Manuscript Evaluation

An expert story analysis that will tell you the exact steps you need to take to improve your manuscript and become a stronger writer.

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Can you relate to any of these?

  • You have a finished (or a nearly finished draft) but you don't know what to do next. You know you need to re-work some things, but you don't know where to start—so you haven't. 
  • You’re suffering from self-doubt worrying about things like—even if I do finish my book, nobody will like it. And if that’s the case, why should I even waste my time writing it?
  • You've received a bunch of notes from beta readers, but they aren't specific and they don't really tell you how to fix what's wrong with your story.
  • You’ve taken classes, read books, listened to podcasts, and gone to conferences, but you still don’t know if your writing is any good. You wish someone could just tell you what you're doing well and what you need to work on improving.
  • You’re feeling creatively stuck and you don’t know how to move forward. Something is holding you back from taking real action, but you don’t know what or why. 

It doesn't have to be that way -- just imagine...

  • Getting personalized feedback on your writing so you'll know exactly what you need to do to make it better.
  • Having a clear and comprehensive road map to follow so that you don't have to wonder what to do next.
  • Feeling confident and inspired when you write instead of overwhelmed, confused, and full of doubt. 

Introducing...

  The Story Grid
Manuscript Diagnostic  

A tool designed to give you an expert story analysis PLUS the concrete next steps you can take to improve your draft and become a stronger writer.

What's Included?

#1 - A big picture analysis of your story so that you'll know what's working and what needs some improvement.

This deep dive into your story focuses on the key elements including genre, character, structure, point of view, theme, and setting. With this analysis, you'll know exactly what's working, what's not working, and why.

#2 - A "next steps" editorial letter so that you'll know exactly what to focus on instead of worrying about what to do next.

In this letter, I'll give you my recommended next steps for revising your draft plus the order you should take them in. These steps will be prescriptive and actionable, allowing you to focus on writing rather than worrying about what to do next.

#3 - An analysis of your first five scenes so that you'll know what you're already doing well and where you can focus on improving.

I'll put your first five scenes through The Story Grid spreadsheet to see which ones are working, which ones aren't working, and why. Then, I'll provide you with concrete ways to improve your scene writing and take your story to the next level.

#4 - A coaching call with me to discuss my feedback and your next steps so that you feel confident moving forward with your work.

We can brainstorm plot points, troubleshoot problem areas, or take a dive deep into your world building on this call. You can ask me any questions about my feedback, your next steps, or writing in general. Plus, you'll get a recording of this call to keep forever!

#5 - Additional reading materials, cheat sheets, and other resources curated specifically for you and your story.

I’ll recommend three stories in your genre to read or watch to give you a deeper understanding of how stories in your genre work. You'll also get genre cheat sheets and additional resources depending on the needs of your story.

The result? You'll have a clear understanding of the current state of your manuscript PLUS a detailed road map for tackling your revisions.

I'm so in! How much does it cost?

Pricing is based on the length of your draft. If your story is over 120,000 words, I can provide a custom quote for you, but I recommend editing your work down under 120,000 words first.

My draft is under 40,000 words - Purchase for $497
My draft is under 60,000 words - Purchase for $747
My draft is under 80,000 words - Purchase for $997
My draft is under 100,000 words - Purchase for $1,247
My draft is under 120,000 words - Purchase for $1,497

How do I know if I'm ready for this?

This is PERFECT for you if:

  • You have a finished draft and you want help making it better before before submitting to agents or self-publishing.
  • You have a partial draft, but now you’re stuck or frustrated with your progress. You need help moving forward.
  • You write genre fiction, and you want to learn the nuances of your genre so you can write a story that readers will love.
  • You understand that investing in professional feedback is the key to becoming a better writer.

 

This is NOT for you if:

  • You are looking for help with spelling and grammar. Copy editing, line editing, and proofreading are not included.
  • You write non-fiction, literary fiction, or poetry. My specialty is fiction, but I'd be happy to give you a referral!
  • You are hell-bent on ignoring genre conventions instead of being ready and willing to innovate them.
  • You have a hard time accepting feedback or constructive criticism on your creative work.

 

Real writers. Real results.

"Thanks to Savannah, I went from having a disorganized bunch of pages to a cohesive first draft. She knew the ins and outs of my genre and was able to tell me exactly what I needed to do to meet reader's expectations. The support was excellent and her feedback was honest, constructive, and easy to understand. Highly recommend!"

- Jane Parish (Romance Writer)

"Savannah is extremely knowledgeable and her coaching helped me tremendously, not only with my current novel, but also writing in general. She is truly a master of her craft. Her counsel was well worth the money."

- Jason Fielding (Fantasy Writer)

"Savannah has an incredible sense of what works and what doesn't work without moving away from the heart of the story you want to tell. Her feedback was detailed yet easy to understand and implement. I loved being able to go over everything with her on our one hour phone call, too. We brainstormed motivations for a few of my characters and talked through some of the politics of my story world. I'll be working with Savannah on everything I write in the future—she's amazing!"

- Lauren M. (Science Fiction Writer)

Here's a reminder of what's included:

  • A big picture analysis of your story so that you'll know what's working and what needs some improvement.

  • A "next steps" editorial letter so that you'll know exactly what to focus on instead of worrying about what to do next.

  • An analysis of your first 5 scenes so that you'll know what you're already doing well and where you can focus on improving.

  • A coaching call with me to discuss my feedback and your next steps so that you feel confident moving forward with your work.

  • Additional reading materials, cheat sheets, and other resources curated specifically for you and your story.

I NEED THIS! HOW DO I PURCHASE?

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely! Check out The Story Grid website for in-depth articles on how to edit your own manuscript. You can also purchase the Story Grid book if you like taking notes or having a physical book in hand to learn from. Do you like podcasts? Check out The Story Grid podcast where Shawn Coyne coaches Tim Grahl through the writing and editing process. Each week, they discuss a different topic using Tim’s own work-in-progress as a teaching tool. No matter how you like to consume content, you'll learn SO much about writing and editing from The Story Grid!

If you'd like additional help or guidance after you've received your feedback, you can apply for 1:1 book coaching. With weekly book coaching, I'll help you work through the suggested revisions and get you started on the next draft of your novel. You can learn more about book coaching here.

The Story Grid is an editing method created by Shawn Coyne during his 25+ years of editing manuscripts in the "Big 5" publishing houses. It’s a way to evaluate the structure of a story, identify the strengths and weaknesses, and give the writer the next steps to make their story better.

Being a Certified Story Grid Editor means that I was personally trained by Shawn Coyne in this method (a method he still uses with his A-list clients today!). That also means I had to take multiple different tests to prove that I know:
  • how stories work and what it takes to write a book that satisfies readers. 

  • how to give feedback in a constructive and compassionate way.

  • how to help writers improve their work–whether they have an idea, partial draft, or finished draft. 

To learn more about The Story Grid method, visit Shawn Coyne's website here.

Turnaround time for a full Manuscript Analysis is about 4-6 weeks depending on the length of your novel. Throughout the process, you'll hear from me a few times... Once I receive your pages, I'll send you back a confirmation and give you an estimated project completion date (usually 4-6 weeks). As I read through your draft, I will reach out 1-2 times to let you know my status or to ask you any clarifying questions. Then, once I finish writing up all my feedback for you, I'll send you my feedback and the link to schedule your 1-hour call with me. If you are working toward a deadline, I suggest getting on my calendar as early as possible so that I can reserve time for your project.

Yes, I only edit fiction. My favorite genres to work in are–fantasy, science fiction, romance, thrillers, horror, action, and mysteries. I love working with stories for both adult and young adult audiences but will sometimes take on middle grade projects as wellIf you are looking for a non-fiction editor, feel free to send me an email and I'll happily send some suggestions your way!

Yes! Some clients feel more comfortable expressing themselves in writing versus talking on the phone. Some clients say that communicating over e-mail gives them more time to process feedback and to think about what they want to say or ask. Other times, email is the most convenient way to connect for those with busy schedules or for people who live outside the United States. If you don't want to do the 1-hour phone call, we can discuss my feedback and your next steps via email instead.

Yes! I do edit short stories, outline, synopses, and query letters. If you're interested in getting a second set of eyes on your short story, outline, synopsis, or query letter please contact me via email.

No problem! Send me an email with your question or book a FREE 30-minute strategy call with me to talk about your story, your writing goals, and how I can help!

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