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Need a Manuscript Review?

Your friends and family love your memoir. Apparently, they are sure you are an outstanding writer, but you’re not so sure. Perhaps you wonder if you need a manuscript review.

What they are telling you comes across more like support and opinion rather than as an evaluation.

It’s understandable you have your doubts about the assessments you have received from family and friends. These are people you will be seeing again. They want you to think well of them. But, you are not looking for support and encouragement.

An Objective Evaluation

You are looking for an objective evaluation of your book, an evaluation that is considered and reliable.manuscript review

“So where do I find out if my book is ready for the world?” you ask.”How do I find out if there is something—even a lot—I could do to improve it?”

You need someone who does not know and love you. You need to have an appraisal from a professional who has thought much about what makes a memoir interesting and meaningful and is willing to tell the truth about what is in your pages.

You need a manuscript review.

What’s The Difference Between a Manuscript Review and Editing?

A manuscript review is a critical, evaluative review of your memoir—or section of your memoir.

Editing—especially developmental editing—focuses on offering specific suggestions for improving text. Your editor goes deep into your story and  suggests revisions. In a sense, your editor becomes a co-author with you.

In a manuscript review, we evaluate what we read, and while we are likely to offer many comments, they will not tend to be developmental. Rather than point out how to strengthen the sketchy portrayal of your mother (for instance), we will tell you the character of your mother is sketchy and needs work. This is an especially good option for  the writer who is experienced and skillful and needs help to assess the manuscript—we are all a little blind to our own work, after all. This writer already possesses many of the tools necessary to improve the manuscript.

The neophyte writer can still benefit from a manuscript review but would probably do better with developmental editing.

Your Review Team

The editors at The Memoir Network are here to help you identify your manuscript’s strengths—and help you build on them—and its weaknesses—and help you to minimize them. There are many parts to a manuscript review. Below are some of them.

How We Respond to Your Need for  a Manuscript Review

We look at how you employ language: Inevitably a memoir is more than a collection of words. It’s that but a memoir also has to be both interesting and make sense.

  • Is your grammar correct and in the service of meaning?manuscript review
  • Is your diction at the level of the character’s education and social standing?
  • Is your language in the service of your theme?
  • Is your diction too elevated—or too pedestrian—for the audience you purport to be writing for?

Audience: You must always write for your reader. We will look into how you are addressing your audience.

  • Who is your audience and are you clearly addressing your intended readers?
  • What do they expect from a memoir such as yours?
  • Are you clearly providing solutions to the needs of your readers?
  • How are you delivering on your promise?

Narrative Development: This is also known as dramatic development.

  • Is your manuscript as compelling as it can be
  • Here we’ll look at how the narrative pulls us along. This will invariably include suspense and foreshadowing but also the consistency of your story flow. Nothing handicaps a story like time problems. This is often referred to as time sequencing.
  • Is there a conflict (often this is a psychological one rather than an external one)? Have you selected events to happen in a reasonable and compelling order? Are you providing resolutions too early in the story and then telling the rest of the story in flashbacks? Is your plot serving your theme?  

Character Development: This is where we look for how you present the people in your memoir

  • Are your characters detailed enough to come across as “real” people?
  • Are your characters static or do they change over the story time as most people do in life?
  • Your kind mother on page 56 cannot be mean on page 195—perhaps stern or assured but not mean. We see this a lot—it’s a sign you are probably making something up.
  • Something has got to happen to the characters. Have you clearly identified their struggles?

Theme: Theme is what your story is really about. It is the soul of your writing.

  • Is your theme meaningful and not merely a cliché? (“We were poor but happy.”)manuscript review
  • Does your theme really flow from how your characters interact and how your action unfolds?
  • Is the value and importance of your theme shown to grow?

In conclusion to “Need A Manuscript Review”

Please visit our Manuscript Review pages to determine if this service is appropriate for you. You will find pages devoted to the process and to outlining fees.

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