Editing, manuscript assessment, mentoring and writing services by Dr Chris McLeod, a leading Western Australian fiction writer and an experienced editor.

Chris is the author of five critically acclaimed books and has a PhD in creative writing. He is a former fiction editor of Westerly, a prestigious literary journal produced at the University of Western Australia and has operated Wordwork Manuscripts since 2001.

Work on fiction and non-fiction manuscripts, as well as shorter documents and other writing tasks. A professional, affordable and knowledgeable service is assured.

Manuscript assessment services With whom will you be dealing?

Some publications with which Wordwork Manuscripts has been involved. And some testimonials.

Why should your work be professionally assessed/edited?

What does manuscript assessment involve?

What does editing involve?

What kinds of writing can be assessed/edited?

What will it cost?


Writing services

Contact Chris McLeod

--- Books by Chris McLeod ---

With whom will you be dealing?

Everything submitted to Wordwork Manuscripts will receive the personal attention of Dr Chris McLeod.

A serious problem with many manuscript assessment and editing services is that the work is frequently carried out by poorly qualified and/or anonymous individuals who offer little or no more than peer assessment - you might just as well get an opinion from your friends or family or members of your writing group.

However, Wordwork Manuscripts goes a long way beyond this. Dr Chris McLeod is the author of five critically acclaimed works of fiction (three novels and two collections of short stories). He has a PhD and an MA in Creative Writing/English, and has taught creative writing at tertiary level. He has a wealth of experience in editing: as well as successfully operating Wordwork Manuscripts since 2001, he is also a former Fiction Editor of Westerly, a nationally and internationally respected literary journal, produced by the Centre for Studies in Australian Literature at the University of Western Australia.

With Wordwork Manuscripts all attention is professional, qualified and personal.

Some publications with which Wordwork Manuscripts
has been involved

Click on a book cover for more information, including testimonials.

Why should your work be professionally assessed/edited?

You have probably spent a long time writing your manuscript, perhaps years. But what will you do with it now? Will you send it to a publisher or a literary agent? Will you self-publish? Or will you spend some more time developing and 'polishing' your work in order to maximise its potential?

Whatever your intention, professional manuscript assessment and editing will be invaluable.

It is very difficult to have your work accepted by a publisher - it's a highly competitive market. It's almost as hard to be accepted by a reputable literary agent. Therefore, before you submit your manuscript it makes a great deal of sense to have it professionally assessed and/or edited. This way your work will have the opportunity to reach its highest possible level prior to submission.

A favourable manuscript assessment may also ensure that the work is taken seriously by publishers and agents. And it will give you confidence that you are 'on the right track'. View a letter of appreciation from Margaret Muir, whose first novel, Sea Dust, was published in 2006 by Robert Hale, a UK hardback publisher. Her subsequent novels include The Condor's Feather, The Black Thread and The Twisting Vine. You can visit Margaret Muir's website at www.margaretmuirauthor.com

If you intend to self-publish (that is, pay to have your work published) it is worthwhile bringing it to the best possible standard. A professional editor can help you achieve this. Chris will work with you until you are satisfied your manuscript is ready to go to print.

Maybe you are not looking for publication at this stage but simply want to develop your work and improve as a writer. Professional manuscript assessment and/or editing can be beneficial here too - you can learn a lot about the craft of writing through a rigorous and knowledgeable response to your work.

What does manuscript assessment involve?

Your manuscript is read and a written report provided. This report will outline the manuscript's strengths and will suggest ways in which the work can be improved. It is, therefore, a structural editing report.

The editing notes thus provided will be comprehensive, direct and succinct; the intention is to be constructively critical.

Issues covered will range from grammar, syntax and expression to engagement with 'big picture' concerns such as structure, voice, characterisation, point of view and narrative logic. The report will not be schematic; it will respond to the manuscript and will focus on aspects that will enhance your work.

Note: In the case of selected manuscripts with outstanding potential, Wordwork Manuscripts will also provide a separate letter of recommendation to publishers and agents.

What does editing involve?

Editing has two aspects:
Structural editing.
This is a manuscript assessment report (see above for details). The intention is to provide constructively critical feedback on the 'big picture' elements and suggest ways in which your work may be improved.
Copy editing.
Your manuscript is 'marked up'. The editor engages closely with the work, suggesting (where appropriate) changes to syntax, expression, punctuation, grammar etc. Suggested additions/deletions are noted (if required) and comments are written in the margin. This is a close-reading process focussing on 'small picture' elements - the object is to draw attention to details that may require modification and suggest the best possible construction, while working within the parameters of your expression. You will be able to see exactly what is required and where it is required. Of course the final decision about such details remains with the writer. Taken in conjunction with the assessment report (structural editing notes), writers will have a clear indication of aspects to address in order to bring the work to its potential.

If required, copy editing only can be done (ie no assessment report). Similarly, structural editing (assessment report only) is available without markup. Or both structural and copy editing can be done concurrently. Differential charges apply for each of these three services (see 'Fees' below).

Editing can be offered as a 'one-off' service for a particular manuscript or piece of writing. Alternatively, writers may choose to work with Chris to 'polish' their work. This will necessitate a number of movements of the text between writer and editor - and this 'back and forth' process usually provides the best results, though of course it is more time-consuming and therefore more expensive.

In addition to working on full-length manuscripts, Chris will also edit shorter pieces, including work-in-progress, individual stories, reports and business communications - in fact anything that requires clear and appropriate written expression.

What kinds of writing can be assessed/edited?

  • All fiction genres, including literary fiction, crime, thriller, science fiction, historical fiction, romance, fiction for children and young adults
  • Short fiction
  • Novels
  • Poetry
  • Non-fiction (including biography and autobiography)
  • Work-in-progress
  • Reports
  • Business communications
  • Any written document


Mentoring is the process of ongoing intensive editorial support for writers. It is provided following initial manuscript assessment and/or editing.

Length of mentoring time and mentoring fees will be negotiated prior to commencement.

On-line mentoring is possible.

Note: mentoring is available only to selected writers - selection will be made on the basis of your work's potential, and your potential to benefit from a mentoring process.

In 2004 the WA State Literature Centre (now Writing WA) invited applications from emerging writers who wished to become involved in a mentoring process with an established writer. The established writers were Chris McLeod and Stephen Dedman. Emerging writers were selected on the basis of their work's quality and potential. Chris worked with Alice Nelson, whose novel Swimming Without Water, was short-listed for The Australian/Vogel Award and won the 2006 TAG Hungerford Award (as In Arcadia). It was subsequently published as The Last Sky.

Chris also worked with Colin Bushell. Read Colin's thoughts on the mentoring process ...open his letter


Word count Manuscript assessment only
(structural editing)
Manuscript markup only
(copy editing)
Manuscript assessment and editing
(structural and copy editing)
up to 5,000 $100/hour $100/hour $100/hour
5,000 to 10,000 $400 $550 $750
10,000 to 15,000 $430 $650 $850
15,000 to 20,000 $460 $700 $900
20,000 to 25,000 $490 $750 $950
25,000 to 30,000 $520 $800 $1,000
30,000 to 35,000 $550 $850 $1,050
35,000 to 40,000 $580 $950 $1,150
40,000 to 45,000 $610 $1,050 $1,250
45,000 to 50,000 $650 $1,150 $1,350
50,000 to 55,000 $680 $1,250 $1,450
55,000 to 60,000 $710 $1,350 $1,550
60,000 to 65,000 $750 $1,450 $1,650
65,000 to 70,000 $790 $1,550 $1,750
70,000 to 75,000 $830 $1,650 $1,950
75,000 to 80,000 $870 $1,750 $2,050
80,000 to 85,000 $910 $1,850 $2,150
85,000 to 90,000 $910 $1,950 $2,250
90,000 to 95,000 $950 $2,050 $2,350
95,000 to 100,000 $990 $2,150 $2,450
over 100,000 By arrangement
  • Additional charges for editing may apply, depending on the amount of markup required. If such charges apply, the writer will be informed before editing commences.
  • The above fees apply for one read-through only. If the text is returned for further editing/assessment, additional fees will apply, as per the above scale or by arrangement with the writer.
  • Writing or editing of reports, documents etc. (ie not manuscripts) will be at the rate of $90/hour. A per-day rate may be negotiated for longer tasks.


Please enclose at least 50% payment with your manuscript. You should indicate whether you require manuscript assessment only, or manuscript assessment and editing. Please also enclose return postage for your manuscript. The balance is to be paid before delivery of the report/editing.

Payment for all writing commissions is required in advance, or by arrangement.

Return of your work

Every effort will be made to return your manuscript within three to four weeks of receiving it. If more time is required you will be notified.

Discussion of your work

If you live in Perth, or can come to Perth, a face-to-face discussion of your work is possible following assessment/editing. A fee of $90/ hour applies. A fee of $90/ hour applies.


After initial assessment/editing, writers may return their manuscripts, or sections of their manuscripts, for further brief comment on changes they may have made. This will be free of charge, provided no more than 30 minutes is required to read and respond to the work. If more time is required, fees will apply as per the above schedule. Note: this is distinct from mentoring support (see above).

Intellectual property rights

Copyright and all intellectual property rights remain with the author. No copies of your work will be made or retained.

Presentation of your work

To enable ease of reading and editing, please ensure your manuscript is double-spaced and in 12-point type with a generous margin.

While hard copy is usually preferred, some editing tasks can be completed on screen, using the Word 'track changes' function. Please contact Chris for further information.

Other writing services

Chris is an experienced and versatile writer. In addition to his fiction, he has worked extensively with academic writing and journalism.

He offers writing, re-writing and editing for a range of tasks, including reports, press releases, corporate and business communications, website text and job applications. Ghostwriting may also be considered.

Stylish, clear writing is assured.

Chris McLeod - author Chris McLeod main page

Contact Chris McLeod
Email  wordwork@iinet.net.au

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