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Novel Solutions

As a published author, I understand how much time and commitment goes into writing a novel. It takes dedication to keep writing month after month and year after year. You’ll most likely share your completed manuscript with a partner or close friend. You trust them because they care about you and what you do. They will praise your work, and rightly so. So many people dream about writing a novel and you’ve achieved it, so huge congratulations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I remember being thrilled having finished the long process of writing my first novel. My thoughts turned to representation by an agent or publisher, so I posted reams of copies to chosen agencies. (It may only be fifteen years ago, but posting bulky manuscripts was the way it was done then!) After spending a small fortune on printing and postage, I sat back and waited. Eventually I received replies. Rejection after rejection fell on to my doormat.

What had I done wrong?

I'd failed to understand the importance of having my manuscript assessed by someone who understood what to look for in a novel. A professional appraisal looks at grammar, plot holes, character development, continuity, story arcs, dialogue, setting, voice… the list is seemingly endless. So I invested in a professional assessment and received a written report. It was eye opening. I had made silly mistakes with grammar and spelling. I had a plot hole. I needed one character developing into a believable antagonist, rather than a super villain.

After following the report’s advice, I’d polished my manuscript and it was now ready to be submitted to agents and publishers once again. An agent based in London offered to represent me. We met at the London Book Fair, discussed my book and I signed a contract. She was offering my book to publishers when I mentioned that I wished to change genre for my next book, from contemporary women’s fiction to historical fiction. I’d visited France and had an idea for a story based on a real event that happened during WW2. She didn’t support my wish, yet I felt compelled to write the story, so I made the difficult decision to terminate our contract. I’m a strong believer that a writer should write what they feel passionate about, not what they’re told to write.

A year later I’d written the historical story my agent hadn’t wanted to represent. (Arlette’s Story) I submitted it to several publishers, which led to signing a three-book contract with one of them. Three novels followed and I’m currently writing my fifth book about the escape lines over the Pyrenees in southern France during World War 2.

 

I read and report on debut writers’ manuscripts for the Romantic Novelists’ Association during the months of the year when the New Writers’ Scheme is operating. I want to share my knowledge and years of writing experience with you, debut writers. I want to help you produce a compelling manuscript of quality, with the help of an unbiased report on your work.

I will send you a comprehensive structural report, providing feedback on the plot and story arcs. I’ll look for inconsistencies, plot holes, continuity and omissions. I’ll highlight what is working and what isn’t, and why. My report will include insights into character development, dialogue, grammatical errors, setting, points of view, pacing, tropes and clichés.

I’ve yet to hear from a writer who enjoys writing a synopsis, because even a one-page synopsis has rules of dos and don’ts and must explain the whole story in a page or two. Sometimes agents even ask for a 500 word synopsis! If you would like an additional report on your synopsis, I’m happy to look at it and show you ways of improving it and reducing your word count.

I also offer advice on how to write a submission letter to agents and publishers, including a template of a draft letter, although of course you’ll be adding information about yourself and your own book.

I will email my report to you within three weeks of receiving your manuscript and having received my fee.

My Fees

Up to 50,000 words   £150

Up to 75,000 words   £175

Up to 100,000 words   £199

100,000 words is the maximum word count I report on.

Synopsis report  £30

Submission letter template and advice  £20

 

If you’re interested in having your work read and reported on, please email me at angelacbarton33@gmail.com

 

Arlette's Story, Angela Barton

I was born in London, grew up in Nottingham and have three grown-up children. My passion is the written word, whether reading it or writing it. I’m working on my fifth book having  completed two contemporary and two historical novels. 

 

I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Society of Authors, Nottingham Writers’ Studio, and Bromley Library's vintage book club. 

 

When I'm not reading, writing or researching, I enjoy making jewellery and creating framed pieces of art from free-motion sewing. I love the peace and meditative atmosphere I find while concentrating on both these relaxing hobbies. It never hurts to have a cup of tea and plain chocolate digestives to hand, either! 

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