Substantive Story Editing

You’re ready to find out how your story’s actually working on the page.

Good decision. It’s time for substantive story editing.

Substantive Story Editing

Concept Talk
Comprehensive Manuscript Critique
Strategy Session
Revision Check

$2,000 – $4,000

If you want a comprehensive manuscript critique and individualized follow-up that guides you deeper into your craft, this is the critique package for you.

Our substantive story editing service takes our editorial assessments to the next level by providing exhaustive annotations and a lengthy critique letter that not only identifies problems in your manuscript but also explains why they’re problems, and begins to teach you how you might fix them.

With one-on-one consultations before, during, and after your critique, you’ll be prepared to make serious progress in your writing practice.

3 Deliverables:

+ Fully annotated manuscript

+ Comprehensive editorial letter

+ Recommendations for development.

3 Consultations:

+ Concept talk

+ Strategy session

+ Revision check.

Our Substantive Critique Process

We’ll read and thoroughly annotate your entire manuscript, giving you a window onto your reader’s experience. We’ll leave notes wherever we laugh, cry, jump, or groan. We’ll ask questions wherever they occur to us and let you know where we were confused. We’ll highlight material to consider cutting and point out places that the writing is not serving the reader.

We’ll also write a comprehensive editorial letter that explains why things aren’t working in this draft quite yet. If the notes in the manuscript are the trees, the critique letter is the forest.

When we’re finished reading, we’ll write an in-depth analysis of how the elements of fiction are handled in this draft. We’ll examine plots and subplots, story world, character development, showing versus telling, mood, tone, and tension, structure, exposition, style, voice, and editing needs.

After you’ve had a chance to process your critique letter and annotated manuscript, we’ll meet online or over the phone for a strategy session. You and your editor are both experts on the manuscript at this point, so it’s always an interesting conversation. You’ll have a full hour to ask questions and explore opportunities for improvement.

And when you’ve started your revisions and want reassurance that you’re moving in the right direction, you’ll have up to one more hour of your editor’s time on reserve. You can send a revised passage, schedule a phone call, or both. Our goal is to get you going on your next draft with confidence and a plan.

Request a free consultation now.

“In the long run, the revision process feels better if you approach it with curiosity. Each editorial mark can’t register as a ‘mistake’ that threatens the spider ego. Remind yourself that revising proves your care for the reader and the nature of your ambition. Writing, regardless of the end result — whether good or bad, published or not, well reviewed or slammed — means celebrating beauty in an often ugly world. And you do that by fighting for elegance and beauty, redoing or cutting the flabby, disordered parts.” 


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