Manuscript critique

 

manuscript critique graphicThere're an old joke. A guy goes to the doctor and says, "So what's wrong with me?" The doctor says, "You've broken your arm." The guy says, "I'd like a second opinion." The doc says, "Okay, you've broken your leg."

Boom, boom.

What's the point of this recycled humour?

That's simple. A second opinion is not necessarily more valid than a first opinion. Which, in this context, means that the opinion of a professional editor isn't necessarily any better than your own opinion - or, for that matter, the opinion of your best friend/mother/lover/dog.

Opinion is just opinion. It's a viewpoint; a perspective; the world as witnessed from a given vantage point (with all the emotional and intellectual luggage the critic happens to be carrying).

You may have written something so far off the beam that a professional editor simply can't engage with it, let alone edit it. You may be the next big thing trailblazing a whole new style. You may have mined a fresh seam of fiction that needs to be examined within its own terms, rather than fed through the treadmill of convention.

All that a professional editor is likely to do is show you how far you've drifted from the straight and narrow of literary orthodoxy. That's all. And that may not be where you want to be.

 


 

Want to read more?

There are over 25,000 words of writing tips and advice on my website. I've spent months writing these pages, and years refining them. I'm happy to share my professional knowledge with you. But like everyone else, I need to capitalise on my skills and efforts.

 

For just 1.99 I'll send you my entire MR EDIT'S WRITING ADVICE FOR AUTHORS as a .pdf file. Just follow the link below, or above, and you'll be taken to PayPal. You don't need an account; just a credit card or a debit card.

 

You'll generally receive my writing guide within an hour. But occasionally technical glitches from PayPal delay this for up to 24 hours.

 

Either way, you'll receive 25,000 very helpful words that will make you a better writer, will give you fresh insight into your work, and will improve the chances of a literary agent or publisher accepting your manuscript.


 

 

 

 

Mr Edit YouTube videos

 

Meanwhile, here are some of my You Tube videos that might be of interest to you. Hope you enjoy them.
 

You Tube video for writers and authors

 

Mr Edit. Let's talk about dialogue

https://youtu.be/KG0CLm1S9Rs

 

 

 

You Tube literary agent video help

 

Mr Edit. Pitching fiction to a literary agent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy698w2Ooc8

 

 

 

You Tube video - how to write fiction

 

Mr Edit. 5 Minute Fiction Fix.

https://youtu.be/y6OPUfcDH90

 

 

 

You Tube video for authors and novelists

 

Mr Edit. Let's talk about tautology.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zhoBLImV6U

 

 

 

 

Links for writers

 

Preditors & Editors. Here's where you can check out the credentials of literary agents and publishers. A must for any writer.

http://pred-ed.com

 

Creative Helps. Helpful resource for the creative community. Articles, links and tips.

http://www.creativehelps.com/products.htm

 

Nick Daws' Writing Blog. Lots of useful posts on all aspects of writing, both for print and online, plus a guest post for anyone who wants to make a contribution. Check it out.

http://www.mywritingblog.com

 

 

 

 

 

Creative writing

 

 

 

Special features

 

Darley Anderson, literary agent

Darley Anderson, top UK literary agent, on books,
publishing and success


Zo Sharp, thriller writer

Zo Sharp, creator of the

action-packed Charlie Fox series of books


Jeff Kleinman, literary agent

Jeff Kleinman, New York literary agent, talks shop


Creme de la Crime logo

Crme de la Crime:

An interview with

Lynne Patrick,

publisher and managing editor of a smallerbut

essentialBritish

publishing house.


Critiquing tip

 

Tip 1

Initially, send your manuscript (or a sample of it) as a Word document, or just paste 2000-3000 or so words into an email. Include a reasonably comprehensive synopsis, and explain exactly what you want from the critique.

Chances are, you already know - or have some idea - of where your strengths and weaknesses are. In which case, you may simply be looking for someone to check that you've achieved what you set out to achieve. Does my dialogue make sense? for instance. Or: Is my lead character consistent? Or: Is the pacing too slow? Or too fast? Keep in mind too that publishers employ people to do exactly this. The best way to think of a literary critique is as a pre-MOT check for your car; as something to make sure that your wheels will at least get you to the testing station.

 

Tip 2

Literary agents and submissions editors may not necessarily be all that impressed when you advise them that the manuscript you've just submitted has been reworked by a professional editor. Professional editing standards range from wonderful to abysmal, and literary agents and submissions editors are perfectly aware of this. Then again, the standards of literary agents and submissions editors also range from wonderful to abysmal. However, they're the one's in control.

On the plus side, mentioning the fact that you've had your manuscript professionally edited may impress and show commitment. On the minus side, it might also suggest that your work has been "adulterated" and make the literary agent or submissions editor wonder where your work starts and ends.

What can you do about it? Just "play it by ear". But I'd suggest that you don't mention the involvement of a professional editor, not until you feel it's really called for.

Your primary goal, remember, is to get the attention of a literary agent or submissions editor. And to that end, let them accept the work (or not) on its own terms.

And remember too; this is just my opinion.

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mike@mr-edit-literary-services.co.uk

or

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