Are you growing as a writer?

I learned the value of working closely with a knowledgeable professional in graduate school. My writing mentors—Kevin McIlvoy, Robert Boswell, and Antonya Nelson—all provided needed insights into my work.

In extension/community-level writing groups and classes, my work was complimented for its beautiful use of language. These stories went on to receive rejections that commented upon my sentence-level skill.

My mentors, however, didn’t praise my language. They questioned what every line meant, and how my elaborate descriptions supported the unfolding story. They discussed my narrative choices, my tendency to avoid conflict, and my penchant for solitary narrators who reflected rather than acted. If you wonder why your work is rejected, a professional reader can provide detailed insights into your specific writing challenges.

Why seek private coaching?

Often, my students want to continue the progress they made in a graduate program or need meaningful feedback on the latest draft of a story collection, novel, memoir, or collection of essays. Sometimes, they have concerns about their lack of progress or momentum. Usually, they are in writing groups which are good for productivity and support, but not growth. They may be frustrated by the workshop method, and how to incorporate suggestions for revision.

A Professional in Your Corner:

Although I am an expert developmental editor, my primary goal is to teach rather than correct. Over time, I help writers develop their skills and grow as practicing writers. I coach writers both locally and nationally, in person and via Skype.

If you share your work with me I will mark it up, discuss it with you in detail, and help you brainstorm the best roadmap for a revision which is meaningful to your own view of the work. I work with literary, upmarket, and commercial fiction and creative nonfiction. My goal is to help you write your best work, not judge your writing interests/desires.

Per Page Rate (for pieces under 100 pages) = $10 per page ($75 minimum).

Bulk Rate (for larger manuscripts) = $1,500 – $2,500, depending on word count.

I also have a $75 hourly consultation rate for writers looking for more general guidance about craft issues, writing discipline, or publication advice.

To contact me regarding private coaching, email valfiora (at) yahoo (dot) com or fill out the contact form below the testimonials.

Manuscript Preparation:
In order to maintain consistent billing, manuscripts should be:
• Double-spaced
• Times New Roman 12 point font
• Set with one inch margins

Debbie Graber, author of Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday
I was under the impression that once I’d written 10 plus stories, I had a story collection. Wrong! Valerie showed me first hand that finding an overarching vision is key to shaping a collection. Her outstanding advice and honest criticism helped me revise with an eye towards not only digging deeper and enhancing individual pieces on their own merits, but validating that each piece adds to the value of the collection in its entirety. Valerie not only improves the quality of the stories she critiques; she gently urges the writer to face his or her own writing demons. She truly cares about the evolution of each writer she works with.

Lesley Heiser, MFA, Stonecoast (University of Southern Maine)
Valerie Fioravanti teaches her writing students to soar. She finds those layers of story and character that the writer has been neglecting. She helps the writer to identify more fully with his or her characters and to experience much more deeply what those characters might feel and what it is like to say what they say and do what they do.
After Valerie finishes looking at your story and you work on it some more, you find that story richer, deeper, more painful, more haunted, and more immersed in longing. It is more of a pleasure to read and more of a pleasure to revise. One of her great accomplishments as a teacher is that she makes the writing experience even more fulfilling for the writer–on its own terms, regardless of the future and the vagaries of publication.

Wendy Dutwin, MFA, Antioch University
Anyone serious about writing will be fortunate to work with Valerie Fioravanti. Her dedication to craft is evident in her remarkable award-winning writing, and her generosity as a teacher and mentor remains the high standard by which I compare all other instructors.

I took classes at UCLA Extension with Valerie, and consider it the turning point in my development as a writer. Valerie believes every comment is in service to the writing being the best it can be. She pushed and challenged me to stretch myself as a writer with her very precise edits of my work. She really gets into the guts of a story to illuminate what works and gives detailed suggestions for fixing what doesn’t. It was this guidance as a mentor that helped me rewrite my short story “Uvalde,” which won the 2010 James Kirkwood Award in Short Fiction. I credit Valerie and the work I did with her for that incredible honor. [Valerie’s note: I credit Wendy.]

Valerie taught me how to take myself seriously as a writer and to see myself in this light. Writing is my calling and everything I do supports that now. Any serious writer will stick to her like glue.

Sue Staats, MFA, Pacific University
What Valerie will bring to your work is an unerring sense of where your story should begin and where it should end. She read a story of mine and said, “Your story should end with this line.” The sentence she’d indicated was a little snippet about the main character, which I’d tucked into the middle of the story. But placed at the end, it focused and simplified the tale, making it altogether more effective. It was something I’d completely missed, but it was clear to Valerie on the first read-through.

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