LEE WEATHERLY MANUSCRIPT ASSESSMENT

Who am I?

I’m an award-winning author of over 50 popular titles for children and young adults, published in 20 languages. I’m also a freelance editor of many years’ standing. I was the founding managing editor of Kids’ Corner (Cornerstones), co-authored Teach Yourself How to Write A Blockbuster and have taught numerous writing courses for Arvon, SCBWI and Cornerstones.

Simply put, I’m passionate about the craft of writing. Story structure, characterisation, “show, not tell”, pacing – I know it all intimately, and love helping authors discover their work’s full potential. I’ve given feedback on hundreds of manuscripts; I’ve seen first-hand the difference that clear, knowledgeable guidance can make.

As an author myself, I’m supportive but straightforward. No airy-fairy, vague advice: I provide detailed, practical feedback on what works, what doesn’t, and how you can fix it.

Lee is one of the most naturally gifted teachers I have ever met, whose wisdom and sharp writerly instincts have helped me again and again. I highly recommend Lee to anyone who wants to take their writing to the next level.

Cass Green

Sunday Times bestselling author of The Woman Next Door and The Cottage in the Wood

What kind of manuscripts will I assess?

I’ll consider any piece of commercial fiction, including genre (romance, historical, etc.). I of course also assess children’s and young adult. In some cases, I’ll look at memoirs and non-fiction. I don’t assess literary fiction, sorry.

If you’re at an early stage with your writing, I may recommend that you pursue creative writing courses rather than an assessment service.

Do you need a written report?

A report flagging your novel’s strengths and weaknesses can be an invaluable tool, something you’ll often refer back to. However, because reports are time-consuming to write, assessments that include them are more expensive.

If you choose a cheaper option, your assessment will still cover the same points a report would have included. I’ll mark up your manuscript using Word Comments, then we’ll chat things through in a phone call which you’re welcome to record (most written reports also receive a mark-up and phone call).

Many writers, myself included, actually prefer a marked-up manuscript and an editorial conversation to lengthy notes. Others find a written report extremely useful. Whichever you choose, you’ll receive thorough feedback on your manuscript.

Lee’s no-nonsense, practical approach focuses on the core necessities in writing fiction. Tight plots, intense scenes and making each word work in raising the story as high as it can possibly go. She knows it all.

Sarwat Chadda

Author of the Devil’s Kiss and Ash Mistry series

TYPES OF ASSESSMENT AND PRICES

All assessments include a covering email summarising your novel’s strengths and problem areas.

Mini Assessment

Unsure about a new project or just want a quick opinion? I’ll read up to 15K words, plus your story notes or a rough synopsis, and advise you on its potential.

I’ll particularly look at characterisation, quality of writing, structure, concept, and whether I’m hooked by the opening. I’ll let you know what’s working, what isn’t, and how you can make it shine. Depending on which assessment you choose, we can also have a half-hour phone chat to brainstorm ideas.

Cost:

  • Mark-up of MS, half-hour phone conversation: £150
  • Report only (1-2 pages, single-spaced), no phone conversation: £190
  • Report (1-2 pages, single-spaced), mark-up of MS, half-hour phone conversation: £250

Beta Reading

If you don’t need a report and would just like me to read your manuscript and chat it through with you, this is the option for you.

I’ll mark up your work using Word Comments to illustrate particular points (both strengths and weaknesses). I’ll consider all major areas of your writing, including structure, characterisation, quality of writing, “show, not tell”, pacing and any other issues. You’ll receive my thoughts summarised in a covering email, then we’ll have an hour-long phone chat to answer your questions, brainstorm ideas, and tackle the way forward. (Partial manuscripts of over 15K words are fine – include story notes or a rough synopsis in that case.)

Cost:

  • Up to 40K words: £220
  • Over 40K words: £5.50 per 1K words

Detailed Report

I love bouncing ideas around with authors, and know from experience that receiving written feedback leaves you dying to talk things through with the editor! So my detailed report includes an hour-long phone conversation.

Reports are 3-5 single-spaced pages long, and look at all major areas of your writing, including structure, characterisation, quality of writing, “show, not tell”, pacing, and any other issues. I’ll use examples from your own work where appropriate. I’ll also mark up your manuscript using Word Comments to illustrate specific additional points (including parts I loved!).

Then once you’ve had a chance to digest everything, we’ll schedule a one-hour phone conversation to answer your questions, brainstorm ideas, and tackle the way forward. (Partial manuscripts of over 15K words are fine – include story notes or a rough synopsis in that case.)

Cost:

  • Up to 40K words: £300
  • Over 40K words: £7.50 per 1K words

Submission Package

Have you been through several drafts, shown your MS to beta readers, and now want to make sure it’s good to go? I’ll give you feedback on your submission package (first 15K words, synopsis, cover letter), and help you make those final important tweaks.

I’ll look particularly at whether your opening packs a punch, the quality of your writing, if your synopsis is clear, and if your submission letter leaves me eager to read your work. We’ll make sure your manuscript’s first impression delivers as much “wow-factor” as possible.

(I’m unable to recommend particular agents or help you submit your work, sorry.)

Cost:

  • Mark-up of work, half-hour phone conversation: £150
  • Report only (1-2 pages, single-spaced), no phone conversation: £190
  • Report (1-2 pages, single-spaced), mark-up of work, half-hour phone conversation: £250

Mentoring

If you’re seeking candid feedback on your work, plus ongoing support and advice during rewrites, mentoring might be ideal for you. More information about the mentoring I offer is here.

Lee is a very astute reader with a gift for identifying what is and isn’t working in a manuscript and the ability to convey that to the writer. She always made me feel my work was valuable and that she really cared about helping me to make it the best it could be.

Sheena Wilkinson

Award-winning author of Taking Flight, Grounded and Street Song

HOW TO ORDER AN ASSESSMENT:

Drop me a line and let me know which assessment you’d like. Please attach two sample pages of your writing, and tell me a bit about you and your novel (what stage you’re at with it, what you’re looking for from me, etc).

I’ll respond within two working days – usually within a few hours – and let you know if I can take you on as a client. You’ll then be able to purchase your assessment and send me your manuscript. (Electronic manuscripts only, please.)

I’ll provide your assessment within four weeks. If you need it sooner, no problem: my schedule permitting, you can pay an express fee of £100 and you’ll have it within a week.

Lee is a natural editor with an unerring ability to spot weaknesses in a story, and a love of nurturing talent. She helped me enormously with my first book, Castle of Shadows, and I, like many other writers, have benefited from her guidance.

Ellen Renner

Author of Castle of Shadows, City of Thieves, and Tribute