Misha Lazzara holds three degrees in English--an undergraduate degree in English (Cum Laude) from the University of Texas Tyler, a Master’s Degree in English with a focus in creative writing from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from NC State University’s highly selective and fully-funded MFA program, both graduate degrees were completed with a 4.0 GPA. Misha received experience and instruction in critiquing works in fiction, memoir and poetry through her graduate studies. She was instructed in writing pedagogy and best tutoring practices while working at UNCC’s Writing Resources Center. Misha has also taught creative writing (fiction and nonfiction), as well as composition at the collegiate level. Misha’s debut novel, MANMADE CONSTELLATIONS, is out with Blackstone Publishing on August 1, 2022. Misha is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize 2020 at NCSU. Visit her author website, Mishalazzara.com, for more information.
On a personal note. Between undergrad and graduate school, I spent eight years working on a draft of my novel, MANMADE CONSTELLATIONS. The problem was that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I tread metaphorical water for years, unsure of how to outline or structure the book, unclear on character development, how and where to add tension, how to connect setting to story in meaningful ways, et cetera. I spent a decade of my life in literature and creative writing classes before I felt confident enough to send a completed draft to an agent (perfectionism is a blessing and a curse in creative writing). Beyond issues of perfectionism, I simply knew I was missing key information. Of course, there are writers out there who never step foot in a writing class and not every writer needs to (but many of those writers have writing groups, writing conferences, coaches, beta readers, agents, editors, proofreaders, marketers, publicists and more behind them--contrary to popular belief, writing is rarely a solo enterprise. Just check the “Acknowledgements” section of your favorite books). If you have the sense that you’re missing key ingredients in reaching your writing goals--that’s what I’m here for. I’m here to guide you to that next step up, meeting you wherever you are on your writing journey, and building from there.
I believe writing is a learned skill that can be improved upon, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this work. I’ve taught students with varying degrees of “natural talent,” but in the end, those who continue to read and persist in their writing practices will improve the most and have the most potential. This is the basis of my coaching philosophy--strategic reading, regular writing, being open to feedback, and persistence. While I will thoroughly critique your work, I will do so respectfully and positively. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be significant rewrites or revisions suggested, only that I will use constructive criticism, enthusiasm, and encouragement, working to play on your strengths, while also focusing on what needs improvement.
If receiving feedback on your work makes you nervous or you believe that overt criticism or “tough love” would exhaust you (or scare you off of writing forever), I’m here for you. “Real talk” or “straight-to-the-point” is not how I learned to write my best. Beyond that, “good writing” can feel subjective, and what one editor insists isn’t working might be another reader’s favorite aspect of your work. I’ve watched those conversations play out in workshop after workshop, and I fear that an overly-prescriptive, demeaning or demanding editorial style pulls away from enhancing an individual’s unique style. I won’t insist that you always follow my lead or employ each and every one of my critiques to the nose, only that you are open to learn and revise, recognize your strengths, acknowledge areas that would benefit from improvement, trust your own instincts, and write (and read) regularly.
I am always happy to schedule a no-cost phone call to discuss your work. If your writing fits outside of the fiction genre, we could focus on copy editing (as opposed to content development), the writing process, creative blocks (my general advice is that these are fixed by routine), weekly accountability meetings and a plan-of-action to help move forward. Consider whether a writing coach with expertise in topic-derived (self-help, academic, finance, dogs) nonfiction might better serve you. If you are interested in receiving coaching, but your writing falls out of the general purview of fiction, please email with questions and specifics.