How Not To Write A Novel comes out of many years of experience. We have worked with many authors, both beginners and best-sellers. Once you’ve learned the basics of what not to do, if you’d like to go further and get some one-on-one guidance from Howard and/or Sandra, please feel free to contact us to discuss our availability. Whether it’s a novel that needs an edit before you send it out, a shorter piece of writing, or an MFA submission that you’d like someone to look over, we can probably be of assistance.
We offer three types of editorial service.
We will read your manuscript and return to you an editorial letter, a long and thorough explanation of what’s working and what isn’t, along with an explanation of what you can do to make it work better. The letter will address any general problems with plot, characters, structure, themes, and pacing–all the macro issues. It continues with specific instances of those problems along with specific solutions for those instances, as well as specific instances of less general issues–a problem with a given scene, for example, or some bit of narrative logic that’s breaking down, or a drift in perspective. If there are issues of style that need to be addressed, bad prose habits you’ve fallen into, those would be discussed as well, telling you what the problem is, giving you examples, and explaining what you need to do to improve. A letter like this will generally be somewhere between 10 and 25 single-spaced pages.
Fees for editorial letters are $1000 for novels up to 75,000 words and $1500 for novels running 75 to 125,000 words. Fees for longer novels, shorter works, and portions of novels can be discussed individually.
If you feel your novel is largely where you want it to be, but you would like to turn it over to somebody to make sure all the sentences work, all the right words are in the right places, everything clumsy or awkward has been addressed, and get it back tightened up, smoothed out, and as presentable as possible to send out for submission, Howard will line edit it for you. You can read more about this on his website, here.
If you would just like a simple answer to the question “Is my novel any good?” we will read the first three chapters (or however much we need to read to reach a conclusion) and tell you if you have a shot at selling it to a mainstream/ traditional/legacy publisher, or if you should consider self-publishing (or just putting it in a drawer and moving on to the next one). You’ll receive a one or two page letter explaining in general terms why it is or is not likely to sell. The fee for this service is $250.