TESTIMONIALS

I wrote an essay about Laurie Colwin’s tomato pie and how much I loved it and Laurie Colwin’s writing. Michelle Wildgen, as only the best editors do, read that essay and saw so much more in it. By asking the exact right questions, Michelle had me see so much more in it too. With her comments, I expanded it a lot, and because of her editorial skills and intelligence, “Tomato Pie” won a Best Food Writing Award in 2014!—Ann Hood, NYT Best-selling author most recently of Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food


With Michelle’s guidance, my first personal essay landed in a top-tier journal and was later reprinted in two major anthologies. I found the process so exciting that I switched to nonfiction entirely. One of my next essays, a spin-off of the one Michelle led me through, was chosen for The Best American Essays 2017, and I now have a memoir forthcoming with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I can honestly say that working with Michelle Wildgen changed my career, my creative focus, and my understanding of what it means to write well. You want Michelle Wildgen in your corner. Alia Volz, author of Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco


Michelle Wildgen is my dream editor. Her editorial process feels like being gently lifted out of my own limitations and shown a wider, bigger view of my work than I’d had before—she’s like a guide in a hot-air balloon showing me the rough edges and incongruent shapes in the landscape I couldn’t see for myself, and then offering possible tools and strategies for improving it. She’s inspiring, challenging, and brilliant. —Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author of The Last Cruise


Michelle Wildgen is at the top of a selective list of editors I recommend to clients. As a novelist and longtime Tin House editor, she understands the creative process from the inside out. She is gracious, thorough, thoughtful, and supportive -- everything a writer could hope for. She will elevate your work and help you find the story you truly want to tell. As a bonus, she brings an insider's perspective to the publishing world and offers a roadmap for next steps--query letters, agent searches, publishing houses, literary magazines, conferences, and more. Sometimes hiring a freelance editor can feel like a risky and expensive endeavor. Rest assured, Michelle Wildgen is the best of the best.—Julie Stevenson, Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents


She’s a tremendous editor, careful, funny, loving, delicate but tough and clear-minded: one of the most thorough I’ve come across, and I’ve been edited a lot.—John Freeman, literary critic and publisher of Freeman’s Biannual, former editor of Granta


I would not write another book without Michelle Wildgen’s help. She has a keen sense of structural development—and a genius for figuring what tiny crucial piece is missing from a story that, once added, transforms the entirety. She is also terrific about spotting clarity issues, while respecting the sound and style of a writer’s language. She is my number one resource for finishing manuscripts and probably the reason I was able to land my dream agent and complete my last book.—Leigh Newman, author of Still Points North


Michelle skillfully addresses the weaknesses in your writing, and helps you solve them by working in the direction of your strengths. She knows the right questions to ask and when to ask them, and frames them so deftly you feel that you have magically solved the problem yourself. Simply put, she not only makes the work infinitely better, she makes you a better writer.—Elissa Schappell, author of Use Me and Blueprints for Building Better Girls


I loved working with Michelle Wildgen. It’s the passion and love she brought to the task of editing that inspired me, and made me believe in myself and my story. She’s the perfect guide through the dark and tangled forest of fiction.—Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish and, most recently, Extraordinary Adventures


I honestly don’t know where I’d be without Michelle Wildgen. I met her at the Tin House Summer Writers Conference back in 2007. I told her about this story I had been working on, she said send it to me. I did. With grace and sober insight, she pushed that story beyond what I thought was the ending, and then published it in the magazine. It was nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. Years later, I met Michelle again after my long-gestated novel had crashed and burned. The Tin House Writers Conference is the best place to lick writerly wounds. I arrived with a story, which the workshop told me had no middle. I worked on the middle, sent it to Michelle and, again, with grace and surgical precision, she made me justify every indulgent flourish. She published the story. It won the Pushcart Prize and was included in the Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy. None of my other stories, those unseen by Michelle, have done as well. Need I say more?—Elizabeth Ziemska, author of Mandelbrot the Magnificent


Michelle is simultaneously no-nonsense and encouraging with writers—a rare gift—and over the last decade-plus of writing for her, her thoughtful advice has always made me glad my work is in her hands, where I never doubt it will be well cared for and helped to flourish on its own terms.—Katie Arnold Ratliff, Articles Editor at O, the Oprah Magazine, and author of Bright Before Us


Michelle convinced me to trust the editing process. Our back-and-forth taught me what kind of literary alchemy can happen when a writer trusts an editor, and vice versa. I have written for Michelle several times, and each time I have become a better writer with her guidance.—Sara Roahen, author of Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table


Half of knowledge is knowing where to find it. I was in workshops non-stop for many years, and was fortunate enough to get a Stegner fellowship in fiction. I felt like I should know what I was doing, and I sort of did, but couldn’t seem to finish a draft of a novel. I knew the mechanics fairly well but couldn’t make them work for my vision. I kept trying to write on my own for years, but I finally admitted I couldn't and signed up for another class, this one with Michelle Wildgen. She not only helped me not only finish a first draft but make sense of all that needed to be done afterwards to make it a novel I’d be proud of. Michelle’s line edits go above and beyond anything I could have expected and deepened my understanding of technique with practical applications. I recommend Michelle to writers at any level--whether you're just starting to write or you’ve gotten an MFA and already started publishing, she will make you a better writer.—Rita Mae Reese, author of The Book of Hulga


Michelle’s sharp editorial eye and generous responsiveness to a writers’ concerns are absolutely amazing. I went through an entire MFA program and never had someone pay as meticulous attention to something I wrote as Michelle did in working with me on my story for Tin House. If you're looking for a creative consultant you can email at four a.m. and get an insightful reply before lunch, Michelle is definitely who you want to work with.—Kristina Jipson, author of Halve