Critique Service Open Again

Having begun to clear a few things from my plate, the critique service mentioned in the Services section of this site is available again. From short stories to novels and nonfiction, I have experience in just about all areas–and genres, including the amorphous literary mainstream. Any level of writing experience from beginner to advanced. Many widely published writers have benefited from this service.

If interested, inquire at vanderworld at Please provide the following information: length, general type of fiction, and a paragraph on your general background as a writer.

Rates are per-hour, not page-based, and thus the level/detail of critique is adjustable depending on your budget. I will provide more information when you email me.

If I get too many requests, I can refer you to any of several professional writers I trust to provide a comparable quality of critique.

10 comments on “Critique Service Open Again

  1. swartzfeger says:

    I used Jeff’s critique services back in 04/05 and must say that it had a profound and positive impact on my writing.

    Most writers, when we finally get serious about our writing, we look to outside channels — it’s rare to find a local writing group that’s nothing but a glorified mutual admiration club. I don’t need a cheerleader with pom poms reading my stuff, I need a pitbull.

    Jeff is a pitbull. A fair pitbull, occasionally a gentle pitbull. Most often though — JV is a pit. With jaws that won’t let go. If you want serious, professional criticism, I can’t think of anyone better.

    PS — I’ve had my stuff critiqued by a handful of other pro writers, and JV by far surpassed them in terms of quality and professionalism.

  2. I kept looking for the word “free”, but seemingly missed it. Shit.

  3. Critiquing is invigorating, but takes a lot of energy. I enjoy doing it, and like to be of use, but I’m also a full-time freelancer and there’s nothing more dangerous to a freelancer than lots of “free”. :)

  4. swartzfeger says:

    Jeff, going back to your incredibly useful skills, tying it in with “free” —

    I was doing a non-fic project with a senior-editor that was as reliable as the rock of gibraltar. I had submitted my (approx.) 1/3 of the book. I would have my $5000 check in a matter of days.

    Stupidity ensued, so I figured I’d pre-spend. The Apple Store and Best Buy were my weapons of choice. That $5000 (that I hadn’t even RECEIVED) was burned in an afternoon.

    Next day — uh, publisher has pulled out. 5k not forthcoming. Sorry kiddo.

    I learned a LOT about the industry that day, particularly contracts. And don’t go to Best Buy until you have cash in hand.

  5. Well, I admit I do some freelance editing myself, and have petitioned to have that fearsome word removed from the title. Verygoodcostproportionatebargainylance editing. It has a certain ring to it. Not, you know, a good ring. But it cetainly makes some sort of sound. So I understand completely on the no-free. It would, however, be nice to pick your brain… though I’m guessing it would be hard, indeed, to write a fantasyland capable of suspending such disbelief. Everything’s free! What a wonderfully dystopic utopia.

  6. Eeek, Jay! That sucks. Yeah, it happens to the best of us.

    Pick my brain? I’m usually picking my own brain.


  7. swartzfeger says:

    The problem with free — every Vandermeer wannabe (you, me, et al) would be picking his brain, Jeff would be in altruistic mode, wearing some ridiculous Mother Theresa getup, giving out free critique brain picks like a senile pope handing out dispensations, suddenly the utilities start to slide, rent goes by the wayside, deadlines for publisher are shredded, tossed liked confetti to the wind… and our fave writer is living down by the pier (the *creepy* one), and he’s joined some Squid Cult.

    Free, as nice as it is, it isn’t good. I don’t speak for JV, and he doesn’t approve of this message. But I bet he’s visiting that charlatan squid god anyways.

  8. Steven Klotz says:

    Isn’t the “free” in freelance more of a “freedom from the traditional 9-5 slog” and less of a “free as in beer?”

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