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Improvement Services

Manuscript Assessment


Why should manuscripts be assessed?
It's easy for writers to lose their perspective after they have worked on their stories for some time. They may not see the character issues or a problem with the timeline. It happens to all writers, including professional authors too!

Once a writer finishes writing a story, it's a good investment to have the manuscript assessed. This helps to solve the problems before the manuscript undergoes editing and, thus, reducing cost.

Manuscript assessments apply to all stories; it could be a 2,000-word short story or a 200,000-word novel.

The plot has to be sound
There are a number of common pitfalls that can happen when writing a story. The plot has to develop naturally, driven by circumstances or characters. Avoid easy solutions when a character faces a problem, or you'll risk alienating your audience. Having the cavalry charge over a hill to save the day is the easy way out and lacks impact for the reader. Instead, let your character's intelligence or ingenious ability solve the problem, which is far more satisfying for readers.

The timeline must be workable
A story has a timeline even if it jumps around a bit with flashbacks or glimpses of the future. No matter how your story unravels to the audience, there's still a timeline governing the order of events. If the story incorporates flashbacks or future glimpses, then the timeline becomes even more important. Be aware of when events happen in your story, so characters react in the right sequence.

Create a timeline with the events, so the timeline remains in place no matter how you decide to reveal the story. The old fashion way is to draw a line on a very long piece of paper with dates and times below the line. The events are written above the line correlating with the correct date and time. The modern and much easier way to do this is using software. Writer's Helper can organise your timeline, as well as much more.

Time does matter
Be mindful of time and how long things really do take. If a bomb is set to explode in 35 seconds, then give the character 34 seconds only to disarm the bomb. It would be ludicrous to have a character running several blocks to a shed to retrieve wire cutters stored in a toolbox and then run all the way back to snip the wire just in time - and all in 35 seconds.

Characters are not all the same
Characters need to show their differences, their moods, their dreams, their wants and what they are prepared to do to achieve their goals. Make sure all your characters are unalike, so the reader can tell one from another. Not everybody wants the same things or think in the same way, so allow your characters to be individuals too.

What is the process?
After a manuscript has been assessed, the writer receives a report that critiques each chapter. Critiquing helps authors to improve their manuscripts, and can help them identify their writing weaknesses. Our suggestions can be used to develop a story and eliminate major flaws while helping to improve skills. Learning about your trouble areas helps you to break those bad habits and become a better and more skilled writer.

Having your manuscript assessed gives you the opportunity to see your story in a different light, to see what needs work and what is truly amazing about your story. After you have finished reworking your story you can submit it for a second manuscript assessment to make sure there's nothing else needed or overlooked with the redrafting. Otherwise you could have your manuscript edited.

Did you know from as little as $40 you could have a short story (up to 5,000 words) assessed?



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