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Taking a step back: working on shape and threads.

What is a manuscript critique?

I will read your manuscript and analyse what is working well and what is not working so well. I will make suggestions on how you can improve it and get it ready for the next stage.

What will it include?

  • A report covering big picture issues such as such as story structure, characterisation, showing versus telling, dialogue, etc. 

  • A line-edit of 1,000 words, taken from one section of the novel to help you pinpoint and correct any sentence-level issues you may be having. 

What genre?

I only work in genres I read: literary fiction, historical fiction, ‘women’s’ fiction, crime/suspense (of the light or ‘cozy’ variety) and narrative non-fiction. 

What will happen?

I will ask you to send me the first two chapters (or first 3,000 words) of your manuscript to check if we are a good fit. Then, if I feel I can help, I will ask you to send me the rest. 

Why me?

  • I read widely and love it! 

  • I have been a reader for the Highland Book Prize since 2017. 

  • In 2008 I set up my own writing group to offer and share criticism. (We still exist!)

  • Fellow writers have told me how they appreciate my feedback and find it useful. 

  • I am an excellent analyst of writing quality, which is part of my job as editorial assistant with the literary journal Skirting Around. 

What will it cost?

Cost depends on the length of the work and the complexity of the feedback.

Manuscripts of less than 80,000 will cost from £400.

For manuscripts over 80,000, please contact me directly. 



Client 5

There are many editors out there who can help you with grammar, punctuation and sense, but there are very few who can offer what Alison does - the ability to step back and take a broad overview of your work, advising on where it is not quite working, which areas need to be developed and improved upon, and where you should take it next in order for it to be the very best it can be. That is worth its weight in gold for any writer wanting to take their work to the next level.

Elissa Soave, author of ‘Ginger and Me’, forthcoming from Harper Collins, July 2022

Client 6

Alison is a perceptive and supportive editor who asks thought-provoking questions that encourages you to reflect on your writing and develop it. Her feedback enabled me to develop a short piece of writing into a full-length ensemble audio-drama. Alison’s advice enabled me to improve the characterisation, setting and expression, and I will always be grateful for her input.

Lesley Capitanchik, author and playwright

Client 4

Alison can always put her finger on exactly what is bothering me about my work and doesn't feel quite right. She has an innate sense for what a writer is striving to share.  Her ability to truly hear the writer's voice and help the writer maintain its authenticity has been invaluable for me.

Kathryn Matsumura, writer

Client 1

Alison provided truly thoughtful notes on the piece I was working on. Her work is clear, relevant and very helpful. Most of all, I found that she pointed out what needed work and what already worked with equal kindness, which helped me better my writing in the long run and made the experience a very positive one. I am looking forward to the next opportunity to work with Alison!

Cecile Durel, writer and dramatist