Narrative structure * Characterisations * Realistic dialogue *

Plot credibility *  Emotional pull * Marketability *

Punctation * Spelling * Grammar * Syntax 

CRITIQUES AND COPYEDITING

Tel: 0161 445 0159

diane@keywordeditorial.com

CREATIVE WRITING CRITIQUES

 

The problem

It's now the norm for professional authors to use an editorial consultancy for appraisals. For unpublished authors, most of the major publishers have closed their doors to unsolicited manuscripts, so many have turned to self-publishing or try to get an agent to take them on. Out of around 100-250 unsoliciteds a publisher receives each week, only one or two a year are considered to be potentially marketable. Trying to find an agent is harder than finding a publisher. Agents are now receiving more unsolicited manuscripts than ever before.

Some tips

Tip #1:

In such a competitive world, it makes sense for you to let an expert take a peek at your manuscript. Publishers prefer to work with professional writers or people who are in the business in some way and therefore understand their needs. As professionals, we know that we have to give them what they want and not what we want to give them.

Tip #2:

Because published writers have been through the process themselves, they know what is expected and what they have to do to bring their manuscripts up to marketable standard. We are too close to our own work to stand back and assess it objectively. So we all need someone else to do that for us.

Tip #3:

If our manuscript has been rejected over and over, it's a good idea to take a more objective view, take some of the advice we may have received with some rejections. This advice comes from the very people we want to buy our work, so it's best to take it as an opportunity for learning and not reject it because we feel hurt. Try re-working your manuscript and sending it out elsewhere. If all else fails, admit it isn't going to be marketable and begin something fresh.

Tip #4:

You're in a muddle and you don't know what to do next. Or you do know what to do next and you start looking for a professional writer or editorial consultant, someone with experience in the writing business who understands the needs of agents and publishers. And you hand your work over to them for an unbiased, constructive appraisal, warts and all.

I don't have huge overheads. You would have to contribute to those in your fee. And I won't farm out your manuscript to other readers who haven't been in contact with you. I run a very user-friendly service. You will be dealing directly with me from start to finish.

I'm just at the end of a phone if you have any problems or questions.  

What I read

I read and report on:

  • short stories
  • novels
  • non-fiction
  • lifewriting
  • scripts 
  • full or part projects
  • the synopsis is included 

What I don't read

I don't accept themes that aren't my field, such as:

  • sci-fi   
  • fantasy
  • poetry
  • erotica 

What you do

The first step is to send me an email at diane@keywordeditorial.com telling me what sort of project you would like me to appraise and how many words it makes. I will then be able to give you a quote. 

If you accept the quote, please confirm this. Then download the Writer's Questionnaire on the Appraisals sub-page, fill it in, sign and date it and include it with your manuscript. It will tell me all about your project and your writing background and this will be very helpful. Next, send me the following package:

  • your manuscript
  • your completed questionnaire 
  • a 1-2 page (maximum) synopsis
  • the correct postage for its return
  • payment for the correct fee - details will be included with my quote (please be sure to send only the amount of words for which you have been quoted). 

Please read the sub-page about presenting your manuscript before sending it off.

If you have any problems or queries, don't hesitate to email me or call on 0161 445 0159. Leave a message if you get a message taker and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

What I do

I will send you a receipt for your manuscript by email.

I will read your manuscript, correcting spelling, punctuation, syntax and grammar on the hard copy and write comments in the margin. After the second reading I will write a report covering the following points:

Novels

  • synopsis
  • title
  • layout and presentation
  • grammar and literacy
  • style
  • structure
  • pacing
  • credibility
  • plot
  • characters
  • dialogue
  • marketability

Short stories

  • title
  • opening
  • plot/theme
  • action and pacing
  • characters
  • dialogue
  • language
  • entertainment quotient
  • ending
  • marketability

Non-fiction

  • synopsis
  • chapter headings and chapter synopses
  • title
  • layout and presentation
  • grammar and literacy
  • style
  • structure
  • pacing
  • chapter content
  • marketability

Scriptwriting

  • synopsis
  • title
  • format
  • plot (genre and theme)
  • structure
  • pacing
  • credibility
  • characters
  • dialogue
  • marketability

Part projects

  • synopsis
  • first three chapters or
  • extracts of your choice

Mini- and re-appraisals

  • synopsis
  • theme
  • genre
  • text - general comments
  • marketability

Appendices

Some reports may include an Appendix containing tip sheets to help weak areas and/or next-step advice, suggestions for further reading or writing courses with contacts.

Reports and manuscript return

The report will be emailed to you within about six weeks. They can be anything from six to ten pages long. The manuscript will be returned to you by snail mail. If you forget to send return postage, I will contact you and wait until I receive this. You will be contacted if there are any unseen delays.

Electronic submissions

Electronic submissions are sometimes acceptable, for example for short stories but because of the extra work involved, they cost more than hard copy manuscripts. Details will be sent with my quote.

Testimonials

Check out the Testimonials page to see how clients rate my manuscript appraisal service. And remember that this is a personal service between me and my clients. Unlike most reading agencies, I do not head up a team of readers - I am personally responsible for your manuscript's progress from the moment it is received to the moment it is returned to you.

 

 Terms and conditions

Manuscripts must be original, unpublished works of the author(s) or sent with their permission. Authors must be over 18 or include written permission from a parent or guardian. Confidentiality will be assured. The owner should retain originals of all work submitted. Any loss or damage to the documents will not be the responsibility of Keyword Editorial Services or Diane Paul.

diane@keywordeditorial.com

http://bookblogforbookworms.blogspot.com