In teaching a writing class, I noticed a wide reaction to the question of who was responsible for the death of a homeless woman in Brian Kates, The Murder of a Shopping Bag Lady. Student opinions ranged from blaming the killers in Grand Central Station, to accusing the real estate industry that replaced her single room occupancy, to shouting foul at the healthcare industry that couldn’t provide access to medications.
That drive has taken me to write about management issues in the nonprofit sector and healthcare. That same quest has lead me to assist others in framing questions to write both nonfiction and fiction where I operate as a tutor and taught at the university level.
In fiction, I have crafted novels that ask those same questions about science and myths so we can widen our sight beyond the immediate gravel at our feet.
The world of fiction acts more than a mirror of our world. Literature dissects a specific problem that a group of characters face. The ways they deal with the conflicts can be as real as our world even though the story is fiction.
To make our writing effective, we have to blend concepts of timing, character development and conflict pacing. Through my coaching, I have helped writers focus on the best way to bring out their desires by sharpening the biting conflict.
Click HERE for an Effective Writing Tips interview.
January 2003 – Present
[1 Assisted high school students with interpretation of themes, symbolism and literary elements from the classical to modern works.
[2 Developed students’ skills in analyzing conflict pacing with story development.
[3 Coached students with dialogue techniques by showing how to listen to cadence and observe body language.
City University of New York (CUNY)
[1 Developed curriculum of techniques to identify how to apply the 5 W’s to information gathering. In fiction, this corresponds to identifying elements of a specific world of the character along with the motivational background forces that formed the character.
[2 Engaged students with exercises that used their input and background in responses that turned into written pieces. Material was blended with concepts of symbolism as students developed skills of imagination building.
“As I revised my first novel, Tom helped me to ask questions of the characters and reconsider scene placement in order to improve the pace and tension. I believe that his assistance will enable me to gain representation for this novel and prepare me for working with an editor.”
Matt Sinclair, Senior Writer, The NonProfit Times
November 8, 2010
“Tom is a master educator. His teaching style is very unique, more like the process of osmosis wherein concepts flow from the higher to the lower, empowering the latter to absorb and assimilate effortlessly.” Nimish Thakkar
Nimish Free Resume Evaluation hired Tom as a Teacher in 2007.
Reviewer for Online Book Service
Special Services Offered —
Aim to focus on specific problems and find techniques to overcome the obstacles
Manuscript Analysis —
Indepth Critique Report
View of Protagonist and Background
Examination of Setting and World
Comments on Narrative Flow
Comments on Dialogue
Problem Area Suggestions
Editing based on predetermined plan agreed upon by the author
Offer Workshops for Organizations —
Fiction Workshop, Six Sessions — 2010 & 2011
Langston Hughes Library Branch,
Black Heritage Cultural Center — Queens, New York City
[1 Developed curriculum of teaching outlines to guide students with character development, pacing of conflict and world-building techniques.
[2 Conducted brainstorming roundtables to guide students with using the imagination.
[3 Discussed how feedback from students could improve the blending of the elements of writing with their works in progress.
Website Currently Under Development
Fiction Coach/Writing Teacher
Currently Working on Two Novels