In the second of her four-part series giving you the inside track on Writers’ & Artists’ editorial services (with a few handy writing tips thrown in along the way), Cressida Downing discusses the First Draft Review.

Cressida Downing

What is the service?  

The First Draft Review is for those of you who’ve written your first draft and, before you take it to the next level, you want to get an idea if you’re on the right track.  Or, for the right matter, any track at all!  

This service requires you to submit a synopsis and the first 12-32,000 words of your novel, with the price varying according to the overall word count.

What do you get out of it?

You get a 3-5 page report within three weeks that will comprehensively examine your style, characterization, submission techniques, and also feedback about how your plot develops.

After you’ve received the report, you can then book in a 30-minute call with your editor, who will go over their report and answer any further questions you might have.

Who is looking at your work?:

A professional editor with years of relevant experience.

What’s unique about this service?:

Many editorial services offer a look at the first section of a novel and a synopsis – but it’s rare to get the chance to talk to the editor afterwards, and really explore the issues that their report has drawn to your attention.

Top tip to get the most from the service:

Observe the word limits.  Authors are sometimes upset to find that we will only look at the section that falls within the word count specified.  In simple terms, the longer a piece of writing is, the longer it takes for an editor to read it. The prices of the services take the editor’s time into account, so it’s not a flexible part of the service offered.

Useful for all authors:

Try asking someone to read just the first three chapters of your book.  What do they think will happen next?  Who is the main character in their opinion?  They should be able to answer those questions after the first three chapters.  Don’t make it too hard on your reader!  If you start with a 30,000 word diversion, you may not keep your audience by the time you get to the meat of the story.

Click here for more information about how to sign up for the First Draft Review service.

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