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"You always have great insights . . . I plan to be a long-term customer." - Annie Laurie Sanchez, Fiction writer, client and former student See All

Cara Diaconoff $90/hr

Services Offered

  • One-on-One coaching sessions
  • Read Complete Manuscript
  • Read first 15 pages of manuscript and provide feedback

Available For

  • Essay
  • Genre
  • Guidance in applying for awards/residencies
  • Guidance in Submissions to agents
  • Guidance in submissions to magazines or publishers
  • Line-Editing/Copyediting
  • Literary Journalism
  • Memoir
  • Novel
  • Preparing applications for College/MFA/etc.
  • Short Fiction
  • Young Adult

"You always have great insights . . . I plan to be a long-term customer." - Annie Laurie Sanchez, Fiction writer, client and former student

"Your feedback has been awesome . . . . So smart and thorough. I really appreciate your close reading, systematic analysis and insightful suggestions. You have been a dream of a freelance editor with this project." - Aya de Leon, Poet and novelist

"It was refreshing to take a class where the instructor was genuinely interested in their students’ work and fostering intellectual growth. Your class was one of the most rewarding experiences . . . I'm grateful I had the opportunity to be taught by you." - A student in Introduction to Creative Writing, U. of Utah

"I have never been able to express myself as I was able to in your class. It’s almost as if a whole new light was shed on a part of me that had been kept in the dark. . . . You took the extra time to write and let us know how to make improvements which forced me to challenge myself in ways I never had before." - A creative-writing student, Texas Christian U.

Edited work includes Aya de Leon’s novel Uptown Thief (Kensington, 2016) and Wendy Breuer’s story “The Museum of Analog Antiquities” (Calyx, Winter 2012).

I hold an MA in English literature from University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University, where I was chief editor of Indiana Review. I am the author of two book-length works of fiction (Unmarriageable Daughters: Stories, Lewis-Clark Press, and I’ll be a Stranger to You, Outpost19 e-books) as well as stories in magazines such as The Adirondack Review, descant, and others. I have been awarded state arts council grants (Indiana, Utah) and residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Norman Mailer Colony. In addition, I have taught creative writing, mostly on the college level, for 15+ years; I’ve been a visiting professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, and a lecturer at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. For many years I have also taught online tutorials and workshops for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. Finally, since 2009 I’ve provided developmental and copy editing services for creative writers through my editorial business.

Working Style

For critiquing and developmental editing, I provide embedded comments in the manuscript or manuscript excerpt and an end letter of at least 2 double-spaced pages for a short story and 5-10 pages for a novel. For coaching sessions or tutorials, I can meet for 1-2 hours at a time in person or carry on the conversation via email exchange during a mutually agreed-upon timeframe.


I could meet in person on either a weekly or a monthly basis. I am also happy to give consultations by email.

I am willing to meet potential clients or students in person for a free 15-minute session to assess their project; similarly, for a book-length project, I can provide a free sample edit of the first 5 pages of the project to make sure that I’m the best editor or coach for the project.


Fiction of all genres and for readers both teenage and adult: both short-form and novel-length. Literary nonfiction of all genres, both short-form and long-.

As an editor and a teacher, I have worked happily and successfully on many different kinds of works, from the literary to the commercial, from narrative realism to more experimental or hybrid work. As both writer and editor, I gravitate especially to historical and political themes and enjoy work that has an element of social consciousness. This can be and has been broadly defined!