Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction Assessments

Do you want advice on how to improve your manuscript? Not sure your story is all that it can be? Need advice on character, story, dialogue, tone, pacing or style? In a one-hour session, one of our industry-experienced editors and manuscript assessors will work with you to help your manuscript reach its full potential.

What manuscripts will you take?

Our assessors will accept adult fiction manuscripts in any genre, as well as narrative non-fiction including memoir, biography and travel. We cannot accept self-help, cookbooks, true crime or other forms of non-fiction.

Next date

  • Saturday 26 May with Kate O’Donnell

Booking in

The cost of a one-hour assessment is $150 for members and $190 for non-members. Please call the Centre on (02) 9555 9757 to book an appointment.

Once you have made your appointment, you will need to provide the following materials at least 10 days before your assessment in one document. Your document should contain the following:

  • a one-page synopsis
  • the first 15 pages of your manuscript (maximum 4000 words)
  • a brief writing CV
Your document must be formatted to industry standards, as follows:
  • Line spacing: 1.5 or double
  • Font: Times New Roman
  • Size: 12 pt
  • Margins: minimum 3 cm all round (Word default margins are fine)
  • Paragraphing: indent all paragraphs except the first paragraph of a new chapter or section. Only put spaces between paragraphs where you wish to indicate a section break.
  • Text should be range left (which means the right edge is ‘ragged’), not justified.
  • Page numbers: consecutive from beginning to end

Please note, if your materials are not submitted at least 10 days before your assessment, we cannot guarantee your assessor will have time to review them before your appointment.

You can email your single document submission to the Centre.

Can’t get to the centre?

The NSW Writers’ Centre is now offering Skype manuscript assessment appointments for regional members and people who are unable to make it to the Centre. Skype is a free computer program that allows voice and video calls via the internet. Calling from one computer to another is completely free, which means that you can speak to our manuscript assessor in Sydney as though they were in your home, without any additional cost. Skype appointments are limited.

About the assessors

Catherine Hill is Deputy Managing Editor of Penguin Random House in Sydney.

Kate O’Donnell is a freelance editor, primarily of trade fiction. She works for HarperCollins Publishers, Random House Australia, Simon & Schuster, Allen & Unwin and others.

Laurel Cohn has spent her working life exploring ways of communicating stories – about ourselves and others – and has a PhD in literary and cultural studies. As a developmental editor she has been helping writers prepare their work for publication and hone their pitches since the 1980s. Many writers she has worked with have gone on to be published successfully.

Linda Funnell is an independent publisher and editor, and has taught courses in publishing, editing and writing for UTS, the ASA and the NSW Writers’ Centre. For ten years Linda was a publisher with HarperCollins, where she worked with authors including Janette Turner Hospital, Steven Carroll, Colleen McCullough, Jon Cleary, Belinda Alexandra, John Dale, Diane Armstrong, Steven Conte, Jill Roe and Geraldine Brooks. Prior to that she was Fiction Publisher at Random House, and prior to that, Managing Editor at Pan Macmillan. For seven years she worked with legendary literary agent (now retired) Rosemary Creswell. In addition to her book publishing and editing work, she is also co-editor, with Jean Bedford, of the free online book review the Newtown Review of Books.

Join us

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