As a published author, successful mentor, long-time member of critique groups, and with an MFA in Creative Writing, I’ve read literally thousands of manuscript pages and learned how to:
- See the big picture
- Spot issues in plot or character arc, especially the emotional development of the MC
- Articulate why elements need work
- Brainstorm how to improve the manuscript
My experience primarily is with middle grade and young adult fiction, kidlit memoir, and graphic novels though I do read adult fiction in romance, thriller, and sci-fi.
Though I LOVE talking about my writer friends and their successes, it’s tough talking about myself. So, I asked a few others to do it! I’m excited for you and your journey as a writer, and I would love to help you take steps ahead to reach the next level. Happy writing!
“Rebecca has lent her keen editorial eye to several of my manuscripts, most recently my historical middle-grade novel DOG STAR (FSG, 2022). I've worked with and trusted Rebecca's feedback for over ten years. She's consistently given valuable guidance to push me to produce the best literature I can. She examines all elements of a story (character, plot, pacing, etc) and sees how to make each stronger while also finding synergy between the elements so a story feels cohesive. I've had several of those golden ‘aha!’ moments after reading her notes! I highly recommend Rebecca's services and will continue to work with her on my own future novels.” Megan Shepherd, NYT bestselling author
"Before I worked with Rebecca, I queried my manuscript, WHILE I WAS AWAY (HarperCollins, 2021), but was rejected with comments such as 'great premise, but I didn't connect with the voice.' Through working with Rebecca through PitchWars, she helped me restructure my story, find my voice, and learn so much about writing in the process. After PitchWars, I actually received compliments on my voice. I also found my agent and my story ended up selling at auction in a 2-book deal. Rebecca helped me so much and I am forever grateful for her expertise and kind guidance." Waka T. Brown
“Rebecca was my Pitch Wars mentor, and I can say for certain that without her, I would have probably given up on trying to write for children. I felt completely alone and lost in my writing journey and Rebecca not only helped me reimagine my manuscript, she provided both the emotional and writing support that I needed to get it to the finish line. I learned so much about plot and character development from her. She is a manuscript wizard, and I know she is the reason I eventually had five offers of representation from agents and landed an amazing book deal on the book she helped me edit. And, to top it all off, she might be the kindest, most generous person I know.” Rhonda Roumani, debut forthcoming from Union Square & Co.
"Rebecca Petruck is simply a genius when it comes to plot and character. She has the unique ability to not only understand the big picture of a story and pinpoint the problems—but she also brainstorms ways to fix them. Whenever I find myself stuck, Rebecca is the first person I turn to for help.” Amber Smith, NYT bestselling author
“Rebecca is the best in the business! She has a gift for seeing through all of the noise and finding the heart of the stories I’m trying to tell—I run every manuscript by her before sharing with my agent or editor.” Jessica Vitalis, author of THE WOLF’S CURSE and THE RABBIT’S GIFT
“Rebecca is truly the plot whisperer. She helped me find the heart of my novel so that it hit all the right turning points on posing an exciting story question, building suspense and developing characters along the way, and wrapping it up with a satisfying answer that affected all the characters in the book. She is an expert at weaving inner and outer journeys together within the story world and knowing just how and when to linger with a character to evoke genuine emotions in the reader. Rebecca is an incredible artist and teacher. I feel so lucky to have worked with her and would do it again in a heartbeat!” Alexis Larkin, GO BIG OR GO GLITTER forthcoming from Scholastic
"Rebecca has been an integral part of my writing process for several years, always pointing me toward truly heartfelt and smart writing. Without her, I would not have been able to find the root of the story I was telling in THE WOLF OF CAPE FEN, the plotting structure in A WILDER MAGIC, or have the confidence and guts to write the story I needed to tell in MONSTERS IN THE MIST." Juliana Brandt
“I first worked with Rebecca through a mentorship program, and she was invaluable in helping me strengthen my plot and polish my middle grade novel, LET THE MONSTER OUT, forthcoming from Amulet Books/Abrams Kids in May 2022. Along with her keen editorial eye, Rebecca's encouraging approach and knowledge of the middle grade market supported me through the revision process and the journey to publication.” Chad Lucas
"I first met Rebecca at an SCBWI conference, and as a group of us sat around chatting about our stories and plotting problems, I was amazed at how naturally and quickly Rebecca came up with helpful ideas for everyone sitting around the table. Rebecca's a natural troubleshooter and sees plot in a way that few writers do. Months later I pulled out an old idea about sticking a great-grandmother in a freezer and began to work on it again. While I wrote SIX FEET BELOW ZERO, I knew it would be helpful to talk through my logic with Rebecca, and I was right. If you're starting a project, or in the middle of one, and need plot help, I wouldn't hesitate to call on Rebecca. She is AMAZING!" Ena Jones
“I’ve never known anyone with an eye for big picture revision like Rebecca. She’s able to pinpoint what is working, identify what needs to be changed, and offer ideas on how to make those changes without stepping on a writer’s artistic vision. Rebecca is well versed in the craft of writing and well read on marketplace trends. When I find myself wrestling with a manuscript, Rebecca is the first person I turn to for advice. I’ve learned so much from her in the years I have spent in her critique group and find her friendship and writing guidance invaluable.” Kami Kinard, author of THE BOY PROJECT and THE BOY PROBLEM
"I knew from the very first emails I exchanged with Rebecca that working with her was what I needed to bring my manuscript to the next level. She has an unmatched talent for crafting satisfying plots and getting to the emotional heart of a story. In fact, when we first started working together for Pitch Wars, she suggested a new way of approaching my story’s structure that finally made everything click for me! What’s more, Rebecca always honored my vision for my manuscript, and her kind feedback was exactly what I needed to stay motivated through revisions. Thanks to her expertise, I was fortunate enough to land four offers of representation from literary agents. Working with Rebecca was truly one of the most rewarding experiences of my writing journey so far and I would recommend her to anyone at any stage of their writing career!" Emily Deibert, represented by Kurestin Armada at Root Literary
"Rebecca has a gift for drawing out the best experience possible for readers. She identified some impossibilities in my original plot, offering creative solutions for each element along the way. I often struggle with developing my protagonists' inner conflicts, but Rebecca was a great help in this regard. Not only did she guide me toward a stronger emotional journey for my main character, but she thought of ways to tie that inner conflict to the story's external action. After revising my story using Rebecca's ideas, my querying request rate improved, and I ultimately received two offers of representation. Rebecca is truly one of the reasons I'm now an agented writer." Matthew Gorgans, represented by Sarah N. Fisk at The Tobias Literary Agency
In 2013, upon the sale of my debut novel, I began working with ABRAMS/Amulet, publisher of my follow-up novel as well. During this time I also taught numerous workshops on plotting one's novel, coached authors in developing projects and planning revisions, and extended my manuscript services to a wide variety of genres for assessment and editing.
As part of the Great Smokies Writing Program, I co-teach a 5- and 10-week workshop, Heart of the Story: Writing for Children and Young Adults. In this course, we review the fundamentals of good storytelling and workshop student pages.
Writing in the Margins was a mentoring opportunity organized by Justina Ireland to support writers of color and others from marginalized communities. I worked with two mentees, one of whom has two novels published/forthcoming that we worked on during our time together.
Pitch Wars was a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns chose one writer each to spend three months revising their manuscript. It ended with an Agent Showcase, where agents read a pitch/first page and requested to read more. I mentored eight writers, with several published and forthcoming novels as a result.
SCBWI Carolinas hosted a four-month mentoring program which focused on developing fundamentals of writing and storytelling. I worked with six writers in four years, in a system of monthly packets due, including reading and writing assignments.
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Full-time editor specializing in memoirs, nonfiction and fiction, esp. Christian contemporary and historical | Debut to best-selling authors
Trad. published author, Author Accelerator Certified Fiction Book Coach, 7-year Pitch Wars mentor. Helping you meet your publishing goals.