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Never miss a segment of my writing journey nor a book review. You email is safe and I give my word that it will not be shared with anyone. I also promise that I will not be sending a flood of posts. 

Beta Reading Services




"Dave knows how to craft page-turning thrillers and relatable characters. He has beta read historical fiction and fantasy novels for me which have gone on to publishing contracts. Dave is a knowledgeable, fantastic resource for discussing ideas to help further mature a manuscript."

- K.M. Pohlkamp – Author of Apricots and Wolfsbane and Shadows of Hemlock



"Dave beta-read the first book of my fantasy trilogy and proved an invaluable support. Based on his wonderful and timely feedback, I will certainly seek his help for the next two books. In particular, he identified common themes throughout the book; for example, themes either slowing the pace of the read, or distracting for the reader. His read-through is impressive; he clearly takes time to understand the story, characters and plot, while at the same time critiquing it in detail. His work is summarized in a succinct and easily digestible overview note, backed up by his detailed analysis in the manuscript itself.

In summary, Dave has added tremendous value to my work, and I thank him for it."

Roger P. Heath - Author of The Staff of IY series.



Kind, Constructive Criticism

“As a fairly new author, I decided to take the plunge into the Indie, self-publishing process.  
For my second book, I reached out to Dave Wickenden, with the anxiety that comes with sharing a naked draft work.
In no time, I received very comprehensive, thoughtful and professional track changes along with my script.
The suggested changes were immensely useful. They included the recommendations of a sluggish intro in need of a cleanup, the distraction of character accents, vocabulary format, a keen catch of a chronological miss, small grammar, spelling and proper use of quotations.
Dave’s experience and input will certainly save me time and money when my final draft is ready for the next step!
I am very grateful for Dave’s professionalism, experience, and kind approach to offering constructive criticism.  
I will certainly reach out to him again for book three!”
Jan-Andrea Day - Author of ‘The Crystal Road’, and ‘The Gene Key’




My background:

I am the author of five novels; four thrillers and one YA Fantasy. My titles can be found on other pages of this website. I have adapted the four thrillers into screenplays. I have worked as an Editorial Intern for Filles Verte Publishing and Black Rose Writing doing manuscript evaluations. Prior to that, I was a Deputy Fire Chief and a graduate of the Ontario Fire College and Public Administration and Governance through Ryerson University. (I have a ‘little’ experience with writing.)

My process:

If we agree to work together, I will have you email me your manuscript in MS Word. I will look at your story through the lenses of a reader as well as an author. I will use track changes for all comments and you, as the author will be able to decide if you agree with my comments concerning the changes suggested. I will not change anything as this is your story. My comments are suggestions only. Once complete, I will return the file and will be available for questions if needed. I try to process the beta read within one week, but of course, life sometimes doesn’t cooperate, but I will communicate my progress with you.


What I will read:

  • Fantasy,

  • Horror,

  • Thriller,

  • Mystery,

  • Adventure,

  • Light Sci-fi,

  • YA fantasy,

  • Paranormal, and

  • Thrillers.

  • War

What I will not read:

Romance, YA High School drama, Erotica, Christian

What I watch for:



Does any part of the story drag? I offer ideas on how to speed up the pace.
Are there parts that you skipped to get to ‘the good part’? If I feel the need to skip, I’ll advise to condense of cut.
Do I over-inform (info-dump) anywhere?

Showing vs. Telling
Did you understand every phrase / term I used? Would the average person be able to understand without pulling a dictionary or Google it?


Is it needed?

Does it add or take away from the story?


Does one scene lead logically into the next?
Do the scenes flow smoothly from one action to the next, or did they jump as though something was skipped?
Is there enough downtime between intense scenes to allow it to build to the next?


Can you see every action clearly while reading?
If you went there in real life, would you recognize the places?
Did you have to reread any part of the action sequences to understand who was doing what?

For World Building: is it unique or a copy of something else?

Is it believable or does it go against the rules of physics


Does the Dialogue sound realistic for the individual characters?
Could you see what the characters were doing while talking?
Could you see where the characters were while talking?

Proper formatting of quotes


Could you see what each character looked like clearly?
Do their actions and reactions seem logical and realistic?
Could you feel the emotions between the characters?
Does the story stay focused on my main character?
Were any of my characters too much of a jerk or too aggressive?
Were any of my characters whiny, wimpy, or overly dramatic?
Are any of my characters too stereotypical?
Who did you like best and WHY?
Who did you hate and WHY?
Who got on your nerves and WHY?
Do any of the characters get in the way of the STORY? 

Are all the character’s needed to advance the story?

Is there any Head Hopping? (jumping from one character’s POV to another without a scene break?


Note: Some of this list has come from others I have found floating around the ‘net’. I do not consider it mine. As I could not find out who the original author is, I use it in that spirit.



Light grammar and spelling – this is not a real edit, as I am not officially trained. But I will do my best to highlight all issues I see. Even I have to go through a full edit after I go through the beta process.




Reviews – As part of my service and price will include a review of your book once it is published. I post on FB, Twitter, Instagram, Tublr, and my own blog. This is part of the fee, so will not cost you more.



$100 US for a manuscript of up to 100,000 words. Please contact me for a quote for larger manuscripts.

If interested, please contact me at:

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