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Plot and Character Critiques

As a teacher and writer, I've learned a lot about how to improve manuscripts and take them to the next level. I'm currently available to do partial and full manuscript critiques for young adult and adult mystery and science fiction and fantasy. I also do memoir. I charge $1/100 words for a developmental critique. This will include comments in your manuscript, as well as a 5-10 page letter that explains overall good parts and weaknesses, plus suggestions for next steps. If you feel you are ready for a copy-edit prior to epublication, I charge $5/page (250 words) for this service. For $50/hour I can also help talk through plot problems if you're stuck. Please contact me at for a free 2 page critique so you can see if we're a good fit.

Write Brain Podcast, the podcast to help you get your brain "right," so you can write.

This is a podcast for everyone who suffers from Writer's Block or even Life Block. It's for people who want to write, but who sit down and feel like they have nothing to say of value. It's for those of us who are facing more fear than ever, with publications after book one, and for those of us who've faced some hard business realities and don't know how to move on. It's for those who have gotten so good at critiquing everyone that they don't know how to stop critiquing themselves before they ever start writing.

Essays on Writing

I post daily essays on Patreon for my $1/month supporters, and occasionally on my personal page and my public page. Sometimes it's an inspirational essay about how to get in gear or how to calm your fear demons. Other times, it's a short bit on craft. I've collected many of those posts, if you're interested in seeing them all at once:

Write Brain: How to Get Your Brain Right So You Can Write

I also have a monthly column on writing at Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show with lots of essays on anything from dealing with fear to how to write villains.

I recommend the following essays there:
1. 10 Step Novel Structure
2. Character Leads to Plot, Plot Leads to Character
3. How to Write a Query Letter
4. 12 Questions to Ask About Your Magic System
5. Advanced Character Development
6. Why Talent Doesn't Exist and Doesn't Matter Anyway
7. Rules of Revision
8. How I Find Time to Write

Other Random Bits and Pieces on Writing

20 tips on revision

12 lessons in revision

7 tips on dialog

20 Rules of Bad writing

Letter to Young Writers

Advice to Parents and Teachers

My "Said-Bookism" Rant

For those who want to know simply how to make a career out of writing, I would say that you must simply write. If you want to help your child learn how to write, don't worry about hiring a professional critiquer. Don't critique your child's grammar yourself. If the child isn't comfortable with you reading it, that's fine. Writing is the best way to get better, and it happens without any other pressure. In fact, sometimes other pressure can be seriously negative. My path to writing began in Kindergarten.

I remember vividly one day, sitting down and telling my teacher a story about the rainbow-colored, friendly-looking dragon I had drawn. The teacher wrote down the story I told her, which was quite short. It was this, "The dragon lives in a cave. He is lonely. Everyone is afraid of him. Some people don't even have homes because he burned them up. He is trying to be friendly. But no one else is friends with him." When I was finished, the teacher said, "You should be a writer." This is the actual picture I drew, which my mother kept for over thirty years, because I think she thought I should be a writer, too.

I wrote a lot of other stories in elementary school. One of my favorites is this one, complete with illustrations: "This is about a giant that is nice. once upon a time a giant did't have a friend at, because he came out shaking the world. So he was poor. one day a hunter came to the woods. the came out and the hunter shot him. So every body mond and grond for him. one day the mother giant gad a baby boy. he grew and grew and became a father giant. oh thay lived in a cave." Click here if you would like to read more of my early stories. They're not great literature, but I think they do help parents and children not despair. If I wrote like that then, and I write like I do now, well, anyone can be a good writer, given a lot of practice and about thirty years.

Here are a handful of my other beginner works. It is perfectly natural and very useful to write fanfic, in my opinion. I wrote plenty!
1. My Star Trek novel
2. My Sherlock Holmes novel
3. My Perry Mason novel
4. My first published short story from college "Enid Is At The Door"
Clarence, You're an Angel, my first attempt to write Book of Mormon Fan Fic, also my first submitted work--rejected with a very nice letter.
Embarrassingly bad sf written in graduate school
7. The Shepherdess Daughter, also embarrassingly bad first young adult novel

Copyright Mette Ivie Harrison 2018 all rights reserved.
Last revised August 17, 2018.