Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Writers' Services: Lorraine Mace

Lorraine Mace Critique Service


As a former Writers Bureau tutor and provider of short story critiques to one of the UK’s top writing magazines, Lorraine Mace’s experience provides a solid foundation for her private critique service.
She has mentored to publication authors of fiction and non-fiction. Her client base includes journalists, short story writers, novelists and authors of a wide range of non-fiction books. Writers receive a report covering manuscript presentation, title, opening paragraphs, story resolution, dialogue, characterisation and an overall assessment. They also get back their original document marked up with track changes to show comments and advice directly on the text. 
The critiques cover not only where improvements are needed, but also detail what it is that writers are doing right! This is something that is often overlooked when work is appraised, but it is an important aspect in a writer’s progress.

Lorraine is the co-author of The Writer’s ABC Checklist, author of children's book Vlad the Inhaler and (writing as Frances di Plino) author of Crooked Cat Publishing’s crime thrillers featuring D.I. Paolo Storey: Bad Moon Rising, Someday Never Comes and Call It Pretending. The fourth in the series, Looking for a Reason, is contracted for publication October 2014.

Triskele meets Lorraine Mace:

What kind of editing do you do?

This depends on the clients’ needs. I have some regular clients, who spell out up front exactly where they would like me to concentrate my efforts, but generally my reports cover grammar, punctuation, plot, theme, pace, voice, opening hooks and cliff-hanger ends to chapters and scenes. I also work with a number of non-fiction authors. In all cases I comment on what is working in the manuscript, as well as what isn’t.

How do you approach working with a client on a manuscript?

I like to establish upfront what the client expects and how (and whether) this can be accommodated. I am flexible on the type of help given. For example, an experienced writer is in need of different feedback and assistance to that required by a beginner writer.

How would you describe a successful author/editor relationship?

For me, trust is the key ingredient. Unless the relationship is built on trust there will always be difficulties. As a writer myself, I know how important it is to seek feedback from people whose opinions I value, but who don’t expect me to follow their ideas blindly. I want my clients to feel the same way. When I make suggestions for changes, that’s all they are – suggestions. It is up to the author to decide how, or if, to follow through on the ideas.

You can read more about Lorraine Mace here.


After using several critique services with some disappointment, I tried Lorraine Mace, with Flash 500 stories first, and then with longer short story MS and I recommend her without reserve. The full-page report on structure, character, plot, and other key elements is thorough and professional. There are also line-by-line editorial comments using Word review programme which is a great way to learn as well as to improve a particular story: Lorraine misses nothing. Most important for me though is her ‘eye for story’; her capacity to see deeply into the potential of a story you have only been skirting around without realising it. Eagle-eyed she is but her feedback is constructive and encouraging, and she responds to a request for clarification – not all critique services do that. She sticks to her estimated turn-around time too.
Trish Nicholson – award-winning short story writer and author of travel memoir books


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