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As a printable tabulated form or checklist, the Manuscript Assessment Criteria presented by SoundEagle🦅 below can assist writers in evaluating and inspecting their own works (either by themselves or with a group of readers) before submitting their manuscripts to publishers, and also during successive edits after the previous submission(s) and before the next submission.

Serving as a detailed guide, template, checklist or questionnaire, the Manuscript Assessment Criteria can be used by not only writers but also book editors, publishers and reviewers as well as teachers, tutors and students to evaluate and determine the quality of a book or manuscript systematically.

Admittedly, the Manuscript Assessment Criteria are somewhat dauntingly all-encompassing, and some of them are also valid for non-fictions.

In addition, readers are welcome to implement an abridged version of the Manuscript Assessment Criteria as a feedback worksheet for beta readers of a work in progress.

Those who wish to print a hardcopy of the Manuscript Assessment Criteria need to ensure that the display device is wide enough to accommodate the width of the stylized table, totalling 560 pixels.

All the best to your writing and editing endeavours!Rose Greeting

Yours sincerely,
Manuscript Assessment Criteria
SoundEagle🦅 has made the Manuscript Assessment Criteria available as a thorough checklist for writers striving to improve their manuscripts for publication.


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1. Genre ğŸ¦¸ğŸ½â€â™€ï¸ğŸ§™â€â™‚ï¸ğŸ§â€â™€ï¸ğŸ§šâ€â™€ï¸ğŸ¤ ğŸ‘¹ğŸ‘ºğŸ¤¡ğŸ‘»â˜ ï¸ğŸ‘½ğŸ¤–ğŸŽƒ

How well does the book fulfill the characteristics of the nominated genre?

2. Title 📔

How well does the title reflect the content and direction of the book? Suggestions for alternative title:

3. Content 📖

To what extent is the content of this book appropriate for the nominated audience?
Is the plot plausible?
To what extent is the story entertaining?
Is the plot developed at an appropriate and consistent pace?
How well is the major plot developed?
To what extent do subplots enrich the story?
Is the organisation of all elements of the plot tight and devoid of contradictions and inconsistencies?
To what extent are devices other than narrative (such as direct speech, diary entries, letters and newspaper reports) employed to develop the plot?
To what extent are individual chapters well organised — each with a clear beginning, body and end?
Where given, are chapter titles relevant?

4. Narrative Style 🗣💬🧛🏻‍💝‍💋‍🧑🏼

To what extent does the narrative style enable the development of the plot?
How effective is the use of 1st person / 2nd person / 3rd person viewpoint?
Are techniques such as chronological-sequential narration, flashbacks and prequel-sequel narration effective in the book?

5. Characterization 😺😸😹😻😼😽🙀😿😾

Are there an appropriate number of characters?
Are all the characters relevant to the plot development and the setting, and to the depiction of major characters?
To what extent are the major characters well portrayed and developed (appearance, personality, manner, values, behaviour, strengths, weaknesses etc)?
To what extent are the minor characters well portrayed and developed (appearance, personality, manner, values, behaviour, strengths, weaknesses etc)?
To what extent are all the characters believable?
To what extent are these characters drawn so that the target audience can relate to them?

6. Dialogue 🗣️🧏🏻🗣👁‍🗨️😵👨‍👨‍👧‍👧💬

To what extent does each character use convincing and appropriate vocabulary and expression?
Is dialogue used effectively to depict characters?
Is the dialogue between characters believable and natural?
If characters use a language other than English, is it accurately written?
If characters use language that is written in a manner to suggest an accent or dialect, is the language consistent throughout the book?

7. Language 🧑🏼‍🦰🧑‍🦰🧑‍🦱🧑🏼‍🦱🧑‍🦳🧑‍🦲🧑🏿‍🦰🧑🏿‍🦱🧑🏻‍🦱🧑🏾‍🦱🧑🏽‍🦱

To what extent is the language of the book (narrative and dialogue) appropriate to the nominated audience?
To what extent does the author clearly communicate his/her concepts through the book?
Is the vocabulary accurately used in context?
Is unusual vocabulary (if applicable) explained within the context of the book?
Is the vocabulary rich and varied?
Is the expression clear?
Is the expression concise?
Is the spelling accurate?
Is correct grammar used throughout the manuscript?
Is the syntax accurate and flowing?
Is the punctuation correct throughout the book?
Are verb tenses used correctly throughout the book?

8. Setting ღೋ♡ࣰ⋆*ࣰ☀̤̣̈̇🏝☆⋆*ࣰ✻ණි❉˜҈”˜҈░ࣰ

Is the setting vividly created?
Are details of the setting accurate?
To what extent does the setting help to develop the plot and/or characterization of the book?

9. Theme ğŸ¦¸ğŸ½â€â™€ï¸ğŸ¦¹â€â™‚ï¸ğŸ‘¨ğŸ½â€ğŸ’»ğŸ›…ğŸ›ğŸ§‘â€ğŸŽ„ğŸ»â€â„ï¸ğŸ•â›ºï¸ğŸ§œâ€â™‚ï¸ğŸ§™â€â™‚ï¸ğŸ§â€â™€ï¸ğŸ§šâ€â™€ï¸

Is the theme clearly articulated or implied in this book?

10. Illustrations ğŸ–¼ğŸ“…ğŸ“ŠğŸ“ˆğŸ“‰ğŸ—ºï¸ğŸª§ğ“€„ğ“€…ğ“€†ğ“€Œğ“€ğ“€Ž

To what extent do the illustrations (such as diagrams, graphs, charts, tables, figures, clip arts, drawings, schematics, plans, maps, photos and/or statistical data) support or enhance the text of the book?

11. Technical Information ğŸ“°ğŸ“¡ğŸ›°ï¸ğŸš€âœˆï¸ğŸ¤–ğŸ—œğŸ› ï¸âš™ï¸ğŸŽšğŸŽ›ğŸ§¬âš—ï¸ğŸ§ªğŸ”¬ğŸ§«ğŸ¦ ğŸ’‰â˜£ï¸

Is the technical information relevant and consistent?
Is the technical information convincing, up-to-date, and/or substantiated by references or citations?

12. Presentation 📰🇱 🇦🇾🇴🇺🇹🔡🔠🔢🔤📶🔀

How effective is the layout (word spacing, line spacing, white space, margins, indentations, chapter headings and subheadings)?
How effective are the font selection(s) and size(s)?
How consistent is the spelling (where alternative spellings may be accurate but only one of the alternatives should be chosen and used throughout the manuscript)?
How consistent are the use of abbreviations and the use of numerals instead of words (or vice versa)?

13. Documentation 📜📃📄📑🧾📝📋

Is the referencing consistent, accurate and/or adequate?
Are appendices and other supporting materials required, appropriate and/or well-organised?
If required or present, are the title page, table of contents, acknowledgements, bibliography, reference list, index(es), synopsis and/or sleeve notes appropriate or satisfactory?
Reign not SoundEagle's Flight, For I seek thy Crested Might.
Overall Assessment


Corresponding Readiness of the Manuscript




Final Edit



Constructive Edit + Final Edit



Mentoring + Constructive Edit + Final Edit



Extensive Mentoring + Constructive Edit + Final Edit




Overall Grade and Evaluation:

Click here to contact SoundEagle
The DNA of a Successful Book [INFOGRAPHIC]
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22 comments on “Manuscript

  1. Hi, I shared this post as well as the post “Writing” on my Twitter page. I consider these posts as very useful and hope my readers (more than 1.000 on Twitter) will find them useful too.

    Thank you for your efforts! Much appreciated!

    Best regards,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you very much. I appreciate your efforts as you have very unique blog! Wish you all te best in your future endeavouors!


    Liked by 2 people

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    Liked by 1 person

  4. You put a lot of hard work into this piece, SoundEagle. It will help many writers who need good advice.
    blessings ~ maxi

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for bringing me here! Love the innovative way in which you write stuff here. It must have taken you decades to build such a vibrant website! Also, do you suggest checking if your chapters meet the criterias before you have actually written the complete first draft?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This seems more useful for an editor or another author (who is reviewing your work). It’s a bit too in-depth average readers (my opinion). If I can even just get them to say why they like or dislike it, I’m doing well. For them to go into this much detail is asking way too much of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks for directing me here! Nice checklist…I think a somewhat scaled down version would make a good feedback worksheet for beta readers. I like that you included a section on graphs, illustrations, and the like.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. As I said on my website, I’m not a checklist kind of person. I can see this being useful for relatively new writers, who might find some of the questions eye opening. Forgive me if I sound like a know-it-all, but you did ask for an opinion: I’ve been writing for a long time, I’ve taught writing, and I’ve worked as an editor. I value thoughtful critique, and having a good editor is a joy–it’s like having someone sing harmony with you. I mention that to say that I don’t reject other people’s insights. But for me, no, this approach isn’t a helpful one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Ellen

      Thank you for sharing your personal feedback as informed by your professional perspective honed from your being a competent writer and editor as well as a teacher. Indeed, SoundEagle🦅, also having been an editor, writer, tutor, teacher and researcher, agrees with you that “having a good editor is a joy” akin to the satisfaction of being partnered with someone singing a supporting line in a song or duet, and that a checklist as constituted by the Manuscript Assessment Criteria can be very helpful and eye-opening as a guide or template, but is largely unnecessary for those who are highly experienced or those who have internalized their own checklist in such a way that preparing, editing and finalizing manuscripts are second nature to them.

      Please feel free to provide additional feedback or critique should you have further points to add later.Rose Greeting

      Liked by 2 people

  9. A thoroughly helpful guide, SoundEagle. As usual, you have put a great deal of thought into constructing this page. On behalf of writers everywhere, many thanks for your efforts! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a comprehensive and wide-ranging guide. So much so that I’ve tweeted it to my 25k followers and to a group of writers on there. I’ve also placed a link to your post on my FB author page.
    Much of what you suggest here I already do, but it’s interesting to see it laid out in a usable pattern that anyone can follow. Some of the topics I deal with almost ‘instinctively’ during or before the creative act of writing. The grammar, syntax, language use, etc., I subject to a thorough examination through an online editing suite called ProwritingAid, and that’s after my qualified beta-readers have perused the MS. Once my own final edit has been completed, the MS goes off to my publisher who then sets his own team of editors on the work prior to publication.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Logically organised and easy to apply.

    Liked by 1 person

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