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Esther Porter

Writer & Editor

Good writing can and should be accessible to all. With this in mind, Esther Porter’s vision is to empower writers of all backgrounds and skill levels and to nurture our impulse to communicate with one another. By understanding our intended readers, we can tune our language to a specific ear. We can craft our words so they point closer to the subtleties of our ideas—to what it means to be human.



Esther Porter is a writer and editor based in Minneapolis, MN. She has written eight children's books published by Capstone Press, most recently Peeking Under the City, which the National Science Teachers Association named a 2017 Outstanding Science Book.


Esther was the publicist for several years at the literary publisher Coffee House Press, and she was a founding editor of the literary journal Revolver.

She has edited books for world-renowned publishers like Graywolf Press, HarperCollins, Coffee House Press, and Milkweed Editions.

She received her B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota, summa cum laude, and has taught fiction and poetry writing to children of all ages. These days, she enjoys the privilege of critiquing manuscripts for the Loft Literary Center where she also writes the “Ask Esther” column.



Esther's editorial role is to help you reach your goals as a writer by bringing your work closer to your ultimate vision. In addition to providing an overall manuscript review, she can offer a thorough developmental edit and critique that gets into the nitty-gritty of how to improve your work. She checks for tone, continuity, word choice, correct sentence structure, and any habits that emerge.

On a larger scale, she can ensure that the narrative is smooth and progresses naturally, pointing out where the story needs clarification or the plot is inconsistent. She will focus on the presentation, structure, and organization of your work as a whole, and will make sure that the content is as coherent and effective as possible.

When editing poetry, as with fiction, Esther works to honor the intentions and the voice of the writer. She can do a line-by-line assessment, watching closely for spelling, word choice, consistent punctuation, form, tone, line breaks, and continuity of metaphor. Depending on form and style, she'll explore the musicality and rhythm of the language and suggest ways to push the poetry in new directions or incorporate into a larger collection.



“Esther picked up on exactly what I was trying to do (with narrative voice, narrative distance, first and third person, the mind of this particular narrator) and consequently her edits were pitch perfect.” —Steven Lang

“Working with Esther was like working with a side of my own brain that I couldn’t otherwise access—her edits identified problems I wasn’t able to see on my own, yet they struck me as intuitive and aligned with the overall goals of my book. Crucially, Esther knows how to tread those sensitive waters of being critical without being disheartening, and being supportive without blowing smoke.” —Robert Martin

“Before I met Esther Porter, I hated revision. After working with her on a children's picture book manuscript, however, I learned that it is possible to have fun and to even experience joy while changing and improving a text. She helped me clarify my writing goals and reflect on the deeper meaning of my story. Working with her was the most fun I have had in any revision process.” —Piyali Nath Dalal

“Thorough and meticulous, Esther was instrumental in bringing my novel to a submission-ready status. She was always responsive and willing to discuss minute details with me. I'm a better writer because of her efforts.” —Dylan Winterleafe

“Esther Porter was a huge part of my success, not only with my PhD dissertation, but also in developing the timeline and approach to my dissertation. Her patience and guidance helped me overcome some of my lack of understanding in the overall process. She was easy to speak with, very timely on getting back to me, and her ability to work under very short notice and tight timelines was excellent. I would highly recommend Esther for any editorial needs you may have.” —Michael O'Connor, PhD

“Esther showed up regularly, per our agreement, to coach me in my book-writing process. Her edits had a way of letting the best of my work shine through. Her critique improved the flow of the storyline and helped me learn and grow as a writer. I was able to let go of chunks that didn't fit and find other ways to express myself in some passages. Her natural curiosity and interest in my own unique expression encouraged me to go deeper in my writing process. I couldn't have done it without Esther's positive insight into my story and her attention to every detail.” —Constance Casey

“I was extremely pleased with the editorial services provided by Esther Porter. As an attorney, I write and edit on a daily basis. When I penned my first novel, I was fairly confident it was ready for submission. But I quickly discovered the competitive nature of the fiction market, and the discerning disposition of today's agents and publishers. Esther proved to be an invaluable resource, diligently working with me to make the technical and substantive revisions necessary to fine-tune my novel. She was professional and honest, with a keen eye for detail and substance.” —Stephen Kosa




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