Manuscript Critique Service


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Every day, I work with writers like you: toiling away alone at a desk, hoping to make your writing dreams come true. You know it takes many drafts to make your writing sing, and you’re willing to do the hard work of revision. You have what it takes.

But you could also use a little help.

Maybe you’re looking for the insight of a thorough and trusted reader who can reflect back to you what is working and what just plain needs work in your manuscript. Someone with enough distance to be objective, while offering suggestions to push your writing to the next level.

You’ve come to the right place.

About Me

As Director of Red Oak Writing, I lead Roundtable critique groups, work one-on-one with individual writers, and present writing workshops on various aspects of craft and publishing. I am a teacher at heart (with many years of experience), so I see my relationship with writers as being a mentor rather than a critic. I want to help them learn not only how to improve the piece before us, but how they can apply these skills to their future writing. I want to help them understand why something works (or doesn’t) and how they might go about revising. 

Of course, I am a writer, too. My story collection, Nothing to Lose, was published by Cornerstone Press in 2018, and a collection of my essays titled, Maybe I’ll Learn: Snapshots of a Novice Mom, was published in 2012. In addition, my work has appeared in various writing journals, and I speak at national, regional, and local writing conferences. I earned my MFA from Pine Manor College in Boston where I was the Dennis Lehane Fellow in Fiction. During my free time, I enjoy working in the garden, reading (naturally) and spending time outdoors with my family.

Read what others have said about this service.

What I critique:

I critique only prose manuscripts written for adult readers:

  • Fiction (long or short form)
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Essay
  • Article
  • Memoir
  • MFA Application Materials
  • Masters Theses
  • Query Letters/Book Proposals/Synopses

What is provided:

  • A detailed letter pointing out the aspects of the manuscript that are working well and big-picture suggestions for making the writing stronger.
  • Written annotations within the manuscript. I think of this as “having a conversation” with the piece, in which I show the writer what I am thinking as I read.
  • One email exchange for clarification or suggestions for next steps.

While I do not do line edits, I may point out distracting grammatical/mechanical errors I notice.

How to Submit:

Please contact me before sending a manuscript. (Unsolicited manuscripts will be returned unread.)

In your query email, please share the following information:

  • Your name & contact info including email address and phone number
  • Title and genre
  • First three pages
  • Number of pages you would like to submit (1 page = 250 words)
  • Whether it is complete or a portion of a longer work (Sometimes critique of an excerpt is all you need.)
  • Where you are in the process: for example, first draft with no other readers, draft that has been workshopped and revised, near-final draft you are preparing for submission/self-publishing, etc.
  • Areas on which you’d like me to focus
  • Information about time frame (Are you working under a deadline?)
  • Anything else you’d like me to know before we work together?

If it seems we will be a good fit, I will send a Letter of Agreement outlining the services I will provide and instructions for paying in advance.

Next, you will send a Word doc of your manuscript in proper format, and I’ll get to work.

Time frame: Depending upon the length of the manuscript and my schedule, I should be able to complete most manuscripts within 1-2 weeks’ time. The conditions in the Letter of Agreement will state the time frame explicitly.

Fees: $75 for up to 10 pages (1 page = 250 words) and $7/page thereafter. I will invoice you, and you can pay in advance by check or credit card.

A Word About Rights: As a writer myself, I deeply respect the sanctity of others’ original work. The copyright for your original material always resides with you, just as my comments about your work reside with me. (Please do not reproduce my editorial comments or suggestions without my written permission.)

Right of Refusal: I cannot accept every request I receive either because of my schedule or because I don’t believe I’m the right person for the project. If I must decline your project, I will try to make suggestions for other possibilities.