Why do it? Why now?
Writing is art. Writing is craft. Writing is transforming audiences. Writing is a monumental chore. Writing is a great privilege. Writing needs a second eye, a preview. It is too hard to see — really see — your own work.
Writing longs for an impartial judge. Your mother is always going to say you’re brilliant (unless you’re writing about her!)
Writing is about truth. The subconscious mind appears on the page and sometimes that apparition manifests unbeknownst to the writer. Sharing your writing is like working with a word medium, a seer.
Sometimes it’s about clarity, about broadening your vision, about remembering details. Sometimes it’s about mixed metaphors and thinning out the cluttered and overburdened sentences. Sometimes it’s about suggesting a ready structure, imposing order on a disordered assortment of images and scenes.
Writing is about slowing down time and racing across time. It is compression and expansion. It is about being sensitive and about being sure.
Working with a manuscript consultant is always about serving the story, not the author. Scary? Yes. Does it make better writing? Again, yes.
A manuscript consultant won’t tell you what to do, they will ask you to consider a different approach, offer a new perspective, call for enhanced material and they will always tell you why. Everything is up to the author, for the work belongs to the creator and there is no other way it can be.
Ultimately the story is in your hands. Ownership is all. But lending your text to someone who reads deeply without knowing a thing about you, is the best way for the story to shine.
In a climate of shrinking advances, fewer publishing opportunities, and overwhelmed acquisition editors and agents, wouldn’t you rather hit the book industry dance floor with polished prose? Honoring your work and making it shine must be at the heart of any manuscript consultation. Trust the process and you will not be disappointed.
Dedicated to the writing process in all its forms, manuscript evaluations assist writers interested in taking their work to the next level. A one-on-one, personalized consultation and evaluation with a professional author and mentor provides a deep analysis of existing material with suggestions for further editorial development.
Always with an eye to reader engagement and the execution of the author’s vision, editorial consultant Margaret Macpherson offers both an overarching evaluation of the work and a breakdown of the writing’s constituent elements; structure, character, conflict, voice and tone, pacing, dialogue, setting, and that old bug-a-boo, point of view.
Strengths and weaknesses are identified, and the writer can move forward with a analytical written account (three to five pages) offering concrete suggestion on improving the art and craft of their manuscript.
The material is always read and marked twice, the first time to understand the complete story and gage reader reaction, and the second time to judge the success of narrative elements. The writer will leave with new tools for producing an engaging and polished manuscript.
A 90 minute skype session or coffee shop meeting is included in the cost of some evaluations in order to discuss methods of revision and provide clarity to the writer.
Where to place the manuscript and other aspects of marketability can also be discussed once the material has been shaped and revised in the substantive editorial process.
Please note, this is not a copy-editing or proofreading service. This manuscript evaluations offer comprehensive guidelines for substantive editorial development.
This is a one-time analysis of the first fifty pages of your manuscript, usually the amount requested by a publisher or agent. It is a flat fee of $100. The client can expect to learn if an acquisitions editor would read on and if not, why not. The turnaround time for 50 pages double spaced, Times Roman, is one week. The writer can expect an e-mail analysis of their works strengths and weakness with suggestions on potential improvements. If clients are interested in a single short story evaluation the cost is $70 provided the story is under 3000 words.
This is a complete reading (twice) of a full manuscript with a detailed evaluation sent directly to the client. The cost is a flat rate of $300 with an additional cost of $2 a page. (A two hundred page manuscript would cost $300 plus $400 for a total of $700.)The client can expect an overall evaluation of the work as well as the success of different narrative elements and suggestions on how to improve content. The structural architecture of the material will also be addressed. Turnaround time for full manuscripts will be between 21 and 45 days.
This service replicates those above but also provides an opportunity for the client to initiate open discussion with the mentor. A 90 minute skype session or a coffeeshop meeting is included in this full-service evaluation for the additional cost of $100 dollars. Visual elements for revision can be demonstrated and questions of clarity addressed.
Imagine my delight learning my apprentice Kevin Holowick, apprenticing with me in 2018, received an offer to have his first novel published by Newest Press! This is the second mentor I have worked with who has realized publication following the hard work of one-on-one edits of a lengthy manuscript and I find it difficult to describe…