Terri Palmer, PhD
I am a professional writer living in Toronto, Ontario. I hold a PhD in rhetoric from
Carnegie Mellon University and I specialize in science and health writing. I am available
to edit, write or consult on professional documents. My rates and services are detailed on
my services page. You can get a better sense of my
abilities by looking at either my résumé or my
If you are looking for a Terri Palmer and are not sure that I am the one you want,
take a look at my “about me” page.
Links to external pages open in new frames. You can get in touch
with me using the links in the left panel. This page was last revised September 2014.
I grew up in
Columbus, Ohio, and went to Columbus Alternative High School. I attended
the Ohio State University
and concurrently earned a BA in English and a BS in math. I then spent a year in
before being admitted directly into the
PhD program in
rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon
Pennsylvania. I took a job as an assistant professor in the
professional writing program
at York University
Ontario, in 2003 as an ABD and defended my dissertation in 2005. I am now a permanent
resident of Canada and a freelance professional writer.
My dissertation concerned the history of
the term “probability” in rhetoric, the early history of probability mathematics,
and the apparent references in early probability mathematics to the same concepts of
probability as were used in rhetoric.
I volunteer at the Toronto
Humane Society as a cat socializer and, in season, as a kitten-feeder. I have volunteered
at the THS for over six years and have three cats from the THS.
I am semi-vegetarian, by which I mean I eat some seafood but otherwise am a strict
vegetarian, though not vegan. If you want to try vegetarian places in Toronto, I recommend
and the café at
the Big Carrot.
I take classes at George Brown College.
I have taken classes there in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, typography, page design,
I also read a lot. I read a lot of non-fiction, such as Eric Hobsbawm's
The Age of Revolution: Europe: 1789–1848.
I generally like science writing and history, as well as works of investigative journalism
that verge on ethnography, such as books about
over-reliance on personality testing or about the
Rhetoric, my field of study, is the art of persuasion.
Nowadays people usually assume “rhetoric” means lying or
tricking people, but that is not what a good rhetorician does. While it’s common We assume rhetoric
means lying because we believe that facts speak for themselves and that you do not need to
present the truth carefully, but that is not so; a health-care or environmental policy may truly
be the best in every reasonable way, and yet people may not understand the policy, may not
believe the facts surrounding it, may have unanswered concerns, may be more concerned with
irrational objections, or may simply not care enough to listen in the first place. More often we
encounter problems for which there is no one best solution, and must decide upon courses of
action based on competing benefits, costs, and moral values. While in some areas, we can readily
agree on the best solutions, in human affairs we often cannot quickly decide, and that is where
rhetoric comes in: in explaining difficult concepts, in showing the validity of the evidence, in
framing the issues according to our audience’s interests, in dispelling misconceptions, in
making a seemingly dull issue interesting, and in weighing different costs and benefits against
Below I have linked to some writing samples. I have included a brief note with each,
describing the type of writing as well as the circumstances of and audience for each piece.
Samples are in .pdf.
I also have a few more samples that my clients requested I not post publicly, but which
they have agreed to let me use as samples. I can email these samples to you upon request.
If you would like to see a sample of my academic research, I can send you a chapter of my
dissertation, which concerned the history of the term “probability” in rhetoric, the early
history of probability mathematics, and the apparent references in early probability
mathematics to the same concepts of probability as were used in rhetoric.
I will edit most documents and will write many. I will not write academic papers, though I will
edit them and give advice about content, research, format, grammar and style.
I am available for consultation for most writing projects and for tutoring.
Résumé writing and editing, including individual consultation $75/hr
One-on-one academic paper advice and editing $60/hr
Academic paper editing without one-on-one consultation $45/hr
Most written copy, without edits $1/word
Edits for copy, either my own or others’ $50/hour
If you’re curious about these rates, please see the
Professional Writers Association of Canada’s suggested rates page.