manuscript appraisal from a professional editor

What is a manuscript assessment?

You may have heard of a ‘manuscript assessment or a ‘appraisal’ if you’ve been looking for editors to help you with your work. In my eyes, they are pretty much the same thing. If you are wondering what a manuscript assessment consists of, that depends on the individual, organisation or agency you are getting one from.

Generally, a manuscript assessment will look at things like plot progression, structure, style, point of view, characterisation and setting. Some may even cover aspects of grammar, syntax and punctuation, although these are the types of things you can expect from a copy edit.

What to expect from my manuscript assessment?

The type of assessment I provide my clients covers all those aspects as well as genre and marketability. In other words, I advise clients on how to position their work in the current literary market. This is something that most agents and publishers will want to see from an author; evidence that you’ve already started thinking about how your work can be marketed.

However, my focus in a manuscript assessment is helping an author develop their story into a cohesive narrative. I suggest ways to improve dialogue, cut out instances of telling and replace them with more active scenes that show the action on the page. By looking at your structure and plot, I suggest ways to improve the pace of the narrative. I focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the characters: Are they unique? Are they well-rounded people? Are they believable?

I examine your setting, or lack of setting and suggest ways in which you can use your fictional environment to bring elements of your story to the fore.

All in all, when you finish reading the manuscript assessment, you should come out feeling confident and ready to tackle your next draft. If you think your manuscript needs one, get in touch via the enquiry form now!

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