The Benefits of Editorial Assessments

image of editorial assessment

An editorial assessment is an evaluation of your manuscript both as a whole and as individual components. If this is a dissertation, each chapter will be studied to see how well they meet the requirements. For novels, literary devices such as plot, setting, and characterization are examined. Then, feedback is sent to the client that includes a summary, thorough analysis, and recommendations for revisions. The contents of the assessment vary depending on the type of work, a client’s needs and their writing style. In an Editorial assessment, in addition to the tips, links and recommendations, I sometimes ask questions (open-ended questions, as I would in a coaching session) to help writers think more broadly or deeply about aspects of their writing. I also provide a 45-minute consultation/coaching session so my clients can ask their own questions. Most find it very valuable.

Editorial Assessment of a Dissertation

An in-depth evaluation of a dissertation is particularly helpful to a Ph.D. candidate, as long as they have enough time for revisions after receiving the report. The assessment can be done in conjunction with editing or as a standalone service. An examination is completed on each chapter: introduction, literature review (lit review), research design/methodology, findings, and discussion. The strengths and weaknesses of each chapter are described. An analysis of how well the chapter meets the requirements is given along with recommendations for how to add depth and breadth to a chapter. The following are examples of the types of feedback that might be provided for the lit review chapter.

  • Ways to better organize the lit review
  • How best to present the research and/or explain it in more detail

The dissertation as a whole is evaluated including the development and cohesiveness of the writing. Examples of feedback might involve:

  • How to present research introduced in the lit review in the research methodology, findings or discussion section
  • How to explicate the strengths and weaknesses of the researcher’s methods or bias(es) and their impact on the results
  • The importance of describing how the study and findings contribute to the current body of work
  • Defining the researcher’s own unique contribution to the field

There are good reasons to have an assessment of your dissertation. Often, a doctoral degree is a steppingstone to teaching and research positions. Those types of careers involve a lot of writing (and publishing) of books and scholarly articles. A dissertation is also the final requirement in a long, arduous process to earn your Ph.D., and it is usually published. Put your best work out into the world and learn to be a better writer with an editorial assessment!

Editorial Assessment of a Novel

Examining a novel can be beneficial to a writer because the building blocks of the novel are evaluated individually and then together, as a whole. This involves an appraisal of literary elements: setting (actual places or fantasy universes), character, conflict, point of view, theme, tone, and of course the 5 elements that make up the plot: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Additionally, based on the work itself, additional literary techniques such as pacing, foreshadowing, figurative language, or flashback will be studied. The report consists of a summary, detailed analysis of the strengths and weakness of the novel with regards to the literary elements and techniques and, of course, recommendations. Links to additional information on particular aspects of writing, based on an individual’s need, will be included. For example:

  • Sketching out the setting like you would a character
  • Where to add more sensory details
  • How to broaden or deepen a particular character

It may be difficult to take in but a critique of how and what you write can make you a better writer and help you produce better work with less revisions. It can also provide a confidence boost. Many writers aim to write two books per year. In order to do that, you need to be good and fast. An editorial assessment will help you with that!

When should you have an Editorial Assessment?

In a previous post, I mentioned how all writers should pay for an editor at least once. It is difficult to be objective about our own writing and having a manuscript edited or analyzed by a professional can help us write better. Editing and editorial assessments are not inexpensive – and many writers work a day job to cover living expenses – so pick a special or important manuscript. It could be one that you are struggling with or one where the words flowed easily. It could be a milestone such as a thesis or dissertation or a novel that a large or respected publishing house is interested in. Maybe it’s the book that made you want to become a writer. The novel you first started, or finished, but never submitted and you want to revise it and make the dream of publishing that special book come true. But it might also be the work you just finished writing and you unexpectedly came into a little extra money from a long lost relative, a lottery winning, or a bonus at your day job. Whenever or whatever the reason, be sure to have your writing evaluated by a professional at least once!

What is the Cost?

Depending on the length of your writing project and the qualifications and experience of the editor, you may pay $400 for a partial manuscript and at least $1000 for a 60,000 word manuscript. Some editors will offer a discount when more than one service is requested.

How long does it take?

A good estimate is 2 to 4 weeks. Be sure to communicate your timeline with any prospective editor.

By now I’m sure you can see the benefits of editorial assessments and are eager to have an editor analyze your writing. I enjoy editing a lot, but I love editorial assessments. It is so interesting to deconstruct a story and very rewarding to help writers see their strengths. It can be challenging to see our own work objectively. I would be pleased to help you see your writing more objectively. Contact me today to learn more.

If you’ve already had an editorial assessment, what did you learn from it? How might this help you with a current or future writing project?

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