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How to reel in your reader

Hi, it's Julianne at Guts. I've had a lot of writers get in touch recently about feedback on their manuscript so I wanted to take a minute to tell you about what a manuscript evaluation actually is and how you can benefit from getting one.

To cut to the chase:

  • It’s about finding ways to get the reader invested in your story and characters.

  • It’s about tightening up your plot so each scene has drama and tension.

  • It’s about taking your raw manuscript and transforming it into a compelling book.

Most importantly: it's about reeling in your reader.

How does it work?

A manuscript evaluation is similar to a developmental edit, in fact, it is much like the process I go through when preparing to publish a book. My goal is always to get the reader invested in your story and characters.

As I'm reading your manuscript, I assess the plot and structure. I take a close look at the opening and find out what is at stake. I focus on how the narrative unfolds. To note: chapter 1 isn't always where the actual narrative starts.

In my report I focus on the pace and plot, and I make suggestions for how to improve both. The question I ask myself most frequently: Is there enough drama and tension to keep the reader engaged?

If my answer is no, I add this to the report and highlight the text in the manuscript and make clear suggestions for how to implement changes.

I also assess the quality of the writing. The most common mistake I see is manuscripts that are overwritten. By this I mean a fair amount of peripheral information that is not pushing the plot forward or serving any clear purpose.

In terms of the big-picture feedback, and suggestions on major restructuring, I only recommend this if it's necessary. When it is, I outline solutions and explain how they can be implemented. For example, I take a look at the sequencing of chapters and see if it makes sense. I see if the reader needs more information to follow the plot, or if the plot is sluggish. If a character needs more development I point this out and make specific suggestions.

To note, it isn’t ALL criticism! When something is working, I add that to the report as well. That way you know what to keep doing and what to not keep doing, if that makes sense.

It's a fairly intensive evaluation, which in the end produces excellent results.

Which genres do you do?

Memoir, narrative nonfiction and literary fiction. I also consider some genre fiction.

How do I get started?

If you’re ready to get started, send me a few chapters and I’ll get back to you with a quote:

That's about it for now. Thank you, and I can’t wait to read your manuscript.

xx Julianne

director at Guts

P.S. You can find out more about my Manuscript Evaluation service here:

P.S.S. Here’s a recent client testimonial:

I sent my memoir manuscript to Julianne for a full evaluation and she returned the review in 10 days, a very short turnaround compared to many.

The evaluation was comprehensive: fourteen pages of an overview, plus a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of pros, cons and comments. The manuscript was marked up with sections that might be culled or changed as well as margin comments. It was absolutely evident that Julianne had paid close attention to the manuscript throughout.

The most important thing was that everything suggested was CLEAR and IMPLEMENTABLE. Julianne was also good enough to say when she felt the writing was strong and, although I know I have a lot of work to do, I feel that not only is it doable with her concise guidance notes, but that it's worth doing as the work is not a total crock of shit.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Julianne's service. She is entirely professional, encouraging and directive, which is what we all need when we let our babies out into the wild. — Avril Millar

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1 Comment

Jun 06

Just please 🙏

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