The Writing Cycle offers quick turnaround packages to:

•  Polish query letters for maximum impact with agents.
•  Sculpt your first five pages into an exceptional opening.
•  Elevate books and short stories using expert techniques.

Manuscript Critique + Editing Package

In an age when it’s easy to publish quickly, it’s more important than ever to publish well.

The Writing Cycle’s signature manuscript service evolved out of my background teaching in elite creative writing programs. Most services charge separately for line-editing, copy-editing, and in-depth critique. My two-part approach elevates the quality of your book as a whole: not merely its market potential or grammatical correctness. As an editor, my goal is to improve the smallest of details while zeroing in on what your writing ultimately wants to say. As a writer, my pleasure is to enhance the artistry present on the page.

editing and coaching for writers

Who can benefit from manuscript editing?

Writers hoping to land an agent in today’s competitive marketplace.

Publish on demand authors wishing to ensure their work is as professional as possible before it goes to print.

Business professionals drafting books to enhance platforms.

Short story writers ready for an injection of new energy and ideas into their work.

manuscript critique and book editing

How It Works

  1. On the contact page, answer the questionnaire regarding your project’s genre, word-count and three-line synopsis. Upon receipt of your questionnaire, I’ll reach out to discuss your project. Be sure to let me know your deadline! As always, all material submitted and discussed is held in strict confidentiality.
  2. Upon approval, pay the retainer below. Place your completed manuscript as a double-spaced Microsoft Word document in Times New Roman 12-point font in the secure Dropbox folder I create for your project.
  3. I will read your manuscript twice, first as a reader, then as an editor. In an six-page critique letter, I will provide a thorough assessment of its strengths as well any technical elements (such as point of view or dialogue) providing opportunities for improvement.
    Using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature, I will include margin notes indicating passages in need of excision or revision. I’ll also let you know what’s working well.
    Finally, professional line-editing utilizing The Chicago Manual of Style will appear in the body of your text to correct grammar, mechanics and punctuation. I will also make artistic suggestions at the line level.
  4. After receiving your edited manuscript and evaluation letter, use Microsoft Word to accept or reject individual changes and choose whether to incorporate bigger-picture suggestions. Pay the balance to schedule your one-on-one feedback session.
  5. Conference with me one-on-one via a 60-minute phone session. I will answer questions, provide clarification and brainstorm possibilities with you. It is in these sessions that the most valuable breakthroughs occur.

Learn more about how it works and get answers to FAQs.

Novel or Nonfiction manuscript editing and critique
  • Includes: detailed six-page letter of expert editorial feedback, extensive margin notes, line editing and a 60-minute one-on-one phone consultation.
  • Maximum 80,000 words. $0.03/word above 80,000 for manuscripts over 80,000 words.


  • Includes: expert analysis of craft elements, detailed two-page critique letter, polishing line-edits and margin notes.
  • Maximum 5,500 words. $0.04/word above 5,500 for manuscripts over 5,500 words.


book excerpt or short-story editing critique
  • Includes: in-depth written assessment of your query’s effectiveness, along with polishing line-edits.
  • Maximum one page, single-spaced.
  • One-week turnaround guaranteed.


  • Includes: detailed written analysis of the effectiveness of your book’s first five pages, margin notes and polishing copyedits.
  • One-week turnaround guaranteed.


Prices are set at industry-standard rates. A 50% retainer is due prior to the start of all book-length services to reserve time in my calendar. The balance is due upon receipt of your edited manuscript and evaluation letter. Full payment is required up front for stories/excerpts/queries/openings. Please allow one month for completion of book-length projects; shorter projects can usually be turned around quickly. 


Manuscript Services




If not, you’ll come away with a well-focused and polished opening excerpt. What do you have to lose?

“In workshops at the University of Arizona, and afterwards, as Carol has continued to read my work in draft, I have found her perceptions and comments regarding my work to be razor sharp, delivered with great good will and with humor, and cutting to the heart of the matter. Both as a reader and as a writer, Carol is exceptional.

— Daniyal Mueenuddin, author of National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize Finalist In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

“I have worked with Carol in both group and one-on-one settings. I came to her to critique my novel because she is imaginative, thoughtful, and humane. You can trust your prose to her; she’ll make it better in ways you will understand and enjoy.”

–Sheila Grinell, author of Appetite

“Carol knows how to help writers find and then shape the essential in their work. She understands what makes a good story. Her talent for narrative structure shows in her manuscript critiques and editing, her teaching and her own work, which she approaches with intelligence and humor.”

– Corey Campbell, Author &  Creative Writing Program Manager
at Arizona State Univeristy

“Carol’s experience in the field and her use of effective teaching tools provided me the confidence and skills to take my concept/idea and turn it into a legitimate novel. Her instructions, suggestions, concepts and advice are clear and on point, providing the framework to successfully approach my writing project. Carol is an amazing consultant and an incredible talent.”

Benjamin Placencia

what people are saying about the writing cycle