Manuscript Critique

When I joined a critique group in 2009, it changed my life and my writing. Not only did my writing skills accelerate, I found exactly what I needed for my book—accountability, honest feedback, and the encouragement I needed to write on. My critique partners challenged me to dig deeper and get to the heart of my story. They knew exactly when I was writing less than my best. Had I not had critique group partners who wouldn’t let me quit, The Covered Deep & Within the Veil would never have been published. Writers need writers. But maybe you don’t live in an area where a good critique group is easy to find. Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience in a critique group and you’re hesitant to join another one. This is my solution for you.

My critique services are different than most. Usually, if you get a paid critique, you’re going to have someone make notes on your manuscript and then email them to you. While I also do that, I go a step further. First, I read your submitted chapter 2-3 times. On the first pass, I’m getting a feel for your story, setting, and characters. I look at the pages as a reader would. On the 2nd and 3rd pass, I turn on my training and dig in. I do extensive notes as Track Changes in Word. I put every word under my microscope and I make sure you’re doing the most that you can to make your book shine.

Here are a few things I’ll be looking for:

*A strong inciting incident
*How have you crafted your character’s ordinary world?
*Point of view
*Multi-layered characters
*Setting
*Tone
*Atmosphere
*Character development
*Arc
*Areas where personification and metaphor can be used
*Body language
*Dialogue tags
*Dialogue that flows
*Passages that can be made more lyrical and evocative
*Heightening the scene
*Ways to increase the tension
*Flow / beats / resonating “notes”
*Themes
*Hooks for the reader
*Does the end of the scene make me want to turn the page? If not, I’ll help you with ways you can do that.
*What is your story’s deepest truth?
*What are your characters’ deepest truths?
*Are your characters sympathetic? What about your villain?
*Are you putting yourself in your character’s skin?
*Do your characters have well defined goals, motivations, and conflicts?
*Are you tapping into the five senses in every scene?                              
*Are you using body language to convey intention?
*Have you added all the details that you can to make your setting come alive?
*Are you writing real, raw emotion?

Now, here’s where it gets fun for you and me both. After I’m finished with this process we’ll do a private Google Hangout and we’ll talk it over. One chapter critique typically lasts from 45 minutes to an hour. During this session, I’m giving you private instruction and letting you in on the industry secrets that I’ve learned over the past eighteen years. Many of the things that I’ll teach you enabled me to become a multi-award-winning author, winning two national awards—the ACFW Genesis Contest for historical romance and the Jerry B. Jenkins Operation First Novel Contest, which included a $20,000 advance and a contract with Worthy Publishing. 

There’s something that you should know about the way I do things. I’m going to encourage you to develop a thick skin and go deeper, but I won’t demean you or your writing. I once had someone destroy me with a paid critique and I was so devastated that I didn’t write for six months. That approach never helps anyone and it’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about doing what I do. I love empowering writers. With my critique services, I promise you’ll walk away encouraged and be over-the-moon-excited to write more. It’s all about connecting the dots and bringing your story to life. I would love to help you on your journey!

Manuscript Critique Pricing

Introductory rate of $4 per page until May 15th, 2017. A page is considered to be double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1-inch margins. 

My rate for the first 50 pages is $200. 

*My critique includes light editing such as punctuation, word choice, misspellings, and repeating words.

Once you contact me, I’ll send you an invoice and then you can pay through PayPal. Once the critique is paid, we’ll schedule a time that works for both of us. Use the contact form below and you’ll hear from me soon. I look forward to reading your manuscript!

Critique Endorsements:

“I love working with Brandy Vallance. My writing has improved because of her valuable feedback. She’s helped me infuse more emotion into my writing, amp up my descriptions, and tell my story to the fullest. Her critiques have definitely made me a more well-rounded author.” ~Cindi Madsen, USA Today bestselling author

“When it comes to developing a story, Brandy’s skill goes far beyond the mechanics of writing. She has a gift for going deep. Brandy challenged me to mine the themes I’m passionate about, fueling my creative process. Her comments on my work led to increased clarity and direction, and her instinct for metaphorical language was invaluable in the process of polishing my manuscript.” ~Evangeline Denmark, author of Curio & The Ice Child

“Brandy is both a skilled writer and a master at storytelling. Above and beyond that, she has a unique ability to teach and instruct other writers. Being both an encourager and a teacher gives her the platform to help the writer and strengthen the story. I’m thankful for her help with my writing and her willingness to find the heart of each scene and bring it to life on the page. Sitting with her for a session felt like sitting in a master class at a conference. I highly recommend Brandy as a story consultant and know you’ll benefit from her skills.” ~Kerry Johnson, finalist in the ACFW Genesis Contest & First Impressions Contest

*****I also do private consultations that can be tailored to whatever you need help with. This can be pitching, working on areas of weakness in your writing, brainstorming, overcoming fear, etc.  A free, 15 minute consultation via phone and then an 45 minute session via Google Hangout. $50