What do I love as much as writing romance?

Critiquing it.

I’m a writer, just like you are. And I’ve read and re-re-reread my own manuscripts dozens of times. Critique partners can provide fresh eyes to point out things we may have glossed over, neglected to emphasize, forgotten to tie up – or when we have flat-out missed the mark. Nitpicky grammatical errors usually get overlooked because what we really want is someone to tell us when something isn’t working. What we need to know is if a big-picture issue is making or breaking our opening pages, or our entire story.

Let me help with both issues!

Maybe you’ve finished a manuscript and have tried the critique partner route. Or perhaps you’ve tried writer sites where you share critiques. But let’s be real – sometimes, it’s hard to find critique partners who either share our vision or read our manuscript in a timely manner. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable sharing in a group or with someone you don’t know. That’s where I come in.

I don’t share your manuscript with anyone. Not even my cats. And I read it quickly, provide a short synopsis and notes about characterization, pacing and plot. I’m a quick reader who doesn’t hold back out of fear of offending you (like friends, family, or even critique partners can do), but rather, I tell you up front what I see as issues and offer suggestions on how to fix them.

And the beauty is two-fold. Not only will you get a quick turnaround, you also don’t have to read my manuscript in return. It’s all you!

What are my credentials?

I’m an avid, fast, and conscientious reader.

I’ve read a lot of books. While that doesn’t necessarily make me an expert, I do know how a book is supposed to “work.” There has to be a story, there have to be characters that are relatable, conflict that’s driving the story, and a happily-ever-after (or at least a happy-for-now) that’s plausible and believable.

I graduated with a BA in English.

Again, that doesn’t make me an expert, but I do have an eagle eye for grammatical errors and typos. Will I catch 100% of them? Probably not. But I’ll ballpark it at 97.4%.

I completed an internship with a romance publisher.

During that time, I learned how to spot problem areas quickly, identify a writer’s strongpoints, and offer both general feedback and concrete ways to strengthen the rough spots. I love offering suggestions or tweaks that you are free to choose or dismiss. My hope is that I can supply you with ideas and critique you find valuable and can work with.

I’m working on an editorial certificate.

Once I complete my courses, I’ll be able to call myself an editor. For now, as I work towards my goal of becoming a published author myself, l am taking classes one at a time. In the meantime, I can provide an affordable service with my present skills.

I have references.

My previous critique partners!

Lauren picks out plot holes like a toddler picks out peas from a pilaf. Her keen eye for finding what’s not working is augmented by her incredibly helpful suggestions that not just fix, but make things so much better.

Sheryl Stein, author of women’s fiction and Young Adult, @wrekehavoc

Lauren helped make my query letter shine and provided invaluable suggestions for my YA contemporary novel. Whether you need help with your query, big picture elements such as plot and character development, or a line edit of your pages, she will be thorough, prompt, and detailed. With Lauren, you’ll get high quality work at rates that are much lower than most other editorial services. I highly recommend her for all your critiquing needs!

Ann Marita Miller, author of YA romance @stannie04

How does my service work?

Freesy peasy.

Nothing’s easier than free, right? So we start out on the same page, your first 20 pages are free. That means, you send them, I read them. I send back my critique, with comments and notes. (I prefer Microsoft Word Track Changes, but I will use GoogleDocs if that’s what you work in.) This is to ensure we’re clear as far as what you expect from me and what I provide.

You likey?

Send me the rest of your manuscript. Within one week, I’ll send back a “readers report,” including one-to-two paragraph synopsis, general thoughts on pacing, overall character arc, plot, and other big-picture issues. If you have questions, feel free to ask! I strive to be easy-going and openly communicative. I want to help you get your manuscript as query-ready as possible!

And speaking of queries…?

I can help you with queries, too. Queries can be intense to edit and reconfigure so I’ll try to give you several versions to consider and together we’ll build one to fit your manuscript perfectly. Turnaround in two days if that’s all you need help with. Otherwise, we can work on it after I’ve finished reading your manuscript.

I accept Zelle and Paypal.

Until the end of 2019, I’m offering a full manuscript critique for $80. Romances only, where the romance is the central focus, with or without mystery/suspense, any heat level, any time period. 100k-word max; however, as industry standard is around 80K, I will likely recommend cutting at least 10k words. If time permits, I may be able to accommodate Women’s Fiction as well.

You may notice others offering various services for x cents per word – I’ll be honest. That just confuses me. I have a word-brain and I avoid numbers if at all possible. Might that change in the future? Absolutely – but for now, a general critique is a flat rate. Query-only help is $30.