Local novelist helps writers achieve publishing goals

Shelburne native and New York Times novelist Eric Rickstad has started a new venture to help other writers hone their craft and improve their chances of getting published.

Rickstad, author of the acclaimed novel “Reap” published by Viking/Penguin, and numerous published articles and short stories decided to start idea2book after many writers sought his advice regarding their writing and how to get published.

“There are many talented writers who have no access to a published, professional writer that can give them the caliber of honest feedback, editing, and guidance they want to help polish their work,” Rickstad says. “Often, MFA programs and other college writing classes don’t offer the flexibility in schedule or the one-on-one attention many writers seek, and in which I specialize.”

Eric’s desire to start idea2book stemmed from wanting to help other writers as his mentors helped him. He received a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in fiction writing from the University of Virginia where, under the mentorship of writers like Deborah Eisenberg, a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Genius Award, he crafted his first novel “Reap.” “‘Reap’ was pretty raw at the beginning,” he says. “‘Promising, yet unpublishable,’ they commented. But with the close attention mentors and published novelists gave my work, I was able to turn it into a successful novel published by Viking/Penguin.”

In addition to being published, Rickstad has taught at the University of Virginia, Boston University, and at Emerson College’s graduate MFA program.

“I love teaching and believe strongly in helping other writers, whether they are working on novels, memoirs, or short stories. Having published writers give my work their attention was invaluable, and I’d never have enjoyed the publishing success I’ve had without it.”

Rickstad pays special attention to helping writers cultivate their individual talent, and uncovering the strengths of each writer’s singular voice and storytelling ability, while editing and advising on how to improve pacing, story arc, character development, and structure. “The goal is to get writers to write their best,” he says, “whether their goal is traditional publication, self publication, or writing for themselves and for family.”

Additionally, this coming fall  Rickstad will teach a yearlong fiction writing class that meets once a month at the Writers’ Barn in Shelburne, and is titled, “Start or Finish your Novel.”

If you’re a writer working on a novel, memoir, or stories, and want help improving your chances of publication, or just want insights and feedback on how to write you very best, contact Eric at (802) 375-2720 or at idea2book@yahoo.com.

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