Catherine Drayton

YA speculative

October 10, 2017

Tara Goedjen spent her childhood moving around the country and then did the same thing as an adult. Now she’s in California, where you can usually find her working on her second novel near an espresso machine.

I received an MFA, so I spent about three years taking creative writing workshops and critiquing writers who have gone on to be agented or published. I’ve also worked as a university creative writing lecturer and as the managing editor for a small digital imprint. Currently, when I’m not writing, I do freelance editing for publishing houses, self-published authors and authors seeking agents.

I love books and I love talking story and figuring out ways to make it better. I’ve had some incredible mentors in my life so I’m looking forward to helping out an upcoming writer. Ideally I’d like to work with someone who is close to submission and who knows that the revision process tends to require a lot of time and effort before the novel is finally ready to go out.

I read just about any genre, though my favorites are magical realism, mystery, psychological thrillers, and some sci-fi. Setting is huge to me so I love when a place comes alive—whether it’s a specific geographic location or an imaginative world that I’ve never seen before. While I adore well-crafted prose, a good story, full of authenticity and heart, is even more important to me than what’s happening on the line. I’m drawn to both big-premise novels and quieter ones bolstered by intriguing, complex characters or a voice that shines, but I’m not always the best fit for epic fantasy or novels that are heavy on pop-culture references or sexual content.
I’m a big fan of encouraging writers: I’ll always identify the elements I love in a manuscript, but I’m also going to be honest and point out the aspects that need to be improved, along with the areas that are slow/confusing/need to be cut. I personally enjoy receiving a lot of feedback with my own work and this carries over to the work that I critique for others. Depending on the state of the manuscript, I might leave comments as I go using track changes in the margins and/or make line edits. After reading, I always write an editorial letter addressing any bigger issues and questions I might have. Tangential details: I tend to prefer written feedback over the phone, and I also have a two-month-old and a busy schedule, so while I’ll spend a lot of energy thinking about a manuscript once I read it, we may need to be flexible with start times.

My ideal mentee is someone who is passionate, professional, and ready to hone their manuscript. I enjoy working with a writer who values constructive criticism, and who also knows their story and vision well enough to only take on board what resonates with them.

Books: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter, The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy, The Duke of Bannerman Prep by Katie A. Nelson, The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, Affinity by Sarah Waters, Beloved by Toni Morrison, anything by Shirley Jackson or William Gay…I could go on but I should probably stop myself! TV: Stranger Things, The Expanse, GoT. Movies: The Princess Bride, Arrival, Donnie Darko, The Usual Suspects, Shutter Island, Fargo, Stardust.