R.W.R. McDonald (Rob) is a crime fiction author, writing tutor, running online writing courses at Faber Writing Academy and Writing NSW. Rob also runs a Manuscript Assessment Service, for both partial and full manuscripts, specialising in crime fiction and commercial adult fiction. Rob can provide feedback on your manuscript’s story structure, characterisation, dialogue, as well as redrafting advice.
Details about what is included in the Manuscript Assessment Service is listed below.
What is included in the Manuscript Assessment Service?
• A fresh set of professional, objective eyes on your manuscript
• A close reading of your manuscript, marked up with track changes
• Feedback and suggestions on structure, plot (including plot holes) and narrative arc
• Review of your characters; development and consistency, including dialogue
• Assessment of setting, what is working, what needs to work harder
• Language and voice
• Keeping the reader’s attention, pacing and tension in your story
Feedback is delivered through track changes in a copy of your Word document manuscript. Some of this may be light line edits, some will be comments in the form of questions, and some may be written line examples of what may work in place of/or what is missing. I will also highlight what I think is working well.
As a writer I understand how feedback delivered badly can impact on a writer. I believe in positive feedback, with examples, and raising potential issues in a way that the writer can thinking about them and decide for themselves what to do with that information. Remember you never have to accept anyone’s feedback, however if they have raised a story issue it is always good to reflect on why.
A great quote from Neil Gaiman’s Rules for Writing which really sums up feedback for me;
If you are still interested in a manuscript assessment, the next step is to consider whether you need a manuscript assessment – they cost money, and you may already have the resources you need.
Is a Manuscript Assessment Service for me?
Before you commit to a manuscript assessment you should have a think about what potential resources you may already have that you haven’t tapped into yet.
• Are you part of a writing group? If so, do you have people there whose feedback you trust? Have you gone through this process?
• If you aren’t part of a writing group, and would like to be, your local writers’ centre may be able to help you find one.
• Do you have a Beta Reader? Outside of your family, do you have a reader who is great at picking up plot holes, inconsistencies and grammar?
• Have you drafted and redrafted until you are sick of your manuscript?
• Are you actually seeking publishing advice?
If after answering these questions above, you are still keen for a fresh set of eyes on your story and a manuscript assessment then please read on.
What is the difference between manuscript assessment and manuscript editing service?
This manuscript assessment will be providing feedback as outlined above. It is not a manuscript editing service, for a structural edit or copy edit please enlist the services of a professional editor. There are also professional proof-readers. While I will pick up some editing notes and offer suggestions, this manuscript assessment is not a professional edit nor a professional manuscript proofreading service. Please check out the link to the Institute of Professional Editors Limited for those services.
And for Junior, Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction manuscript editing service
• Emily Gale Manuscript Assessments & Submission Appraisals | Emily Gale (emilygalebooks.com)
If you have decided you are interested in the manuscript assessment service I provide then please see the pricing below and the next steps involved.
As a guide I approximate per hour to 2,500 Words or 10 pages*
PLEASE NOTE: Reading time is included in these hours. All prices include GST. Turnaround time is dependent on the length of your manuscript. While every effort will be made to turn your manuscript around as quickly as possible, please allow up to 3 weeks. The shorter the length the quicker the turnaround time.
Rates Per hour
- One Hour – $100
- Additional hours $70 (per hour ≈ 2,500 Words or 10 pages*)
Special Package Offers
- The First 50 Pages* – including a half hour Zoom call to discuss. $300
- The First 100 Pages* – including a half hour Zoom call to discuss $500
*Pages based on basic industry standard manuscript formatting guidelines below;
- Font – 12 point, and either Times New Roman, or Courier
- Double spaced, left justified text
- 3cm margins (top, bottom and both sides)
- Indent for each new paragraph
- Chapter to start on a new page
- Pages numbered
Please Note Word format only. Quotes are based on manuscripts formatted as per above. I cannot take your manuscript if it is not formatted within these guidelines.
Industry basic formatting service as per above guidelines is available for $100
Special Package Offers
The First 50 Pages
Having been a judge for an unpublished manuscript competition in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards I cannot emphasise enough the importance of your first 50 pages. You need to give your reader no reason to not read on, and every reason to continue reading.
The First 100 Pages need to do a lot of heavy lifting, you are setting up your story world, introducing your characters and the plot problem(s) which they are going to solve. You are moving to an inciting incident, and then past it towards Act Two. We are getting to see your protagonist’s ordinary world as well as a glimpse of what is yet to come.
By the time Act Two arrives your reader needs to be fully invested and want to follow this story all the way to the end. By the end of your 100 pages your story should be flying and your reader across everything and unable to put it down.
Please read the following disclaimers closely and bear in mind before committing to any manuscript assessment.
- This manuscript assessment / manuscript appraisal is not an offering to a direct pathway to publication, nor does it offer the opportunity for introductions or recommendations to publishers or agents.
- This manuscript assessment service is not a manuscript editing service, for a structural or copy edit please enlist the services of a professional editor. (Please see recommendations above for manuscript editing).
- A manuscript assessment is not a requirement before submission to a publisher (unless specifically asked for). It is not a mandatory requirement.
- After incorporating notes from a manuscript assessment this does not guarantee success in submission, nor that the manuscript will be ready for submission at the end of that draft.
- This is not a sensitivity reader service.
- Full payment is required prior to commencement.