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About Me …

My name is Susanne Lakin (author name C. S. Lakin), and I do all the critiques that come through this website. Over the last five years, I’ve averaged more than two hundred critiques a year.

When I do your critique, I personally go through every line of your manuscript and make sure all the necessary elements on both a micro and macro level are addressed (for fiction, see Elements Examined in a Fiction Critique). I often give hundreds of comments, with plenty of suggestions on ways to restructure, tighten, or generally improve your story.

I have written more than twenty novels—fantasy, contemporary fiction (relational dramas and psychological mysteries), dark comedy, and historical romance, but I will edit and critique any manuscript, fiction or nonfiction (except erotica).

I placed nine of my novels with traditional publishers in the last few years and currently have self-published the others. I also have a series of writing craft books in my Writer’s Toolbox Series. Everything a writer needs to know and understand about novel writing can be found in these comprehensive books, available in print and Kindle ebooks.

In addition to writing books, I also create online video courses for writers and editors. Check out my courses HEREConsider signing up for my newsletter. You’ll get free books and special offers, and you’ll be the first to hear of great classes, workshops, and webinars I hold or are taught by instructors I hold in high esteem.

Every fall I teach plotting boot camps (and other retreats) in South Lake Tahoe and other gorgeous locales in California (and wherever a group of writers beckons me to come teach).

20+ Years Experience

I bring more than twenty years of expertise to my critique service, having had numerous agents for my various projects and been involved in various aspects of the publishing industry. I have also successfully connected many authors with agents and publishers due to my many connections within the publishing industry. I have run the fiction track at the prestigious San Francisco Writers’ Conference for the last couple of years, and I teach at conferences all over the US.

And the most important element I bring to my service is my love for helping writers polish their stories. I put not just my time but my heart into every manuscript I dig into.

All about Book Publishing

My editing and critiquing skills are specific to the book publishing industry. I have critiqued and edited for many “new” authors who have gone on to acquire a literary agent and book contracts. I love to help beginning writers hone their craft, and I share my wealth of knowledge freely.

I believe writing well is something that can mostly be learned. My aim is to save writers years of frustration and failure due to poor training in the writing craft. Too many writers spend years fumbling through the process of trying to craft a novel or put together a nonfiction book, but I hone in on the basics and time-tested methods of structuring both novels and nonfiction books.

My ultimate goal is to help authors write the best books possible while respecting their individual style and voice. As an author, I’m very aware of the importance of not interfering with or changing an author’s style or voice. I also believe that the best person to critique or edit another writer’s book is an experience published author.

Any copyeditor can find mistakes, but only a seasoned author who has had to rewrite, revise, and tear apart her own books can truly understand the need and value of a thoughtful and explicit critique. Very few copyeditors are published novelists, and although it’s not crucial your editor is a writer, it can help immensely—especially when looking at the big picture of your story and seeing what really needs to be done to hone it into shape.

My Websites and Social Networking

I write under the name C. S. Lakin, and all my books can be purchased on Amazon, and some on other online venues and in bookstores. I guest blog on editing and writing sites, and also write at TheSelfPublisher.com to help those who are self-publishing. I sometimes edit and critique for publishers, and I also work at conferences in the capacity as an editor and manuscript critiquer.

You can read more about me at my award-winning blog Live Write Thrive. My blog has lots of great writing instruction and tips on industry trends. You can follow me on Twitter two ways: @cslakin and @livewritethrive, and check out my Facebook Author Page.