Short story / First chapter editing service


Have you written a short story that you want to submit to a competition, a magazine or an anthology? Or a book to be either self-published or submitted to a publisher or an agent?

I provide a detailed manuscript critique and/or line edit at the following competitive rates (max 4000 words):

Critique: Up to 2000 words: £8.00. Per 250 words thereafter: £1.00

Edit: Up to 2000 words £10.00. Per 250 words thereafter: £1.50


What’s the difference between a critique and an edit?

The critique will look at the structure of the story, suggest ways to strengthen the narrative, improve pacing, voice and character development, and resolve any issues with plot or point of view.

The line edit looks at each sentence in detail, deleting repetitions of words and information, suggesting alterations to any clumsy expressions, enhancing the quality of dialogue, pointing out inconsistencies.

Before a line edit is undertaken, it’s wise to make sure that all structural issues have been resolved – there’s no point rewriting a paragraph that contributes nothing to the story.

Do you treat a short story and a first chapter differently?

Yes, for the obvious reason that a short story stands alone, so its internal logic, development and conclusion must be complete. The function of a first chapter is to draw the reader in and make sure that at the end, they only want one thing – to go on to the next chapter. The critique takes this difference into account. The line edit is largely similar for both story and chapter.

Why do you only read the first chapter?

Because it’s the most important in the book. Unless it’s faultless, no agent or publisher will go beyond it – indeed most will stop well before.

But I’m not submitting to an agent – I intend to self-publish.

Readers may be more indulgent than agents, but you don’t want to lose them all the same. The reader’s desire at the outset is to read a good story, which they trust that you, as an author, will provide. Clumsiness, poor writing or inconsistencies quickly get the better of a reader’s patience. When that happens, you’ve lost your reader not only for the current book but for any future book you might write. Furthermore, it’s a disservice not just to yourself but to self-publishing in general.

But I’d like a critique of my whole book – is that possible?

If the first chapter critique is concluded to our mutual satisfaction, you are welcome to request a critique for the whole book. I can’t guarantee I will accept, but assuming we’ve established a good working relationship, I’ll do my best. On the whole, though, other commitments mean that I can only accept a very few complete manuscripts.


Ready for a fresh, practised, demanding pair of eyes to see that text? Use the contact form below and I’ll be in touch.