Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction Assessments

Please note, due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, all of our manuscript assessments will be carried out via a phone call or Zoom. When you book in, please let us know which you would prefer.

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.

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

  • Friday 27 November with Kate O’Donnell – SOLD OUTjoin the waitlist to be notified if any spaces become available. 

Booking in

The cost of a one-hour assessment is $190 for members and $270 for non-members. To book an appointment, please call us on (02) 9555 9757 or 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. 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.

Can’t Get Here?

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all manuscript assessments will be carried out via Zoom or phone.
Writing NSW offers Zoom manuscript assessment appointments for regional members and people who are unable to make their appointment in person. Zoom is a free computer program that allows voice and video calls via the internet. Calling from one computer to another is completely free, which means that you can speak to our manuscript assessor in Sydney as though they were in your home, without any additional cost. If internet connection is problematic, we can also offer phone appointments.

About our Assessors

Kate O’Donnell is a highly experienced freelance editor. She works with HarperCollins Publishers, Random House Australia, Allen & Unwin, Simon & Schuster, and others.