Have you written a story, novella or novella and you’d appreciate someone else’s opinion on how you might improve it? I should love to help with that.
Let me read, ponder and provide an objective critique of your work. I will look at voice, language, plot, structure and style. I will also look VERY closely (and several times) at your manuscript for spelling and grammatical errors, missing words – because we all miss those in our own work and, err, editors miss them too.
OR to put it all another way…
We can work on proofing – checking for errors of all kinds. You might be amazed at how many words are missing or how many typos or misspellings have found their way into your manuscript. Top of the tree are those pesky homophones: words that sound the same but…you get the idea. There/they’re/their; passed/past; who’s/whose. Funny little things, too; like ‘to all intensive purposes’, ‘upmost’, ‘hairy fairy’ (a personal favourite that) and ‘passer bys’ – not to mention all those poor apostrophes which appear when they don’t need to and don’t when they should definitely be there! You can ignore me if you think I’m a pedant too far. Insisting that ‘disinterested’ means not having a dog or a stake in the fight, rather than being ‘uninterested’. You get the picture.
Line editing – where we look at the creative content, writing style, and language use at the sentence and paragraph level and focus on the way you use language to communicate your story to the reader. Gosh, you will read a lot about this. Culling your adverbs, for example. Showing not telling…
Structural editing (you might also hear this called developmental editing or substantive editing) and it is really the most complex and time-consuming stage of the editorial process. It means that you evaluate the manuscript as a whole and analyse for its author how well its constituent parts cohere. In other words, the big question is, ‘Does this work as a book?’ To make the matter more complex, not everyone agrees on what, err, does make a book. There are plenty of algorithms about on the structure of a successful novel BUT there are plenty of texts that defy those; there are many texts that are genre defying and experimental work. We can talk about that, because I also want to say that your work is your work.
I will also guide, encourage and do my utmost to help you grow in confidence; I will share what I have learned and I won’t pretend to know something that I don’t. I may also recommend someone else if I feel I am not right for you. We will have a good discussion before anything happens!
(Actual picture of me in book and author cheer-leading pose with my favourite pompom)
Details and prices below, but do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Obviously there’s no charge for that chat. You can also come and find me here https://twitter.com/BookwormVaught and here https://www.instagram.com/bookwormvaught6/
Novel extract (up to 5000 words) £140 – and add synopsis: £160
Short story (up to 5000 words): £140 (Ask about short story collections and non-fiction.)
Longer extract or longer short story (up to 10,000 words): £185.
How about a submission package, to included detailed feedback on your cover letter, synopsis and first three opening chapters (or fifty pages – dependent on what you are being asked for at submission)? I am happy to read an agent submission or one which is going directly to a small press. £220.
Full novel read (up to 100,000 words) plus your synopsis: £550
Longer novel read – you may have written a stunning and vast work of fantasy or historical fiction – £650 approximately, but we might need to have a chat because HOW LONG ARE WE TALKING HERE? (Includes synopsis.)
For a whole text, I will send your critique back to you within 4 weeks of receiving your manuscript and you are then welcome to have a follow-up phone call with me. Sound good? You may wish to send me a paper manuscript but a PDF, Word or a googledoc share are preferred. Either way, you’ll get a report from me plus all my little comments on the manuscript itself. You will know it has been read and loved and more than once. For shorter work, I will annotate your manuscript with comments and write you a brief report. Ah yes, who am I?
*I am a novelist, short fiction writer, editor, columnist – perhaps you have read me in The Bookseller or Mslexia – reviewer, poet and essayist.My short fiction, poetry and critical work are widely published online and in print. I’m BA and MA in English Literature and hoping to start a PhD in published work (focus on memory and trauma) very soon. I teach and tutor in Creative Writing, for Jericho Writers, among other. I am represented by Kate Johnson of Mackenzie Wolf Literary Agency in New York. Works out this year, 2023, have been my memoir, These Envoys of Beauty followed by the Italian translation of my 2020 novel, Saving Lucia, in Italian – Bang Bang Mussolini. September sees my new novel, The Zebra and Lord Jones, October, my first book on how to write a book, The Alchemy, and November, the Curae anthology, which is the shortlisted work of the Curae prize for writer-carers which I inaugurated in late 2022.
*I am an experienced proofreader, copy editor and copywriter. For literary and business texts.
*Now, you may or may not think this relevant, but I am also an English teacher and tutor and former examiner. This means I am a grammar geek, a spelling whizz and dedicated to preventing crimes against apostrophes. I am a nerd on the deepest level and actually get excited when I see homophone errors or an it’s which should be an its. That might sound a bit weird.
*I am a mentor and advocate – meaning that a joy of my life is to help people – sometimes in very difficult circumstances – improve their confidence and skills. In other words, let me cheerlead you and encourage you to make the mental leap, if you need it, that allows you to say I AM A WRITER.
*I read about three books a week. May I add yours?