Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction Assessments

Do you need expert insight to help your manuscript reach its full potential? Do you need advice on character, story, dialogue, tone, pacing, or style? In a one-hour session, one of our industry-experienced manuscript assessors will provide guidance to help your manuscript reach its full potential.

What should I expect?

This is an opportunity to discuss your work-in-progress with our industry-experienced assessors. Feedback may cover topics such as plot, structure, character development, dialogue, pace, point of view, voice, tone, style and/or readership. Though your synopsis is provided as a guide for the assessor, the assessor may provide feedback on it as relevant.

You will receive a brief written summary of the assessor’s key feedback points; however, you will not receive edits on your manuscript submission. This one-on-one meeting is a chance to discuss issues and potential solutions, and to ask questions.

All of our assessments are carried out via Zoom or a phone call.

Is my manuscript eligible?

Our assessors will accept adult fiction manuscripts in any genre, as well as narrative non-fiction including memoir, biography, and travel. Please note, short story collections are not eligible for our manuscript assessments. For feedback on short stories, we recommend our online short story courses.

If you’re writing other forms of non-fiction, such as self-help, cookbooks, or instruction books, please see our non-fiction assessments.
If you’re writing YA, please see our YA assessments.

Submission requirements

You will need to provide the following in one document at least 10 days before your assessment:

  • the first 4000 words of your manuscript*
  • a one-page synopsis, up to 300 words (need help with your synopsis? Please see our guide to writing a synopsis)
  • a brief writing CV including a statement of goals for this manuscript, no more than one page

*Please note that if your manuscript excerpt exceeds the word limit, it will be truncated at 4000 words before being forwarded to the assessor. Please respect the time the assessor is dedicating to reading your work by sticking to the industry standard formatting and word limit. Thank you.

Next dates

Saturday 19 June with Laurel Cohn

Booking in

The cost of a one-hour assessment is $200 for members and $270 for non-members. To book an appointment, please email us info[at]writingnsw[dot]org[dot]au. We will confirm an appointment time with you, and then issue an online invoice. Once your payment is received we will confirm your booking. Contact us if you have any questions.

Submitting your work

Once you have made your appointment, you will need to submit your materials at least 10 days before your assessment as one document in MS Word format. Your document must be formatted to industry standards, as follows:

  • Line spacing: 1.5 or double
  • Font: Times New Roman
  • Size: 12 pt
  • Margins: minimum 3 cm all round (Word default margins are fine)
  • Paragraphing: indent all paragraphs except the first paragraph of a new chapter or section; only put spaces between paragraphs where you wish to indicate a section break
  • Text should be range left (which means the right edge is ‘ragged’), not justified
  • Page numbers: consecutive from beginning to end

You can submit your document via our submission form.

About our Assessor

Dr Laurel Cohn is a developmental editor with a PhD in literary and cultural studies, and she’s passionate about communication and the power of stories in our lives. Since the late 1980s she has been helping writers prepare their work for publication. She also works with publishers, businesses and community organisations, and is a popular workshop presenter.

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