packer, author of Swim Back to Me and The Children’s Crusade
Working with Sarah Stone transformed my writing. I always felt as though Sarah, an incredibly generous reader, cared about my characters as if they were her next-door neighbors. Deeply curious, she would go to the depths in thinking about their lives within the story, what this moment meant for them, and what motivated them. My stories returned with margin notes that praised interesting moments, phrases, suggested compression, and the kinds of questions that pushed my writing to the next level. In a way that I hadn’t experienced for some time, I saw that Sarah believed deeply in my writing and that she would challenge me to come closer to and explore those truths that fueled it.
— Adrienne Perry
I came to Sarah with a strong sense of what I wanted from my stories. Sarah read them on their own terms and highlighted where the craft could be improved so that the writing elicited the right emotional responses from my readers. Through her guidance I learned to refine my craft techniques and sharpen my sentences; she allowed my stories to breathe and flourish. My scenes and dialogue became more complex and the tension in those moments rose. In a sense Sarah taught me to make my stories into the journey I wanted them to be for my readers.
— Somayeh Shams
As a new writer of a debut novel, the idea of having an editor parse through my work was daunting. Sarah made the process as painless as possible, always emphasizing the positive while still ensuring that the manuscript was as good as it could be. She has that rare ability to inspire confidence through what can be a difficult process. At the same time, she taught be how to be a better writer. My manuscript was much improved by her contribution.
— Julia York