What Our Clients Are Saying

January 22, 2013


Tricia McDonald saved my life. Well, maybe that’s too dramatic of a statement, even coming from a fiction writer. But here is the truth: Tricia saved my novel. After years of toiling on a book-length manuscript and never finishing, the muse moved out and frustration moved in. The characters didn’t know what they wanted and the plot lacked focus. I was “telling” and not “showing.” Worse, I had no empathy for my protagonist. If I didn’t like her, how could I convince a literary agent to take me on as a client? I told Tricia I was done.

But Tricia, being a true mentor, had other ideas. She reviewed the work and then we talked. Rather, she listened as I complained and whined and talked of chucking the manuscript and moving on to another story idea.

And then the magic happened. Tricia said, “I think your book would work if you changed protagonists.”

What a forehead-slapping moment! Of course that would work!

We spoke about repositioning characters and how that would affect the plot and agreed that it was not only a logical solution, it was golden.

Using a printed copy, Tricia helped me reorganize more than 65 scenes into a logical sequence. With the new protagonist in mind, we identified missing plot points and made a scene list that became a new outline. In the course of a few hours my manuscript went from potential landfill material to a viable concept for a book. Everything began to look possible.

On February 1, I set out to rewrite the novel to switch an important support character to the lead role. During the process I fell in love with all of my characters and created a few new ones to help tell the story.

On April 15, I held a completed first draft of the novel in my hands. It was a moment that ranks up there with my wedding and the birth of my two kids.

In the course of a few months I went from struggling writer to novelist. Tricia showed me the way to make that dream a reality.

~Elle Madison
Author of Mental

Tricia McDonald is a fabulous writing mentor/midwife. She guided me through the writing process, first by listening and asking questions to help me figure out where I needed to go in my novel. Then she offered encouragement and advice based on her personal writing experiences as well as techniques and tips learned from other writers and writing instructors.

Tricia read my manuscript several times, each time offering suggestions that helped me clarify the story, making it tighter and better. And even at this stage, where I am sending my baby out into the world, she encourages, prods, and plies me with possible publishers and contests.

Tricia, you rock! (as my students would say.)

~ Sarah M.


Having this class (Writing Work-Out) to go to gives me a reason to get the words and stories in my head written on paper.  I have the beginning of a very good novel going and I try to get at least 3 pages down every week.  Sometimes I’m writing them right before I go to class.  If I didn’t have this class to go to I’m not sure I would even have started it.     

~Marcia O.

The value of the A Writing Passage classes are in the process; anybody can go to a community college, community ed, or writer’s group and get information on writing. We all have access to a Barnes and Noble, Borders or Amazon where we can stockpile more advice about writing than we will ever have time to read, all good stuff.

Still, there is something about being in a small group with custom built classes designed specifically to move your own work along that make the experience relevant to a diverse group of writers. Novice writers have the benefit of having their work critiqued by published authors, published writers have their own personal focus group to polish up, inspire or just applaud them on to new heights.

I have taken more college classes than I care to admit, been a member of several writer’s groups, have a library full of books on writing from the best in the business, have so many subscriptions to writers magazines my mailman wants me to get a bigger box- yet this class is the single one thing that has moved my writing forward! Here’s to that List the New York Times puts out!

~ Kim F.

Tricia …

1. Is amazingly perceptive
2. Is an affable preceptor–she’ll charm you into getting it right.
3. Is a personable word doctor.
4. Is a stickler with a smile.
5. Has a deftness for treating word aliments.
6. Breathes life into dead documents.
7. Has a canny knack for restoring fatal pieces.

~Al S.

“I write a lot in my profession, but had not penned anything for pleasure for many years. My involvement in the Writing Passages programs has revived my creative side, and the enjoyment I get from writing is renewed. Tricia has a unique ability to encourage, direct, and critique, allowing each participant to grow their writing skills.”

~ Don M.