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.
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.
TYPES OF ASSESSMENT
All assessments include a covering email summarising your novel’s strengths and problem areas.
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.
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.
Please get in touch to discuss pricing.
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 feeand you’ll have it within a week.