Margo LaPierre is the editor of your dreams. Send her your manuscript and you’ll get it back in short order, accompanied by the kind of editorial advice and insight you need—at every stage of the work. Margo has an eye for structure, pacing, and extraordinary intuition about characters: what makes them tick (or not), how they change and why they act. She has a poet’s ear for the rhythms of language and imagery. Her long editorial letter and notes about the first draft of my new novel made me weep with the Gratitude of the Saved—it was a masterpiece of insight and support. She helped me see where the story lagged, or did not track, and pointed out where scenes or characters could put more (or less) flesh on the bones. All her comments were punctuated by the kind of encouragement that keeps a writer slogging onward. It’s a rare privilege to work with such a wise and precise literary editor.
—Kate Manning, author of Beautiful Radiant Things (Scribner), My Notorious Life (Scribner) and Whitegirl (Dial Press)
I’d love to keep Margo a brilliant secret all to myself, but that would be selfish! Margo’s approach to her work (and my novel) is equal parts analysis, organization, research and alchemy. She is thorough and detailed while also imaginative and intuitive. Most remarkable and useful is that every suggestion Margo makes seems to spring organically from the story and characters themselves. I felt I had a partner who knew the world and people of the novel almost as well as I did. On a practical level Margo was accessible and present — as willing and able to field my free-floating brainstorming questions on Zoom as she was able to provide a scene-by-scene grid of key characters’ movements. On a personal level I felt supported and encouraged by her line edits and broader suggestions. Yes, use Margo — she’ll put a light, a microscope and a magnifying glass to your work and make you feel talented and lucky all the while.
—Laurie Lico Albanese, author of Hester (St. Martin’s Press), Stolen Beauty (Atria Press), and The Miracles of Prato (William Morrow)
Margo’s ‘editorial letter’ reminds me of how I felt when I saw Hamilton: she not only lives up to the hype; she’s even better. Her ability to establish a deep intimacy with the material and simultaneously stand apart from the page in order to probe with intensity and specificity is unlike anything I’ve experienced. She is, quite simply, the most remarkable editor with whom I’ve ever worked.
No less important, Margo offers a steady stream of encouragement that inspires hope—while at the same showing there is work to be done. Her ability to convey both those messages with such grace is truly a gift.
—Jill Smolowe, author of Four Funerals and a Wedding and An Empty Lap
Margo is that rare editor who edits with both sides of her brain. She has innate analytical facility with structure and sequencing, and a lyrical ear for style and sound. Moreover, she brings to her editing an attunement to authenticity of character, dialogue and plot. Even as she edits, she allows herself to fall headlong into the fictional dream at hand. The resulting feedback is not only wise, but full of heart. The next time I find myself too close to a manuscript to see it clearly, I will seek her out again.
—Tess Callahan, author of April & Oliver
Margo is quite simply a superb editor—a rare talent, with a deeply soulful, attuned and complex intelligence. Her gift as an editor seems analogous to that of a natural-born psychotherapist; she is able to see the work and know it and understand it in a deep, intuitive way, and at the same time is able to see what needs to be done for the work to become realized. She is further able to find the voice and register to convey her insights to the author in a way that enables them to take command of their work (…of themselves…) and bring it to its best self—to find a path forward to the manifestation of the book they intuitively reached for when the inspiration was born.•I’ve never before encountered the kind of editorial-response materials Margo provides. Her “editorial letter” is typically a comprehensive analysis of the manuscript, outlining themes, issues around character, relationships, psychological nuance, atmosphere, language and plot, highlighting areas of strength and those that need work. She also writes a detailed outline of the manuscript, highlighting themes and plot points, as well as gaps or discrepancies. And she provides extremely detailed notes in the margins throughout the manuscript, pointing out issues at all levels, from the broader matters of structure to the finest points regarding language and word choice. She has an uncanny ability to put her finger exactly on the salient issue—and will often venture suggestions as to a possible solution.•I’ve not before encountered an editor whose strengths are so acute across the full range of issues; she has remarkable prowess regarding structure, and also character, psychology and plot; and a poet’s fine attunement to matters of mood, imagery, and linguistic nuance. I have been consistently astounded by Margo’s thoroughgoing, unfailing literary acumen and finesse.•Margo is also a fine person, whose decency, integrity and passion for literature shine forth in her work; the way she inspires and invigorates one’s faith in one’s own work is a priceless gift to a writer. Working with Margo has been an experience of profound literary companionship and collaboration and all in all an absolute pleasure.
—Shira Nayman, author of River, Awake in the Dark, The Listener, and A Mind of Winter
Margo is a genius editor and the hardest-working person I’ve ever known. She has X-ray vision that she employs to see the bones of a manuscript: having diagrammed how a book is constructed and the legs on which it rests, she not only diagnoses the fissures and misalignments, she proposes how to fix them. With her profound respect for writers, she manages to present her suggestions in a way that is both entirely supportive of the intentions of a piece of work and utterly frank. Add to this that she is a poet and brings that exquisite sensibility to every level of analysis—pacing of front and back stories, plot unfolding, character depiction, physical descriptions, sentence construction, and word choices—and you’ll begin to get a taste of the quality of the help Margo provides. I could not recommend Margo more highly.
—Lisa Gornick, author of The Peacock Feast, Louisa Meets Bear, Tinderbox, and A Private Sorcery
An introduction to your new editor – the man or woman who will be in charge of shaping your book into something like a coherent narrative – is fraught with apprehension. Will she understand what I’m trying to say? Will she edit the story in her image or mine?
I learned in short order that, in having been assigned Margo LaPierre, I was in very competent hands.
Margo had an uncanny ability to grasp the larger thrust of any particular scene, passage, or chapter, then gently suggest changes that, despite their subtleness, had a profound impact on the way my book read.
The process was ongoing, thorough and intense. She and I spent several months trading the text of my book back and forth – she with suggestions and my responding to them — and I was continually struck by the intelligence and depth of her insights. Her suggestions were not only thoughtful and pitch perfect, but at times left me more than a little chagrined that I hadn’t thought of them myself. (Note to Margo: I’ll get it right next time.)
The upshot was a book that I, and I would like to think she, are both proud of. It was a good book when I brought it to her. It is a better book now.
—Dave Carty, author of Leaves on Frozen Ground
I worked with Margo LaPierre on the first draft of my novel in the fall of 2019. The depth of Margo’s engagement with my manuscript was dazzling, and as a result, the suggestions she made always felt specifically rooted in the characters and the setting of the book. She helped me find places where the plot needed work, where the backstory needed elucidation, and where threads from various subplots needed to be picked up and stitched together. Yet with all of her attention to detail, Margo never lost sight of the biggest goals of the book. Margo’s editorial suggestions have been invaluable, and she is a true pleasure to work with. I recommend her unreservedly!
—Anne Burt, editor of essay collection My Father Married Your Mother and co-editor of collection About Face.
Margo is one of the few editors I trust with my poetic works. As a poet herself, she understands the importance of staying true to a poem’s voice and intention. Rooted in a profound understanding of the English language, of history, line-break, style, syntax, structure, and turn of phrase, Margo’s feedback is always honest and constructive. She edits with a distinct eye for narration, lyric and tone, and consistently pushes me to find new ways to express what I am trying to say. Her ability to intuitively understand my intention makes her a dream to work with. I already know that I will be sending her my next piece.
—Ellen Chang-Richardson, poet and author of Unlucky Fours