In a fresh phase of my long career as both publisher and published novelist, I turned to writing full-time. And I found that I missed assessing brand-new fiction. So I’ve set up Free Literary Mentor as a completely free manuscript appraisal service to début novelists and their readers. During my professional life in books I’ve assessed, edited, published and reviewed prize-winning fiction and non-fiction, I’ve tutored in literature and novel writing, and was fiction publisher for an international company for twelve years—yet I’ve never lost the excitement of seeing new work. If you’re a novelist seeking constructive critiques, look below and see how Free Literary Mentor might work for you. Readers, check out the latest extract from a new novel—you may be peeking at a forthcoming bestseller. To share an opinion, click on the extract below, or go to the Free Literary Mentor archive, select another and add your comment.

Sunday August 31: Writers often tell me that seeking a traditional publisher is just too hard. Advice: do it step by step. Get your MS assessed. Revise if necessary. Find a suitable agent. Agent finds publisher. Stay professional!

Latest Extract
The Dragon & the Queen of Poland ~ Danuta Raine ~ Australia

Standing on his desk in class, Jason proclaimed, ‘I would like to have an intelligent conversation about this. But all I get is historical insanity.’ John Green, his ‘buddy’ since Year 7, and ‘thick as’, shook his head slowly from side to side, his mouth agape.

‘Sit down.’ The voice came from nowhere. It was completely disembodied.

Jason felt his double-lidded dragon eyes flick. Firelight vision, UV and infrared, clicked across the room, looking for the speaker.

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The Mentor’s Critique
The Dragon & the Queen of Poland ~ Danuta Raine

This is the story of one day in the life of Kaziemera Phillips and her teenage son, Jason. Kaziemera as a special-needs teacher and Jason is a very bright Year 12 student with a keen interest in history. He has autism spectrum disorder. Their story is bracketed by a scene when Jason is almost a year old, and a final episode in Italy, in 2009. The narrative is interspersed with scenes in Germany during the Second World War, involving Kaz’s maternal grandmother, Ziutka.

It is evident from the opening pages that Kaz’s story offers us details of an everyday life and is unlikely to be about big events. Forward movement is very gradual (it takes 13 pages for Jason to get out of bed) and the present weights heavy on Kaz.

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Submit your work to the Mentor

To take up my Free Literary Mentor offer:
Check out the submission guidelines
Send me the first 30 pages of your unpublished, completed novel
Include the title, your author name and a brief synopsis
Accept the terms and conditions

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