A few posts ago, I wondered about what to do with a previous novel that was sitting on the virtual shelf gathering dust. While I wanted professional feedback, everything I had found so far was outside of my writer’s budget so I had turned to other sources. Turns out there is professional feedback out there for a great price: Red Circle Ink. From my own amateur efforts on critters.org, I know detailed critiques take a lot of work so I can’t argue with services charging $4 or more a page for a critique. Based on effort, it seems like a fair price. But based on what I’m willing to spend, it’s too much: that’s $1200 for a shortish novel that I wasn’t even sure deserved more time.
Enter Red Circle Ink: you can get a free critique of the first 10 pages to see what you’ll get. I started with that, loved the feedback and went for the full review. What I got was a combination of a line-by-line critique and a good overview which was a great developmental critique. It happened to answer my immediate question: was it worth spending more time on the novel (answer: yes) but it wasn’t just a “it’s promising but fix this, add that, and go to it”. The feedback is “actionable:” a range of items from specific things to tweak in the manuscript to larger, but still specific, things to address in terms of motivations, how to tie setting into the story, and so on.
For instance, my wife (also a writer) has been uncomfortable with my first chapter for quite some time. She rightly called out that my protagonist’s motives are not well developed. Yes, I recognized I needed to do more and had been trying to address it bit by bit but until the Red Circle Ink critique, I was still fuzzy on what I really needed to fix. My wife saw the critique and said, “That’s it! That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to say.”
I’m really pleased with the critique. It is invaluable feedback for really making a difference in the next few drafts and hopefully getting this to a marketable manuscript. Of course, as with any good critique it calls out much I was hoping was good enough but critiques aren’t about hearing what you want to hear but what you need to hear.
If you are looking for high quality, affordable critiques, give Red Circle Ink a look.
- Fighting for Feedback (marguerot.wordpress.com)
- On publishing PRECISE: When do I ignore critiques? (rebeccaberto.com)
- Forever and a Day (kmgn.me)
- On Writer’s Brains and the Critique Process (ersandoval.com)