Manuscript Assessments

SpecFicNZ offers up to 10 free manuscript assessments to members each year, on a first-come basis (budget allowing). Submissions must be speculative, and can be prose, poetry, or screenplay.

Submissions should be no longer than 2500 words. If a work is longer (a novel or novella), the author may submit a synopsis so the assessor has better context for the excerpt. The author may also submit up to two specific questions pertaining to the project that they would like help with.

SpecFicNZ will pair the author with an assessor whose work closely aligns with the author’s own. The final appraisal will consist of a 1-2 page document with suggestions for strengthening the work. It might include comments on plot, structure, character, and style. It might also include comments on whether the piece aligns with the expectations of genre and intended audience. Assessors’ comments will be restricted to the excerpt and synopsis, and may not be exhaustive. They will aim to answer the two specific questions posed to them as best they can. They will provide some recommendations for next steps, such as attending a specific writing course, more research, or applying for a mentorship programme. Assessors are not expected to do line editing or provide publishing advice. Their comments may not result in the work achieving publication, only to move the work in a positive direction towards possible publication. 

Assessments should be completed within six weeks of matching with an assessor. All materials will remain the property of the author and will be kept confidential. Assessors are drawn from the SpecFicNZ membership and will include experienced authors and editors.

To request an assessment: Please review the guidelines below and fill out this form. Please NOTE that the page will only load if you are logged in to the SpecFicNZ website.

Manuscripts must be provided in an acceptable format and the word limit written clearly on the manuscript’s first page. Writers are also required to indicate what stage their manuscript is at, which helps the assessor determine what next steps could help. 

Beyond our own group, the New Zealand Association of Manuscript Assessors (NZAMA), the only organisation of its kind in the world, is a valuable resource to get your work whipped into shape. For a very decent rate an experienced writer and/or editor will look at your full manuscript and give you an assessment of its overall structure, content and marketability. To find out more go to their website here.

Become an assessor: If you are an experienced writer or editor of speculative fiction and would like to offer your services to this programme, please fill in this form.

Please note, inclusion on the assessor list does not guarantee you will be invited to provide an assessment as offers will depend on the nature and number of projects submitted. Payment will be a flat fee of NZ$120.00 per completed assessment.

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