Pat McNees

Writer, editor, ghostwriter, personal historian

Dying: A Book of Comfort, Healing Words on Loss and Grief Selected and edited by Pat McNees. Copies of the beautiful hardcover gift edition are available again! E-mail Pat for instructions on how to order.

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Helping you develop clearer, crisper, more interesting messages in a voice that will hold the reader's interest.

Both a writer and an editor, Pat is especially useful for

* Writing, redrafting, or heavily editing your articles, papers, books, white papers, and other documents.

*Helping YOU figure out what you need to do on something you are writing yourself but having trouble with.

* Synthesizing or summarizing long, complex documents, presenting the key messages in a voice that will not put the average reader to sleep. Usually this involves coming up with a meaningful title, providing a 25-words-or-less summary line, and an executive summary four paragraphs to three pages long (depending on the audience and purpose). Pat has written several thousand (yes, thousand) executive summaries, for clients such as the Urban Institute, USAID, the World Bank, and various medical research organizations.

* Bringing dull or dullish material to life ——generally by injecting anecdotes, examples, narrative, and other devices that make the material more dynamic and interesting.

* Bringing a lighter touch to academic writing and translating into plain English writing dense with jargon.

* Synthesizing the main conclusions or arguments made in meetings and conferences. Telling a story or conveying messages in many voices but with a unified purpose.

* Building a narrative from a collection of oral histories or transcripts of interviews. This might be a life story, the history of an organization, or the story of an event.

* Bringing a uniform tone and voice to compilations and conference proceedings and bringing intelligence, structural clarity, and good taste to anthologies (Pat's anthologies stand the test of time.)

Here’s what one client (the author of a book on the defense industry) said: “As an editor, McNees has a keen eye for restructuring an early draft of a report and a gift for shortening and improving sentences, paragraphs, and papers without distorting their technical meaning. McNees has an ability to edit a manuscript at almost any level of detail the writer needs—as a broad-brush overview, at the paragraph-by-paragraph level, right down to line-by-line blue-pencil editing.”

Pat often combines editing with coaching. Experts for whom writing is difficult often ask for her because she helps them improve their sense of audience and their ability to write more cogently, concisely, clearly, and persuasively. Having a sense of humor helps ease the anxiety most people associate with writing projects.

Contemporary Latin American Short Stories, selected and edited by Pat McNees

Books, articles, and more

Writing or telling life stories
Storykeepers, personal historians, oral historians, video biographers, genealogists. Everyone has a story to tell. What's keeping you from telling yours?
A loving testament, or legacy letter, sharing your life experiences and lessons with the next generation
Learn to write articles, reports, ethical wills, or life stories (memoirs and beyond).
Mom — hardworking, sassy, and full of surprises
Mutual support and discussion
Social history through the life of an ordinary Midwestern businessman.
Dancing, food, good books, and other diversions
Favorites of several book groups
What is the single lunch-bag item most hated by all children?
What heightens the caviar experience is the price of those little gray or black sturgeon eggs.
Links to dancing venues and calendars for the Washington, D.C. area.
Midlife "first dates"
Did she fall in love with the man or the waltz?
Also related: jive, hustle, hand-dancing.
All the dancing your feet can take
Choosing a school of dance
Contra, English country, international, Irish, Israeli, Scandinavian, Scottish
The big ones, with dirty stems
"A rich, varied, and highly rewarding collection," says Joyce Carol Oates
Ceilis (Irish dancing)
Medical mysteries, patient stories, and practical links
John Travolta played the boy in the movie. The real story ended far differently.
Thin little Marian had a cholesterol problem most people have never heard of.
Understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the debate on health care reform. Avoiding medical errors
Organizational histories
Changing Times, Changing Minds: 100 Years of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland
You've probably never heard of this national research hospital and clinic. But someone you know may be able to benefit from it directly and all of us do, indirectly.
A frank history of the Young Presidents' Organization.
The little lift truck that could — a story of brilliant marketing in America's heartland.
Dying, mourning, and other inevitable events
"This remarkable collection, coming from personal experience and wide reading, will help many find the potential of growth through loss." --Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement
For those dying, for caregivers, and for the bereaved
Listen to samples of popular songs and music
Girls and science
Cool science sites
Best practices for teaching science--to strengthen the science workforce.
Some links and a selection
Practical matters
Identify children's learning styles and improve their ability to learn.
Six weeks to hassle-free homework.
Why parents should be concerned.
Public speaking is a craft, not an art. It can be learned.
Can you wash it if it says "dry clean"?
Fact vs. fantasy
One woman's story.
Don't focus on the fabric.
Online Shopping
Best places to shop online