Fiction Critiquing Services by The Cavalier (Mark Malcolm)

Fiverr Critique Gig IIIYou have an amazing story to tell, but you’re worried it isn’t the best it can be. I can help, and you can try me out for FREE!

Summary
I’ll do a critique (please note these are NOT line edits) of the first 2000 words, double-spaced, 12pt pitch, Times New Roman font FREE. You email me an MS Word, Rich Text, or Open Office formatted document, and I’ll use Track Changes in MS Word to fully comment with an eye to making your prose better, at no cost!

I’ll include a complete quote detailing the cost of a full critique and how long it will take along with the free critique. If you move forward, you will receive my candid opinion on a wide variety of helpful and useful topics. I present my frank assessment of your writing without pulling punches. Depending on my work load, I can usually get a free critique done in three days. Full manuscripts will have a timeline agreed to before work begins. Typical costs are dependent on how much work is required and are outlined in the quote.  For a 50,000 word novella, pricing can range from $375 to $1225 depending on how good or poor the writing style. Once you receive the critique you are only limited by your own ability and dedication to your craft.

What You Get in My Critique
In the free sample I will include my comments using the Track Changes function of MS Word. If you are not familiar with this function, please go HERE and I’ll show you how it works. My line comments are not edits for grammar, spelling, or mechanics. This is a critique service for content, structure, and style only. If you require line edits I can do that, but it is an additional service above and beyond the critique service.  In addition to my line comments, you will receive my comments on all of the following categories:

My Overall Opinion of the Piece

Do I think this piece is marketable? Is this piece ready for publication? What did I like best about the piece? What did I think was the part that needs the most work in the piece? What are the writer’s strong points? Where could the writer use more practice? Any other general thoughts on the story.

Manuscript Formatting

In this section, I will give you my opinion and thoughts on how the original document could be improved from the standpoint of making it readable for an editor. Keep in mind you should always check for the writer’s guidelines or submission guidelines posted by any publication. My comments are not designed to be a panacea for all publishing houses, but rather to give general direction on do’s and don’ts as I see them.

Story Hook

Did the story grab me and make me want to read more? If not, how can the story be improved upon so that it does hook the reader?

Story Concept

Is this story a fresh idea or has it been overdone?  Keep in mind that even overdone story plots can be approached in a way that makes them vibrant and spring off the page.

Readability

How easy or difficult was this piece to read? How could the writer improve the style in which it is written to still accomplish the story’s goals and keep the writer’s voice intact?

Plotting

Is the plot predictable? Are the elements of a solid plot in place? I’ll give you my predictions on where I think the story is going to go if it is a longer work.

Pacing and Flow

Are there periods in the story that stretch on too long? Are there segments that should be longer? Does the plot move along at a steady pace holding the reader’s interest?

Character Descriptions

Do I know enough about each character to tell them apart, care about them, want to know more, love/hate them?

Dialogue

Is the dialogue written well? Do I believe the characters would speak like this? Does it flow well? Is it structured well?

Setting

Can I see the world you’ve created? Do I know enough about that world? Are any elements left out that I need to know more about to support the story? Is there too much setting and not enough story? Does the setting get in the way of the story or support the tale?

Why You Want One of My Critiques
This is NOT a ‘Nice job keep it up’ sort of critique. If you cannot accept a brutally honest evaluation of your writing, this is not the place for you. If my opinion of your writing is good, I’ll say that. If my opinion of your writing is that it is not good, I’ll say that too; BUT, I’ll explain how I think you can improve also. It is my goal to always provide what I think is the best path to improvement and not just bash something for the sake of bashing. I intend for you to receive good value for your purchase of my services, in hopes that you will return to me for your next project and recommend me to your peers.

My line critiques are designed to point out where I think the story needs work. In most cases I will give examples of how I think it can be improved. In other cases I point out the trouble spot but only explain what I want to see and don’t give examples. This method allows you to create the improvement in your voice, keeping the feel of the story intact. In all cases it is your story, your voice.  Keep my suggestions or throw them away in favor of your own ideas.  It is your story in the end.

How Long It Will Take
I can usually get the free critique done in three business days.  However, real life and work load sometimes intrude, and it may take longer.  It is free after all so a bit of grace may be required.  I’ll usually contact the email address that sent the story to me if I’m having trouble meeting my deadlines.

For a full manuscript critique, all deliverable dates, time lines, and deadlines will be clearly outlined before work begins and strictly followed.  If there is an issue with any of the dates in the quote, it is your responsibility to bring them up and discuss them with me BEFORE agreeing to the work.  That doesn’t mean we can’t discuss changes after work begins, and I will be flexible whenever possible. It does mean however that the contractual commitment is spelled out in the quote we agree to and those are the dates I am obligated to hit.

How Much It Will Cost
The trial critique doesn’t cost you anything. A full manuscript carries the costs associated with the quote I return to you prior to commencing work. The costs for this service are based on the writer’s skill level. A 50,000 word novella runs from $375 for a well written manuscript that requires a low level of work on my part to over $1200 dollars for the same piece requiring a much more intensive effort from me.
Line edits are those made simply for English mechanics and grammar. A critique is an opinion rendered by an editor concerning style, convention, and that editor/writer’s experience. In both cases, the changes made or suggested are designed to bring the story more in line with what that editor believes is needed to improve the work. I may make some minor line edits during the critique, but for the most part I do not do line edits when I critique. If you are interested in getting line edits as well as a critique please indicate that during your submission as they are an extra fee and must be quoted separately.  If line edits are not requested, a full review of grammar and mechanics will not be done.

Critique Style Example
You can find an example of how I critique, what it looks like, and the kinds of comments you can expect HERE. This is from Rachel Meenan’s book The Stolen Defender which is currently in the process of being written and used with permission. [UPDATE: Rachel’s book is out now and available on Amazon HERE.]

How Do I Submit a Free Sample Request
Please send an electronic document in MS Word, Rich Text, Open Office, or GoogleDocs format via the email address you wish to use to communicate with me. Send the document to the following email address:

thecavalier@firstchevalier.com

In the subject line please label your email as follows:
Free Sample Critique [YOUR NAME] [TITLE OF YOUR PIECE]

In the body of the email please indicate the following information so I can provide you with more constructive feedback:

  • Title of the story
  • Word count of the complete manuscript if this is just a piece
  • Genre(s) of the story
  • What you hope most to get out of my comments

Disclaimer
This is a critiquing service. This is not an agreement to publish any work.  I render my opinion on the submitted material only. I make no guarantees or promises of publication by myself or anyone else before, during, or after this service is rendered due to the ever changing nature of the publishing industry. My comments are my opinion based on my personal publishing history, career working with other editors, and experiences in talking with other authors. I hold no rights to the works submitted to me and am under no other obligations other than rendering my opinion of those works as outlined in the quotes agreed to by myself and the persons voluntarily submitting their works to me.

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