Writer Testimonials

“I honestly don’t know where to start — and a bit reluctant to start — because Jeff is a best-kept secret. I’ve worked as a professional journalist for more than two decades. But I always wanted to write a novel. I tried many times, until I realized how hard it is to write a novel. I joined writers groups, and paid for a little personal coaching (if professional athletes and singers hire coaches, professional writers can, too — that’s my motto). Each coach was better than the other. And I got better as a novelist. After a while I had the basics down, but then I needed a master. When I met Jeff, I  found the master! I ‘ve worked with him individually and as a member of the workshop. I rarely miss a workshop. I love it! The result? I am close to finishing my thriller; he read drafts of a nonfiction book I recently co-wrote with Kim Goldman of the OJ Simpson case. And Jeff helped me secure a book deal for a dream nonfiction book project I’m writing with a Harvard professor. I’d say that’s a good partnership!”

— Tatsha Robertson, co-author of MEDIA CIRCUS (BenBella Books, 2015), co-author of MASTERS OF THE FORMULA (BenBella, coming 2017)

 

“Jeff sets the perfect tone at his weekly workshops in which new writers flourish.  His critiques are incisive, thorough, logical and priceless.  He has the precious ability to score through and address new writers’ weaknesses whilst allowing them to discover and develop their innate strengths.  In my time with the group my confidence flourished.  I was surrounded by a skilled set of writers and inspired by their work ethics.  And I gleaned so much from listening to Jeff’s guidance on these other project, not just my own.  I feel very lucky to have him as a mentor.  Fact: my novel would not be a tangible reality if it weren’t for him.”

— Sara Alexander, author of UNDER A SARDINIAN SKY (Kensington Books, coming 2017)

 

“A workshop is only as good as its facilitator. Jeff Ourvan is not only an incredible facilitator, he’s an insightful, smart, sensitive editor who offers practical advice. This class- if you’re fortunate enough to find an open seat–is invaluable for beginner and experienced writers alike.”

— Heather Siegel, author of OUT FROM THE UNDERWORLD (Greenpoint Press, 2015)

 

“Jeff has been both an ideal reader and vigorous editor. In working together, he makes sure to understand the author’s intent even while streamlining and clarifying. Ultimately he is a trusted collaborator with an incisive and insightful “red pen”, who helps me see the forest for the trees in my work and where I need to connect the dots.”

— Joshua Scher, author of HERE & THERE (47 North, 2015)

 

Jeff helped me to prepare my first novel for submission, and his editing and feedback were invaluable in turning my manuscript into a polished book that was ready for publication.  He worked with me not only on style, but also on substance, and his insights and questions helped me to further develop my characters, their motivations, and the sense of place and atmosphere in my novel.  He went through the book meticulously, and provided me with detailed notes on what was working and what needed more detail or clarity.  Jeff responded quickly to all of my questions, and I found it a great relief, after the lonely act of writing, to have someone that I could bounce ideas off of and discuss the book with as a work-in-progress.”

— Rita Cameron, author of OPHELIA’S MUSE (Kensington Books, 2015)

 

“I had been working on my memoir for the previous four years before Jeff took a chance on me. Together, we edited my book in his workshop, and each week I learned something new. The experience taught me a great deal about writing, and having Jeff believe in me changed my life. I would recommend this workshop to anyone working on a book.”

— Neesha Arter, author of CONTROLLED (Heliotrope, 2015)

 

“Not long ago, I wanted to achieve more focus in some stories I had worked on for years. Luckily, I found Jeff Ourvan. I’ve now worked through the stories and part of a non-fiction book in his groups and have found his listening ability to be skillfully honed, and his comments insightful, constructive, and forward looking. And the group members have all been good writers and helpful workshop participants. I was surprised the anticipation of weekly meetings helped me be more productive.”

— Gary Reiswig, author of Land Rush: Stories From the Great Plains, The Thousand Mile Stare, a memoir; and Water Boy, a novel.

 

“If you are serious about developing your writing skills and becoming a writer, then attend The WriteWorkshop. Being present in Jeff’s weekly workshop creates a personal schedule that includes habitual writing — your work will finally receive the professional attention that it deserves.  The blessed day I found and became a pupil in Jeff’s workshop was the beginning of my life as a real writer. From him I learned that we can’t wait to become inspired, but become inspired by writing. A writer must write.”

— Annelie Holmene Pelaez, author of SI JA, SAY YES TO BETTER LIFE AND DEATH: An Introduction to Health Literacy & Meditation (Balboa, 2015)

 

“Where to start praising Jeff Ourvan as a writing mentor?  He gives you the ongoing space to write, the unyielding support to find your own voice, he knows when to whip you and when to cheer and nourish you — and most importantly, he never loses sight of the main thing: your book.”

— Susana Aiken, author of DIGGING UP THE SALT MINES, a film memoir (2013).