MsFixit: Manuscript Help and Upcoming Workshops

IMG_0006Need help getting your novel or short story manuscript to the next level?
Elisabeth de Mariaffi is an award-nominated writer and teacher of creative writing, with years of experience evaluating manuscripts for private clientele.

New! Starting September, 2018: The Personal Master Class. For writers who are looking for longer-term guidance as they work through issues and complete a manuscript-in-progress, this one-on-one, five-month bespoke mentorship will help you get past the hurdles and finish that draft. Limited enrolment. Details below.

Manuscript Evaluation.

How does it work? A manuscript evaluation provides the writer with solid feedback on story, pacing, tension, and character development, and identifies any key issues that may be holding the manuscript back. We start with an initial meeting, by phone or Skype, to discuss the project. Elisabeth then offers a careful and thorough read of the work and delivers a set of comprehensive notes, normally ranging from five to twelve pages, outlining the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses, and offering concrete tools and solutions for improvement. A follow-up meeting, also by phone or Skype, allows further discussion of the work and next steps toward publication, as well as providing the writer with an opportunity to ask any lingering questions.

How long will it take to get feedback? Average wait time between initial meeting and delivery of editorial notes is normally no more than four weeks.

How much does it cost? A flat-fee rate is charged for all manuscript evaluations, depending on length of manuscript. Elisabeth offers a sliding-scale rate in select situations. Curious? Ask about rates here. 

Ready to book? Elisabeth is currently accepting clients for 2018. Reserve your spot now.

New! The Personal Master Class.

How does it work? This is a limited enrolment, one-on-one,  five-month mentorship program designed specifically to help you grow as a writer and complete your manuscript. We’ll set goals specific to you and your project, and work together to help you meet them. Regular deadlines and feedback, monthly meetings, and reading and writing exercises recommended just for you will allow you to take your draft (and all your writing!) to the next level.

Who should sign up? Writers with a manuscript that is in-progress but incomplete, or writers with a complete first draft who would like a more intensive mentorship experience than a simple manuscript evaluation can provide. Whether your goal is a finished first draft of your novel, a polished draft ready to be submitted to agents and editors, or a set of polished short stories, this bespoke service caters to you.

When does the course run? The program runs twice a year — start either on September 1st or February 1st.

What do you mean by “limited enrolment”? In order to make sure that each student gets the attention they and their project deserves, a maximum of three students will be admitted each term.

Can I do the program from anywhere? Yes! This mentorship is designed with your flexibility in mind, as a distance-based program. Meetings will be held using Skype or Google Hangouts… unless of course you happen to live in St. John’s.

Ready to book? For more information, fee schedule, and to register, contact Elisabeth here. 


Upcoming for Fall 2019: Catch Elisabeth teaching Intro to Creative Writing: Screenwriting at MUN in St. John’s– admission to this 12-week workshop is by portfolio only, and class will be capped at 12 students. Info below!


Engl 4920. Introduction to Creative Writing: Screenwriting. Tuesday evenings, 7-930, rm. aa3033, in the Arts and Administration Building, Elizabeth Avenue, St. John’s, NL.
This intensive workshop will focus on story architecture and script writing, with the goal of moving students from concept to first draft by the end of the semester, while comparing ways of thinking about craft and looking at select examples. Admission to the course is by way of a short writing portfolio which should include either 5-10 pages of a script, OR a 5 page treatment, OR 5 pages of fiction. Please also include a paragraph bio on your writing experience thusfar.
Portfolios are due by August 7 to


Elisabeth read my novel and provided comprehensive developmental notes on the manuscript…  It was really gratifying to have my work read so deeply and empathically and I now have a clear set of practical suggestions and direction to proceed upon. She was wonderful to work with and I got full value from her consultation. Thanks, Elisabeth! — Manuscript evaluation client David Morton

You are a superhero with x-ray vision for manuscripts. I learned so much from you. I have book lists. I have lists of writing techniques… And, most importantly, I am excited to work on my project because you gave me more than feedback—you gave me a direction. You are an intuitive, thoughtful, and intelligent teacher.  — UBC student Cara Violini 

It has been above and beyond my expectations. Your macro vision for the stories is right-on. Thank you so much for all of the thought you have put into the teaching of tools and techniques. — UBC student Jessica Torrens

Your input was fantastic … You have also given me so much more to go with for writing and I have become very excited about what the manuscript will end up being. — Manuscript evaluation client Natalie Catania


Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the critically acclaimed author of three books: the 4328779Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated short story collection How to Get Along with Women (Invisible Publishing, 2012), and the literary thrillers The Devil You Know (Harper Collins Canada, Simon and Schuster USA, 2015) and Hysteria (Harper Collins Canada, Titan UK, 2018).

Both a Globe and Mail Best Book and lucky number 13 on the NP100, the year end list at the National Post, The Devil You Know was optioned within months of publication and was shortlisted for the prestigious Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. Last year, the Hitchcock-inspired Hysteria again made both the Globe Best Book list and the Raddall Shortlist; Hysteria is currently nominated for the Evergreen Award in Ontario.

De Mariaffi’s poetry and short fiction have been widely published and praised in Canada, and have been shortlisted for the National Magazine Award. A former resident teacher in Toronto’s Now Hear This! writing program, she is a frequent guest lecturer in university classrooms and has taught in UBC’s Creative Writing MFA Programme. Born and raised in Toronto, de Mariaffi is herself a graduate of the University of Guelph MFA in Creative Writing. She makes her home in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Interested in booking  Elisabeth for your workshop series or retreat? Get in touch here.