Deborah Bancroft

Editor & Writing Coach: Making Words Behave Since 1996

Manuscript Review

A Manuscript Review is not a fault-finding mission. As a writer myself, I have tremendous respect for the work and commitment it takes to produce any manuscript. I will tell you when something works, and make suggestions where your manuscript can be improved.

A Manuscript Review Report covers the following categories, as well as any issues that are specific to your work:

Plot/Organization

Does your story flow well? Is the plot clear and believable? Is the plot logical? Are there any holes or loose strings?

Conflict

Is there enough conflict (external and internal) to move the story along? Is the conflict clear and consistent? Does it change naturally in response to plot and character changes? Is the conflict resolved or replaced by the end of the story? If the conflict continues, is there enough plot or theme resolution?

Setting

Is the setting appropriate for the story and time? Is there enough or too much description? Do the descriptions help to set the tone for the story? Are they consistent and accurate?

Characterization

Do the characters seem real? Can the reader empathize with (or dislike) them? Are the personalities and issues consistent? Does the main character undergo some change during the story? Are there too many or too few characters? Do their backstories make sense? Is there too much or too little backstory? Do the characters respond naturally to changes in the plot and setting?

Dialogue

Is the dialogue believable, understandable, natural? Does each character have a unique and consistent voice? Does the dialogue reflect and respond naturally to changes in characterization, plot, setting?

Point of View

Is the point of view/perspective consistent? When it changes, does the change make sense? Does it add to, or detract from, the telling of the story? Is the reader able to follow the change?

Show and Tell

Is there a good balance of show and tell? Was there enough detailed description where needed? Was there too much exposition, or was it in the wrong place?

Grammar and Spelling

Were there many errors or common mistakes? Was there an overuse of any particular grammatical symbol (e.g., exclamation marks) or phrasing? Do the grammatical differences in character voices make sense?