Manuscript critiques – why you need a second set of eyes
I was recently asked by a family friend to review a manuscript. If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog you probably already know that the only person to read my manuscript prior to being published was my editor, so when he asked me to review his manuscript I felt honored.
Having my manuscript critiqued (albeit through my editor) was so eye opening for me that I ended up doing a second draft. The second draft far surpassed the first and really took my story to the next level. A lot of what my editor shared outside of the realm of editing (punctuation, grammar, etc.) was invaluable to my story.
Why a second set of eyes?
Because it can be challenging to find an editor who’s both reasonable and offers critiques, a manuscript critique is a wonderful way to get feedback on your story outside the realms of what an editor provides. I talk a little bit about this in my most recent Youtube video. Are you subscribed by the way?
What is a manuscript critique and why is it useful?
A manuscript critique’s main objective is to provide the writer with useful feedback on pacing, characters, style and plot, prior to submitting to an agent or publisher.
For instance, after reviewing the family friend’s manuscript we talked for over an hour. I gave him my perspective on the characters and his story as a whole. I asked him background questions about his characters that I thought he would need to share in order to bring clarity to the plot. We discussed showing and not telling. We talked about events that happened in the story, why some worked great and why others needed a bit more back story. As we talked through the manuscript, he was able to see his work in progress through the eyes of the reader. Having been on the receiving end of a critique with my own novel, I can tell you that this is invaluable for the writer. A question that I have is likely the same question that the reader will have once its published. This critique brought him to a second draft which I’m positive will make his manuscript that much better for submission to an agent.
So let’s get the obvious out of the way…
Of course you can have a family friend review your manuscript, but having a writing professional who can offer suggestions as far as plot, pacing, voice, and writing style, in advance of passing on a manuscript to an editor is invaluable. Your friend or family member, though well intentioned, may not be able to offer the objectivity that a professional can. Would they be able to project what a publisher or agent is looking for, like a publisher can?
As a publisher, I offer this service and I’m confident that a manuscript critique will be useful in your writing journey. If you’re interested in a manuscript critique, please visit my website for pricing.
Do you think a manuscript critique would be useful prior to editing or submission to an agent/publishing company? Please share in the comment section below.