A manuscript assessment is a written, in-depth assessment of your manuscript, covering its strengths and weaknesses, and offering specific suggestions and advice for improvement. It will include comments on structure, plot, characters, style and format, among other things. It is structural editing or substantive editing, although we emphasise that at this stage of the process the focus is on analysis and suggestions; no changes are made to the manuscript itself. Following this process, extensive revisions are likely to be required, so at this stage there is little point in correcting spelling or grammatical errors. Having said that, repeated or persistent grammatical errors will be highlighted. You will typically submit a manuscript for assessment after its second or third draft, and you might expect to do one or more drafts subsequently. The length of the assessment will vary according to the length of the manuscript, its complexity, and the number of issues identified.
It is our job as assessors to be as objective and honest as possible, and you may not like some of the comments that are made. After all, no-one likes their own baby criticised. If you submit a manuscript for assessment, be aware that no comment is intended to hurt, only to improve. Think about what was said and reflect upon it before reacting. You are, of course, entirely free to accept or reject any suggestions or comments as you see fit.