Manuscript Assessment

Sometimes you reach the point where you’re unsure if your writing is publishable. Or if it’s close and just needs some improvement it, to make an agents or publishers fire off a contract.

Sometimes you just don’t know if its “any good.” Before you give up…. taking-a-match-to-it

ASCENT’s manuscript evaluations are based on standards used in the publishing industry. Our goal is to help you prepare a manuscript that connects with your audience and delivers what they’re looking for. Whether you are preparing to submit

For 37 years, we have assisted authors by evaluating their narrative and essay-style manuscripts.

A Constructive Review – to Support Your Success in Publishing


When a manuscript has not been written with publishing industry standards or audience felt-needs considered, our job is to offer a constructive review to help you improve your work.

Whether you’re submitting to a commercial publisher or self-publishing, we want to help you succeed. This is your book and you’ve worked hard on it. It deserves your best efforts, and our best recommendations.

Narrative Writing (both Fiction and Memoir) Evaluations

We will provide you with a diagnostic review in which we analyze your manuscript’s current state of completion, based on what we know publishers and demanding audiences look for in a well-told story.

Our evaluation looks for these important, narrative needs:

  • Is there a clearly discernible audience, or target reader, for the book? And what are their real “felt needs,” as relating to your particular genre?
  • Is the story question or problem clear early enough to hook your readers? Do your storytelling skills make them want to turn pages?
  • Is the story question clear? And is it renewed at the start of each “act” of the story, to keep reader interest high? For that matter, are the acts – or greater “movements” – of the story clear?
  • Is the underlying story structure clear? Is this a two-, three-, four-act story?
  • Is the main character likable, and do they have a clearly defined motive or goal? Do they have a counter-motive – an internal “nemesis” that works against them and which they have to overcome in order to achieve their own goal?
  • Are there enough and appropriate challenges for the main character to work through? Do those challenges make them face their own internal nemesis, so they are caused to overcome not just the outer problem but their inner problem, as well?
  • How are your basic writing skills? Are the scenes strong? Are the dialogues compelling? How is your “camera work” – meaning, are the visuals and sensory details vivid enough to put your reader “in” the book, instead “outside looking in”?

These are a few of the important aspects of good narrative writing that today’s readers demand. For that reason, our review of your work will address these crucial story-telling elements.

Essay-Style Writing
(Self-Help, Spiritual, Philosophical, New Concept)

Essay style books are extremely popular – and the best ones work because the author knows how to work with the aspects of good essay writing.

What do your readers need and want in a well-developed essay-style book? ASCENT looks for these important elements:

  • Is your main premise clear? What are you trying to show or prove or explore or demonstrate? What are you trying to shift in the readers mind or behavior? What are you trying to change or improve?
  • Do you have a clear “take away”? What will your reader gain by reading your book?
  • Does your essay writing fall into a clear category recognized by publishers and sought by readers – for instance: expository, descriptive, narrative or persuasive?
  • Do you use the elements of your particular essay style well? For example, in a persuasive essay, do you present your main points clearly and support them well to prove your premise?
  • Have you used techniques of good fiction writing where they can be useful – say, in telling a good anecdote to support or explain your point?

These are some important aspects of good essay writing that compel your readers forward. ASCENT will look for these elements in your work, and suggest ways to improve your presentation.


Because manuscript vary in length and complexity, please call us to discuss you work and obtain a cost for review.

Following Your Review

From the diagnostic review ASCENT provides, you can then work on your own to make important amendments. Or you may decide to work with the guidance of an ASCENT coach.

In the event you decide to take part in ASCENT’s Guided Writing Program, the fee for your review will be deducted from the total cost of your program.

Call 1.540.454.4495 (between 8am-8pm EST) or email