georgiana derwent author

Georgiana Derwent

Georgiana Derwent

Georgiana Derwent

Working with Victoria was a very positive experience. I opted for a manuscript critique, and it was delivered promptly, in advance of the promised date. I’d asked a few specific questions in advance (mostly in relation to whether she felt I’d successfully addressed a few suggestions made to me in an agent’s R&R) and she ensured these were addressed within the critique. Afterwards, Victoria was happy to answer my follow-up questions.

Prior to the edit, I felt like I’d taken the manuscript as far as I could. I felt like it was almost there, but needed one extra push, following several full requests from agents that resulted in positive feedback but ultimately, a no. I was unsure about whether some recent changes I’d made had made things better or worse, and I’d received some conflicting views from CPs, etc.

I really wanted someone who was objective, professional and knew what they were talking about to take a look with fresh eyes and tell me what was and wasn’t working and make a few suggestions to take the manuscript to the next level without sending me back to square one. This was exactly what I got.

The interesting thing about Victoria’s suggestions for changes and improvements was that there were actually relatively few of them. Her analysis of the manuscript went systematically through a long list of areas, such as characters, dialogue, pace, etc. In several of these, the conclusion was that the MS was more or less fine as it was. This almost sounds like a negative thing in terms of getting value from an edit, but it was actually very much appreciated. I’ve worked with some people who seems to think that the more criticisms—however minor or subjective—the better. It was incredibly reassuring to be told that most aspects were working, and for a clear line to be drawn between aspects that did and did not need work, so I could focus my efforts. I suspect that if I’d sought the same critique a year previously, the list of things that needed work would have been much longer.

Where changes were suggested, they were clear and easy to understand, and Victoria explained why she was suggesting them and made clear which ones she thought were crucial and which she thought were more minor. It was clear that she’d read the MS in detail, really engaged with it, and thought very carefully about all the different elements.

I definitely think the critique helped to improve my manuscript and, though there’s no solid good news yet on the agent front, to get me to what I think of as a ‘final final’ draft.

It can be hard to justify splashing out on the costs of an editor and just as hard to pick one from all the different people offering services. I would say that a good editor really makes a difference, and I suspect that if I’d used Victoria’s services at an earlier stage in the process, it’d have saved me a lot of self-editing trial and error.

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