Critique Services

I love helping new writers! But after years of teaching at writer’s conferences and doing critiques, I’ve found that most writers make the same mistake I did: They send out their work way too early, long before it’s ready for submission. As a traditionally-published author of four books (including both fiction and non-fiction), gobs of magazine articles, scripts, and children’s books, I can spot those problems and help you increase your chances of publication.

Here’s how it works for books and plays up to 30 pages:

I have three levels of writing critiques for books and plays, depending on your readiness. Some writers want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when it comes to a critique. Others are only beginning the process and could be easily discouraged or overwhelmed with too much instruction and correction. So, I let you tell me what you want!

1.  A Light Touch–This is a gentle first step into the world of critique. I’ll point out general areas that need work, such as overall structure, plot, formatting, set-up, characterization, organization, focus and transition. I will suggest alternatives to consider and recommend resources related to your area of need. $50

2.  A Deep Muscle Massage–In this critique, we’ll take a closer look at those areas that need work. It will include all the elements above, but at a deeper level, most likely offering specific correction and insight on many, if not all pages. $100

3.  A Thick-Skinned Critique–If you’re ready for a “no-holds-barred” look at your work, this is the one for you. Just be prepared–depending on your level of knowledge and experience–this could mean suggestions for every paragraph. Includes all areas that need work, from formatting to grammar to plot development to characterization, syntax, dialog, and more. $175

Here’s how it works for articles and other short pieces up to 10 pages:

1.  General Overview–This will give you feedback on the general direction of the piece, its level of presentation, and readiness for publication. $25

2.  Full Critique–Comparable to the Thick-Skinned Critique above, this will address every area of concern with specific suggestions for improvement. $50

Critique Submission Guidelines

For all critiques, please follow these directions:

1.  Please DO NOT include any artwork or special fonts. Submit in standard manuscript formatting, unless otherwise stated. 

2.  Books (for adults or chldren): Please send as a Word document, up to 30 pages, double spaced, 12-point Times New Roman, with standard margins on all sides.

  • Novels: Please add a 1-2 page synopsis and genre.
  • Non-fiction books: Please also include target audience and a chapter outline with a 1-3 sentence summary for each chapter.
  • Children’s/YA books (no picture books): Please include type of book and target age range.

3.  Short and long scripts, sketches/skits: Please include title, cast, props, length of presentation, and any special staging needs. Use standard script format. Script critiques are limited to stage scripts only, no screenplays, please.
4.  Articles and other short pieces: Please send as a Word document, up to 10 pages, double spaced, 12-point Times New Roman, with standard margins on all sides.

You may pay through PayPal (vondaskelton [@] charter [dot] net), by check, or by credit card. You will receive a receipt. Contact me at vondaskelton [@} gmail [dot] com if you need more instruction or clarification on ordering. Please submit your manuscript as a Word attachment with WEBSITE CRITIQUE in the subject line. Please report method of payment in the body of the email. Please note: only Word documents can be accepted.

Thank you for the joy of working with you! I look forward to helping you hone your skills as you continue your writing journey!