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About LVW Programs Manuscript Crique Service

Manuscript Critique Service

GUIDELINES LVW Manuscript Critique Service

The League of Vermont Writers has a free Manuscript Critique Service (MCS), something we believe is unique to our group.

Rules and regulations for using this service:

Only current, paid members of the League of Vermont Writers are eligible to use the MCS. Click here for Membership Information.

During one calendar year, a member may submit:

  • Two articles or short stories
  • 12 poems
  • One play, television script, or movie script (up to 50 pages)
  • One novel or nonfiction book synopsis, plus the first three chapters (up to 50 pages)
    • On movie scripts or book length work, your reader might agree to review more of the book manuscript at a later date, but this is rare.
Submit a copy (not the original) of your poetry, essay, short story, script, play, or book part in the proper format:
  • Typed on one side of the page only, double-spaced
  • One-inch margins all around, numbered pages
  • Printed on 15-lb. paper or higher.
  • Do not staple pages. Use a jumbo clip or leave loose.
  • Do not put your name on any of the manuscript pages; do indicate your manuscript working title and the page number on the top right of each page.
CHECKLIST: Submit a typed or printed cover sheet which includes all the following:
  • Your name
  • Complete mailing address
  • Phone/Fax
  • E-mail address
  • Title of Manuscript
  • Genre of Manuscript (Be specific: Book or Magazine Nonfiction; History and Folklore, Nature, Poetry, Children's, Young Adult, Newspaper feature, Mystery, Literary, Romance, Play, TV script, Movie script, Horror novel, and so forth)
  • Number of pages enclosed
  • Special requests for critique reader (ex., "If possible, please suggest venues for this manuscript," or "I'm having problems with dialogue; please pay particular attention to this and make suggestions.")
Weigh the manuscript with the cover sheet, PLUS three return envelopes, PLUS five additional pages to allow for the critique
  • Four sets of postage, with envelopes. (One set will be for your original mailing to the director; another for his/her mailing to the reader/critic; another for reader/critic back to director; and last, for director to mail everything back to you.)
  • Do not write anything on the three enclosed envelopes. Put your three extra sets of postage in a separate envelope, not on the enclosed mailing envelopes themselves. Do not send checks, just stamps! Do not send metered mail for postage, just stamps!
  • Send everything (the manuscript, cover sheet, three extra sets of postage, and three additional manuscript envelopes) to:
  • LVW Manuscript Critique Service Director
    c/o Sharon Putnam
    14 Pelkey Road
    Springfield, VT 05156

Always send the manuscript by U.S. Mail, but please use e-mail for any inquiries during the entire process. Send e-mail to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

When the director receives your package, a record of your manuscript will be made. She will find a reader, keep your cover sheet, mail the manuscript and a stamped envelope to an appropriate critic/reader (someone published in your genre), receive the manuscript and critique back from that person, and mail it all back to you in one of the envelopes you sent.

You will be asked to provide feedback on the critique you receive.

Other than postage, the service is free. In addition, the entire process is totally anonymous except for the MCS director who will not break your anonymity.*

If you are planning to send in a manuscript fairly soon, contact the MCS director by e-mail, or regular mail, so a reader can be lined up.

Once you mail your submission, be patient; most of our readers are extremely busy writers and do LVW work on a volunteer basis. Be assured, your manuscript and the reader's critique will be returned at the earliest possible date.

*NOTE: If, after receiving the manuscript and critique, the writer wishes further contact with that particular reader, either for additional volunteer reading or to hire the reader at his/her professional rate of pay, the director will forward a request to the reader. The reader will then contact the writer at his/her convenience, or indicate to the director that s/he is unavailable for such work

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THE VERMONT TRADITION grapples energetically with the basic problem of human conduct...how to reconcile the needs of the group, of which every man or woman is a member,..with the craving for individual freedom to be what he really is.

—Dorothy Canfield Fisher, 1953