© 1997-2015 Thayer Literary Services
Here’s what I do when I evaluate a first novel or nonfiction book:
I read your manuscript, marking errors and making notes on the pages, then write a detailed critique. My critiques typically run to 30 pages or more, single-spaced. I discuss the literary and technical aspects of your work in depth. Literary topics include plot, characterization, dialogue, scene construction, and more, and technical topics include issues of grammar, usage, punctuation, and other matters.
If the writing is below the minimum standards of readability, I will say so. In such cases I read about 50 pages of the beginning of the manuscript and about 50 pages at the end, then write a short report. I charge only for the limited amount of work done and refund the difference.
The critique is an invaluable learning tool that will help you bring your work to a professional level. Using this as a guide, you rewrite your manuscript, incorporating all the new knowledge acquired from the critique, then resubmit the revised manuscript to me for a second assessment.
Writing is rewriting
Since writing is always a process, one or more rewrites may be required. The purpose of rewriting is to bring the manuscript to the final stage of line editing. This is meticulous work—a word-by-word edit. I make every effort to fix everything that needs to be fixed, including errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage, along with such things as organizational defects, awkward sentences, poor word choice, factual errors, and inconsistencies.
I prefer to copy edit and line-edit directly on the word-processing file of a book. I point out errors and insert comments, explanations, and author’s queries. I use the Track Changes feature of the Word program so you can see all the changes in red.
After line editing and proofreading, the manuscript will be ready to show to literary agents or to self-publish. This does not guarantee publication in the traditional way, but a professionally polished manuscript will improve your odds tremendously.
For services other than a full read and critique, click here.