Ready to get started with Mary Lane Potter? Contact them using the button on the right to let them know what you're looking for help on and when you're ready to get started.

Former clients have published widely and been accepted into MFA programs of their choice.

Mary Lane Potter $115/hr

Services Offered

  • One-on-One coaching sessions
  • Read Complete Manuscript
  • Read first 15 pages of manuscript and provide feedback
  • Read individual pieces of short fiction or nonfiction up to 10,000 words

Available For

  • Developmental Editing
  • Essay
  • Memoir
  • Novel
  • Short Fiction

Former clients have published widely and been accepted into MFA programs of their choice.

Mary Lane Potter (PhD, University of Chicago and MFA, Warren Wilson) has deep experience writing, editing and teaching fiction, nonfiction, and creative nonfiction. She’s the author of the novel A Woman of Salt (Counterpoint), Strangers and Sojourners: Stories from the Lowcountry (Counterpoint), and the memoir Seeking God and Losing the Way. Her essays and stories have appeared in Feminist Studies in Religion, SIGNS, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Beloit Fiction Journal, North American Review, Tampa Review, Tiferet, SUFI Journal, The Other Journal, Spiritus, Chaleur, Leaping Clear, and others. She’s been awarded a Washington State Arts Commission/Artist Trust Fellowship, as well as writing residencies at MacDowell, Hedgebrook, Caldera, and the Collegeville Institute of Cultural and Ecumenical Studies. Website:

Working Style

• For developmental editing, I offer an initial consultation (in person, by phone, or via Skype or Zoom) two complete read-throughs of the manuscript, detailed endnotes that discuss what is working and what could be strengthened, notes on the manuscript as appropriate, and a final consultation. I ask a lot of questions and make suggestions based on how the narrative reads to me to help you discover possibilities and approaches.
• For general manuscript feedback of any length, I make comments in the margins throughout the piece and write a summary of issues and suggestions at the end. This can be followed up with a conversation in person, online, or on the phone.
• For line edits, I include a summary at the end (with resources) of how to improve writing at the sentence level. This can be followed up with a conversation in person, online, or on the phone.
• For coaching sessions, I can discuss your writing challenges, help you set goals, suggest exercises and give feedback on them, and suggest reading material to help deepen your learning. We can meet one or as often as you’d like. If you’re working on a book, I can meet with you weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to read your pages, respond to them, and discuss them.


I’m available during the whole year. I like responding to work online and discussing manuscripts in person.


• You and your work, whether your work is fiction, creative nonfiction, or memoir (including spiritual memoir). I invest deeply in the work writers share with me. Using my intuition as well as my skills and experience, I enjoy working with writers as a midwife to help them recognize and give birth to the work they have conceived. The passage from our imaginations to the page is always difficult and it can be painful. I work with you to support and encourage you as well as to help you push through the pain of revising to the beauty of what the story, essay, novel, or book want to be. It’s your work, first, last, and always. I read widely— across genres, forms, styles, and writers—so I’m not looking for a particular way of writing, just writing that knocks you off your chair.
• I enjoy helping writers diagnose what’s not working in their manuscript and determining the best approach to helping it flow and sing. Voice, focus, propulsion, and structure are often the biggest culprits holding work back, and I love thinking about, experimenting with, and teaching all these elements.
• The art of the sentence, learning how to use syntax to serve the narrative.