Story is all important in both novels and screenplays. Dedicated novelists and screenwriters know that crafting a truly good story is like building a wall; you have to do it brick by brick. Given how long writers can sweat over a story, many eventually feel overwhelmed during the course of self-editing, no longer confident in their ability to judge their own work. In this sense, writing fiction is like building a wall that you can’t step away from in order to assess how it looks – if it’s straight or crooked – or what! So although the word “critique” can inspire fear and/or loathing and/or denial in the hearts of many writers and/or authors, engaging the services of a professional editor during your writer’s journey can be a relatively painless way to expedite project completion – and career success.

We know that hiring an editor is an investment in and a commitment to your project, your dreams and your long-term writer’s career goals. Therefore, it is our goal to ensure that you are happy with your investment, which is why we offer guidance from critiques to line edits to developing killer queries that open doors.

Critiques are executed electronically. Comments covering essential elements for good fiction (below) are embedded in your MS margins and explained in a document of comprehensive notes. Elements considered are:

 Conflict

    • Does the story begin with some sort of conflict—either internal or external?
    • Does the beginning set up the bigger “conflict” of the entire novel, the issue that drives your protagonist toward their goal?
    • Is your protagonist conflicted internally or embroiled in some external conflict? Both?
    • Are there too many conflicts? Too few?
    • Is there an overarching conflict that is vital to the premise, which grows to a climax and resolution?
    • Does the protagonist face one conflict or obstacle after another (each worse than the previous) that force him/her to have to make a tough decision(s)?
    • Does the conflict serve the interest of the story? Does it feel authentic?

Plot

    • Is the overall plot clear and cohesive?
    • Is the plot goal established quickly? Does it resolve to satisfaction?
    • Do subplots work with and serve the main plot? Are subplots well resolved?
    • Does time flow well from scene to scene? Is it clear?
    • Do the scenes flow together and drive the plot?
    • Are there any scenes that do not serve the plot and/or don’t have a point?
    • Is the plot interesting and engaging?
    • Are the themes and issues of the plot ones that readers can relate to?

Pacing

    • How is the overall pacing? Does it drag anywhere, and if so, why?
    • Is the prose over-wordy or vague, slowing down the pace?
    • Are sentences too long and/or repetitive?
    • Do scenes unfold and end quick enough to keep the reader, or do they need trimming?
    • In action scenes, does the pace increase through using shorter sentences and paragraphs?

Tension

    • Is tension created at the outset? Does it continue, pulling us along?
    • Is the protagonist compelling enough for the reader to care about their fate?
    • Are scene endings written to create tension? Are they cliffhangers – or a bit soggy?
    • Does the overall story unfold in such a way as to invoke tension?

Setting

    • Does the setting come alive and draw the reader in? Well described, or not enough?
    • Do the settings fit the mood and serve the plot as well as the premise?
    • Are there too many, not enough or overly used locations?
    • Are the senses used to bring settings to life?
    • Is the setting portrayed through the eyes of characters or presented in narrative?

Point of View (POV)

    • Is the POV consistent?
    • Is each scene told from only one character POV, and is their voice/POV distinct from the other characters’ voice/POV?
    • Are there any scenes told in a POV that might be more effective if told in another?
    • Does the author tell rather than show what characters are thinking or feeling?

Voice

    • Does the prose seem fresh, original?
    • Does the overall tone and style work well for the story and genre?
    • Does the author’s voice come across derivative of another author, or contrived?

Characters

    • Is the protagonist clearly drawn and consistently the major character?
    • Is the protagonist sympathetic? Do we naturally care what happens to him/her?
    • Are the characters developed and multidimensional – or flat stereotypes?
    • Do the characters behave and speak in ways consistent with their backgrounds?
    • Is each character distinct from the others?
    • Do the secondary characters enhance and enrich the protagonist’s story and arc?
    • Is there too much or not enough character description? Is the description shown from the eyes of other characters rather than the narrator’s voice?
    • Are there too many characters or too much time spent on secondary characters, thereby detracting from the main plot and focus on the protag?
    • Does the Protag have a clear character arc demonstrating growth/change or a resolution?

Dialogue

    • Does each characters’ way of speaking fit their personality and background?
    • Is there too much or not enough dialogue?
    • Is the dialogue wooden? Boring? Overwritten?
    • Is there any dialogue that fails to expose character, advance the plot or offer relevant back story?
    • Is there exposition in the dialogue? (Unnatural, awkward information dumps)

Overview

    • Does the story work? Do the chapters hold together as a unit?
    • Does the premise make sense, and is it engaging?
    • Does the story have a universal enough theme or topic to attract a wide readership?
    • Is the idea/premise original enough to draw interest? Is it “breakthrough” material?
    • Is the length right? Are additional scenes needed; where and what are they?
    • Is the story premise well-delivered, or does it feel vague or absent?
    • Is the premise threaded throughout the book; implied in the title, and encapsulated in the opening and closing chapters?
    • Does the ending give readers a sense of completion, resolution and satisfaction?
  • Is the author’s audience and genre clear? Who are the likely readers?

 

Critique Service Prices

  • First Fifty Pages (Fiction): $175
  • Full Manuscript Critique (Fiction/minimum 200-pages): $2 per page
  • Screenplay Critique (maximum 120-pgs): $250
  • Fiction Synopsis Critique (one page, single-spaced): $30
  • Submission Materials Critique: (query, synopsis & first 3 chapters/60-pgs & less): $350
  • Query only, critique and re-writing: $135

Critiques offer an in-depth analysis of all the major components needed for good fiction and screenplays.  For fiction, comments are put in the margins and a document of notes is developed as needed.  For Screenplays, comments are embedded in your Final Draft script, and a separate document of comments and “coverage notes” is created to offer more movie-industry specific feedback.

 My advertising copywriter experience gives me a unique advantage for ensuring quick, persuasive and professional copy in all the materials you’ll need when submitting your manuscript to agents and publishers, including queries, fiction synopsis’ and non-fiction book proposals.
 Fiction and Screenplay critiques do NOT include line editing, rewriting or proofreading.

 However, if you have a manuscript or screenplay critiqued by me, I will give you a 20% discount off regular line editing and/or proofreading rates on the same manuscript or screenplay.