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“I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the time, effort and energy you put into making my piece shine. … You made my work feel seen and gave it the space and weight and attention it deserved, and in doing that you gave me value as an artist.” — Malaka Gharib, author of I Was Their American Dream

Joyce Chen $120/hr

Services Offered

  • One-on-One coaching sessions
  • Read Complete Manuscript
  • Read first 15 pages of manuscript and provide feedback
  • Read individual pieces of short fiction or nonfiction up to 10,000 words

Available For

  • Freelance Writing/Pitching
  • Guidance in applying for awards/residencies
  • Guidance in submissions to magazines or publishers
  • Line-Editing/Copyediting
  • Literary Journalism
  • Marketing/Promotion
  • Memoir
  • Personal Essay
  • Preparing applications for College/MFA/etc.
  • Query Letter
  • Short Fiction

“I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the time, effort and energy you put into making my piece shine. … You made my work feel seen and gave it the space and weight and attention it deserved, and in doing that you gave me value as an artist.” — Malaka Gharib, author of I Was Their American Dream

Joyce Chen is a writer, editor, and community builder who draws inspiration from many waterlogged cities. She has covered entertainment and human interest stories for Rolling Stone, Refinery29, the New York Daily News, and People, among others, and her creative writing credits include Poets & Writers, Lit Hub, Narratively, and Slantd, among others. She frequently contributes op-eds to Paste magazine, and writes book reviews for Orion and Hyphen magazines. She is a proud VONA alum and was a 2019-2020 Hugo House fellow. She is also the executive director of The Seventh Wave, an arts and literary nonprofit that champions art in the space of social issues.

Joyce is currently working on a collection of essays that examine the friction that arises from living with two sets of values that are often at odds with one another — the American ideals of independence and self-fulfillment and the Taiwanese values of family, community, and sacrifice — as experienced through different modes of time perception. She is represented by Trevor Ketner at the Ladderbird Literary Agency.

Working Style

I am a big believer that the relationship between a writer and an editor is a sacred one that neither party should take lightly, which is why I invest a substantial amount of time and energy into getting to know YOU first before we even start to dive into what’s on the page. As the Executive Director for The Seventh Wave, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with dozens of incredible writers and artists each year for the past five years, and our working relationships often extend far beyond the point of publish.

To kick off our time together, regardless of what service you’re looking for, I offer a free 15-minute consultation, during which we can learn a little more about each other: your preferred working style, your hopes for your piece or manuscript, and any road blocks you’re hitting as you try to finesse your draft. I can fill you in on my editing style (which is admittedly very hands-on!), and we can determine whether or not this feels like a good fit. From there, we can set up a game plan for a timeline and meeting frequency that feels right for your project or piece.

In general, you can expect plenty of in-line notes and marginalia on your pieces, as well as a substantial summary at the end that points to patterns and areas of improvement, with suggestions for how to dig into and strengthen the work. (For manuscript-length work, I will provide at minimum 6 typed pages; for individual one-off essays or stories, I will provide at minimum 1 typed page.) I view my role as a creative coach who is helping you to identify the core of your work and how to strengthen it, versus as an instructor who will give you easy answers. If you’re looking for someone who will lovingly push you to be your most honest, vulnerable, risk-taking self on the page, I’m your gal.

Availability

I’m available year-round, for either weekly or monthly meetings. As a full-time freelance journalist, my schedule is often full but flexible. I prefer to meet in-person (or at very least, over Zoom) for our initial consultation, and am happy to communicate via email or over the phone from there.

Feedback for larger projects (full manuscript) may require an in-person chat or over the phone, but feedback for shorter projects/pieces (one-off stories or essays) can take place via email, dependent on what we agree upon.

I’m happy to hop on a free 15-minute consultation call, and only require that you let me know if there are any hard deadlines you're up again before we dive into the project, so I can be mindful of how to structure our time together.

Interests

For me, any sort of writing or creative pursuit is an extension of the person who is at the helm, and so I care less about the classification of a piece or manuscript and more about the human behind the work. My professional background is in journalism and creative nonfiction, so work that speaks from personal experience or deep research/inquiry into a specific subject are my forte, but I also enjoy diving into short stories, hybrid works, and especially work that cannot be easily classified by genre. My goal as your manuscript consultant is to get to the heart of the story you want to tell, together, and then guide you gently to bring that into being on the page. I enjoy helping folks develop as writers at all stages of their writing career, so am happy to offer guidance on everything from applications for MFA programs to submitting to literary journals to drafting up the perfect book proposal. Also, as a Taiwanese-American writer, I am particular keen to help marginalized writers (BIPOC, LGBTQ+) find and then amplify their voices through their work.