Mary DeDanan
CatchWord Writing Studio
Cazadero, California
Work: 707 632 6362
Click here to contact by email


Even the smartest people can have trouble putting themselves onto paper. You need an expert on your side.

I’m an independent editor and writing coach who works with writers of all kinds: creative, commercial, academic. With decades of experience, I offer rich practical skills to help every writer. Contact me for a free one hour consultation and no-obligation estimate.

(hint: depends on what you need)

• Copy edit to correct grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation.
• Line edit to tighten and trim prose, clarify meaning, maintain internal consistency, cast out clichés, rein in jargon, and diversify overused phrases.
• Organize, hone, and restructure your material with a developmental edit.
• Proofread and polish.
• Strategize to manage procrastination, blocks, and avoidance; rewire your habits.

Get it written, get it right!

• Strengthen characterizations, plot, internal logic, narrative flow, and hooks.
• Make your scenes and dialogue sizzle with energy and momentum.
• Sharpen your story with an eye to the marketplace: agents, publishers, and audience.

~ I have a gift for helping authors develop novels, memoirs, stage plays, and reportage. I've spent years working deeply with the gears and guts of creative writing. My advice is warm, specific, and exceedingly useful as I strive to bring out your unique voice.

~ I work across genres -- literary, historical, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, comedy, romance, and young adult -- because good stories are everywhere.

~ Nonfiction affinities include green/off-grid living, alternative building, gardening, nature and wilderness, environmental issues, travel, health, spirituality, music, and theater.

• Build logical arguments, ask the essential questions, and support your conclusions.
• Meet style requirements for references, notes, bibliography, and formatting. I work with ASA, APA, Turabian, the Chicago Manual of Style, and (for those in England) the New Oxford Style Manual.
• Correlate: check cross-references, captions, illustrations, tables, charts, headlines.

~ I edit dissertations, theses, papers, journal articles, and book manuscripts. Subjects include history, sociology/cultural studies, social work, psychology, literature, and political science.

• Clean and sharpen those reports.
• Add snap to your advertising, marketing, or fundraising materials.
• Establish your brand and company style; maintain your reputation for high standards.

~ I’ve edited (and written) everything from research reports to ads, web sites to concert program notes.


Every life needs a mission. Mine has been to immerse myself in the creation, artistry, mechanics, and business of language. I’ve freelanced as a book copyeditor and proofreader with Random House, UC Press, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (deceased), Stanford Press, and Jossey-Bass. I’ve worked in professional theater as a literary manager and dramaturg (Magic Theatre, Z Space, La Jolla Playhouse), and published arts journalism and reviews (Pacific Sun, American Theatre, Wired, Callboard). I’ve been a working journalist. I've been a magazine and newsletter copyeditor. I’ve been an advertising copywriter and copyeditor with both hard-line corporations and world-changing nonprofits. I've written content for complex web sites. Through hard-scrabble critique workshops, I earned a B.A. in creative writing/literature from UCSD (summa cum laude). I've extended that knowledge through many courses at The Loft, UCLA Extension Writers Program, and writers' conferences. I’ve published award-winning articles, essays, and short stories, and have in progress a novel myself. Yes, I write too, so I know the struggles and thrills firsthand.

Please see my web site -- -- for more details and testimonials.

additional keywords:
novel, short stories, scripts, theater, theatre, non-fiction, manuscripts, reports, memoir, biography, autobiography, review, criticism, thesis, Master’s, Masters, Ph.D., research, self-publish, POD, print on demand, ebook, e-book, substantive, Apple, Mac




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