CritiqueMatch is a platform where writers and beta readers connect and exchange work for free! New: You can also buy a critique or beta-reading service from our top-rated users!

Jan 31, 2021

Pro-Critiquer Interview Series with Brandan R.

Brandan R profile on CritiqueMatch
A warm welcome to Pro-Critiquer Brandan R

CritiqueMatch: Tells us about your critiquing/ editing journey. 
Brandan: I started off critiquing about a decade ago on poetry websites as well as helping other students at my college with their non-fiction pieces. It wasn’t until I joined CritiqueMatch about a year and a half ago to find partners to improve my own writing that I really delved in critiquing and editing fiction. It’s an amazing thing to see how much my own writing and skill in the craft improves alongside theirs when I help them with their stories. Since then, I accumulated over a dozen CPs and helped critique and edit ten complete novels (two of which have since been published) ranging from sci-fi/fantasy, to romance, young readers, and horror. In addition to these, I’ve gone through handful of novellas, and multiple short stories and poems alongside dozens of single chapters and narrative outlines. 

CM: Share a fun fact about you.
Brandan: I’m a huge geek, through and through. I grew up on science fiction and fantasy—reading, watching, and playing games in the genre—and have never lost the desire to keep living off it. Things such as Dungeons & Dragons and other TTRPGs, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate, the Expanse, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, Marvel, the Cosmere, (and many, many more) have influenced the way I write and look at other people’s writing. Even though I’ve branched out in other directions since my youth, such as horror and romance, my first love in SF/F. If you tell me that’s what you want to be looked at, I doubt I’d be able to say no!

CM: Why did you want to pursue freelance editing?
Brandan: Put simply, I fell in love with the process during my time on CritiqueMatch. My own successes using CM aside, I made several long-term friends utilizing the platform and, more importantly, a core group of diverse writers that share my passion for writing that I’ve come to depend on for every project I undertake. I found myself looking forward to helping other writers figure out what works and what needs to be tweaked in their novels or stories and I feel an immense amount of pride in my partners as I re-read their drafts and the improvement is palpable. When I learned about the freelance opportunities that the CritiqueMatch was offering, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s something I love, so why not?  

CM: Describe your critiquing/ editing style. How do you differ from other editors?
Brandan: For every critique I undertake, I’ll read the submission at least twice—four or five times depending on how much work it needs. My first reading is always straight through without any edits so I can get an idea of the story, its pacing, plot, and characters. After that, I’ll read it again and begin to add in-line comments or notes (depending on what kind of critique I’ve been asked to do). While I may pick apart the narrative a lot, possibly making it look overwhelming, I try to always give suggestions to improve it. I’ll also add comments on what really hooked me. While I examine and critique on every aspect of the writing, my personality and education tend to lead me to focus most heavily on worldbuilding that’s been included in the text, including culture, taboos/mores/folkways, and history. If you have a magic system, expect it to be picked apart as I help you figure out exactly what the rules work, if its consistent, and—on occasion—even the philosophical questions relating to it.  

CM: Can you describe the typical profile of your clients?
Brandan: The bulk of my clients would be considered beginners, but I have worked with multiple self-published authors to help improve the new projects and work they’ve already released into the world. I’ve also had the pleasure to work with two traditionally published authors who have entrusted me with the first chapters of their books to determine if the story, characters, and plot was worth pursuing, or even what book they should work on next. For everybody I work with, beginning writer to established author, I put my full effort into the critique, giving honest feedback, suggestions for improvement, and encouragement to continue. 

CM: Beyond the traditional editing services, is there anything else you help your clients with?
Brandan: One of the hardest things in writing a novel apart from getting your thoughts on the paper, is to plan what will happen in the narrative. While some people simply write, others plot everything in advance. Sometimes, the plotting doesn’t look coherent or make sense—perhaps they got stumped at what plot points were necessary. I’ve worked with both my critique partners and paid clients on helping flesh out those story maps and give suggestions to help smooth the narrative and get ready for starting their alpha drafts. Some forms of plotting and planning I’ve helped with include: the basic story structure, Save the Cat beat sheets, Kishōtenketsu, the snowflake method, hero’s journey, and freeform planning. 

Genre Specialization

Genres/sub-genres you’re accepting clients for:
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy, Romance, Horror, Short Stories, Literary Fiction
  • Non-fiction, Poetry, Children’s/Middle-Grade Literature
What you’re not interested in:
  • Erotica, fan-fiction

Client Testimonials

Client: B.G., Paid Critique, Dec. 2020  
“Wow! The final chapter of Book 1 and I am blown away by commitment to helping me improve my writing skills and diligence for over ten months! I am so happy to work with you, you've brought me a long away from where I started!”

Client: W.A., CP Critique, Aug. 2020  
“A wonderful critique! You pointed out a lot of details and mistakes that I didn't notice before, and your thorough suggestions helped me improve my story significantly. I'll definitely heed your advice. Thank you so much!”


First, a little bit about myself so you know what perspective I’ll be looking at your writing from. Professionally, I am a museum curator and a college administrative specialist. I have a Bachelor’s in liberal arts with minors in history and behavioral studies, a Master’s in history focusing on ethnography and folklore, and I’m currently pursuing a graduate certificate in digital curation and a Ph.D. focusing on ethnography and anthropology. 

I have a fantasy/romance novella being traditionally published later this year and is the first in a series of novellas and short stories. I also have short stories, poetry, and non-fiction pieces published in online and physical literary journals and anthologies. I’m an avid reader, artist, and TTRPG player. I’m engaged, have a daughter, and a plethora of pets, including four cats, five silver pheasants, and a turtle.

All that said, the bulk of my writing is in the Science-Fiction/Fantasy genre. While I am most comfortable and perhaps most helpful editing pieces in that niche, I have no problem with any genre and have helped edit and critique everything from non-fiction to romance, horror, Children’s, YA, NA, and poetry. As you might have guessed from my degrees, much of my focus when working with other authors is on world-building (history and culture), character interaction, and pacing. If you have a magic system, expect it to be picked apart. Just know I’ll never tell you something doesn’t work without also giving you suggestions for improvement.

Brandan R profile on CritiqueMatch