Novel & Short Story Critques

Do you ever get that feeling that you can’t see the wood for the trees? You’ve edited and polished the words over and over again but you’re still not sure whether they’re any good? Or maybe you’ve had a string of rejections from the women’s magazines but can’t work out want you’re doing wrong?

Sometimes it helps to get the impartial opinion of a professional – someone who’s achieved success in the writing world and has a good idea about what editors are looking for. I’ve come across two such writers who offer critiquing services at reasonable prices:

  • Patricia Mcaughey is a successful romantic novelist from Plymouth and she writes as Patricia Fawcett. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the West Country Writers’ Association. It was through the West Country Writers’ that I met Patricia at their annual Congress. Patricia charges £25 to critique the first 3 chapters of a novel plus the synopsis. A critique of a complete novel is £50 and Patricia is happy to look at any genre except children’s, horror or science fiction. She prefers to receive hard copies of manuscripts through the post but can be contacted via email in the first instance – Patricia currently has a website under construction.


  • I’ve mentioned Joanna Barnden before on this blog. Joanna is a successful womag writer, Open University tutor and runs very inspiring writing courses. Joanna’s critiquing service costs £10 for one story (including a re-read after you’ve improved the story following her original comments) or £50 for 6, either sent in a single batch, or one after another over as long a period as you wish. The second way often works best as you can use it as a mini-correspondence course to improve your general writing techniques. This price applies to stories of 3000 words or under; for longer works she would be happy to quote on an individual basis. As well as critiquing the story Joanna will also give market advice. Joanna can be contacted via her website or email –

Alternatively, why not have a go at the Laurel House Creative Workshops competition which provides every entrant with a 400 word critique of their story. Entry fee is £4 and the winner will receive £100. Closing date 4th July. Full details here.

  1. #1 by Susan Jones on June 16, 2011 - 6:06 pm

    Thanks for these links Sally, will take a look.

  2. #2 by 'C' on June 16, 2011 - 6:37 pm

    All this looks worth investigating, sally, thank you for posting.

  3. #3 by Patsy Collins on June 16, 2011 - 8:59 pm

    The costs seem very reasonable for the amount of work involved.

    • #4 by Sally Jenkins on June 17, 2011 - 12:09 pm

      Patsy, Susan and C – glad you found it useful. Patricia’s prices do seem very reasonable but she knows what she’s doing (she’s critiqued manuscripts for the RNA New Writers’ Scheme). Her website is now up and running

  4. #5 by Margaret Raw on June 17, 2011 - 6:45 pm

    Patricia is a friend of mine and lived close to me before she moved to Devon.She is an accomplished writer with lots of lovely books published. Great to see her work shown on the web.I am looking forward to seeing her website.

    • #6 by Sally Jenkins on June 17, 2011 - 7:10 pm

      Margaret – thanks for taking the time to comment and to endorse Patricia’s credentials. When considering a critique, it’s reassuring to know that the person reading your work is an accomplished writer herself.

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