Cori McCarthy


Cori McCarthy is the author of four young adult novels and the middle grade category winner of the 2014 Katherine Patterson Award for her novel in verse. Cori’s books include the space thriller The Color of Rain (Running Press Teens, 2013), the near-futuristic thriller Breaking Sky (Sourcebooks, 2015), the contemporary mixed format novel You Were Here (Sourcebooks, 2016), and the forthcoming Now A Major Motion Picture (Sourcebooks, 2018). Breaking Sky is in development at Sony Pictures to become a feature length film.

Cori holds three degrees in writing: a BA in Creative Writing from Ohio University (emphasis in poetry and memoir writing), as well as a graduate certificate in screenwriting from UCLA, and an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Cori lives in the Midwest and is the cofounder of the charitable initiative Rainbow Boxes. She has been writing fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, and poetry for 15+ years, and editing all genres for 8+ years. For more information on Cori, please check out her website


  • Speculative fiction, science fiction, fantasy fiction (including high fantasy), poetry, novels in verse, contemporary fiction, humorous fiction, middle grade & young adult novels, screenplays, thrillers, unique memoirs, graphic novels, adaptations of fairy tales.


  • Manuscript critiques, query letter editing, content editing, developmental editing.


“Cori should be the Secretary of Explaining Things. Her editorial letters break down the elements of the manuscript and thoroughly analyze each–premise, plot, characterizations, relationships, setting, and beginnings and endings. For the writer, this provides an overview of the manuscript’s strengths and how to build on them, the weaknesses and how to fix them, and the marketability of the manuscript. She is especially astute in pointing out where a story might fit into the market and ways to make it even more salable. In addition to the overview, specific comments within the manuscript indicate strong writing and genuine emotional and relationship development as well places that need attention–including (but not limited to) inconsistencies, inadequate character or story development, and awkward and cliched writing.”

-Lyn Miller-Lachmann, author of Rogue and Gringolandia

“Cori McCarthy has great insight on how to increase tension and stakes in fiction. She asks the right questions and challenges writers to take the risks that take their work to the next level. As a trained screenwriter as well as fiction writer, she has a keen eye for what works (and what doesn’t) in a scene. I greatly respect her work and value her input.”

-K.A. Barson, author of 45 Pounds (More or Less)

“Cori McCarthy’s critique of my middle-grade novel-in-progress was thorough and artful. She was able to grasp the big picture of my manuscript as well as the finer details. In her comprehensive and lengthy editorial letter, her comments on characterization, plot, dialogue, and back story were insightful, instructive, and wise. From the opening line of her letter, I knew that Cori was in my corner, believing in my novel and giving me feedback that has helped me to bring my manuscript to the next level.”

–Mary E. Cronin

“Cori’s analysis, criticism and suggestions are terrific! I made one pass through the doc and my head is about to explode with ideas… I believe that just ONE concrete dramatic suggestion Cori made on the last scenes, alone, is worth twice the cost of this feedback.”

–Glenn Damato

"Thank you for recommending Cori. I can't say enough great things about her! Cori's critique and edit of my first chapter and flashback scene are perfect and exactly what I needed to move my manuscript forward. Cori offered great ideas and guidance, and the suggestions she shared elevated my writing to a new level. Thank you again for recommending her."

-J. W. Zarek (Alexandria, VA)