Novella-in-Flash Testimonials

Michael has provided editorial support on over 25 published novellas, including many that have been listed in awards and competitions, across a variety of leading publishers (such as Ad Hoc Fiction, Hamish Hamilton, V. Press, Ellipsis Zine, Reflex Press, Flash: the International Short-Short Story Press). 

Novella-in-Flash Editing and Mentoring:

Thank you, Michael, for taking the time to read my novella-in-flash… Even though it had been shortlisted at the Bath Novella-in-Flash competition, I felt myself that it needed work, but couldn’t put my finger on it. Your expert editorial eye picked up on the issues… With your help I wrote 3 or 4 more flashes, including one that really nailed what the novella was all about. And the result? Forthcoming publication at Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press! I can’t thank you enough and will definitely work with you in the future.” (Debbi Voisey, author of The 10:25, published by Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 2021)

“Michael’s comments helped me to identify the gaps in character motivation, the function of all my characters in relation to the protagonist’s emotional arc, and to reconsider the way imagery worked across my novella-in-flash. His skill at identifying ineffective sentences was also invaluable. He was supportive, and I greatly appreciated his non-prescriptive tone.” (Jeanette Sheppard)

“I received my annotated manuscript back quickly. A summary page of common errors helped me to digest repeating patterns or areas for improvement. Each note within the main text was clear and precise. A structural suggestion for the novella as a whole added clarity… I have already amended some of my writing practice. As someone with no educational background in English literature and language past the age of sixteen, I learnt a significant amount to help my writing in the future.” (Stephanie Hutton, author of Three Sisters of Stone, published by Ellipsis Zine. In 2019 this novella-in-flash won the Saboteur Award for Best Novella.)

“Michael has been a sensitive and insightful reader of my work. He gave me much to think about, particularly in terms of character and motivation, which helped me to approach my manuscript afresh and with renewed enthusiasm. His gentle comments and questions are always on point, and his suggestions for further reading extremely useful.” (Deborah T.)

“Michael is a very sensitive reader and amazingly adept at articulating the effect that your writing has on a reader. He is able to identify with great subtly nuances in tone, the effect (and affect) of individual words, consonance in style and the occasions of a duff-note… He has that wonderful combination of critical rigor and ability to provide generous and sensitive feedback. Having a conversation with Michael was an invitation to think anew, to see things from a slightly different perspective, and at times an affirmation of what I, secretly, already knew but had not properly attended to. ” (Louise Watts, author of Something Lost, published by Ad Hoc Fiction, 2020)

“I first contacted Michael for advice on how to improve a shortlisted novella-in-flash that had come quite close but failed to win a prize. His initial MS report praised those parts of the work he found interesting and well-made, but concluded he felt it “hadn’t yet found its ideal form.”  The report contained a wealth of detailed, concrete, actionable suggestions for how to tighten up the point of view, improve the pacing, smooth the overall shape and tone. Michael’s comments were always generous, precise and tactful. Via Skype and email, Michael kept me going during re-writes as a coach, offering advice and guidance on how to form and maintain good creative practices. His diligent approach kept me believing in the project even when I was feeling blocked or in despair. In the final stages, with a publisher on board, Michael’s copy editing work prior to proofs was perfect – unobtrusive, meticulous, always constructive and well-targeted. Whatever stage you’re at with your writing project, if you’re serious about moving forward, getting better, getting there, Michael’s help is what you need.” (David Rhymes, author of The Last Days of the Union, published by Ad Hoc Fiction, 2022) 

“Thank you so much for all your help on bringing my novella, At the Bottom of the Stairs, to publication standard. Your insights into the story – from the overall pacing and direction, down to the phrasing of certain key lines – were crucial in making my book what it is. Your critiques were both gentle and uncompromising – you didn’t let me get away with a single cliché or clunky sentence, but never made me feel inadequate or overwhelmed. Most importantly, when the work was done, it was your cheerleading – your belief in the story – that spurred me on to seek publication for it. I literally couldn’t have done it without you!” (Chloe Banks, author of At the Bottom of the Stairs. Chloe’s novella was a runner-up in the Reflex Press 2021 Novella Awards, and was published by them in 2022)