Matthew Arkin

Photo of Matthew Arkin looking dashingly handsome against a black backdrop

Lead Story Editor

Matthew Arkin is a writer, actor, director, professor, and erstwhile attorney who brings a lifetime of storytelling expertise to his role as Lead Story Editor for My Two Cents Editing, where he has provided critique and coaching for fiction and nonfiction authors since 2014.

Matthew became immersed in the exploration of character, plot, and motivation when he began acting professionally at the age of eight. He holds a BA with honors in English from Wesleyan University and a JD from Fordham Law School. He has taught at the world-renowned HB Studio in New York City and currently directs the Acting Intensive Program at South Coast Repertory’s Theatre Conservatory in Costa Mesa, California. He is an adjunct professor at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, where he teaches visual storytelling and film production.

Matthew’s Broadway credits include Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, Mr. Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor, and Manhattan Theater Club’s Losing Louie. Other New York credits include originating the role of Gabe in Donald Margulies’ Pulitzer Prize winning Dinner with Friends (Drama Desk nomination, Drama League Honoree), Manhattan Theatre Club’s Moonlight and Magnolias, and Richard Dresser’s Rounding Third. Regional theater includes Our Mother’s Brief Affair at South Coast Rep., Surf Report at La Jolla Playhouse, The Scene at Hartford Stage Company, Around the World in 80 Days at the Cape Playhouse, Rounding Third at Chicago’s Northlight Theatre, Talley’s Folly at The Bay Street Theatre, Guys and Dolls at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater, and Sight Unseen at The George Street Playhouse.

His film credits include indies Margot at the Wedding, Second Best, Raising Flagg, The Curse, and Bittersweet Place, as well as Death to Smoochy, Liar, Liar, North, An Unmarried Woman, and Chu Chu and the Philly Flash.

Matthew appeared in recurring roles in Get Shorty, as Dr. Thompkins on the hit FX drama Rescue Me and as Legal Aid Attorney Paul Bernard on A&E’s 100 Centre Street. Other television credits include Hawaii 5-0NCIS, Aquarius, Harry’s Law, Switched at Birth, Medium, Third Watch, Hack, The Education of Max Bickford, Ed, Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Law and Order: SVU, Kojak, and All My Children.

One of Matthew’s greatest joys has been working on the development of new plays by excellent playwrights both established (Donald Margulies, Richard Greenberg, Theresa Rebeck, Samuel D. Hunter) and newly emerging (Barbara Dana, Steven Drukman, and Michael Hollinger).

Matthew’s novel, the suspense/thriller In the Country of the Blind, has garnered considerable praise.

Through My Two Cents Editing, Matthew collaborates with developing novelists and screenwriters to craft engaging stories and compelling characters. To request a consultation, please send him a message through the form below.

“Story is a powerful force for healing wounds in the individual and divisions in society. When we meet on the level of Story, we enter a community of understanding.”

Matthew’s services

The Storyteller’s Eye: A Six-Week E-Course in Creative Writing

Critique for novels and nonfiction manuscripts

Script and screenplay critique


Favorite genres: Mystery, suspense, thriller, crime, police procedural, political intrigue, middle grade and young adult fantasy, historical fiction, literary fiction, nonfiction, self-help, screenplays & scripts. No knights errant or damsels in distress.

Matthew’s testimonials

From (where he was deemed “smoking hot” before the site deemed chili peppers too scandalous):

“So funny and smart, really cares about students, and made me a better storyteller for sure.”

“He is absolutely hilarious and one of the goofiest professors I have ever had the pleasure of taking their course. He is very fair and wants each student to succeed.”

“Do the work. Use his feedback. Your ideas will improve. Your stuff will improve. Your life will improve. Hes respected, tough, and smart.”

After laboring over a manuscript for months, it is hard to be objective about what one has written. That’s why Matthew Arkin’s critique was so helpful. He was able to bring an objective perspective to what I had written, a perspective that was both encouraging and more than fair. He pointed out passages that needed further elaboration, uses of excessive jargon, and examples of inconsistency in my point of view that all needed to be tightened. Rather than being prescriptive, he raised questions, challenged my thinking and helped me to refine what I was trying to achieve in writing this book. The manuscript is much better now than it was before as I incorporated perhaps 80-90% of his suggestions making changes that have both sharpened and deepened what I had originally written.

Scott Holley, author of Becoming the Teacher You Wish You’d Had: A Conversation About Teaching


After a very long day, I finally had the chance to read Matt’s critique. I almost cried at the beginning when he wrote the whole premise of the book. I shouted, “He gets it.” There were many parts of the critique where he was very detailed in his thoughts about each part of the manuscript. I like that nothing was confusing for me, and I understand his point of view. There were a lot of points that were dead on about the book having problems. Seeing all the problems on paper made me realize I really missed some loose ends and I have a lot of work to do. I have a few things to clarify with him (like the relationship between two characters and the Native American folklore story), and when I talk to him maybe he will see why I wrote things the way I did. But I loved every bit of the critique and felt that this was exactly what I needed. I will need to re-read a lot of parts of it just so that I don’t miss anything. Overall, I am so grateful to you both.  I can’t wait to start writing.

Best wishes,

Jessica Wilson, manuscript critique client


Overall, the entire process of contacting you, working with you and Matthew, and the call has been fantastic. I’m thrilled I was able to actually speak to someone in person . . . as I was able to gain more insight as to what really worked / didn’t work and what I need to focus on in my re-write.

Brooke Davis, manuscript critique client

My conversation with Matthew was fantastic. We seem to be on the same wavelength, understand each other well, and respect each other’s ideas and approaches. He was thoroughly familiar with the materials I’d sent him, made great (and reasoned) suggestions, asked the right questions, and was as good a listener as a talker . . . Matthew is an excellent choice for me.

Robin Orsini, mentoring client