Narratively Critiques (Developmental Edits on Story Drafts and Manuscripts)

Over the course of 11+ years of publishing this site, our team at Narratively has read over 50,000 pitches, edited and published more than 2,000 longform stories, and… we can’t even calculate how many drafts, rewrites and rounds of feedback went into all those stories! Point is, our team — equipped with additional experience at top outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC and many other publications — are experts at closely reading written work, breaking it down and making it sing.

Our editorial team is now offering professional critiques of written work. Whether you’d like feedback on your short piece, a 5,000-word story or your entire book, we’ve got you covered. Whatever length your work is, we’ll read it closely and deliver:

  • A memo outlining our overall feedback, thoughts and suggested changes.

  • In-line comments on the story about aspects that can be improved.

  • A one-on-one phone consultation with you to talk through a plan for next steps.

This service is intended for writers who have completed a draft of their work and are eager for tough, honest, in-depth and actionable feedback about how it can be improved. (That doesn’t mean your work has to be finished; we’re happy to review works-in-progress and/or partial works, such as the first few chapters of your book.)

We’ll address big-picture issues like story structure, clarity, narrative arc and pacing, as well as many smaller opportunities for improvement throughout, and speak directly with you about how to rewrite and get your work publication-ready.


Up to 2,500 words: $175

Book a Critique

2,501 - 5,000 words: $300

Book a Critique

5,001 - 10,000 words: $500

Book a Critique

Book manuscripts and other projects over 10,000 words: $50 per 1,000 words

(Email to book.)

When booking a critique, let us know if there’s a specific editor/instructor on our team (see below) that you’d like to work with. Once you book. we’ll email you ASAP to set things up.

Questions? Email

Our Team

Brendan Spiegel, Narratively’s co-founder and longtime editorial director, has personally assigned and edited thousands of stories, working closely with everyone from first-time writers to Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters. Brendan takes a hands-on, immersive approach to editing — he’s especially proud that one writer recently dubbed him “the kindest and toughest editor I’ve ever worked with.” The stories he’s edited have won awards from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, the New York Press Club, The Best American Sports Writing and many more, while leading Narratively to be cited as a Webby Awards Honoree for Best Writing. More than 50 of the longform stories Brendan has edited have been optioned for TV and film development. Brendan’s own reported stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wired, New York magazine, Travel and Leisure and many other publications.

Audrey Clare Farley is a writer, editor and scholar of 20th-century American culture. She earned a Ph.D. in English literature at University of Maryland, College Park, and now teaches U.S. history at Mount St. Mary’s University. Her first book, The Unfit Heiress: The Tragic Life and Scandalous Sterilization of Ann Cooper Hewitt, tells the story of a 1930s millionairess whose mother secretly sterilized her to deprive her of the family fortune, sparking a sensational case and forcing a debate of eugenics. Audrey’s book, which grew out of a viral Hidden History story she authored for Narratively, is currently in development as a scripted TV series with a major actress and producer attached. Her second book, Girls and Their Monsters: The Genain Quadruplets and the Making of Madness in America, explores the lives of the four women behind a famous case study of schizophrenia. It was named a New York Times Editors’ Pick. Audrey’s stories have appeared in The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other outlets. She lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania.

Kerra Bolton is an acclaimed writer and filmmaker. Her work has been featured in Memoir Land,, CNN Español, Hearst Magazines, The Times of Israel, New Worlder, Ebony and Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. She is currently working on her memoir, Water in My Bones, and her documentary film directorial debut, Return of the Black Madonna. Both projects trace her epic quest to learn to swim, dive and map sunken slave ships with Black marine archeologists. Bolton produced and starred in Detroit Rising: How the Motor City Becomes a Restorative City, released in 2020. The five-part docuseries followed Bolton as she witnessed restorative justice transform nearly every city sector during a time of racial reckoning. The series was an official selection of the San Francisco Independent Short Film Festival, called “illuminating” by The Mercury News and won “Best Web Series” (2020) at the Cyrus International Film Festival. Bolton is also the CEO and founder of Woodbine Ventures, a transitional career coaching company.

Questions? Email with anything you’d like to know, or to get started.