Writer mentoring & critiques

Move on with your writing

Is your writing the best that it can be?

You’ve written a killer short story – or a whole novel – but you’ve stared at it for so long that you can no longer be sure which elements work and which could be improved. At this stage, it can be helpful to have some feedback from an experienced writer, to give you a way forward and reawaken your confidence.

Constructive critique

I offer a straightforward, solution-focused critiquing service at £30 for up to 2,000 words. This is aimed at writers who want some low-cost, helpful input from someone more experienced.

Many short story competitions have a 2,000 word limit, and this could help you polish and refine your entry. If you are working on a longer piece, there is no chapter more important than the first.

A critique will give you a greater insight into what you are writing, reassure you of its strengths and help you work on its weaknesses.

What feedback will you receive?

You will receive a one-page written report, constructive and supportive in tone, which will include the following:

  • Initial impressions, reactions and thoughts – your reader sees only the sentences, not your intention, so it is helpful to know exactly what your words are saying, and what they are not saying.
  • What works well, and what you could improve. This may include commentary on character, point of view, consistency, clarity and ways in which you could make the piece more gripping, or to better capture the atmosphere you have in mind.
  • Specific comment on anything on which you particularly desire feedback – this might be a character that is not quite working, an issue with pacing or mood, or how the piece starts or finishes.
  • Any major grammatical or other errors that interfere with the reading experience. The spellchecker should be able to sort out any typos, but there may be issues with tense, phrasing or other elements.

You may wish for general feedback, or there might be something in particular that you would like me to look at. When you send your writing, I would encourage you to say something about your overall intention for the piece, which will help me make the critique as useful as possible.

Why choose me?

Plenty of authors offer a critiquing service, so if you are working within a very niche genre (I do know someone who writes only werewolf erotica) then you might get the best feedback by seeking out an editor who specialises in that area. However, as a crossover author I’m happy working with a wide range of narratives, styles and themes, and will always value what makes your work unique.

I have published two novels with one of the ‘big five’ publishers (Orbit/Little, Brown), and my short stories have appeared in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies, most recently You Are Not Alone, which raised money for victims of homelessness during the pandemic.

I’m also an experienced writing tutor, having run workshops at festivals such as EdgeLit, creative writing courses for people with mental health needs, and residential writing courses at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. I have given talks about writing at a range of literary festivals and events.

Signing books at Goldboro

Any questions?

Use the form below if there’s anything further you would like to know. Otherwise, simply email your work to h.child[at]gmail.com

FAQ

What can I send? Short stories, memoir, biography, non-fiction, a first chapter or extract from a novel (with synopsis).

My piece is longer than 2,000 words, can you help? Critiques on longer works are offered at £60 for up to 5,000 words and £200 for up to 20,000 words. Please enquire if you would like to discuss receiving feedback on a complete novel. My ability to offer this may vary if I am working to a deadline.

What will happen once I send my writing? Safe receipt of your piece will be acknowledged by email, normally within three days. I will confirm that I can offer a critique on the piece, and will begin once payment is received (Paypal only please).

How long will it take? For standard pieces of up to 2,000 words, you will receive your critique back within 30 days, normally much sooner. Please do not assume I have received the piece unless you get an email of acknowledgement – messages do sometimes get caught by spam filters. You can also contact me via Twitter if there are any issues with email.

Will my information be shared with anyone else? Absolutely not.

Please note: Acceptance is not guaranteed – I will only critique your piece if I believe I can help you. However the service is open to writers at all levels and abilities, including complete beginners.

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