I’m always loath to mention new plans or ideas in case they don’t come to fruition. But, here goes… *clears throat*
I’m going to start doing manuscript appraisals, with a focus on crime fiction and thrillers.
The decision has come about after many MANY discussions with writing friends, a business coach, and a friend in the publishing industry. (And much overthinking!)
I’ve been doing some editing work for a while but now, thanks predominantly to study undertaken in my Masters, I feel nervous about copy or line editing. I’m pretty anal about grammar and know when a sentence does, or doesn’t, work but formally studying copy editing seriously screwed with my mind and I find myself overthinking the use of semi-colons, hyphens and ’em’ or ‘en’ dashes. And the like.
‘You’d be much better at structural editing anyway,’ my friend, writer Jo Tracey said when I was
whinging talking to her.
She commented that my book reviews seem to hone in on plot holes, issues with voice or point of view, character inconsistency and plot alternatives.
And then a few weeks ago another friend visited, who does online marketing type stuff and business coaching. I was talking to her about ‘what comes next’. As it happened, she’d recently been working her own book and had a manuscript assessment done and suggested appraising or assessing draft manuscripts (novels) – with a focus on crime fiction or thrillers – would be perfect for me.
The idea planted I spoke to a friend in the publishing industry. I wanted to ask her about the viability. I’ve now got formal qualifications supporting my obsessive reading and book reviewing. ‘Could she see this working?’ I asked her. And she said yes. She actually went further with more ideas but I’m starting with the manuscript appraisal idea.
I’ve no unrealistic expectation I’ll be contracted by publishing houses. Rather I see myself working with writers planning to pitch to publishers but wanting feedback on their manuscripts. Or with authors planning to self-publish.
Manuscript appraisals consider the characters, the setting and the plot. They look at the narrative arc and the pace of that narrative. It’s also important to think about the readers – their expectations and what they might, or might not, know. Characters’ voices and points of view need to be consistent. Manuscript assessments look at the big picture and what works and what doesn’t. I’m focussing on crime fiction because it’s my passion and well, because I’ve read shitloads of it.
I think some part-time or casual work is coming my way while I set this whole thing up. I’ll need to rethink my website (or have a new one) and start touting for business. And it may not come to fruition, but I’m feeling quite excited about it all.
And I haven’t been excited by… well, by much at all for a long time.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Favourite Olympic moment?