Michele Herman did a remarkable job helping me with my novel. Thanks to her guidance, I know astronomically more about narration, dialogue, character development, and diction than I did before I started working with her. Her insights also taught me how to edit to take into account the reader's inference-making and emotional state. I'm now much better able to compose first drafts and assess my own work. Not only did Michele provide invaluable technical feedback, she was pleasant to work with, candid about my writing, and supportive during a challenging process. Thank you for all your help, Michele. I can't tell you how pleased I am with my manuscript.
Endorsements from a few of my developmental - editing clients.
I help everyone from beginners to accomplished professionals bring their first novels, memoirs and story collections to fruition.
After working on a novel for several years, I declared it finished and began sending query letters to agents. Before starting a new project, I decided to take a class at the Writers Studio and was lucky in happening to sign up for Michele Herman's section of Level I. I took two terms with her, grateful for her kind, subtle and yet rigorous ability to zero in on what worked (or didn't). From this, I realized my novel wasn't done after all -- what I had learned made me see ways it could be improved. So I stopped taking classes, stopped querying agents and started revising again. Although it became better, I eventually realized I needed more guidance, someone who could step back and offer the perspective I had lost on the piece as a whole. I was nervous about hiring a developmental editor I didn't know -- but then I realized Michele also did this work, and that she was the logical person to ask. Without stepping on my vision for the work, she offered a number of practical suggestions for improvement that helped make the difference. Soon after another round of revisions based on her advice, I was able to find an agent and sell the novel. Thank you, Michele!
author of The Jane Austen Project
forthcoming in 2017
I really don’t know how to thank you properly. I will keep you posted on the memoir’s progress and of course put you in the Acknowledgements section, but that hardly seems sufficient. I don’t want to be too dramatic, but you really changed my writing. And you did it with such humor and kindness. You can be sure that I will refer everyone I possibly can to you so that they, too, can benefit. With great affection and thanks,
Professor Emerita of Education and Business at Stanford
Most recently author of Interdisciplinary Conversations: Challenging Habits of Thought.
Stanford University Press, 2010.
Michele is a unique and talented writing mentor. I’ve worked with her extensively on short story and novel projects. She has a keen eye for narrative voice and the ability to bring me back to it when I stray. She has helped me find the places in my manuscripts where my intentions don’t reach the page, and she finds things in the story I didn’t know were there. Working with Michele is about delving and questioning, and it’s fun. She’s enormously supportive, she has a firm grasp on the craft of writing, and an intuitive way of shedding light on the path. I rely on her critiques before I send my manuscripts out into the world.
Author of Todos Santos
Program Director for NY Writers Coalition
I’m a historian, and I’d been working on a historical novel. Michele taught me to throw out the boring bits, to develop my characters, to move smoothly from one scene to the next, to use dialog sparingly, to slow down, to bring a scene to life with a few details. She helped me find my voice while never imposing hers. It was hard work, but we were both happy with the result.
Cathedrals of Science
American Arsenal: A Century of Waging War
For the past year I’ve been working with Michele Herman on my novel, and I recommend her without reserve as an editor. I’m greatly impressed by her ability to see what needs to be done to make my writing stronger. She is honest in her feedback—but she always gives it in a way that is respectful of the work and helpful in my process. I’ve learned a great deal from her about fiction writing, and my novel has vastly improved under her wise counsel.