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author guidance programs

Paula Coomer has been a teacher of writing at both the university and community level for more than 20 years. Her classes and workshops are at once challenging, humorous, serious, informative, and nurturing. Ms. Coomer’s teaching philosophy is best depicted by this quote from author Marilynne Robinson: “I try to make writers actually see what they have written, where the strength is. Usually . . .  there’s something that leaps out—an image or a moment that is strong enough to center the story. If they can see it, they can exploit it, enhance it, and build a [work] that is subtle and new. I don’t try to teach technique, because frankly most technical problems go away when a writer realizes where the life of a story lies. I don’t see any reason in fine-tuning something that’s essentially not going anywhere anyway. What they have to do first is interact in a serious way with what they’re putting on a page. When people are fully engaged with what they’re writing, a striking change occurs, a discipline of language and imagination.” —Marilynne Robinson in The Paris Review


  • Book Development—one-to-one guidance on the drafting of a book; suitable for fiction and creative non-fiction

    • Includes 1-3 sessions per month over phone or Skype: discussion plus email exchange and in-process manuscript review with written feedback.
    • Good choice for writers looking for support while working on first books or for published authors with ideas who are uncertain about choice of form and/or structure, as well as anyone who would benefit from regular input during the drafting stage of a book
    • Important note: Please click here for manuscript formatting requirements
    • Availability for Book Development is very limited, but Ms. Coomer does keep a waiting list. For more information, contact her directly at for more information
  • Advanced Draft Consultadvanced draft review and feedback; suitable for any type of book, including poetry

    • Feedback is via phone or Skype plus some written feedback
    • Good choice for writers who are several drafts in but are stuck in plot or character development or who want detailed analysis of a nearly-final draft
    • Turn-around time is usually 4 weeks
    • Manuscript must be a moderately-advanced draft and must be provided in hard copy with down payment
    • Important note: Please click here for manuscript formatting requirements
  • Literary Representation

  • Workshops

    • One to three 2.5-hour sessions, plus optional manuscript review and open mic for 2- and 3-session workshops
    • Focus of choice
      • Fiction Writing
      • Short Story Writing
      • Experimental Forms
      • Writing the Novel
      • Life and Recovery Writing
      • Memoir and Creative Non-fiction Writing
      • Poetry Writing
      • Custom Focus (i.g., Writing as Sanctuary, Writing Women’s Lives, Writing to Save the World, Teaching Creative Writing, etc.)
    • 5-15 Participants
    • Fee per participant plus travel and accommodations
      • Price dependent on number of sessions desired and optional features
      • Options include open mic MC-led by Ms. Coomer, manuscript review of up to 25 pages per participant, and/or a reading by Ms. Coomer
    • Availability for these is very limited. Workshops must be scheduled 9-12 months in advance.
    • To inquire further, please contact Ms. Coomer directly at

Payment Process

Various payment options are available. Please email for more information.

Paula Coomer is a poet, fiction writer, and occasionally writes about food and health. She is the author of eight books, including Jagged Edge of the Sky, Blue Moon Vegetarian, Dove Creek, and Nurses Who Love English. Her newest book, a collection of short stories, Somebody Should have Scolded the Girl was recommended by BuzzFeed. She has been a nominee for the Pulitzer, the Pushcart, and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, among others. A former long-time university writing instructor, Ms. Coomer lives in southeast Washington State, where she advocates for writers, teaches writing in the community, and facilitates retreats and workshops.