Author & Writing Instructor

Private Writing Instruction

I provide private writing instruction in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction writing including manuscript analysis, story development, workshopping, and the publishing process.

I coach poetry, fiction, and non-fiction writers, and teach students how to determine if their story, poem, or memoir is working or not. If it's not, I coach students how to figure out why the poem, short story, novel, memoir, or essay is not working. I teach students of all ages how to develop, critique, and edit their work so as not to depend on outside readers.

Students learn how to revise their work line by line and word by word. I workshop craft and ideas and assign individualized exercises to do either with me or outside the workshop. The workshopping process includes developing a professional writer's sense of when a piece of writing needs more work or is truly finished.

I also workshop how to get published, including researching appropriate journals, agents, and publishers. We also workshop how to write effective cover letters and how to prepare manuscripts to submit for publication. I coach students who want to prepare portfolios to send to college, graduate school, or who are already in MFA programs.

Testimonials From Clients

Matthew Flamm, MFA Columbia, Senior Reporter, Crain's

Madeleine, who is possibly the best writing teacher I've ever had, has a great ear and eye, but it's her imagination that really makes her stand out. She can suggest new ideas or directions for a story that often open it up in unexpected ways. She's also remarkably intuitive, and can help a writer make the best of his particular quirks, gifts and weaknesses.

Judith Chervenak, MD, JD, NYU Langone Medical Center

I had always wanted to learn how to write but needed to find quality, professional instruction that was flexible. Working with Madeleine during individual sessions in which she critically evaluated each draft enabled me to begin, and, more importantly, finish my pieces. I left our sessions encouraged by her praise for what worked and aware of what needed to be improved, changed or eliminated from the story. Madeleine's talent as a teacher and her love of her craft will not only motivate you to write well, it will help you take your writing to the next level, no matter where you begin.

Donald Kaplan

I knew that Madeleine is well respected as a writing teacher, but it wasn't until I started working with her that I understood why. Over a period of several weeks she was able to get me to see how to approach the process of writing in ways that surpassed the coaching of any teacher I had before, either in college or in independent writing workshops. Stated simply, her keen insights, excellent advice, and focused writing exercises enabled me to reach my lifelong goal to be not just a writer, but a good writer.

Tracey Ceurvels

Studying with Madeleine has been like attending my own personal MFA program, with a course designed specifically for my own writing needs and methods. Without her honest observations and razor-sharp teaching style, I doubt I'd be receiving letters with positive commentary about my work from publications like Harper's Magazine, Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker. Thanks to Madeleine I've accomplished so much writing in one year, gotten to the core of the process, discovered my voice and themes, and feel like I'm on my way to publication.

William Fuchs, V.P. Intrasphere

With insightful analysis of my stories, as well as targeted writing exercises and reading assignments, Madeleine has helped me add more coherence, cohesiveness, and dimensionality to my work. She has masterfully shown me how to exploit the distinction between what I want to say and how to say it. In addition to her energetic, unflinching approach to my writing, Madeleine has been a valuable mentor regarding work habits, attitude, and the business of writing.

Carolyn Zolas

With Madeleine's help, I found the answer to something I needed in my writing, but that I couldn't quite put into words. I was tired of the workshop scene and needed a mature, perceptive artist who could read each line - each word - and help me get to the bottom of what I was trying to say. Whether it's about plot, pacing, or getting the real thing down on the page, her help has been inspirational, and my writing has been transformed. Along the way, I got published, am finishing a book, and have found that, perhaps most importantly, I am much happier and more comfortable with my writing. You can't wish for more than that.

Jay Baruch, MD

What I enjoy most about working with Madeleine is her relentless honesty and aversion to cute, clever, slick, writerly writing. From her carefully explained critiques, I've become a sharper editor of my own work. I've become better at appreciating the weight and place -- and the potential tonnage and duddage of each word, each sentence. Most of all, she has an uncompromising, take no prisoners approach to writing. Tell an honest story that grabs the reader by the throat and don't let go until you're good and ready.

Sal Cinquemani

Working with Madeleine has helped me look at my writing more objectively, as if I were reading it through the eyes of someone else completely. I believe this is one of the most valuable skills you can have as a writer and it has truly made a world of difference. Madeleine asks the questions that need to be asked and bluntly tells it like it is, but she will always help you find the tools necessary to take your writing to the next level. Every word matters!

Roberta Bernstein

When I first went to Madeleine I explained one of the problems with my book-in-progress was the narration, which instead of being seamless had two clashing voices. She read the first page, looked up and said, "There’s three voices." I wanted to kill myself, but she was right. Madeleine, it quickly became clear, reads with clarity, insight and, best of all, passion. She also happens to be a great and generous teacher who combines an ability to listen with astute critiques that have helped me shape my work in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Simply put, she’s brilliant. I’m lucky to have found her.

Alyssa Yankwitt, CUNY

Madeleine is fiercely dedicated to her writers and their craft. As she tailors the sessions to suit each writer's individual needs, you always know that you have her complete, undivided attention.
She has taught me to bridge the gap between the personal and the poetic, helped me develop a unique voice and style as well as a mature body of work that I am incredibly proud of.
As a writer and a teacher she is motivating and inspiring. Madeleine's "no holds barred" approach to writing has enabled me get to the core of my poems and what it is I am trying to say. She consistently challenges me to push the boundaries of my own ability and in doing so has helped me to become the writer I have always wanted.

Roseann Marulli

Before I worked with Madeleine, not only had I never published a story, I'd never even finished one! Her sharp, incisive comments get right to the heart of what's working - and what's not - in your writing, and her exercises help those of us who have been touched by, the writing-block bug. She helped me springboard out of darkness and into the light of the filled page -- and into the publication of my first short story! Thanks!

Michele Rosenthal

Madeleine was just what I needed! She helps remind me to trust my instincts.I've been trying to make that a habit for so long. I wrote four new poems in one weekend, all addressing what I was attempting to say but couldn't get to on my own. Madeleine, THANK YOU for being so you, all the time for me.

Rachel Willen

When I began working with Madeleine I was stuck halfway through a novel, with 200 pages and 2 years into it and felt overwhelmed about bringing all the loose ends together and finishing. Needless to say I avoided working on it and blamed it on "writers block". My meetings with Madeleine provided me with a structure with attainable, incremental goals. She gave invaluable, specific insight into what worked and what didn't work about what I was writing and WHY which allowed me to not only fix it in the moment but to become a better writer and avoid such pitfalls in my work. And, most importantly, she encouraged me to stay true to my voice and vision and always made me feel like the story I wanted to tell was worth telling. In the 10 months we worked together on that project I wrote another 300 pages and finished the book. I got a top literary agent in NY within a month for this book!

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