Paying it forward

The banker reached into the folds of his gown, pulled out a single credit note. “But eat first—a full belly steadies the judgment. Do me the honor of accepting this as our welcome to the newcomer.”

His pride said no; his stomach said YES! Don took it and said, “Uh, thanks! That’s awfully kind of you. I’ll pay it back, first chance.”

“Instead, pay it forward to some other brother who needs it.”

—Robert A. Heinlein, Between Planets, 1951

Once upon a time, I went to the University of Southern Maine and got an MFA in commercial fiction. Subsequently I sold some stories to professional markets with sufficiently high status to qualify me for membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. One of my stories received an honorable mention in The Year’s Best Science Fiction.

Although I’ve moved away from fiction, I still like to support writers who are trying to break in. There are many outstanding workshops, both face to face and online, where writers can share their work and get feedback from their peers and from professionals. If you’re a new writer, that’s a great place to get ongoing encouragement and help.

Once a month, I’ll carve out some time to do a straight copy edit on a short story or novel excerpt—mainstream fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, romance… any fiction genre (but no poetry). This is a free service.

I don’t work for a publisher or a magazine, I can’t help you get published, I don’t know any agents—but I’m happy to help you make sure your prose is clear, your commas are in the right places, and your periods are inside your quotation marks before you submit your manuscript to an editor. Every sale I made felt wonderful, and I want you to have the chance to feel that, too. Then you can pay it forward.

If you’re interested in getting into the queue, please drop me a line. The email address is at the top of the page.

And good luck on your journey!