TZ's picture
TZ November 7, 2011 - 8:57am



Looking for short story critique/manuscript consultation.... I will pay.....  Looking for someone who has been published at least a fair amount, so thus knows the craft, the scene, etc...


I'm looking for someone whose own writing strongly reflects influences from Kafka, Joyce Carol Oates, Kathy Acker, Poe, David Foster Wallace, Vonnegut.... that's probably about it.  At least, it should be someone who can appreciate someone who writes under primarily these influences.  I'm trying to condense it here.   


I am not impressed by the majority of the zines/publications out there... (Magazines that particularly make me gag are Narrative, Glimmer Train, Pank... just the name makes me gag... )  It is not just sour grapes.  I do have opinions!)  Many of the zines that say they are raw or eclectic or nervy or new... etc....  are churning out the same old trendy stuff (now becoming formulaic)... or else more traditional cookie cutter stuff that perhaps their MFA friends are writing.  Also I am not finding any consultants that impress me in the traditional areas (and I have been looking!).  Even people out there like post-Iowa-workshop writers, etc. are just too mainstream (I am finding so far)... not really trying to do anything different and they assume you are just trying to perfect technique (in a very traditional sense) and nothing else.


I nevertheless have been published in several zines and an anthology so I am not a beginner.  Academics really like me... (professors etc... but how far can that really go.. unless you have money to commit to an MFA....).  Right now, I cannot leave home for a workshop either.. if I could find one I wanted to go to..... (watching for one that J.C. Oates might be at....)


Any people you can send my way would be greatly appreciated.  Looking for manuscript (short fiction) consultation... not really looking for a writers' group unless it is very small and selective.  


Thanks!  TZ



bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. November 7, 2011 - 9:39am

Deal.  We've got a bargain for you.  You have to critique back (3 stories for every 1 you submit, if you're good).  It's a year-end clearance.  Sweet set up and more than 1 critique per submission (anywhere from 3-15).  Skip the middleman.  Don't settle for less.  It's only 9 bucks a month.  Step right up.

(I know that's not what you're looking for, but I have Tom Waits' "Step right up" stuck in my head.)

simon morris's picture
simon morris from Originally, Philadelphia, PA; presently Miami Beach, FL is reading This Body of Death, by Elizabeth George November 7, 2011 - 2:31pm

I think another thing you might want to try here as well, TZ, is to become discriminate with whom you might like to work You can read anyone's work once you join and if you find a few blithe spirits who are playing in the same fields that you frolic upon, you can develop deeper relationships to them for side-bar conversations and possible mutual critiquing. One of the surprises I have encountered here is how many astute critiquers there are here.

I do not write like anyone you mention. I would tear my face off with a dull spoon if anyone accused me of writing like any other writer frankly. If I had to spend my life being derivative, I would shorten it to just enough time to change into an old outfit so I won't ruin anything of value when I dive off the balcony from a height that is certified to meet the requirements of attaining maximum velocity.

But seriously, for 9 bucks you can take a 30 day test run. I poisonally welcome anyone who shows a desire to improve his or her writing. It means that when they critique, they may give my work the same care they give their own as I will do for anyone else here.

Jump in. The water's warm, and so are the people. I swear, I haven't found a single person here whose lips move when he or she reads.

Welcome, bienvenue, wilcommen and um bom dia to you.

Lollipops and unicorns

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin November 7, 2011 - 1:10pm

The online workshop here is quite good, although you may shudder at the notion of having to review other people's writing I have always found that I personally learn a lot from reviewing other people's writing. It is a "writer's group" but I'm unsure of why you would want to avoid such a thing. 

Anyways, drop 9 bucks on it, get a few reviews, see if it's what you're looking for.

@simon, you cracked me up with the dull spoon bit, I know what you mean. My dedication to originality borders on the paranoid (well, borders on the sane, actually, from the other side).

But I do love that list of authors, if you're gonna steal, steal big.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. November 7, 2011 - 5:27pm

Those are good influences and if you want to pay me my 20 dollar an hour reading fee you can. Lol. If you do decide to try litreactor though, you only have to review the pieces that appeal to you and critique them in a civil manner. I understand frustration with the publishing market. I don't think places like glimmer train or mcsweeneys should be taken as the authority on what is good fiction or literary. I even hate the word literary because it becomes an excuse for people to be snobs about others work. I would like to read something you have written. I know writers groups can be intimidating because you are putting yourself on the line but its good to get a diverse group of opinions and take what you want with a grain of salt.

TZ's picture
TZ November 11, 2011 - 2:55pm

Thanks for the comments.  No, I do not want to be derivative either.  I think that's the entire point!  (I think anything goes as long as it's evocative and meaningful, etc... and especially not cookie-cutter...)  But I listed these authors to try to give some idea of my sensibility as writer... not my style(s), etc.

Anyway, do you have to pay the $9 to take a look at the writers you could swap with?  It would be great to read some stuff and then approach another writer to ask if they want to swap.  Like other people I have read here, I really do not want to just post a story and have a whole bunch of people go at it..(been there done that...).

Also, I generally do trust "authorities" to give the best critique (i.e., academics and/or writers that are published), though I am generally not interested in getting critiqued by a recent "very green" MFA graduate with a few pubs.  At any rate, I am having trouble finding anyone like this out there (a paid consultant) whose writing I really respect.... There are one or two faculty at the UCLA Extension writing program that seem interesting but they only accept a minimum of 150 pgs for critique/consultation.  (I had some great teachers years back at the New School and Univ of Iowa Continuing Ed., none of whom wanted to do private consultation.....  Right now, I am not so impressed with who I see at UIOWA... or else the classes are too expensive (New School is like 600 a class......)



Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts November 11, 2011 - 3:40pm

I believe editors most commonly consult on novel length manuscripts, they charge a lot of money so that's understandable. You may want to pose a question about this to The Lit Coach Erin Reel, who does a column here.


I completely understand where you're coming from, but really, what if your stories just aren't good? Anyone could tell if they are or not and why, and they wouldn't have anything to gain out of not giving you good feedback. You're looking for authors/editors that you can respect to give you quality feedback, that's a great thing to be concerned about, but to gain access to those people you have to put your stories out there for them to get familiar with, prove that you're worthy. It's not impossible to approach established authors, with all the online publications and social networking sites, so, go ahead and find someone you want reading your work. Just get their attention.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs November 11, 2011 - 3:51pm

I've been paid to edit books in regards to content as well as the text itself. I'm also a small press author and my fifth book was just published. I recently graduated with an MFA from a nontraditional program and have taught writing classes. I edit a journal called Bust Down the Doors and Eat All the Chickens. In the past, I worked as an associate editor for Bombay Gin (my former writing program's journal) and as an assistant editor for Weird Tales.

I would have commented earlier, but although I have enjoyed books from the writers who you mentioned, I would not consider any of them to be my influences (but I can definitely appreciate writing done by someone who is influenced by them). Out of the authors listed, my writing most closely resembles Vonnegut's.

If you're interested in hiring me, you can email and we can talk about it further.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break November 11, 2011 - 4:07pm

Reviewing manuscripts is such a dicey thing.  My labelmate Michael Sonbert had some kid beg and plead for him to go over his manuscipt, and for some reason Michael actually agreed to do it.  A few days later Michael gets back with the kid telling him all the various things that are wrong with it--your basic early novelist problems: punctuation, grammar, formatting, lack of voice, lack of direction, heavy-handed writing, etc.  He emails all of these notes to him and what happens?

Kid doesn't respond.  Deletes Michael from Facebook. 

Clearly, all he wanted to hear was that it was good.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs November 11, 2011 - 4:18pm

I have had similar experiences, Brandon. I no longer work on manuscripts unless I am either being paid or if it is for a friend who can give me feedback for my own writing in the future. I remember once spending about four hours on a four page story that obviously needed a ton of work and not even getting a thank you. As you mentioned, a lot of beginner writers often send their work to more established writers because they are looking for positive reinforcement rather than ways to improve as writers.