Evaluating Fiction

Have you ever finished an otherwise excellent book and been disappointed by the ending? Thought to yourself, that would never happen. Or maybe you were entranced by certain characters until you got to a scene where the dialogue seemed completely unrealistic. You knew that real-life people would never talk that way.

When we evaluate fiction manuscripts, we assess plausibility. How likely is it that what your characters say and do could happen? And we provide lots of leeway. Sometimes people do things that are uncharacteristic. Their actions are surprising because people are enigmatic. That’s fine and could be extremely entertaining, as long as you build a solid foundation for your character to be offbeat.

Take Walter White in Breaking Bad. He starts out as a seemingly mild-mannered chemistry teacher with what we presume to be a normal life and a decent conscience. He ends up being nothing short of psychopathic, but the writers make us understand why he does what he does and the rationales beneath the surface.

At Book Magic, we thoroughly examine dialogue, characterization, background, plot, and plot resolution for novels. Are you too wordy in parts? Do you tell the reader about your characters instead of demonstrating their attributes? For example, instead of saying that your business exec is high-powered and stressed out, you could tell us that he gets up at 5:30 AM, does a strenuous workout on the treadmill, and reads two newspapers online before 8 o’clock. He is the first to arrive at the office and rarely gets home before nine. He drinks six cups of coffee daily and sometimes has a slight tremor in his right hand. Show us; don’t tell us about your guy. If you want your female character to be angry, have her pound her fist on the table or raise her voice instead of saying that. Create dynamic scenes where readers can envision events unfolding as if they were watching a movie.

We ensure that your book flows and sustains the reader’s interest from start to finish. And we make all our suggestions using Word’s tracking feature, which allows us to make comments throughout the manuscript. This way, you can accept the suggestions that resonate with you and dismiss the rest. A manuscript evaluation is often the best starting point before proofreading or copy editing.

Manuscript evaluations are 1.5 cents per word.