By a stroke of luck, I reconnected with Mary after many, many years, and was delighted to discover her talents as an editor, teacher, and mentor. Mary combed through my manuscript and her insights and suggestions helped me tease out the buried story threads. She helped with me with chapter transitions, plot lines, interior and exterior settings, character growth, pacing … I could go on! I worked with her via email for over a year on bi-weekly chapter reviews and I also learned an incredible amount about writing and writing a novel from her book, Your Book Starts Here. Mary has helped me with two manuscripts now; one has been published, and one is still in revision. Her observations have proven invaluable.

--Nancy Wood, author of Due Date

Mary Carroll Moore offers the most practical book development process I have ever seen.  As a first-time author, I found her easy-to-follow guide exactly what I needed to take my idea from a dream to a completed manuscript.  More than simply sharing a writing process, she laid out the ground rules, provided a clear step-by-step process, and showed me how to move forward with confidence.
—Michael Lane, author of The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum

I found Mary's workshops and one-on-one critique to be both insightful and instructive in helping me to identify areas of my work that needed improving. Her suggestions enabled me to take material I'd been struggling with and look at it with new eyes.  
—Anne Kelleher, author of the Shadowlands trilogy, The Highwayman, Silver’s Lure, and two other novels

Collaging my novel--one of Mary's many novel ideas!--helped me to excavate
themes of my story that were buried deep in my unconscious and to get a clearer picture (literally as well as figuratively) of my protagonist.   
—Prill Boyle, author of Defying Gravity: A Celebration of
Late-Blooming Women



Mary is the most prolific writer and careful editor I've ever met. She has a rare combination of business savvy and artistic creativity and integrity, making her a wonderful instructor, coach, speaker, and writer.

--Linda Anderson, bestselling co-author of the Angel Animals series

I have worked with Mary Carroll Moore as my editor and mentor for almost two years. Over that time, my formless food and travel journal has evolved into a manuscript, on its way to becoming a book. It simply would not have happened without Mary. She is the perfect teacher— patient, firm, empathetic, clear-sighted, experienced, and full of strategies for moving stories forward. Her particular expertise in shaping the narrative arc of a story, novel, or memoir has changed the way I think about writing, and made me a better writer in every way. She has become a priceless member of my inner circle, and someone I hope to consult with on future projects for as long as she will have me. I can’t recommend her highly enough

--Steve Hoffman, award-winning writer, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Mary's coaching was vital in helping me shape a winning proposal. She helped
me better understand the mind-body-spirit genre and to craft a book appealing to
agents, publishers, and readers. Her feedback was always meaningful, prompt, supportive and direct. I only wish that I had contacted her sooner in my process.  
I would have saved a lot of time. I really can't thank her enough!  
—Ron Frederick, PhD, author of Living Like You Mean It

Writers:  Meet Mary Carroll Moore and end your angst. It turns out that writing a book doesn’t have to resemble wrestling an uncooperative beast. Moore breaks it all down and, like most true wisdom, her approach turns out to be simple and accessible. One would think that as a professional writer and editor with twenty years’ experience, an English degree from Yale, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction, I would have known what I was doing.  But Moore’s techniques were, for me, a revelation.  I can virtually guarantee they will be for you too.
—Jacqueline White, Minnesota State Arts Board winner


Your Book Starts Here
Your Book Starts HereCreate, Craft and Sell Your First Novel, Memoir, or Nonfiction Book. Published author and long-time writing coach Mary Carroll Moore gives you the tools you need to get your book in print. Now available as audio book.  Learn More


You opened up for me a whole new realm of possibility that I couldn't seem to figure out!

I found your comments truly eye-opening.

A remarkable experience.

Everything is coming together in a much better way since we started this coaching experience.  Thank you for the excellent suggestions.

                                                               --past coaching clients 


Mary's retainer program took my novel to the next level.  To have her one-one-one help with everything from overarching structure to fine-tuning has been invaluable.  Mary has always known when to encourage and when to push, all the while keeping me in line with my truth as a writer.

Amy Widmoyer Hanson

The Iowa Review Award 2016 fiction winner for "The Soles of Her Feet," an except from her novel-in-progress


Mary’s edit of Turn Here Sweet Corn taught me how to make the written word vulnerable and life changing on the page. She showed me how to create containers of emotions and to structure a story line that pulls the reader in. She has acuity for what to keep, to cut, or to shape, and how. Mary is a gem of a teacher, editor, and human being. I would not have published an award-winning book without her.

Atina Diffley

Author, Turn Here Sweet Corn, Minnesota Book Award winner


Mary edited my first novel, Dead Blow Hammer. She caught the little typos and grammatical errors but, more importantly, she flagged places where the plot was confusing or the characters acted out of character. Best of all, she praised the book with specific examples of what she valued. Mary was the first person to read the book (outside of family) and her positive feedback was a huge relief. I will be relying on her expert guidance for the books that follow in the Handy Mann series.


Steve George

Author, Dead Blow Hammer

Mary Carroll Moore: Writing Coach

Do you have a dream book you want to write? A writing project you're longing to finish? A book proposal or a sample chapter that's due?

A natural part of the writing process is partnership with an experienced editor and coach. As a writing teacher at the Loft Literary Center, Grub Street, and other schools, I've worked with hundreds of writers on both nonfiction and fiction projects. My clients have gone on to secure publication with major publishing houses and small presses, as well as successfully self-publishing their books.

My goal as a coach is to allow the unique voice in your writing to emerge, and help you become more conscious of both the strengths and weaknesses in your writing. My expertise is in structure--the "make or break" of great books.  Without good structure, even the best wordsmith cannot create a publishable book.

I learned more from Mary’s classes, coaching, and book than I did in my entire MFA program.  I was struggling with plodding prose and narratives going nowhere, and Mary helped me find the dreams lurking beneath the surface, then find form for them in a book that people can’t put down. 

Katherine Flannery Dering

Author, Shot in the Head: a Sister’s Memoir, a Brother’s Struggle  


Hiring Me as Your Writing Coach or Editor

Having worked as a professional editor for fifteen years, I know how to evaluate a work-in-progress and give suggestions for fine-tuning. I enjoy watching the process of a piece of writing unfold, and I value the help a kind and thoughtful editor can bring to a work. I've helped writers develop and finish their book proposals and manuscripts.I work by project or on retainer (if you have short pieces or chapters that need feedback prior to completing a book). 

What I offer (all are individual options; choose one or many. whatever suits your project best):

* Retainer program (two months' of weekly checkins with me via email, customized exercises and feedback, and evaluation of up to 250 d/s pages of your writing)--renewable as needed  Email Mary for more details:  mary(at)

"My work has grown exponentially.  Your comments were right on point."  "A really good experience.  Thank you for all your help!"                                                                           --past retainer clients

* Full-manuscript review and evaluation at any stage--from rough draft to revision before submitting for publication--includes analysis of strengths and weaknesses, plus content, structure, and language review where applicable,  Manuscripts need different help at different stages--early drafts may only need structural help and developmental suggestions, while revisions require in-depth margin notes and commentary.  Line-editing (word by word edits) are most useful at the final stages.   

* Proposal packet development for fiction, memoir, and nonfiction manuscript submissions (query letter, chapter synopsis, bio, and sample chapters)

Mary Carroll Moore brought to my first book her unique combination of expert editing and patient teaching. Now, years later, I still use many of the specific, valuable skills she taught me, and I still seek her expert editorial advice.

Judith Hendin

Author, The Self Behind the Symptom


My feedback includes:

Mary Carroll Moore's Curriculum Vitae

Contact Mary: mary(at)marycarrollmoore(dot)com