Christopher Noël

Christopher Noël - Editor

Calais, VT, USA

I've been a freelance editor for 25 years, working with clients on novels and memoirs later published by Dutton, W.W. Norton, Scribner, etc.

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Overview

I work with a wide variety of writers on fiction and nonfiction projects. My clients have gone on to publish books with Dutton, W.W. Norton, Scribner, Plume, and Simon & Schuster, as well as list in the LA Times book of the year and Newsweek’s 10 Best Books. I have experience in both fiction and non-fiction, especially on memoirs dealing with very fraught and challenging emotional journeys. You can see some testimonials below, including a review of my own memoir.

For over 20 years, I also taught on the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where I loved collaborating intensively one on one with writers all across the spectrum from beginners to advanced, helping them shape, focus, and deepen their manuscripts. Hopefully I can help you too so feel free to get in touch.


Testimonials and Reviews:
"Christopher Noël was an invaluable reader of both my books, Chang and Eng and The Real McCoy. His clear-eyed comments and sure knowledge of novel structure improved my manuscripts immeasurably.” - Darin Strauss, ‘Change and Eng’ (LA Times Book of the Year and one of Newsweek's 10 Best Books of 2000)

"Mr. Noël's efforts leave me with an indispensable body of information regarding my writing; that is, he has taken pains to draw out, through his critiques of my work, a clear picture of where my strengths and weaknesses lie… He is not stingy with praise and enthusiasm; nor is he reluctant to point out the faults of a given text. His criticisms are always supported, never dogmatic. Moreover, he is inclined to address a story on its sub-textual level, an attribute I have found to be surprisingly scarce among writing teachers.” - Naama Goldstein, ‘The Place Will Comfort You’

Writing from Tragic Loss and Grief:
"Noël writes his heart out in 'In the Unlikely Event of a Water Landing: A Geography of Grief,’ sparing himself no pain, while sharing with us enormous insight. That he succeeds so well, without ever seeming a pathetic figure, is a tribute to his wondrous love for Brigid…his talent for deft description. Better than any book familiar to this reader, Water Landing captures the tormented psychological circling, the ceremony of mourning and altar-building, the recurrent alternation of gloom and uplift that marks those left behind.”- The Philadelphia Inquirer review of my memoir, following the tragic loss of my fiancée.
Languages
English (UK)
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Fiction
Literary Fiction
Short Story

Work experience

Freelance editor

Self-employed
January, 1993 – Present (almost 29 years)

I have worked with more than two hundred clients, providing close, line-by-line readings of their manuscripts as well as global feedback at the level of structure, plot, conceptual development, characterization, image systems, and other issues.

Portfolio (19 selected works)

The Place Will Comfort You: Stories

Naama Goldstein

Intelligent, evocative and darkly comic, Naama Goldstein's collection introduces a remarkable talent. In these sharply focused stories, the line between nation and self is as elusive as the distinction between past and present, fear and desire, the real and the imagined.Against a backdrop that spans from the Galilean wilderness to midtown Manhattan, and from the 1970s to the present, the inhab... read more

Intelligent, evocative and darkly comic, Naama Goldstein's collection introduces a remarkable talent. In these sharply focused stories, the line between nation and self is as elusive as the distinction between past and present, fear and desire, the real and the imagined.Against a backdrop that spans from the Galilean wilderness to midtown Manhattan, and from the 1970s to the present, the inhab... read more

Chang and Eng

Darin Strauss

In this stunning novel, Darin Strauss combines fiction with astonishing fact to tell the story of history’s most famous twins. Born in Siam in 1811—on a squalid houseboat on the Mekong River—Chang and Eng Bunker were international celebrities before the age of twenty. Touring the world’s stages as a circus act, they settled in the American South just prior to the Civil War. They eventually mar... read more

In this stunning novel, Darin Strauss combines fiction with astonishing fact to tell the story of history’s most famous twins. Born in Siam in 1811—on a squalid houseboat on the Mekong River—Chang and Eng Bunker were international celebrities before the age of twenty. Touring the world’s stages as a circus act, they settled in the American South just prior to the Civil War. They eventually mar... read more

The Real McCoy

Darin Strauss

From Darin Strauss, the bestselling author of Chang and Eng (A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year), comes the unforgettable story of "Kid" McCoy: boxer, jewel thief, scam artist, and the most married man in America. A fascinating mirror of the tumultuous backdrop of America at the turn of the century, The Real McCoy is "a muscular and entertaining novel about lies, scams, flimflams, and t... read more

From Darin Strauss, the bestselling author of Chang and Eng (A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year), comes the unforgettable story of "Kid" McCoy: boxer, jewel thief, scam artist, and the most married man in America. A fascinating mirror of the tumultuous backdrop of America at the turn of the century, The Real McCoy is "a muscular and entertaining novel about lies, scams, flimflams, and t... read more

More Than It Hurts You: A Novel

Darin Strauss

Read Darin Strauss's posts on the Penguin BlogJosh Goldin's happy yet unexamined existence is shattered one morning when his wife, Dori, rushes their eight-month- old son to the emergency room in severe distress. Dr. Darlene Stokes, an African-American physician and single mother, suspects Munchausen by proxy, a rarely diagnosed and controversial phenomenon where a mother intentionally harms h... read more

Read Darin Strauss's posts on the Penguin BlogJosh Goldin's happy yet unexamined existence is shattered one morning when his wife, Dori, rushes their eight-month- old son to the emergency room in severe distress. Dr. Darlene Stokes, an African-American physician and single mother, suspects Munchausen by proxy, a rarely diagnosed and controversial phenomenon where a mother intentionally harms h... read more

Wherever You Go: A Novel

Joan Leegant

“Timely and brave. . . . Leegant is a masterful weaver.”―Miami Herald Yona Stern has traveled from New York to Israel to make amends with her estranged sister, a stoic ideologue and mother of five who has dedicated herself to the radical West Bank settlement cause. Yona’s personal life resembles nothing of her sister’s, but it isn’t politics that drove the two apart. Now a respected Jerusalem ... read more

“Timely and brave. . . . Leegant is a masterful weaver.”―Miami Herald Yona Stern has traveled from New York to Israel to make amends with her estranged sister, a stoic ideologue and mother of five who has dedicated herself to the radical West Bank settlement cause. Yona’s personal life resembles nothing of her sister’s, but it isn’t politics that drove the two apart. Now a respected Jerusalem ... read more

St. Ursulas Girls Against the Atomic Bomb

Valerie Hurley

How can an eighteen year old who is haunted by the world’s problems possibly concentrate on chemistry and algebra? Raine Rassaby is a senior at St. Ursula’s Academy in New York City, but rather than study, she rescues wounded birds, arranges pilgrimages to nuclear missile silos, befriends street people, gets arrested, and organizes a group called St. Ursula’s Girls Against the Atomic Bomb. The... read more

How can an eighteen year old who is haunted by the world’s problems possibly concentrate on chemistry and algebra? Raine Rassaby is a senior at St. Ursula’s Academy in New York City, but rather than study, she rescues wounded birds, arranges pilgrimages to nuclear missile silos, befriends street people, gets arrested, and organizes a group called St. Ursula’s Girls Against the Atomic Bomb. The... read more

In the Unlikely Event of a Water Landing:: A Geography of Grief

Christopher Noel

This literary memoir will appeal to anyone--man or woman, married or single--who has lost a loved one. Both touching and revealing in its exploration of the numbness of grief, Noel's achingly beautiful account of the hard work of coming to terms with the loss of someone who is deeply loved will console and educate those trying to comprehend the tremendous finality of loss.

This literary memoir will appeal to anyone--man or woman, married or single--who has lost a loved one. Both touching and revealing in its exploration of the numbness of grief, Noel's achingly beautiful account of the hard work of coming to terms with the loss of someone who is deeply loved will console and educate those trying to comprehend the tremendous finality of loss.

The Famous Thing About Death: And Other Stories

Lisa Sandlin

"These are wonderful stories--passionate, fierce, reckless, and scrupulously written... Sandlin's characters are flawed and broken people, but their stories are not a lament. They're about the power to create beauty and healing from loneliness and pain."--Rick DeMarinis

"These are wonderful stories--passionate, fierce, reckless, and scrupulously written... Sandlin's characters are flawed and broken people, but their stories are not a lament. They're about the power to create beauty and healing from loneliness and pain."--Rick DeMarinis

The Collapsible World: A Novel

Anne N. Marino

"A fresh, vibrant, and subtly powerful debut novel of loss and redemption."―Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting Written in the tautest prose, this portrait of a family on the verge of collapse shimmers with the heat and dissipated fog of October in San Francisco. Lillie returns home one night to discover that her mother has disappeared. She is left to care for her father, a drug-addicted ane... read more

"A fresh, vibrant, and subtly powerful debut novel of loss and redemption."―Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting Written in the tautest prose, this portrait of a family on the verge of collapse shimmers with the heat and dissipated fog of October in San Francisco. Lillie returns home one night to discover that her mother has disappeared. She is left to care for her father, a drug-addicted ane... read more

The Boy on the Bus: A Novel

Deborah Schupack

Meg Landry expected it to be a day like any other -- her asthmatic eight-year-old son would step off the bus, home from school. But on this day, the boy on the bus doesn't seem to be Meg's son. Though he shares Charlie's copper hair, tea-brown eyes, and slight frame, there is something profoundly, if indefinably, different about him. In the wake of Meg's quiet alarm, her far-flung family retur... read more

Meg Landry expected it to be a day like any other -- her asthmatic eight-year-old son would step off the bus, home from school. But on this day, the boy on the bus doesn't seem to be Meg's son. Though he shares Charlie's copper hair, tea-brown eyes, and slight frame, there is something profoundly, if indefinably, different about him. In the wake of Meg's quiet alarm, her far-flung family retur... read more

Between Camelots (Pitt Drue Heinz Lit Prize)

David Harris Ebenbach

Winner of the 2005 Drue Heinz Literature PrizeBetween Camelots is about the struggle to forge relationships and the spaces that are left when that effort falls short. In the title story, a man at a backyard barbecue waits for a blind date who never shows up. He meets a stranger who advises him to give up the fight; to walk away from intimacy altogether and stop getting hurt. The wisdom—or fool... read more

Winner of the 2005 Drue Heinz Literature PrizeBetween Camelots is about the struggle to forge relationships and the spaces that are left when that effort falls short. In the title story, a man at a backyard barbecue waits for a blind date who never shows up. He meets a stranger who advises him to give up the fight; to walk away from intimacy altogether and stop getting hurt. The wisdom—or fool... read more

Grace Period: My Ordination to the Ordinary

Melinda Worth Popham

Author Melinda Worth Popham left home for Yale Divinity School at age fifty-six after a barrage of painful life events-above all, the nightmare of her teenage daughter's life-threatening depression. These events brought her to her knees, and a monastic method of meditation became her mainstay as well as her portal to the holy. This memoir, Grace Period, tells the story of one mother's experien... read more

Author Melinda Worth Popham left home for Yale Divinity School at age fifty-six after a barrage of painful life events-above all, the nightmare of her teenage daughter's life-threatening depression. These events brought her to her knees, and a monastic method of meditation became her mainstay as well as her portal to the holy. This memoir, Grace Period, tells the story of one mother's experien... read more

#TeachOurGirls: Waging War Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

Lieutenant Tierra Kendrick

Tierra A. Kendrick, a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army, is a Memphis, Tennessee native who graduated from Middle Tennessee State University. Her life experiences along with her passion for world progression and the well-being of others has led to her growth in advocating for education and human rights. As an initiative of the International Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Preve... read more

Tierra A. Kendrick, a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army, is a Memphis, Tennessee native who graduated from Middle Tennessee State University. Her life experiences along with her passion for world progression and the well-being of others has led to her growth in advocating for education and human rights. As an initiative of the International Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Preve... read more

Blood Orange Soda: Paranormal Romance

James Michael Larranaga

"A Standout paranormal YA novel." Kirkus ReviewsA surprisingly Affecting vampire story.Larranaga’s debut YA novel focuses on high school freshman Darius Hunter, who lives in a world where vampires live among normal humans. Young vampires like Darius are kept on a government-mandated medication that prevents them from becoming fully undead until they’re 18. He’s smart, sensitive and all-too hum... read more

"A Standout paranormal YA novel." Kirkus ReviewsA surprisingly Affecting vampire story.Larranaga’s debut YA novel focuses on high school freshman Darius Hunter, who lives in a world where vampires live among normal humans. Young vampires like Darius are kept on a government-mandated medication that prevents them from becoming fully undead until they’re 18. He’s smart, sensitive and all-too hum... read more

In the Company of Wolves: Thinning The Herd (FBI Thriller Series Book 1)

James Michael Larranaga

Set near Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota just after the New Year, "In the Company of Wolves" is a Thriller by James Michael Larranaga that intermingles the scent of deception and deceit, and the redolence of victory as right triumphs over wrong and the wolves are kept at bay. Quin Lighthorn is a bounty hunter who gets a job as an Intern at Safe Haven LLC after their current intern disappears with... read more

Set near Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota just after the New Year, "In the Company of Wolves" is a Thriller by James Michael Larranaga that intermingles the scent of deception and deceit, and the redolence of victory as right triumphs over wrong and the wolves are kept at bay. Quin Lighthorn is a bounty hunter who gets a job as an Intern at Safe Haven LLC after their current intern disappears with... read more

The Vials of Our Wrath: Concerto for Rachel, Book One

Mark Leo Tapper

Honorable Mention, 2017 American Library Association Indie E-Books, Science FictionIn the halcyon days of the twenty-third century, human beings are healthier, more beautiful, and more long-lived than ever before thanks to regeneration therapy from the Global Health Directorate. The assassination of a Directorate scientist starts a war between a genocidal bureaucracy and a group of self-mutila... read more

Honorable Mention, 2017 American Library Association Indie E-Books, Science FictionIn the halcyon days of the twenty-third century, human beings are healthier, more beautiful, and more long-lived than ever before thanks to regeneration therapy from the Global Health Directorate. The assassination of a Directorate scientist starts a war between a genocidal bureaucracy and a group of self-mutila... read more

The Girl Who Spoke with Giants: A Novel

Christopher Noël

Twelve-year-old Pamela Manchester is an autistic savant whose reputation for amazing feats of memory and perception is quickly spreading. Large crowds flock to her live performances. YouTube and Facebook fame are gaining momentum. Back home in rural Minnesota, however, the girl has different priorities altogether. If not for her ambitious father, managing her "career," she would be happy just ... read more

Twelve-year-old Pamela Manchester is an autistic savant whose reputation for amazing feats of memory and perception is quickly spreading. Large crowds flock to her live performances. YouTube and Facebook fame are gaining momentum. Back home in rural Minnesota, however, the girl has different priorities altogether. If not for her ambitious father, managing her "career," she would be happy just ... read more

Riding the Dog: My Father's Journey Home--A Memoir

Jan Groft

On a late spring day, a daughter waits at the airport for her parents' plane to land and a summer visit to begin. Before the summer is over, however, her father will come to live--and die--in her sunroom. And her newfound faith in her heavenly father will uphold her as she learns how to let go of the earthly father she adores. But so much more happens in that brief season: a century of family ... read more

On a late spring day, a daughter waits at the airport for her parents' plane to land and a summer visit to begin. Before the summer is over, however, her father will come to live--and die--in her sunroom. And her newfound faith in her heavenly father will uphold her as she learns how to let go of the earthly father she adores. But so much more happens in that brief season: a century of family ... read more

Artichokes & City Chicken: Reflections on Faith, Grief, and My Mother’s Italian Cooking

Jan Groft

Years after her mother’s death, author Jan Groft finally faces the silence and secrets that separated them. Prompted by a prolonged struggle with writer’s block, she embarks on a journey of listening with the heart. Part memoir, part spiritual guide, Artichokes & City Chicken is a candid and poignant encounter with unresolved grief. Like the recipes of Groft’s mother sprinkled between chapters... read more

Years after her mother’s death, author Jan Groft finally faces the silence and secrets that separated them. Prompted by a prolonged struggle with writer’s block, she embarks on a journey of listening with the heart. Part memoir, part spiritual guide, Artichokes & City Chicken is a candid and poignant encounter with unresolved grief. Like the recipes of Groft’s mother sprinkled between chapters... read more

Christopher has 13 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Leeam Aldouby
Chris was very concise and was able to pinpoint problems and suggest solutions. He also indicated which parts of the novel he liked. As this is my first novel, all these comments and suggestions helped me enormously. Would not hesitate to recommend him to any aspiring writer.

Leeam Aldouby, September 2021


Benson Branch
Very helpful comments, particularly on structure, that is, scene vs. summary.

Benson Branch, September 2021


Rocky Adams
Noel exceeded my expectations. He was kind and supportive throughout. His input was on the mark and professional. I'm looking forward to working with Noel again at the completion of my project.

Rocky Adams, September 2021


Robert Krieg
By identifying my well handled passages, Christopher Noel directed me to those needing improvement as he assessed my debut manuscript. Now I have six major conditions to focus on during my extensive edit. Thank you Chris!

Robert Krieg, July 2021


Jeff Bender
Chris has been absolutely awesome. He is punctual, kind and upbeat. His remarks and suggestions are peppered with insight and wisdom, as well as compliments. He has a way of making recommendations that are detailed and straight-forward, yet professional. He made many great catches on my manuscript that gave my writing more clarity and helped me weave together various themes that before had bee...
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Jeff Bender, July 2021

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