If you have Microsoft Word or similar software, you probably have editorial features that allow you to check your spelling, grammar, and appropriate age for reading what you’ve written. Such proofreading options prove especially helpful if English is your second language or if you slept through grammar school.
Poems and line-breaks often muddle those mechanical minds, but you can find poetry editors or well-published poets who offer online critiques or writing consults via email. That just won’t be me.
When I critique or edit someone’s work, I like the hands-on approach. That’s also my preference when I read book proposals and texts for children’s picture books. Why? Besides the familiarity of having done it that way for 30 years, I like to up-put with a “good read” instead of sitting around at this computer.
The downside for you comes in having to wait an extra week for travel time via the postal route. Before that deters you, keep in mind that it’s easier to catch mistakes on paper without computer glare or pixels blinding the job on-screen. And wouldn’t it be good to help keep our local post offices in business for as long as we can?
If you’ve seen my mostly legible handwriting, you’ll be reassured that a real person commented on your work and, whenever possible, encouraged you too. You’ll also see exactly what I’m talking about and why. For example, in the margins of your manuscript, penciled comments add helpful ideas, professional writing tips, and suggestions with arrows drawn to point out something specific.
For a while longer anyway, I hope to keep offering critiques of poetry, chapbooks, books of poems, children’s picture book texts, and book proposals at pretty much the same price I’ve charged for 3 decades. You can see feedback about my feedback on my website along with the mailing address, fee, and other info on what you can expect from me and a critique.
©2013, Mary Harwell Sayler