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.

Rates

Special Introductory Offer: Sign up now and receive 15 percent off any critique.

  • Up to 2,500 words: $175 $148

  • 2,501 - 5,000 words: $300 $255

  • 5,001 - 10,000 words: $500 $425

  • Book manuscripts and other projects over 10,000 words: $50 per 1,000 words $42.50 per 1,000 words

    • Email academy@narratively.com. Tell us about your project, how long it is and we’ll get back to you ASAP with a timeline.

Questions? Email academy@narratively.com.

Our Team

The first round of Narratively Critiques, starting January 2024, will be completed by Narratively co-founder and longtime editorial director Brendan Spiegel. Brendan 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.

“After completing our first book, my writing partner, Nancy Markey, and I were very encouraged to find publishers interested in our story. But we soon discovered that while they loved our ‘voice,’ they felt our manuscript needed tweaking. After two attempts to go it alone and realizing we still weren’t where we wanted to be, we reached out to Brendan for guidance. We have enjoyed working closely with him on our pieces for Narratively and trusted he could give us the help we needed. Brendan not only took the time to skillfully edit our book, but he also made many valuable suggestions that we are currently in the process of implementing. And we have no doubt our story will be much better as a result. We highly recommend working with Narratively Academy!” —Kay Adams

“Brendan is one of my favorite editors in the field. His care and patience around ensuring my voice, words and intentions are considered and seen have allowed both my individual articles and also my writing at large to thrive. Brendan is an honest, transparent and thoughtful collaborator. I wouldn’t be the writer or journalist — or editor! — I am today without his guidance and expertise.” —Caroline Rothstein, writer whose work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, Nylon, Narratively, The Forward and elsewhere.

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