UPDATE: In addition to the standard SFTU offer below, I’ll give away MS critiques to anyone who donates to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, the George Floyd Memorial Fund, or any other fund related to #BlackLivesMatter and stopping the ongoing police murder of black people. Same conditions apply as per below.

Some Background
As the San Francisco Bay Area has, you probably know, the highest rent in the country, we continually see the swift removal of longtime residents and local communities whose jobs don’t pay them what tech workers’ jobs do. The coronavirus has made all this much worse.

The San Francisco Tenants Union has received a deluge of calls since shelter-in-place closed the city’s dining and entertainment venues. Many people aren’t earning money right now, and they’re worried about how they’ll pay rent. There are steps tenants can take to keep their apartments, but rather than go through it all, many are choosing to leave town, often giving up their rent control, and all but ensuring they won’t be able to afford to return.

For more than 50 years, the SFTU has fought unjust evictions, landlord greed, and the erasure of our communities. It advocates for tenants’ rights among city officials by building a broad coalition of renters, lawyers, and activists across the city.

They need donations to help with this work, and that’s where my work comes in.

The Offer
To help raise funds, I’m offering a manuscript critique and consultation to anybody who makes a donation to the SFTU. You can do so here. It’s quick and easy.

Who I Am
I’m the author of books in nonfiction and fiction. I’ve published more than a dozen essays and another dozen short stories in national journals and magazines. But what you really should know is that I’ve been reading MFA student manuscripts on a near-daily basis for 10 years now. I do a very careful job of meeting writers where they are with their work, and reading it closely to help them better reach their visions for a piece. My students regularly publish pieces I’ve helped them revise in journals and magazines. I like to think I’m easy to work with, though just as everyone does I have specific tastes and philosophies about writing. This blog should give you a sense of those; for more CV-type specifics, click on my bio.

What I’ll Do
– read a finished draft of your essay, short story, or book chapter
– mark it up (in pen) to document my reading process and reactions
– type up a 1-page overall assessment, with suggestions for revision
– email this assessment and a PDF of your marked-up MS back to you
optional: schedule a 20-minute one-on-one video conference with you to talk about your piece and answer any questions you might have (see below)

What It Costs
The cost for all this is a donation to the SFTU in the amount of (at least) $2 per number of pages in your manuscript (minimum 10 pages). If you want to schedule the 20-minute consultation, it’s $3/page. So: somebody with a 17-page essay who wants a follow-up conference should plan to donate at least $51.

(Pretty good deal!)

What You Need to Do
– donate the requisite amount directly to the SFTU (or a relevant #BlackLivesMatter fund)
– save or print evidence of your donation
– find a finished draft to format in 12-pt double-spaced Times with 1.25″ margins
– email your donation evidence and a PDF of your formatted manuscript to sftu-donations@davemadden.org
– maybe write a little note to tell me about yourself and where you are with the piece, or anything you think I need to know in advance of reading it

Some Fine Print
Though I welcome your donating more than once, this offer is for one consultation per person. You don’t want me reading your poems, so please don’t send poems, but I’m familiar with and have published lyric essays. Again, there’s a 10-page minimum. Let’s call it a 40-page maximum, just in case. By “finished” I mean the thing should be a standalone piece with an ending (or a complete chapter), but not anything that you’ve already published. Please see above for formatting guidelines. I’ll do my best to get your manuscript returned to you within a week, but I have no idea how many people will sign up for this so I thank you in advance for your flexibility. I also reserve the right to end this offer if I get overwhelmed. I am, after all, on sabbatical. But if this post is still up without any language to the contrary, the offer still stands. If you have any additional questions, email me.

And thank you for your help. If you’d like to continue to help in the fight to keep people housed—especially if you live in another part of the country—visit Just Shelter.