Over the years, many writers have asked me to provide an evaluation on a piece of their writing, not a complete manuscript, only a section of it. I knew this was a great idea because I’ve done it myself with my beta readers. I’ve sent a chapter, a scene or a passage and asked, “Does this work?”
The feedback provided by my wonderful, honest and no-holding-back beta readers has helped me grow as a writer. Because of them, I am a better writer today than I was ten years ago. But it’s not a one-way street. I read their material and provide an equally honest evaluation.
This relationship is what every writer should have, but I know they don’t. I didn’t until about 15 years ago. Although I knew my beta readers since the late 1990s, we didn’t get around to reading each other’s work until the mid-2000s.
I understand the difficulty in connecting with a beta reader, so that’s why I’m offering to be that person, to provide an honest, unbiased evaluation of the first 5,000 words of your story.
Why an Honest, Unbiased, Professional Evaluation Matters
I’ve shared my writing with family members and non-writing friends in the past. Their comments are typical of what most writers will receive from loved ones who don’t want to hurt their feelings and who know little about the mechanics of writing: That’s nice. Wonderful story. I liked it.
This is the last thing a writer who is learning the craft wants to hear. When I ask for an evaluation, I want to know what worked, what didn’t work, how can it be improved, were there confusing sentences, were the characters memorable, was the dialogue real, was the point of view and tense consistent, do I have any dangling modifiers…the list goes on.
This is the type of evaluation I will provide.
Why Do You Need an Evaluation?
An evaluation of the first 5,000 words of your story in progress will point out problem areas, both in storytelling and in the mechanics of writing, that can be fixed before the story progresses.
If the manuscript is complete and the author is editing before sending it to a professional editor, having it evaluated can save hundreds of dollars in labour costs. What is learned in that first 5,000 word-evaluation can be applied to the rest of the manuscript before it is sent to an editor.
If a writer is unsure about their writing, the evaluation will give them a clearer picture of what is required to improve the story as well as point out the positive aspects. In this instance, it may instill the confidence needed to continue writing.
Understanding the basics of writing is vital to becoming a published author. Having a professional evaluation of the first 5,000 words is a great learning tool. These lessons will help with all future projects, not only the one being evaluated. It’s similar to taking a night course in writing except this is one-on-one, and the evaluation is for only your writing, not the work of the entire class.
Exactly 5,000 Words?
The evaluation can be up to 5,000 words. It doesn’t have to be the first 5,000 words in a story, but this is a good place to start since it is the springboard into the novel. It can be a scene or another chapter(s) up to 5,000 words.
To learn more about this service, visit First 5,000 Words Evaluation.
I’ll leave you with this smile. It gets me every time.