Manuscript Evaluation

I offer manuscript evaluations for memoir and nonfiction trade books.

A manuscript evaluation looks at “big picture” elements of storytelling like structure, premise, chronology, narrative pace, characterization,  dialogue, settings, sensory details, scenes, and voice.

  • Do the opening paragraphs captivate the reader?
  • Is the narrative well-paced?
  • Is the dialogue realistic?
  • Are the timelines easy to follow?
  • Are the dramatic events shown in scenes?
  • Do the descriptions draw upon the senses?
  • Who do you imagine reading your book, and what would you like readers to come away with?

In my editorial letter, I assess strengths and weaknesses, focusing on how to turn any weaknesses into strengths. The specific elements that I analyze will depend on your manuscript.

My editorial letters are quite thorough, and typically range from 10 to 15 pages (3,000 to 4,500 words). The letter provides you with my analyses and comments in one place; you don’t have to hunt through emails or various versions of the file. You can read the letter at leisure and refer back to it easily.

While writing the letter, I will communicate with you as needed to ask questions and to generally check-in. There should be no surprises.

If we decide that your manuscript doesn’t need a comprehensive assessment, I can tailor a shorter letter to aspects of the writing that most concern you.

A manuscript assessment is often a necessary first step, because it doesn’t make sense to fine-tune paragraphs and sentences until the overall structure is sound.

On request, I will send you a sample letter to help you decide whether manuscript evaluation is right for you.

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