This is the best time in history to be a writer. But only one thing can help your story stand out: quality. Whether you are a debut novelist, a screenwriter adapting to fiction, or an experienced author tackling a new project, I can help.
As the Novel Consultant for Truby Writers’ Studio and a private Developmental Editor, I mentor a variety of emerging writers, USA Today bestsellers, agent referrals, Pushcart Prize winners and Pen nominees. Over the past twenty years, I’ve taught at the Writers Program at UCLA Extension, run workshops, held seminars and presented talks at national conferences. After graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and earning an MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University, my focus on structure combines with my study of prose techniques to help me find solutions to your story challenges. As an award-winning author, essayist, and produced screenwriter actively engaged in my own projects, I also understand the struggle.
Here’s what I can help you do:
- Hook Your Reader from Page One
- Enhance the Narrative Drive
- Build Characters that Readers Will Root For
- Strengthen Your Plot
- Polish Your Prose
- Enjoy the Process
Are you stuck on specific story problems? Choosing between stories? Need direction on a work-in-progress? I can help you solve those challenges with a one-on-one discussion by phone or Skype. You can submit a synopsis or other materials prior to our to talk, or simply tell me your concerns. Together, we can shape it into the story that you want to tell.
Do you have a story idea, but aren’t sure where to start? I can help in four easy steps. First, we’ll discuss your goals, develop your premise, and examine materials you may already have. That may include a synopsis, step breakdown, character list and sample chapter – up to 25 pages. Second, I’ll help you develop the plot and strengthen the structure with specific assignments. Third, we’ll examine your work, discuss prose issues, and identify opportunities to strengthen your story. Finally, I’ll provide guidance to help you continue on your own.
Want to land an agent or indie publisher? Successful query letters are sales tools with a style of their own. Save time and skip the learning curve by letting me take care of it for you. Then you can focus on the important part: the manuscript.
Have you completed a full draft? Bravo! Now I can analyze the entire story to help you revise it into the best book possible. I work with novels in all genres, memoirs, and nonfiction. In a 12-15 page written evaluation, I’ll point out opportunities to strengthen the existing story structure, characters, plot, POV, plot, theme, and style. Then I’ll offer specific suggestions of how to do it – your way. The contract includes light line editing and a follow-up phone call. Price is based on page count.
As a writing instructor, I recommend all of my clients to Leslie for her extraordinary editing skills and crackerjack query letters. I also found her editorial expertise invaluable with my own book.
Leslie’s mastery of storytelling, along with her insightful guidance, brings out the best in a writer. She inspires dedication to the craft of creating a compelling story.
A master class in good writing. Leslie told me specifically how I might fix things. But she never imposed on me what I “must” do. Best money I ever spent.
Leslie respected my creative intent and dug deep to find the source of the issues. The suggestions that Leslie provided were specific and useful. Her guidance was invaluable!
I have to say that I have learned more about the craft of writing from Leslie than from all my profs put together during my MFA. She asked me some really tough, probing questions that certainly made me feel uncomfortable and required me to stretch – THANK YOU!
I’m a semi finalist for the James Jones Fellowship – thanks to the first chapter we crafted last fall!
"Leslie Lehr’s sense of story was invaluable. She helped me find my inner novelist.
I’ll always be grateful."
—Cindy Lin, The Twelve; Treasures of the Twelve, YA Series, Junior Library Guild Gold Medal
Without her incredible focus and attention, I sincerely doubt my memoir would have been published. I would return over and over again to Leslie.
—Leslie Schwartz, Jumping the Green, Angels Crest and the memoir, The Lost Chapters.