Matthew Arkin brings a wealth of experience to his work as our lead story editor. His studies in literature, time as an attorney, and work as an actor developing new plays with some of the nation’s finest playwrights have refined his approach to story.
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 studied law at Fordham University.
In addition to teaching private acting classes and directing the Acting Intensive Program at South Coast Rep, Matthew teaches at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.
Matthew’s passion for story is evident in his collaborations with our clients on mysteries and suspense thrillers, young adult fiction, sci-fi and fantasy, and love stories. He enjoys working with writers to figure out the story they’re trying to tell, then guiding them towards telling it well.
His first novel, the suspense/thriller In the Country of the Blind, has garnered considerable praise; check out the socially distanced story hour he hosted in the early days of COVID.
He is currently co-writing a book on the power of subtext in storytelling.
“So often the story we know inside is perfect, but we don’t yet have the tools or techniques to put it onto the page, stage, or screen. It’s my job to help you find those.”
From Matthew’s Clients
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
Matthew and I spent the better part of an hour discussing my questions, and he provided other useful information on how to make the book better. I thought all of his feedback both on the call and in all the documents was very valid and I did greatly appreciate his time and feedback. I could tell he spent plenty of time reviewing the manuscript and pointed out some things that I hadn’t thought of or needed to be done better. I think I wrote a good story that just needs a lot more research and then I’ll hopefully have a great book to send out into the world.
Overall, the entire process has been fantastic. I’m thrilled I was able to actually speak to someone in person about the documents I received as opposed to just reading through things, as I was able to gain more insight as to what really worked and didn’t work and what I need to focus on in my rewrite. Great experience working with you both, and I hope to work with one or both of you again as I continue on my journey as a writer.
– Brooke Davis, author of Adventures of an Urban Homesteader
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, 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.
– J. W.
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.
– R. O.
THANK YOU for your critique. I know my script was a mess. First attempt, just literally sat down and typed. My goal is to now really work on it and have it polished to submit to the competition. I love the feedback and I’m looking forward to speaking with you.
Do the work. Use his feedback. Your ideas will improve. Your stuff will improve. Your life will improve. He’s respected, tough, and smart.
– Chapman University student