<strong>2nd Draft Critique Service: Agent Plot Critiques</strong>

2nd Draft Critique Service: Agent Plot Critiques

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You'll Love This Plot Critique Service If:

  • You're looking for a professional critique of your plot
  • You want to know what an agent thinks about the strengths and weaknesses of your plot
  • You want a clear idea of how to revise your plot to ensure the most compelling story

Does your story have what it takes to drive the narrative forward in a way that keeps readers turning pages? Does it maximize the odds that your story idea has what it takes to become a great reading experience, one that agents will fight to represent?

Whether you're writing a novel, short story, memoir, or screenplay, your plot is one of the key components of creating an effective story. Nail it and you'll be well on your way to crafting a memorable, compelling narrative that demands to be read. Fumble it and your reader, whether consumer, agent, or editor, won't bother to finish.

With the Writer's Digest Agent Plot Critique Service, you can get professional feedback on your idea from some of the best in the business. They'll tell you what your plot's strengths and weaknesses are, along with insights and advice for improving it. You'll receive back a one-page critique commenting on both your log line and your plot synopsis, which could include specific direction on characters, plot points, plot twists, subplots, and more.

Critiques are provided by the senior agents of Talcott Notch Literary, a full-service literary agency, with a great deal of experience in helping writers to improve their work. Submit your plot using the criteria noted below, and Writer's Digest will assign it to one of the TNL agents. Feedback on your work will be provided directly by the agent within ten business days.

What Customers Are Saying About 2nd Draft:

"Thank you for such a quick and thorough evaluation. Your feedback is extremely helpful. I agree with your assessments. Some of your questions are due to flaws in my synopsis. But with others, I need to reconsider my plot--especially about raising the stakes. This is the perfect time for the evaluation because I'm at the second draft stage."

~ Theresa Milstein

"Gina Panettieri was professional, efficient, and gracious. The critique was specific in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the plot, and included excellent suggestions on how to improve the story. I know Ms. Panettieri does Writing Boot Camps periodically for Writer's Digest, and I would be excited to take one with her in the future. Also, this is the second time that I have used Writer's Digest's Second Draft critique service. Both times have been excellent experiences which have exceeded my expectations. I definitely will use it again in the near future."

~ Christine Dorman

"I just wanted to drop you a quick note and say thank you for your evaluation of my plot. It made a lot of sense and you explained everything clearly. I'm excited to put your suggestions to work!"

~ Cassidy Pinkston

"Thank you so much for the pointed and actionable critique. Obviously I'm looking for ways to improve my writing and you've given me specific areas to focus on not just in my logline and synopsis but an ability to translate that into the manuscript as well. It's very helpful and I will continue working towards improving my work."

~ Michi Katsuren


Gina Panettieri is the Founder of Talcott Notch Literary Services, and has worked as an agent for nearly 30 years. She currently represents a full range of adult and children's fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis in fiction on women's and mainstream fiction, memoir, crime fiction, historicals, SF/F, and YA and MG. Some of her clients include the Wall Street Journal Bestselling writing team of Andrews & Wilson (the Tier One series for Thomas & Mercer), Hillerman Award-winning mystery writer, Kevin Wolf (The Homeplace, Minotaur), renowned true crime writer, Scott Deitche (Garden State Gangland, Rowman & Littlefield), and Talcott Notch colleague Paula Munier, for whom Gina brokered a 6-figure auction for her debut mystery, A Borrowing of Bones (Minotaur). She currently represents an eclectic range of writers, encompassing everyone from thought leaders and well-known therapists to CEOs of major corporations and Deans of major medical schools, to lifelong professional writers and amazingly talented debuts. Gina speaks at many conferences and writing events throughout the country on the subjects of securing an agent and getting published. Her agency website is www.talcottnotch.net.

Paula Munier, Senior Literary Agent & Content Strategist at Talcott Notch Literary, has broad experience creating and marketing exceptional content in all formats across all markets for such media giants as WGBH, Disney, Gannett, Greenspun Media Group, and Quayside. She began her career as a journalist, and along the way added editor, acquisitions specialist, digital content manager, and publishing executive to her repertoire. Before joining Talcott Notch, she served as the Director of Innovation and Acquisitions for Adams Media, a division of F&W Media, where she headed up the acquisitions team responsible for creating, curating, and producing both fiction and nonfiction for print, ebook, eshort, and direct-to-ebook formats. Although she represents all kinds of projects, right now she's looking for crime fiction, women's fiction, romance, New Adult, YA, and middle grade fiction. Recent deals include women's fiction, mystery, thriller, humor, memoir, and the New Adult trilogy The Registryby Shannon Stoker, which sold for six figures to HarperCollins. Paula is very involved with the mystery community, having served four terms as President of the New England chapter of Mystery Writers of America as well as on the MWA board. (She's currently VP of that organization.) She's also served as both co-chair and Agents and Editors chair on the New England Crime Bake committee for seven years and counting. And she's an active member of Sisters in Crime.


Plot Perfect Synopsis Cheat Sheet

1. Start with the logline. A logline is 50 words or less summing up your story and its emotional impact on the reader. Examples:

The Silence of the Lambs: Young FBI cadet Clarice Starling must persuade a cannibalistic murderer in jail for life to help her catch a serial killer who's skinning his victims.
The Hunger Games: When Katniss Everdeen's little sister is chosen by lottery to compete in a televised fight to the death, the rebellious teenager volunteers to take her place.
The Silver Linings Playbook: After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents, where his attempt to reconcile with his ex-wife and get his life back on track is derailed when he meets a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

2. Hit the highlights of your story. Creating a plot synopsis means hitting the highlights,the big events,of your story. These highlights should be included in the synopsis, not broken out as seen below. The following is purely to illustrate the major story beats that one might choose to include in their synopsis. Example:

Star Wars:
  • Princess Leia is captured; R2-D2 and C-3PO set off to find someone to rescue her.
  • Luke, who has refused Obi-Wan, changes his mind after his family is killed.
  • Luke, Han, and their team attempt to rescue Princess Leia without getting caught,encountering storm troopers and getting stuck in a trash compactor with a deadly serpent along the way.
  • Obi-Wan faces off with Darth Vader to buy time for Luke et al to escape, sacrificing himself in the process.
  • Luke must learn to trust the Force and bring down the Death Star.
  • The Death Star battle is won, but will the Empire strike back?

3. Write no more than 500-1000 words. Use third person and present tense. This is the standard format for synopses. Stick to it. To view samples of synopses, check out Chuck Sambuchino's blog. These will show you how it's done!


Writer's Digest also offers a critique service for synopses. The following points clarify how that service differs from this one:

  • The Synopsis Critique service:
    • Provides a review of the synopsis itself, detailing how effective it is and how an agent or editor might respond to it. The synopsis, in this case, is assumed to be what you intend to provide to an agent or editor for review.
    • Provides specific comments on appropriateness to proposed target market.
    • Provides a non-biased assessment on the effectiveness of your synopsis.
    • Provides a red flag on consistent issues of grammar, mechanics, spelling or style.
    • Provides a clear idea of how to revise
  • The Plot Critique service:
    • Uses the synopsis to assess the basic strengths and weaknesses of your novel or short story's actual plot ‚Äì the synopsis itself isn't considered for any other purpose beyond that.
    • Provides a non-biased assessment of the effectiveness of your plot.
    • Provides a clear idea of what plot elements need to be revised or reconsidered. vIs meant to help you improve your actual manuscript.
  • The Plot Critique service does not:
    • Provide a red flag on consistent issues of grammar, mechanics, spelling or style.
    • Provide feedback on the effectiveness of the synopsis itself.

Formatting Requirements

Please format your work to meet these standards.*

All documents must be submitted electronically in Word doc or docx format.

All documents MUST adhere to the professional manuscript formatting standards, which are:

  • 8.5 x 11 page size
  • Double-spacing throughout
  • 1-inch margins on top and bottom
  • 1.25-inch margins on left and right sides
  • Arial, Courier, or Times font. No sans serif fonts.
  • 12-point font size

*If your logline and synopsis does not meet these formatting requirements, we will either return the document to you for correction, or we will apply these settings ourselves when possible.* There are no refunds for this service. No discounts apply.

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