Manuscript Review Program

The Manuscript Review Program enables WFNS members at all career stages to receive developmental advice for re-vamping, re-visioning, or re-conceiving a literary project that needs a fresh pair of eyes. Feedback is provided by professional and award-winning authors and editors, whose experience and skill bring the best of out a stalled manuscript and provide a writer with guidance and clarity in moving forward.


Since its introduction in 2016, the Manuscript Review Program has provided writers with affordable access to the careful attention of literary professionals, who help writers identify the strengths and weaknesses in specific literary works and projects as well as in their literary writing in general.

Manuscript review (also called ‘manuscript assessment’) provides developmental advice for re-vamping, re-visioning, or re-conceiving a literary project that needs a fresh pair of eyes. The process provides much-needed perspective and clarity when a manuscript has been revised and rewritten over a long period of time (but seems to be going nowhere), when it needs an extra push in the right direction (from someone familiar with the literary landscape), or when it has been submitted several times but has not seen publication (to its writer’s great frustration).

A writer can expect written feedback on technique, craft, genre/form, and any specific concerns identified in the writer’s application. Additional feedback may, at the reviewer’s discretion, include genre-specific notes (e.g., on dialogue, setting, and characterization for fiction), suggestions for further developing the manuscript, suggestions of publishers or journals that may be interested in the work, or general writing career guidance.

How does the program work?

Once a manuscript has been received and approved for review, the WFNS matches the writer with a reviewer; confirms that reviewer’s availability; collects program fees from the writer; and then confers payment to the reviewer. Through the application process and subsequent review process, all exchanges among writers, reviewers, and WFNS staff are conducted by email.

Program fees:

  • Long-form prose (fiction or nonfiction): $100 for the first 2500 words (approximately ten pages) + $0.006 per word thereafter (approximately $1.50/page)
  • Short-form prose (fiction, nonfiction, or children’s literature): a flat rate of $75 for up to 2500 words (approximately ten pages)
  • Poetry: $100 for the first 1250 words (or fewer) + $0.012 per word thereafter

Feedback is returned in the form of written notes—a minimum of two (2) double-spaced pages. Additional pages of feedback may be provided, at the discretion of the reviewer, for longer manuscripts.

Minimum turnaround time for review is three (3) weeks—measured from the date the reviewer receives the manuscript to the date feedback is returned to the writer. Timelines for longer manuscripts are determined by the reviewer in consultation with the writer.

Reviewers are compensated for a single round of feedback, as described above. Follow-up consultation with the reviewer may, at the reviewer’s discretion, be available through our Coffee Chats program.

To get the most out of a manuscript review, a writer should submit work that is complete, that has already been through multiple drafts, and that is polished in format and grammar.

Review feedback will focus on high-level feedback rather stylistic editing (line-by-line or sentence-by-sentence criticism), copy editing (correction of grammar, spelling, punctuation), or proofing. Those seeking these and other aspects of technical editing should consult Editors Canada’s list of accredited members, available for hire at

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Recommended Experience Levels

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) recommends that each workshop’s participants share a level or range of writing / publication experience. This is to ensure each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their current writing priorities.

To this end, the “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions developed by WFNS:

  • New writers: those who have been writing creatively for less than two years and/or have not yet been published in any form.
  • Emerging writers: those who have been writing creatively for less than five years and/or have some short publications (poems, stories, or essays) in literary magazines, journals, or anthologies.
  • Established writers/authors: those with numerous publications in magazines, journals, or anthologies and/or a full-length book publication.
  • Professional authors: those with two or more full-length book publications.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” workshops, which provide more opportunities for peer-to-peer (that is, participant-to-participant) feedback, the recommended experience level should be followed.

For all other workshops, the recommended experience level is just that—a recommendation—and we encourage potential participants to follow their own judgment when registering.

If you’re uncertain of your experience level with regard to any particular workshop, please feel free to contact us at