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Critique Service

The North Carolina Writers’ Network offers an ongoing Critique Service for its members. Through this program, Network writers can have their unpublished work reviewed, at below-market rates, by established writers and editors of varying backgrounds and areas of expertise.

The purpose of this service is to help NCWN members develop their work and their craft, not to prepare a manuscript for submission or publication.

I’d never had an editor review my work and was somewhat apprehensive and very green to the process. [My critiquer’s] edit was more than thorough, and included notes that addressed the content and prospects for the story. She was generous and kind in her encouragement, and her suggestions were on the money and well-received. I am not a published writer, but her work gave me the motivation to keep going to try to reach that goal.

NCWN member Kathy Gleason

Following the guidelines and fee structure below, NCWN members can pay for a critique of their unpublished work. A critique takes a “macro” look at the work, with comments and suggestions on the work’s constituent elements and overall effectiveness.

A critique is not a copy, line, or developmental edit, and does not open an avenue of communications with the critiquer.

Writers seeking to have their work copy-edited, to establish an ongoing relationship with an editor, or to prepare a manuscript for publication would be better served hiring a qualified freelance editor. Members can contact the Network staff for recommended freelance editors.

It was unbelievably helpful… I was totally impressed, and it was well worth the price. You have a very satisfied member.

NCWN member Reid Wilson

In addition, the Network now offers its members access to Representation Readers, qualified writers/editors who can help writers avoid false or clichéd portrayals, and bring their characters to life fully and responsibly. For more information on Representation Reads, click here.


All manuscripts, print or electronic, must have a minimum of 5 pages.

  • Pages 5 – 50: $4 per page
  • Remaining Pages: $3 per page
  • Administrative Fee: $30 for printed submission, $15 for electronic submission



For example, the costs to critique a 100-page manuscript would be as follows:

$4 per page x 50 = $200
$3 per page x 50 = $150
Administrative Fee = $15
Total = $365

$4 per page x 50 = $200
$3 per page x 50 = $150
Administrative Fee = $30
Total = $380


  • All prose manuscripts—submitted electronically or in print—should be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins and in 12-point, Times New Roman font.
  • Printed prose manuscripts must be single-sided.
  • All poetry manuscripts—submitted electronically or in print—must be single-spaced, with a limit of only one poem per page, with 1-inch margins and in 12-point, Times New Roman font.
  • Printed poetry manuscripts must be single-sided.
  • Stage plays and screenplays—submitted electronically or in print—must be submitted in proper format. Guidelines for stage plays and screenplays can be found here (courtesy of Story Sense) and here (courtesy of Writopia).
  • Page number and your last name should appear on each page.
  • Printed manuscripts must NOT be bound when submitted, except with a paper or butterfly clip.
  • Electronic manuscripts must be submitted in Word (.doc, .docx), with a file name that includes your last name & at least part of the work’s title (i.e., Wolfe_LookHomeward.docx).
  • Printed manuscripts must include two cover letters: one that lists the manuscript’s title, genre, and page count, as well as your top three choices (see list below) to critique it; and another giving the critiquer a brief synopsis of the manuscript’s contents, as well as what aspects of the manuscript most concern you (i.e., plot, character development, dialogue, line editing, etc.).
  • Electronic manuscripts should include the second cover letter described above, for the critiquer’s reference. This cover letter should not be included in the total page count. The information described in the first cover letter will be collected by the online registration form.
  • Submit electronic manuscripts by completing the online registration form first, then attaching the manuscript (in Word) to an e-mail addressed to critique@ncwriters.org, with “Critiquing & Editing Service” or “C&ES” in the subject line.
  • Submit printed manuscripts, including check or money order made payable to NCWN, and SASE for return of critiqued manuscript, to:

NCWN Critique Service
P.O. Box 21591
Winston-Salem, NC 27120

Critique Service Submission Checklist

  • Your manuscript, properly formatted
    • Prose: Double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font (single-sided if printed)
    • Poetry: Single-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font (single-sided if printed), 1 poem per page
    • Play/Screenplay: See Story Sense or Writopia
  • Cover letter(s) with required information (1 cover letter if electronic; 2 cover letters if printed)
  • Completed online registration form, with payment by VISA, MasterCard, or Discovery, if electronic
  • Manuscript e-mailed to critique@ncwriters.org, as Word attachment with proper file name, if electronic
  • Payment by check or money order, made payable to NC Writers’ Network, if printed
  • Self-addressed envelope (SASE) with sufficient postage to return your manuscript, if printed

If you have any questions, please call 336-293-8844 or e-mail critique@ncwriters.org.