A manuscript evaluation is a big-picture analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of a book in progress. In fiction the focus is on plot (especially the “plotholes”), structure, pace, setting, character development, logic, believability, style, tone, and execution. In nonfiction I consider structure and organization, whether the themes are adequately explored, whether the material is supported by facts, as well as style and execution. I do a complete line reading of a manuscript, mapping it out on a chapter-by-chapter level to assess the trajectory or arc of the story. I tune in to the writer’s intent, and I often offer plot and content suggestions as well as recommendations for further reading to help the writer get to the next stage. The final evaluation comes in the form of a detailed written assessment, with a follow-up phone consultation to discuss the assessment and the steps going forward.