Manuscript Development and Coaching

Every book has different possibilities; every writer, different needs. I work with a limited number of writers to help them shape their stories, move their readers, and reach their own goals.  As a mentor, and reader, I look for the heart of your story, your unique urgency.  We will consider the big picture, as well as the details, and do some brainstorming.  Together we look for patterns, for clues that you are leaving for yourself, for opportunities to explore. We will tease out the surprises and idiosyncrasies that belong to you alone. Our goal is your vision realized and your voice raised.

I have an affinity for literary fiction and memoir, though I have worked with many different kinds of writers. I am interested in structure; in memory; in language; in risk. I came to prose from science and taught myself to write. I believe in reading, and in learning the rules and conventions so they can be broken with abandon, even turned upside down.  I am also very interested in writing from the margins. I believe we all have a story–more than one–and a unique voice, and that our stories are important to the world: expanding our concepts of who we are in society and culture, and who we can be when we allow ourselves to explore the world outside of expectations and find our authentic selves.

My work ranges from coaching to manuscript consultation for writers who have completed a full draft. I can be helpful with regular telephone or video calls, or offer developmental critiques for manuscripts in progress for writers who are serious about their process and their growth.

Flat fees vary according to manuscript length and the kind of feedback that works best for you. A standard consultation includes margin notes on the manuscript, a letter, and/or a conversation. Please contact me for further information. My availability is limited by my own writing schedule.

 

Working with Reiko

“Working with Reiko is a gift. It’s extraordinary to be read so deeply by someone with such reserves of empathy, insight, and intellect. She has offered me a process, a vision, and a path to get there. Most extraordinary, Reiko excels at engaging both the macro and the micro levels of a project. She has asked tough questions to help me decide how to shape my manuscript, while at the same time, with just a few edits, she has often enabled me to finish prose poems and short nonfiction that long evaded completion. I trust Reiko with my deepest self, my most vulnerable work. I can’t imagine a more gifted or generous reader.”

Elizabeth Frost, author of All of Us, The Feminist Avant-Garde in American Poetry and others

 

“Reiko has been my go-to reader and editor for my last two books.  Her clear, passionate, and constructive insight has been essential.  In fact, these books might not have existed without Reiko’s suggestions for both form and content, and concrete ideas for revision.”

Kenny Fries, author of In The Province of The Gods and others

“When offering me feedback on my manuscript, Reiko left no word unturned; she read the work thoroughly and her suggestions came out of that close reading.  She is what I want most from an editor, someone who offers ideas to help the work become more of itself.  It was without doubt an experience I will repeat with future manuscripts.”

Elena Georgiou, author of The Immigrant’s Refrigerator and others

“Having Reiko’s eyes and energy on my work has been a relief for my weary writer spirit.  She swoops her purple pen across my page in the best of ways, showing me the strengths while pointing and tugging at what might have been a hidden focus of a piece.  More than an editor or writing coach I think of Reiko as a trusted intermediary, a magical translator of sorts—consistently connecting me with my work while helping me see where it’s going.  She’s a steady compass/GPS with heart, intuition and understanding.  In a wise, gentle way, I can count on her to ask the difficult, unexpected questions that lead to the breakthroughs.  To both my writing and my process, her caring insight has proven invaluable.”

– Regina Tingle

“I worked with Reiko on a memoir about a dark and scary time of my life.  She approached my work with a rare combination of loving kindness, insightful and honest feedback, humor, and shrewd suggestions.  The manuscript review and thorough cover letter were all I needed to revise and finish my memoir.  It was like having her by my side for a wonderful and enlightening experience.  Reiko has a gift for seeing where a manuscript is heading and suggesting how to get there.  I couldn’t recommend her more highly.”

    – Fredrika Sprengle

 

“To work with Reiko is to see your writing from the inside out. She considers a manuscript holistically, yet precisely, considering the nature of each element and its essential part in the whole. She thinks with a rare balance of intellect and intuition, encouraging authors to think strategically, while trusting our instincts. Reiko’s incisive insights expand an author’s awareness of the potential and the flaws, while her provocative questions invite an author to reveal the story beneath the story, the character of the characters and the central theme at the heart of a work of fiction or nonfiction. As an award-winning, multi-genre author and a graduate-level teacher, Reiko’s expertise is finely honed; her critiques are both keen and compassionate. We writers who know Reiko’s talents have come to use her name as a verb. To reiko is to think profoundly, and to edit the essence of a written work into existence.”

– Stacy Clark

“Reiko offers both thoughtful and intelligent guidance through the oftentimes daunting and overwhelming terrain of a manuscript. Her comments are a perfect blend of heart and mind, just as her writing is, and I feel that is what makes up a beautiful story: the heart, the mind, integrated. When I began a new project after working with Reiko, I would hear her voice in my head when something wasn’t working or when something was! And that’s what Reiko’s guidance does—it lingers, and I am so grateful for it. I hope that Reiko is my first reader on many projects to come.”

– Heather Leah Huddleston

“Reiko is a master teacher who listens deeply not only to the writer but also to the work itself. As Reiko guided me through the process of writing and revising my novel, she had the capacity to see patterns in the text that I could not. Perhaps because of her prior training in science, she knew when the equation wasn’t working and what needed to be shifted in order for my story to make sense. She dissected the story to discover the threads that held it together and the loose ends that broke it apart, even down to specific words. I am ever grateful for her discerning eye and for the compassionate and profound way in which she supported my creative process.”

– Sarah Shellow

“Reiko’s ability to see the larger truth and reveal story within the manuscript is what makes her editing so valuable.  Her chapter critiques are insightful, and she has an uncanny ability to hone in on the meaningful threads tying the narrative together and lift them up so that the author can see where the problems and potential rest(s).”

– Susan Stinson