Qualities of Light

"A tender and lively coming-of-age tale told with delicate insight."
--Ann Bannon


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Watch Mary's new YouTube video:  Writing the Container of Your Story

Mary interviewed on WNPR!
Mary talks with Faith Middleton on WNPR (90.5 FM) about writing and her novel Qualities of Light.
Listen now >

Mary featured in the The New York Times
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Writing the Container of Your Story

Your Book Starts Here

        Winner 2011

  NH Literary Awards

Readers Choice Award

Also available on audio

"The consummate How-To Guide for everyone who has a book percolating inside them."—Nancy Slonim Aronie


Photo credit:
Bruce Fuller Photography

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         The Latest


New!  Retainer Program

Get personalized help with your writing project

"My work has grown exponentially.  Your comments were right on point." --past retainer client

Two months of private coaching with weekly check-ins by email, customized assignments, and evaluation of up to 250 d/s pages of your book-in-progress.  Email Mary for details:  mary (at) marycarrollmoore.com

Updated for 2016 with new material and exercises!

In-Person Writing Classes 

at the Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis

Thursday, March 23, 10:30-4:30

Writer's Wheel of Ten:  Upgrade Your Craft Skills in Fiction or Memoir

A fast-and-fun tour of the ten essential writing tools that professional writers never leave home without. Learn techniques for immediately improving your dialogue, story conflict, characters, characterization, pacing, camera angle, setting, and more. Bring new vibrancy to a not-quite-there-yet memoir, short story, or novel-in-progress, or spark ideas to start something new. Time-tested writing exercises, short readings, and discussion will help you upgrade your craft skills--and your writing. Find out more >

Friday, March 24, 10:30-4:30

Rule of Three:  Character, Conflict, and Your Story's Container

Stories work in rules of three: your characters, their conflict, and a specific story "container." If you know the rules, you can combine them in special ways to create amazing alchemy in your fiction or creative nonfiction writing. But alchemy only happens with certain proportions of each element. Learn the techniques that bring alchemy to the page. Writing exercises, discussion, and a take-home template of the rule of three will give you immediately useful perspectives on your work. Open to writers working on (or beginning) short- or long-form fiction or memoir. Find out more >

Summer Writing Retreat and Independent Study

at Madeline Island School of the Arts, Lake Superior

July 18-22 or July 25-29, 2016

Creative Process:  How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book and Take It to Publication

Spend a week with your book and Mary's expert coaching on a serene island off the Wisconsin coast in Lake Superior.  Daily class time, plenty of writing time, one-to-one coaching on your book project at any stage.  For those at intermediate and advanced levels, use the week for Independent Study with a customized program from Mary and daily checkins.   Find out more>





"How to bake a book:  Start with a big love of words, add a generous helping of Mary Carroll Moore, mix with leavening from your peers, knead vigorously for twelve weeks, and voila!  Your book has risen!" 

                                    -- Eric Utne, founder of Utne Reader