Critique Services


Athletes and performing artists have coaches to help them achieve their best—why shouldn’t you?

Our critique service offers serious, honest, and supportive feedback to help you continue your development as a writer, prepare a manuscript for publication, or complete a writing project in progress.

Critique services success story

Children’s writer finds success through Critique Services
Marion Young, a student of Continuing Studies' writing classes and critique services, has published Love Circles the World, a children's picture book that connects the dots among global cultures. The book won a Silver Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association for Children's Picture Book, as well as the Best Category Children's Award from the Printing Industries of the Gulf Coast.

"Working with Christine (DeSmet of Critique Services) enabled me to have confidence in my stories and myself," she says. "Over time, the words 'I can do this' became my mantra. Then everything I wrote, from stories to query letters to press releases, helped me to evolve as I rode the path to publication."


How Does It Work?

You submit your manuscript and receive feedback by email. The manuscript receives a close reading by one of our experienced, highly qualified writing consultants who then composes a written critique that assesses the work and gives specific feedback. The critique is a thorough, honest analysis of your manuscript that notes what is working as well as providing suggestions and strategies for revisions.

Who Do I Work With?

Our writing consultants are experienced authors, teachers, and editors who have helped many writers improve their work and get it published. See the bios to learn more about the consultants.

  • Christopher Chambers [fiction, nonfiction, poetry, scripts, MFA applications]
  • Christine DeSmet [fiction, scripts, resumés]
  • Angela Rydell [poetry, MFA applications]
  • Laurie Scheer [fiction, nonfiction, scripts, resumés]
  • Tim Storm [fiction, nonfiction, MFA applications]

Do We Critique?

We critique a wide range of writing including:

  • Novels and Novellas
  • Autobiography and Memoir
  • Short Fiction and Flash Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Screenwriting and Playwriting
  • Poetry
  • Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction
  • Children's Books
  • Genre Fiction (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, etc.)
  • Journalism & Feature Writing
  • Book proposals and synopses
  • MFA applications
  • Resumés & Cover Letters

How Much Does It Cost?

  • Prose manuscripts (novels, short stories, nonfiction book proposals, etc.): $5/page
  • Screenplays/television scripts/stage plays: $4/page
  • Poetry: $12/page of poetry (one poem per page)
  • Resumés and cover letters. $25. (include a brief description of the type of job you’re applying for and/or a specific job posting, and your timeline)
  • Board Books and Picture books: $25

How Do I Register?

Contact Christine DeSmet: 608‑262‑3447 (christine.desmet@wisc.edu) to register. You may request a specific consultant, or we can recommend one. Let us know if you have an upcoming deadline so that we can work with you to meet it. Pay by check or credit card. Checks payable to “UW-Madison.” Credit cards, email Laura Kahl (laura.kahl@wisc.edu) for the online payment link.

After you’ve registered, email the manuscript to your writing consultant who will be begin the critique.

Manuscripts guidelines: double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman or similar typeface, one-inch margins (ragged right margin, not justified); title, name and contact information on first page, number subsequent pages. Scripts should follow industry standard format. Include a brief (one-page) synopsis with excerpts of longer manuscripts (no charge for this page).