Manuscript Assessment

A manuscript assessment, sometimes called an appraisal or critique, is an independent report on your creative work. It aims to offer constructive, sensitive feedback on the manuscript as a whole, and advice on developing technique in:

  • Plot and structure
  • Character
  • Dialogue
  • Written style
  • Sense of place
  • Tone and pace
  • Narrative voice.

I am always constructive and encouraging in my advice, whilst remaining honest. I appreciate it is not easy to let someone else read your work! The aim is to help you develop all aspects of your writing and to help you achieve your aims, whether that be approaching mainstream publishers or self-publishing.

I approached Jo at Rosewood Literary Services just after I had finished writing my first book. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I was given a well-crafted, detailed report offering suggestions and guidance on the plot and structure, characterisation, narrative voice, and literary style. Jo went through each chapter, making very useful suggestions. Jo’s report immediately took my story onto another level – just what I wanted. I can’t recommend her work highly enough.

Allister Jordan, author

You may be at an early draft stage or feel that it’s complete, but it is always valuable to get an independent eye to give you feedback. It maximises the chances of your success!

There are different levels to an assessment, which come under the term “developmental editing”, and is sometimes called “story-level editing”. Which one you need depends on where you’re at with your manuscript.

If you’ve produced a draft, and want help in developing your skills in the features listed above for your next draft, a manuscript assessment is ideal. It will take a broad-brush approach to these features, highlighting your strengths, and suggesting ways in which you can develop your craft. I won’t make any changes to anything you’ve written, but will empower you to make any changes you feel will enhance your writing. You can have manuscript assessments for one draft or many drafts, it’s up to you! If you feel you’re at your final draft, it’s good to have an assessment at that point too, before you go to the next stage.

I am very impressed with the detail of your analysis, all of which is undoubtedly helpful! To an aspiring author at the beginning of my writing journey, I really value your support in saying what you like about my work, as well as pointing out where the work can be strengthened.  Your love of children’s books is evident in your knowledge and critique and your technical expertise has provided me with new insights. All in all, I think you provide an extremely professional service from start to finish, with excellent value for money, and would not hesitate to recommend you or use your services again.

Kath Weston, picture book author

If you would like an editor to polish your work by making changes to your manuscript, you may need developmental editing at a structural or line level. Structural developmental editing will look at the features above and annotate your manuscript with suggested changes. Line (or sentence) level editing will look at every word and annotate changes to improve the sense, flow and rhythm, and focus on stylistic issues (this is also sometimes called stylistic editing or substantive editing). Contact me to discuss your options if you feel you are at this stage in your writing.

Other services:

If you’ve written about a specific issue of which you have no direct experience yourself, you may find an authenticity read useful, to ensure you are presenting that issue well. For example, many writers use authenticity (or sensitivity) reads for issues surrounding race, sexuality, gender or neurodiversity. I offer authenticity reads on issues surrounding adoption, fostering and developmental trauma. If your work features these issues and you would like feedback solely on this aspect, you can opt for an authenticity read, or you can combine this with a full manuscript assessment, as detailed above.

If your work is nearing completion and it is unlikely no large alterations need to be made, you may need Copy-editing services, which are a late-stage polish.

Please note that a manuscript assessment, authenticity read or developmental edit is not the same as a proofread! Proofreading is always the very last process before a work is to be printed, and focuses on fixing errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and layout. For further details see Proofreading.

I aim to keep my prices affordable. Please contact me if you would like to discuss a manuscript assessment, and I can give you a free, no obligation quote. I also offer sample page / chapter developmental edits.

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