A manuscript evaluation is big-picture editing that looks at content and structure. This applies to fiction, memoir, and nonfiction, but the issues that are discussed will be different between the three types of writing.
Fiction: This is where we look at the story itself—the plot, the characters, the setting, the voice—as well as the organization of your book. Are the first two chapters of your book backstory? Maybe your book should really start at Chapter 3. Are your characters behaving in believable ways? Are there plot holes or loose ends you forgot to wrap up? Are there any issues with your story’s timeline? Are you maintaining a consistent point of view throughout the book? Are you telling when you should be showing? These are the types of questions we will work together to answer in a manuscsript evaluation. I will read through your manuscript two times. You will receive a revision letter outlining the major issues in the manuscript in detail. I may also leave comments in the manuscript itself pointing out specific areas where these issues occur. I will offer suggestions for restructuring and rewriting, as necessary.
Memoir: For memoir, we will be making sure that the lessons you have learned from your life are presented to readers in the best way possible so they too can benefit from your life story. Are your themes well supported and have you chosen the best scenes from your life to illustrate them? Does the time structure you have chosen (chronological, split chronological, thematic) serve the book well? Is the writing appropriate for your target audience? We will work together to ensure you are telling your story in a way that stays true to your life while effectively bringing readers along for the ride. I will read through your manuscript two times. You will receive a revision letter outlining the major issues in the manuscript in detail. I may also leave comments in the manuscript itself pointing out specific areas where these issues occur. I will offer suggestions for restructuring and rewriting, as necessary.
Nonfiction: For a nonfiction manuscript, we will be making sure that the information you are providing is clear and presented in the most efficient way. Do you effectively back up your claims? Is the information presented in the best order? Is the voice appropriate for the audience? Does the pace of the book keep readers interested? I will read through your manuscript two times. You will receive an editorial letter outlining the major issues in the manuscript. I may also leave comments in the manuscript itself pointing out specific areas where these issues occur. I will offer suggestions for restructuring and rewriting, as necessary.
If you are looking for general feedback about your book but aren’t ready for a full manuscript evaluation, this is the place to start. This is a great option for someone who has just finished their first draft and wants some guidance before beginning a rewrite or someone who doesn't have the budget for a full manuscript evaluation. I will read through your manuscript one time and provide an editorial letter discussing the top three or four issues in your manuscript. You get the same level of detail as you would from a manuscript evaluation but on fewer topics. This will let you focus on the changes that will have the most impact on your story. No comments will be made in the manuscript itself.
The Great Start Review
The first three chapters of your book are vital to catching—and keeping—the attention of agents, publishers, and readers. If you want to make sure your book is starting off in a way that will draw people in and make them eager to keep reading, the Great Start Review is, well, a great start! Are your characters instantly compelling? Is the main conflict made apparent in a way that makes readers want to know more? Are you starting off with too much backstory or scene setting and bogging the pacing down? You'll receive an editorial letter addressing these topics and more to make sure your novel begins with a bang!
Line editing focuses on diction, clarity, and readability. This is where we make sure you are using the best words to express your meaning; that your sentences are smooth and clear; that every paragraph, line, and word are necessary to the telling of your story; and that there is nothing to pull your readers from the wonderful experience of reading your book. I will correct any grammar, punctuation, or spelling issues I notice, as well, but the focus of a line edit is the craft of writing. While a line edit will catch the majority of errors in a manuscript, the nitty-gritty error sleuthing comes in a copy edit, and I do recommend that authors have a copy edit done after their line edit. This is a two-pass edit with author review between passes.
Mini Line Edit
A line edit, as described above, but of the first 10,000 words of your manuscript only. This is perfect for authors who want to make sure their early chapters will impress an agent and for budget-conscious authors who are confident they can take what they learn in the mini edit and apply it to the rest of the manuscript. (If you hire me for a mini edit and then decide you want a full line edit, the fee you paid for the mini edit will be applied to the cost of the full edit.)
Your story is tight, your characters are authentic and consistent, and your sentences sing! Now it’s time to root out the pesky errors that remain. I will look for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors, of course, making sure the main character in your novel hasn’t ordered “bagel’s and cream cheese” (it should be “bagels”) or that you haven’t used “effect” when you meant “affect” (don’t worry; everyone gets that one wrong). I will also be looking for mechanical errors, ensuring that there is consistency throughout your manuscript. Did you spell out the word California on page 5, but use the abbreviation CA on page 52? Does one of your characters buy “two” boxes of cookies in Chapter 3, but “3” boxes in Chapter 5? (And how do they get away with eating so many cookies?!) Inconsistencies are distracting, and I will look for them and correct them. Suggestions for minor rewriting of sentences may occur, but if your manuscript needs a lot of smoothing, it isn’t ready for a copy edit. In this case, a line edit would be more appropriate. This is a two-pass edit with author review between passes.
Line Edit Plus
Line editing and copy editing services rolled into one! I will make three passes through your manuscript, with author review between each one. The first pass will be a line edit, focusing on the words and sentences (though I will fix spelling and punctuation errors as I see them because they will drive me crazy if I don’t!). The second pass will clean up any remaining “line” issues, including review of any rewrites you undertook after the first pass, as well as begin some serious copy editing. The final pass will be a pure copy editing pass, hunting down the remaining grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. If you know you will want both line editing and copy editing, purchasing the Line Edit Plus package will save you money over purchasing them separately!