Looking for a writing coach, an editor, or personalized support throughout the writing process? The following friends of the The Writer’s Center offer private, one-on-one consultation services.

Please note that this page is a reference for writers. All services listed are offered independently of The Writer’s Center.


Your words. Like never before.

We’re a small team of editing and presentation coaches for veteran and aspiring writers. Coaching one-on-one or in pairs, we’re passionate about helping our clients transform their audiences through the written word. Polishing your manuscript, mastering the public reading, or preparing for storytelling or Moth-like events are just a few of our specialties. Learn more about how we can help you bring your most important story to the page, stage, or recording studio. A portion of the initial consultation fee is donated back to The Writer’s Center.

Best Writers
and Editors

We make the complex clear

We are a Washington, DC-based firm of internationally recognized writers and editors with extensive experience in journalism and more than 120 years on the job. We offer a full range of writing, editing, and marketing services to make your complex content clear. Our services include coaching in effective writing for individuals and organizations, selecting key ideas to sharpen your messaging, smoothing the roughest drafts with careful copy editing, and fine-tuning poetry. Explore how we can help you. A portion of our fee is donated back to The Writer’s Center.

Sara Burnett

Developmental Editing, Proofreading, Poetry Manuscript Review, High School Tutoring

Sara Burnett (MFA, MA) offers developmental editing, proofreading, poetry manuscript reviews and high school ELA tutoring services. She is a poet, writer, licensed middle school/high school educator and freelance curriculum developer. Sara has published articles on education equity and immigration, developed curriculum to those aims, as well as published several poems and a chapbook. She most enjoys working 1-1 with clients offering specific and helpful feedback to achieve their writing goals or to fulfill an assignment.

Nora Carrol

Freelance Writing/Editing, Career Communications, Creative Coaching

Nora Carrol has been a business owner, marketer, visual artist and adult educator. Her newest venture is NoraCarrol.com, providing writing/editing, career communications and creative coaching. Carrol received her B. F. A. and M. Sci. from Syracuse University and won two Teaching Innovation Grants from the University of Maryland University College, where she was an adjunct associate professor from 1995-2006. She holds three professional certificates: distance learning, nonprofit management, and public policy analysis. Since fall 2021, she has taught courses in entrepreneurship for the University of the District of Columbia, and interactive marketing, AAP graduate communications program, Johns Hopkins University. As an author, Carrol has published with PBS, Distance Learning Magazine, the International Journal of University Adult Education, and more. From 1998-2002, she was associate editor for North America, Educational Technology & Society. Learn more at her website.

Carolyn Clark, PhD Classics

Writing Coach, Editing, Business Writing

Carolyn Clark, PhD, Pushcart Nominee 2020 is a retired teacher who sometimes leads workshops at The Writer’s Center. She is the author of Poet Duet: A Mother and Daughter (2019); Choosing Lethe (2017); New Found Land (2017); Mnemosyne: the Long Traverse (2013) and has four poems in the Covid-19 anthology When the Virus Came Calling.

John DeDakis

Manuscript Editing, Personal Coaching

John DeDakis is a former copyeditor on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” DeDakis is the author of five novels in the Lark Chadwick mystery-suspense-thriller series. His two most recent novels have won five awards including Reviewers Choice and Feathered Quill. His editorial services include personal coaching and manuscript editing. For his manuscript editing service, DeDakis provides several options: a comprehensive deep-dive copyedit; a manuscript assessment; or a “weed whack” if your manuscript is too long but you don’t know how to cut it. For a complete breakdown of his services and fees, contact DeDakis through his website.

Meg Eden

Manuscript Feedback, Developmental Edits, Proofreading, Author Website Evaluations and Assistance, Promotional Material Design Work

Meg Eden’s work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO and CV2. She has been teaching creative writing at the university level since 2013, and has worked individually with student novels at the University of Maryland, as well as mentoring debut authors at the small press California Coldblood Books. She is the author of five poetry chapbooks, the novel Post-High School Reality Quest (2017), and the poetry collection Drowning in the Floating World (2020). She runs the Magfest MAGES Library blog, which posts accessible academic articles about video games (https://super.magfest.org/mages-blog). Find her online at megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.

Nikki Frias, Book on a Budget Coaching

Writing Coach and Mentor

Nikki Frias has contributed to Forbes, The Daily Beast, and Boardroom. She is an author, writing coach and teacher specializing in comedy writing. After noticing the struggles with finishing her own book, she started “Book on a Budget” coaching to help writer’s achieve their goals with an affordable a la carte style to help at any stage. Her book is titled “Does this Divorce Make Me Look Fat?” and she currently teaches sketch and comedy writing at The Writer’s Center.

Claudia Gary

Editing & Proofreading (Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry), One-on-One Poetry Tutorials, Developmental Poetry & Nonfiction Editing, Meter/Form/Rhyme Coaching, Complete Chapbook Editing & Production.

Claudia Gary teaches Villanelle, Sonnet, Natural Meter, Poetry vs. Trauma, and Whole-Brain Poetry workshops at writer.org (currently via Zoom). Her experience as a health/science writer, poetry editor, history magazine editor, and musician/composer all enrich her coaching, consultation, teaching, and editing. Claudia’s sonnets, villanelles, and other poems can be found online in international journals, and in anthologies including Villanelles and Extreme Sonnets. Author of Humor Me (2006) and chapbooks including Genetic Revisionism (2019) and Epicurigrams (2017), she is a three-time finalist for the Nemerov Sonnet Award and 2013 semifinalist for the Hecht award (Waywiser). Follow @claudiagary.

Jennifer Hamady

Finding Your Voice

Presentation Development, Performance Coaching, Public Speaking, Vocal Training

Jennifer Hamady is an author, therapist, and performance and voice coach specializing in self-expression. She works in private practice with writers and others to help them find their voices, manage performance anxiety, and authentically share themselves and their work. Jennifer writes for Psychology Today on creative and personal expression and leads workshops on public speaking, including for The Writer’s Center.

Judith Harris

Editing, Teaching, and Coaching (in all genres, including academic writing); Submission for Publication

Judith Harris, PhD, has taught at several universities in DC including George Washington University and American University. She is the author of four poetry collections (LSU) and a critical book on psychoanalysis and literature, Signifying Pain: Constructing the Self Through Writing (SUNY). Her poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic, New York Times blog, Slate, Hudson Review, among others. Her articles have been published by AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle, College English, The Washingtonian, Tikkun, The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Midwest Quarterly and she is currently writing the book, Poetry and Grief in Romantic and Contemporary Elegies for Routledge. She is associate editor of The Psychohistory Forum. She has mentored books by authors that have been published or are forthcoming in print.

Kathryn Johnson

Developmental Editing, Critical Reads, Private Coaching, Instructional Edits, Submission Guidance

Kathryn’s à la carte services for novice and experienced writers offer gentle, comprehensive guidance in all genres of fiction, memoir, and creative nonfiction. An instructor at TWC for over 10 years, Kathryn is the author of The Extreme Novelist, inspired by her most popular course. (In print, digital and audio formats: https://www.amazon.com/Extreme-Novelist-No-Time-Write-Drafting/dp/0692420835/.) She has published over 40 novels with major New York publishers including Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins—and is the winner of the American Library Association’s Heart of Excellence Award and Romance Writers of America’s Bookseller’s Best Award.

Website: KathrynJohnsonLLC.com

Email: Kathryn@KathrynJohnsonLLC.com or Kathryn@WriteByYou.com

Shanon Lee

Writing & Media Coach, Consultant & Editor

Private Coaching, Consulting, Copyediting, Sensitivity Reading

Shanon Lee is a contributor for Forbes and The Lily, published by The Washington Post. Her byline appears in Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Marie Claire, Playboy, Redbook, Women’s Health and Parents Magazine. Her opinion essays on misogyny and racism are widely circulated, and have been shared by notables including bestselling author J.K. Rowling, rap legend MC Lyte and political activist Kevin Powell. Shanon is an alumna of the 2019 Women’s Media Center Progressive Women’s Voices program and a mentor-editor for The OpEd Project. She is represented by the Carol Mann Agency and offers private coaching, consulting, copyediting and sensitivity reading services.

Laura J. Oliver, MFA

Writing Coach, Developmental Book Editor, Manuscript Editing & Evaluation, Publishing Guidance, Proposal & Submission Review

As the author of the book, The Story Within (Penguin Random House), named by “Poets and Writers Magazine” as one of the best writing books ever published, Oliver delights in polishing the work of new and seasoned writers, editing successful short stories, novels, memoirs, and creative nonfiction. With her editorial and publishing guidance, many of her clients have landed traditional book contracts. Recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Award, her stories are published in national newspapers, magazines, and top-tier literary reviews. Oliver was adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland and a writing instructor at St. John’s College.

Katherine Pickett

POP Editorial Services, LLC

Copyediting, Proofreading, Developmental Editing, Self-Publishing Consultation

Katherine Pickett is the owner of POP Editorial Services LLC, where she provides copyediting, proofreading, and developmental editing to authors and publishers across the country. A strong believer in the collaborative approach to editing, she adapts her style to fit the needs of her clients. She has been involved in the publishing industry since 1999 and has professional training in both fiction and nonfiction editing. She is also the author of the award-winning book Perfect Bound: How to Navigate the Book Publishing Process Like a Pro. Her articles have appeared on Publishing Perspectives, JaneFriedman.com, Writer Beware, IBPA Independent, and others. Find her blog at thePOPnewsletter.com.

Ann Quinn

Poetry Mentoring, Manuscript Evaluation

Ann Quinn is the author of Final Deployment and Poetry is Life and winner of the 2015 Bethesda Poetry Contest. In addition to classes through The Writers Center and other venues, she works with individual poets to hone their work for publication. In the words of one student, “Ann is sensitive to the feelings of fledgling poets but doesn’t pull her punches. She has a forensic eye for detail and spells out, without a hint of scorn or dogmatism, just what works—and more importantly—doesn’t work in a poem.” Current students have won awards and had chapbooks accepted for publication.

Contact Ann through her website for a free phone consultation.

Lynn Auld Schwartz

Story Development Editing, Manuscript Assessment, Individual Instruction, Ghostwriting, Performance: Reading and Storytelling Coaching

Lynn Auld Schwartz is a story development editor and ghostwriter for fiction, memoir, and performance works. For 20 years, Lynn has provided writers with manuscript assessments, developmental editing, and instruction—preparing writing for publication submission or performance. Lynn has received two Individual Artist Awards in Fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council; her plays/staged readings have been performed, including at Lincoln Center; and she founded NYC’s Temple Bar Literary Reading Series. A graduate of The City College of NY, Columbia University, and Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater, Lynn has taught at St. John’s College and The Writer’s Center.

Marilyn W. Smith, PhD

The WordSmith

Coaching and Consultation, Developmental Editing, Copy Editing, Group Facilitation, Encouragement

Marilyn Smith earned her Ph.D. in Education Policy/Higher Education and an M.A. in Reading Education. She took numerous writing classes from The Writer’s Center and has taught a wide variety of courses/workshops/seminars since 1969. Marilyn has published two books—her memoir, The Yin-Yang Life of a Baby Boomer, and an anthology of medical memoirs, Tales from Our Hearts and Other Body Parts: A Women’s Health Anthology. Marilyn works with writers in memoir, family history, fiction, and non-fiction including academic writing and theses. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and thoroughly enjoys her work as The WordSmith! References available upon request.

Katherine Hutt Scott

Writing Coaching, Message Development, Developmental Editing, Copy Editing, Proofreading

Katherine Hutt Scott is the 3rd place winner of the 2018 Bethesda Urban Partnership poetry contest and loves all forms of beautiful writing. She has coached officials at the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank in good writing practices, and taught webinars on effective writing to entrepreneurs for the SBA’s Small Business Development Center in Washington, DC. She also has edited a book of poetry and helped a retiree with cognitive difficulties write his memoir about surviving brain cancer. Ms. Scott has worked a decade as an international communications professional and two decades before that as a journalist.

Susan Sonde

Poetry Editing, Coaching, Manuscript Revision and Preparation

Experienced, widely published prize-winning poet ready to help those at any stage of their careers. Whether you have a full-length manuscript or a select few poems, Susan will help you reach a wider audience through publication.

Elaine Stromquist

Editing, Tutoring (English, French, Writing), Educational Consulting

Elaine Stromquist is an educator, editor, and tutor. She has a BA and MA in French Language and Literature. She has taught and tutored all levels of French during her professional career. In addition, she has worked as an Editor and Educational Consultant, editing educational reports and publications and assisting clients with college essays and creative writing projects. She has had a lifelong passion for language, art, and international culture.

Scott Swinney

Individual and Group Coaching, Concept Development, Ghostwriting, Research, Proofreading and Editing

I’ve taught college-level writing and research for 20 years, and I directed a university writing center for more than a decade. From the drawing board to the editing desk, I’ll be your discreet occasional collaborator or your affordable silent partner who helps you present your ideas clearly and concretely. I specialize in academic and professional writing, but I’ve worked with authors in many fields. I’ll also step in with a turn of phrase or an editor’s eye when you need it. Stop procrastinating! Let’s work together to make you a more focused, professional writer.

Sue Ellen Thompson

Poetry Mentoring, Manuscript Evaluation

Sue Ellen Thompson is the author of five books of poetry and winner of the 2010 Maryland Author Award. For more than 20 years she has been working with individual poets to revise their poems and improve their chances of getting published. She provides line-by-line feedback on specific poems either in person or via email; revised poems can be re-submitted for critique at a later date. She also work with poets who are preparing chapbooks or full-length manuscripts for publication. Several of her former mentorees have gone on to win contests and publish their books.

Hank Wallace, JD

Write & Speak Like the News

“Lead with the future — not background” is the most important of 9 journalism skills hankwallace.com/agenda.html that will transform your writing and speaking. Become “concise as news, precise as law” with Hank Wallace, a Columbia Law School graduate who wrote the FCC’s plain-language newsletter. Preview how you’ll learn: hankwallace.com/PDF/TrainLiketheNews.pdf.

Sheila Wenz

Creative & Business Copywriting, SEO Marketing, Slogans/tags/headlines, Scriptwriting, Comedy & Humor Writing & Coaching

Sheila Wenz is the founder of Stand-Up Studios where she teaches and coaches in the comedy arts and comedy writing. She has a strong background in marketing communications and public relations, writing copy and online content for a variety of industries including real estate, luxury products, business, science, finance, medical, lifestyle and more. She is also versed in television and screenwriting and worked on series and films at CBS, ABC, Columbia Pictures, MGM, Warner Bros and on the writing staff of “The Tonight Show.” She writes script content for videos, tradeshows, promotions, advertising, radio, interviews and training.