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Writing Services

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Christopher Fielden's Writing Services

Short Story Proofreading & Critique Service

UPDATE May 2017:

I have temporarily suspended my proofreading services due to the amount of submissions I've received to this year's To Hull & Back short story competition and commitments to other projects. The service is likely to be unavailable until November 2017.

You can learn about other proofreading service providers here. Or feel free to contact me and I can put you in touch with other proofreaders that I recommend.

I apologise for any inconvenience caused :-)

 

Have your writing proofread and critiqued by a published author. You’ll receive detailed comments based on my direct experiences with magazine editors and short story competition judges. By receiving constructive criticism you’ll be able to improve your short stories and develop your writing. You’ll also increase the likelihood of achieving publishing success, seeing your work in print and earning money from writing fiction.

I’m fortunate to have had short stories published through a wide variety of competitions and magazines, both online and in print. I still regularly write short stories, contribute to a variety of blogs and write books. So the advice, tips, constructive criticism and recommendations you’ll receive are based on current best practice and real-life, hands-on experience.

If your story is strong and I know of a relevant short story competition, magazine, or any other publishing opportunity suitable for your work, I’ll suggest them to you as part of the service.

For more details, see the frequently asked questions section further down the page.

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Proofreading Services

This is a short story proofreading service. You will receive:

  • a detailed critique of your story, including constructive criticism, advice and tips for improving your work, all delivered in a positive and encouraging manner
  • comments on your story’s pace, flow and style as well as observations on characterisation, dialogue, reader engagement, the strength of your story’s opening and conclusion and much more
  • edits of typos, continuation mistakes and any other errors spotted as your story is read

Your story will be read at least twice. The first time through, I just want to gauge the flow of the story, see if I identify with the characters and if there is a satisfying conclusion. Then I am able to reread, find mistakes and highlight areas for improvement.

You’ll receive a Microsoft Word document that uses ‘track changes’ to make edits and suggestions with comments where necessary. At the end of the document you’ll receive a detailed critique, summarising my overall thoughts and giving extensive feedback. All criticism is constructive. While I might point out faults or areas for improvement, the feedback you receive will be positive and encouraging.

Proofreading Prices

All prices are in Great British Pounds (GBP).

The Paypal buttons on this page have been disabled - please see the note at the top of the page which explains why.

Short stories up to 2,000 words in length
£29.95
Short stories up to 3,000 words in length
£38.95
Short stories up to 4,000 words in length
£47.95
Short stories up to 5,000 words in length
£56.95
Short stories up to 6,000 words in length
£65.95
Short stories up to 7,000 words in length
£74.95
Short stories up to 8,000 words in length
£83.95
Short stories up to 9,000 words in length
£92.95
Short stories up to 10,000 words in length
£99.95
Short stories up to 15,000 words in length
£139.95
Short stories up to 20,000 words in length
£169.95

The proofreading fees are calculated to allow me the necessary amount of time to thoroughly review and critique your writing. Each story is read at least twice, which is time consuming. All comments, advice and tips are carefully considered so you gain the most out of the service. You will then be able to review your story with my constructive criticism in mind. This will allow you to improve your story and give your writing the best chance of being published in magazines or through short story competitions.

I do not proof read any stories over 20,000 words in length or any non-fiction. This is because my area of expertise is in short stories. I have a lot of publishing experience in this area so can offer sound advice. While I have written books and write regular blog posts, I do not feel I can offer the same level of expertise and advice for these writing markets.

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How to Pay and Submit your Short Stories

Make your payment via PayPal using the buttons in the table above. Once you have made your payment, you will be returned to this page.

You do not have to have a PayPal account and can pay by credit card, debit card or even direct debit. I use PayPal because it is secure, safe and protects your personal information, ensuring a safe transaction. You can read more about PayPal in the FAQ.

Once you have paid, email me your story as a Microsoft Word document (as a .doc .docx or .rtf file) to chris@christopherfielden.com. Please state your name, address, PayPal transaction ID number, and the amount you have paid in the email, along with any other information you feel necessary about your story. I will never share your details with anyone else, but will add your email to my database and, on occasion, may send you a newsletter or details of special offers. If you do not want to receive any correspondence of this nature from me, please let me know in your email.

I will reply to your email within 3 days to let you know I have received your story and that I am able to open the file you have attached. If there are any problems I will let you know. Don’t worry, I check my spam folder too! If for any reason you do not hear from me within 3 days, please get in touch.

On occasion, I travel with work and take holidays / vacations where I have no internet access. This is rare, but in these instances I set up an out of office reply on my email, which you should receive, letting you know if there will be a delay in my response to you.

I aim to proofread your story and return your critique within 4 weeks (28 days). Often the turnaround will be quicker than this. I will try and give you a more accurate idea of timings when replying to your initial email.

If you need any more information please check the frequently asked questions below, or you can email me.

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Writing Services FAQ

Do you share my personal information with anyone else?

No.

Never.

I will never give any of your personal information or writing to anyone. Anything you send me is treated with the utmost confidence. Your privacy is respected at all times.

I will add your email to my database. I send newsletter emails out approximately once a month. If you do not want me to add you to the mailing list, simply let me know when you send me your story. If you do decide to receive newsletters and change your mind later, there is an unsubscribe option in every email I send so you can remove yourself immediately.

Please can you give me some more details on what I can expect from this service?

Yes! You will receive a detailed critique containing comments, edits and suggested improvements for your consideration. These are all provided in a Microsoft Word document.

Microsoft Word - Track Changes & Comments

I use ‘track changes’ in Word, so you can see all my suggested edits clearly. The edits will be suggestions regarding fixing typos, spelling mistakes, incorrect wording, grammar or sentence structure. Using track changes, you can either accept or reject the changes, and Word does the rest for you.

I also use Word’s comment boxes to make annotations regarding certain sentences, paragraphs and sections within the story. The sentences / paragraphs will be highlighted and the comments will appear in a box attached to the highlighted area. This makes it very easy for you to see what my comments pertain to and review them. Once you’ve finished considering a comment you can simply delete it.

If you're unfamiliar with Word and its 'track changes' functionality, below is an example of what to expect (sorry, I found a bacon Lorum Ipsum generator and felt compelled to use it…).

Microsoft Word Track Changes Example

Microsoft Word Track Changes & Comments Example

If you want to know more about these Word functions, please see visit the Microsoft Website.

Critique

In addition to the above, at the end of the document I will summarise my thoughts on your story, pointing out strengths and weaknesses. All of this will be delivered in a positive manner. I like to encourage writers, not offend them with unnecessary negativity. I appreciate that some writers using this service will be beginners and always keep this in mind when providing comments.

Where appropriate, I will let you know if I think your story is suitable for submitting to a specific competition or magazine that I’m familiar with.

Don’t Be Afraid!

I understand a lot of new writers can be nervous about engaging with this type of service, as they don’t want someone they don’t know telling them their writing is bad. I always try to keep all criticism constructive positive and encouraging.

Everyone has different styles and levels of knowledge regarding writing. I will simply point out areas for improvement. Once you’ve digested what I’ve suggested, you will be able to make your story better and give it a better chance of publication.

Part of any critique is opinion. You may not agree with everything I say. Good! I don’t expect you to. But you will have considered an outside opinion, which can only help your writing progress.

What don’t you do?

I do not proofread and critique stories over 20,000 words in length.

I do not proofread novels.

I do not proofread poetry.

I do not proofread non-fiction.

While I will suggest edits, I’m not a professional editor and am unlikely to pick up every typo in your work.

I will not rewrite your story for you. The suggestions I make are for you to consider and then use to revise and improve your writing yourself.

Why do you ask for my address?

I ask for your address so I know which spellings to expect when proofreading. For example, there are many spelling differences between UK English and American English. I lived in California for two years and have travelled extensively in America, so am familiar with US spellings and phraseology. I keep this in mind when proofreading for American writers. My wife has lived in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, so I often pick her brains when proofreading for writers based in these countries.

The other reason for requesting your address is so I can post you a hard copy of your critique if there is a failure with file formats and sending via email. This is extremely rare, but ensures I can deliver the service you’ve paid for under any circumstances.

Why do you offer a short story proofreading and critique service?

In the past I’ve been contacted regularly through my website and asked to proofread short stories and give my opinion on how to improve them and make them more publishable. Sadly, I’ve turned a lot of these proofreading requests down as I simply don’t have time to offer this type of service free of charge. However, due to the frequency of the requests, I’ve decided to offer a paid short story proofreading and critique service on the site as it’s obvious it’s something my website users want.

Why do you read the stories twice?

To fully understand a story, and to see if all the conflict and questions raised are resolved, you have to read a story from beginning to end. I’ve received critiques in the past where comments are made towards the beginning of the story that are irrelevant, simply because the proof-reader hasn’t read to the end before making them. I’ve found this frustrating.

I read through your work a minimum of two times, so comments are based on the story as a whole. I find this provides a better quality critique and more useful advice for the writer.

Why do you use PayPal to receive payments?

PayPal is a world leading payment service provider. They offer a secure service, ensuring that monetary transactions are quick, easy and safe. You can set up an account and pay via your bank in any currency, or you can simply pay by debit or credit card without setting up an account. Whichever payment method you prefer, you can be confident that your personal information is safe.

Setting up secure banking within my website would be very costly and is not something I’m currently able to do. PayPal are trusted and widely used, most famously being eBay’s preferred payment service provider. For more details, check out the PayPal website.

Why should I use your service?

I’m a writer and I’ve written a lot of short stories and had them published through a wide variety of magazines and competitions. You can read a few of them in the short stories section of this website if you would like. I know, this doesn’t mean I can guarantee that you’ll be published, but it does mean that I can offer you advice based on my real-life experience and help give you the best chance of achieving publication.

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Testimonials

Below are some testimonials, kindly provided by writers who have used my proofreading and editing services.

Mehreen N, April 2017

Hi Chris, just wanted to update you on this. The contest results are in. While I didn't win, my story made it to the shortlist of the judges' favourite pieces. Around 500 participants competed. So the result is a little bit of both bad and good news. Thank you so much for all your help!

Short Listed

Mehreen N, February 2017

Thank you so much! I did not expect such an early response 

Your critique is very helpful and constructive.

Thank you very much once again.

Fernando A, November 2016

Greetings Christopher. I had a couple of stories corrected by you, and guess what? I've been published!

I wanted to thank you for your help. I would never have done it without you. It's a small step, but an important one nevertheless.

[You can read Fernando's story here CF]

James W, November 2016

I would strongly recommend Chris’s proofreading services to any writer, experienced or otherwise. For me, honest and professional feedback is not an easy thing to come by,  but this is exactly what Chris provides in a comprehensive, constructive and friendly way. I’ve used a couple of other services to proofread my work (all of which were very useful), but I would say that Chris’s was the most incisive and thorough, in both his high-level comments and suggestions, but also in proofreading the manuscript itself. He’s also a very amicable and patient chap, providing follow up, answers and advice whenever he can. This makes a huge difference too. Well, it certainly did to me anyway - one of the stories that Chris proofread for me has recently been placed in a competition and is going to be published.

Joe H, July 2016

Chris's editing service has been an excellent investment all around. The stories I submitted were returned with detailed comments, advice and suggestions along with links to help me better understand the mistakes I was making. This man does a fantastic job. He also provided me with links to potential publishers that might be interested in the stories I was working on.

What I found impressive was his willingness to learn the medium I submitted my story in. I wasn't able to go down the normal route so he took the time to learn Google docs in order to perform the editing service. I've rarely, if ever, met a company willing to take the time to learn a skill on behalf of the client. Some people search far and wide for someone like Chris, I lucked out early on. Now if anyone knows a good mechanic I'm all ears.

Fernando A, July 2016

Nothing is more important for a new writer than to improve their skill via good constructive feedback. There are many groups out there willing to help, but sometimes you need a true professional. I have found that professional in Christopher Fielden. I have learned more about writing with one corrected short story than anywhere else. Short stories are the first thing that a writer needs to master in their career and with his help I feel I have taken my first step in the right direction.

Will H, April 2016

Thanks Chris. Money very well spent. Brilliant job. All clear as day and very helpful indeed. I read through your critique a couple of times and it's really very useful.

It's great to get your feedback, comments and thoughts. I'm very glad you enjoyed the story too. Funny how much you can miss in your own work - I don't know how many times I've read through the story (it's an awful lot). Aside from all the great comments and advice, just having a second pair of eyes to go over it is absolutely invaluable as there's so much you've pointed out that, being so close to it at the moment, I just didn't see.

Anyway, thanks again for the absolutely stellar job and for getting it done so quickly. Really helps so much and is very enjoyable to go through.

Catherine Q, October 2015

Thank you very much for getting back to me and for your great feedback, much appreciated. Your feedback has giving me confidence which will help me move forward in the future, thank you :-)

Danny S, September 2015

I was just emailing to say thank you for proofreading through my story and I found the comments very useful.

I was impressed with the level of detail you went into on the story and will certainly be using your services again, I have a series of short western series focussing on one character that I'm thinking if releasing in the future as well as other short stories.

Keep up the good work on the website as well, it's very helpful.

James W, May 2015

Thanks so much, this is really helpful and constructive, as well as encouraging.

Roy M, February 2015

What an amazing amount of info you've given me. It's not difficult to see why judges of short story / flash fiction competitions reject so many entries. I've done lots of editing already, but I'm going to put the pieces to one side to stew for a couple of days & go back & re-edit some more.

You've been really thorough, and I know I can make some valuable improvements to these stories, and approach new ones from a much more informed angle. I've given your details to some of my course colleagues, I think many new writers would benefit from your expertise.

I loved the first story in To Hull and Back by Mike Scott Thomson. Such talent. Death of a Superhero was awesome. I shall read the book again, for education rather than entertainment alone.

Thank you for everything. I'll certainly be in touch in the future.

Catherine Q, February 2015

Christopher, I just wanted to say many thanks for reading my story and for providing great, useful feedback. I have taken on board all of the comments and will now start to edit and try and polish off the story so I enter competitions. I appreciate your help.

Christopher B, November 2014

Very impressed by Christopher's critique service. He offers comments and suggestions, but where he is offering an opinion about something he will express it as such. There are some writing critics who act as if their word is law, and writing is a very subjective business. Christopher offers constructive criticism that is actually constructive, and he is very positive and encouraging when he sees something he likes. That's also very important for a writer - to know what they're doing right. He will offer advice on which competitions to consider entering - also very helpful. Thanks Christopher!

Virva L, March 2014

Christopher Fielden's short story proofreading and critiquing service is excellent and I can sincerely recommend it to anyone serious about writing. I sent my short story to him to be proofread and critiqued, and it came back within 3 weeks as promised with most helpful comments. I found the feedback to be thorough and detailed. Being an aspiring writer, advice and tips on how to tighten the story, what works and what needs to be rethought, and what to avoid in order to improve the chances in getting published were extremely helpful. All comments were very constructive and encouraging, and now I feel more confident about my writing and in submitting my story to a short story magazine.

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Author Talks, Presentations & Writing Workshops

I run writing workshops and deliver talks and presentations about being an author. I will consider travelling anywhere to do this.

Chris Fielden doing an Author Presentation

Chris, doing an author presentation

When speaking at events, I draw on real-life experience as an award winning and Amazon best-selling author. I talk extensively about being a short story competition judge, a published writer and running this website for a living.

If you would like me to be a guest speaker at an event you're running, please look at my page about author talks and presentations.

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Leave your comments

Please use the form below to leave your comments. All comments will be reviewed so won't appear on the page instantly. I will not share your details with anyone else. Most recent comments appear at the bottom of the page, oldest at the top.

Your Details:

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Comments:

Your comments:

Phil C
Hi Chris, I hope you are well.

I am thinking of trying to get into proofreading and editing as a job. How did you get into it - can you recommend any courses?

Chris Fielden
Hi Phil, I don’t know of any courses.

Most of what I offer is based on critiques I’ve received from dealing with professional publishers and editors over the years. I’m sure there are courses out there though.

Sorry I can’t be of more help.

Phil C
OK, thanks Chris

Sanober HS
Dear Chris. I am a student of medicine in my 3rd year in Islamabad Pakistan. I love to write short stories and have never tried submitting to a magazine before. Would you be kind enough to help me to get my stories and essays published?

On your kind response I will send you some examples of my writing.

Chris Fielden
I’m afraid I receive lots of requests like this and cannot offer to proofread other writers work for free. If you want me to read your work, please see the paid service I offer above.

To enter competitions and approach magazines, the best bet is to look through the lists on my website, see which are most appropriate for your style of writing and then submit to them directly. You can start your research in the Writing Advice section of my website.

I wish you the best of luck with your writing.

Janak S
Dear Christopher, what is the format for sending you a short story for assessment in the critiquing services you offer?

Chris Fielden
Hi Janak. You can find out about my proofreading services and how to submit by reading the page above.

Unfortunately, my services are closed at the moment as I have received many entries into my short story competition and have lots of reading to do.

Please let me know if you are happy to wait until I can open these services again. If not, you can find details of other reputable proofreading services here.

Janak S
Dear Christopher, I have read about your proofreading services including the prices. I understand you are preoccupied with other things, it's okay. I will contact you later, when you are free. Kind regards.

Chris Fielden
Great, thanks Janak :-)