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Unfinished Manuscript Assessment
12th August 2017 @ 10:00am - 3:30pm
Submit an extract of up to 20,000 words of your fictional novel by Monday 31st July to allow Paula to read your work and prepare personalised notes.
This deadline is set for after the Winter Writer’s Retreat, where Paula will be a mentor.
Paula would prefer your manuscript before the 31st July, however, this is the absolute latest she will accept your manuscript.
This ALL DAY workshop is full.
Exercises during the workshop will flesh out your novel and clarify your plot, characters and tone of your story.
Paula needs your work in advance in order to provide what is known as a “structural edit“.
Structural editing (also called developmental editing or substantive editing) is the most complex and time-consuming stage of the editorial process. It can also be the most expensive, and that’s why many publishers are now reluctant to take on books that need structural work. Agents, too, are increasingly less inclined to work with an author on developing their manuscript. As this reluctance to invest in new talent becomes the industry norm, authors are being left to do the work themselves or to hire editors to help them do it.
It’s essentially about looking at the big picture, evaluating the manuscript as a whole and analysing how well its constituent parts contribute to the central message or narrative. Whereas the copyeditor takes a micro view, drilling into the detail, the structural editor goes macro and asks, ‘Does this work as a book?’
In fiction, the main areas that a structural editor will address are:
Plot: Does the plot make sense? Is it believable? Is it satisfying or does it leave the reader frustrated?
Themes: Are the themes effectively handled? Are there so many that the book lacks focus? Do they interfere with the plot or complement it?
Characterisation: Are your characters well developed and believable? Are they cast in a role that fits their personality? Do they sometimes behave out of character?
Point of view: Are you using too many or too few POVs? Do you head-hop? Would the story be better told in the first person than in the third?
Voice: Is the voice consistent or is it sometimes confused? Is it authentic? Is it original?
Pace: Does the plot move forward at an appropriate pace? Should you cut that preface? Should the action happen sooner or should the tension build more slowly?
Dialogue: Do your characters sound real when they speak? Is your dialogue cluttered with adverbs and beats? Do you use clunky dialogue to move the plot forward?
Flow: Is the narrative interrupted by dead-ends and tangents? Is there so much back story that the main plot is dwarfed? Are there missing plot points that would give the narrative greater integrity?
Reviews of Paula’s Workshop
- “Thanks for a wonderful informative day. Look forward to more!”
- “A very interesting and informative day which has given me constructive feedback. Thank you.”
- “Paula’s workshop was excellent value. Her feedback was helpful and I found my ideas about my story expanding with each exercise.”
- “Informative useful day. A lot of info not had access to before.”
- “An excellent day. Every aspect of Paula’s workshop was constructive and uplifting. I feel I have been given specific ways to improve my manuscript to be more marketable for industry standards. Thank you so much.”
- “Paula’s mentoring was very respectful, individualised and exciting. Very grateful for this community gathering.”
- “Super helpful and I have gotten tons out of today. Thank you for offering the workshop! I would definitely come again.”
- “I came back for a repeat of Paula’s workshop after finding last year’s so helpful. Once again, Paula gave a thorough and helpful assessment of our novels, and then provided useful exercises (different to last year’s) to help address some issues. The exercises have helped me get my head around the conflicts between the main characters and I now have a clearer focus around what to work on next. I really appreciate Paula’s knack of finding the good in everyone’s manuscripts and still being able to articulate the things that could be improved in a good-humoured and encouraging way.”
- “When Paula finished reading her assessment of my short story, and I read out the intention of my story, and the two didn’t align, it wasn’t a failure of my imagination or in Paula’s critique, there was just more of the story that needed to be told. Paula’s exercises helped cement in my mind was parts of the story needed elaboration and which needed more succinct yet descriptive wording. Thank you Paula.”