Ask the Book Doctor: Editing and Reviews

Q: I have started to write a novel based on facts [that took place] in the 1865-1880 time frame [sic]. I have no experience writing anything, I just know I wish to write a story. Is there some where [sic] to send a few chapters to be read over to determine if there is hope in proceeding [with] it. [sic]


A: I am one of many editors who provide professional feedback for a fee, but if you want free feedback, join a critique group and get free feedback from peers, to see if fellow readers find the information captivating.


My strongest suggestion is to take a class or a course in creative writing before or while attempting to tackle writing a novel. Creative writing requires much more than simply owning a computer and knowing how to type, and novels require even more specialized knowledge, such as how to handle pace, point of view, dialogue, characterization, and plot, among other things. Any good creative writing teacher will also give you feedback on some of the writing, during the time you take a course.


Although I don’t believe e-mails have to be flawless, the errors in the one asking this question show me that the novel will need careful editing before it is ready to market.


If you want professional feedback, or if you do not want to take a class or join a critique circle, or if you can’t find anything suitable in your area, by all means go to my Web site at, click on “Editing Request Form,” and follow the prompts to learn now to submit work to me for a professional evaluation and/or editing.


Bobbie Christmas, book doctor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too. Send them to Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at

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