Critiques/developmental editing

What is a critique? In Australia, it’s often referred to as a “manuscript assessment”. It means someone with professional experience reads your novel or story and provides a detailed report on what’s working and what’s not working. Sometimes (but not always) the assessor will make suggestions on how to fix the problems. If not, you’re on your own!

For most writers, this leaves them floundering. I don’t believe this kind of critique helps you much at all. I approach a critique or assessment in terms of “what can I do to help the writer make this manuscript better – ideally, so much better that it’s publishable”. What does my critique of your work involve? I provide comments on the following:

* structure
* characterization
* plot
* dialogue
* setting
* theme
* style and voice

I identify the issues in the manuscript – I am a tough editor – but I also provide suggestions that I think might be helpful. I will also give comments on smaller issues within the manuscript via Track Changes and margin comments. Where the manuscript is a picture book, for example, specific aspects of what a picture book text requires is added in to the critique. I make suggestions where I think they are helpful, and offer “food for thought” – new directions, possibilities, places and aspects to explore. Further discussion is always available. I consider this as either developmental or structural editing, depending on what stage the manuscript is at.

I also do copy editing, i.e. correcting grammar, spelling and punctuation – but you should know this can be incredibly time-consuming and costly. To copy edit a full manuscript of around 90,000 words may cost several thousand dollars. It depends on how many errors are in the manuscript. For more information, please read my page about Editing services, and for further answers or a quote, please use my contact form.

I know from my years of teaching that not all of you received the grounding in grammar that you needed at school. If you are serious about writing and publishing, and you are having problems in these areas, I can help you take steps yourself to increase your skills. One way is for me to copy edit three chapters of your work, which usually shows up the most common errors you are making. You can then use this to complete the rest of the job yourself. Use my contact page for enquiries.


Picture books up to 800 words – AU$180
4 poems – up to 150 lines – AU$180
Children’s chapter books up to 5,000 words – AU$440
Novels – either for children, YA or adults – I ask for a 5000 word sample and quote on hours ($90 per hour) – an average novel will be $1000-1400 (longer novels with more feedback and structural help will be more)

Poetry manuscripts – by negotiation

Copy editing – by negotiation

Clients in NZ will need to contact me for a quote as I have to add GST.

Please email me via my Contact page.

critique novels