The Intelligent Eye Critique Service for Writers

Cleaner Pages and Better Writing

The Intelligent Eye Critique Service for Writers began as a way to help aspiring writers to obtain feedback about their writing.

For ten years, the service was sponsored by the Florida First Coast Writers' Festival Inc., a non-profit group that helped to put on the annual Writers' Festival in conjunction with Florida Community College at Jacksonville (FCCJ). Festival-goers began wailing, "Isn't there anyone who can look at my manuscript?" So we created the Intelligent Eye Critique Service and saw that it was good.

Now, a good friend of the Writers' Festival, the North Florida Writers, is sponsoring the critique service.

However, the Intelligent Eye will continue to strive to help writers of fiction and non-fiction.

For ten years, we served new writers who simply needed someone to check out their copy. Writers who looked our way found a service that did not exist just to coax checks of $1,000 to $2,000 from them.

We encourage you to do a comparison check of other editing and critiquing services. You will find that the rates of the Intelligent Eye Critique Service for Writers are among the lowest around.


The Intelligent Eyeballers can help you with your novel, your collection of short stories, your non-fiction (history, memoirs, collection of essays, etc.).

The Intelligent Eye will identify weak areas in story lines, locate many grammatical problems, spot inconsistencies in point of view, detail, voice, tone, etc. We both mark on the manuscript itself and provide a written critique.

We will also point out where your manuscript is strongest.

You will need to include a copy of a manuscript that we can mark up. . .and return to you if you have included sufficient return postage.


The Intelligent Eye does mark many grammatical errors, but it will not try to correct every grammatical problem in your manuscript. For example, if we spot a misspelling such as "accomodate," we will insert the extra "m" the first couple of times we see it, but then perhaps just circle a later "accomodate." We assume you will then do a search and correct the word throughout.

We cannot promise to make a manuscript publishable. You may have written a fine "literary" novel or collection of stories, but you may find that agents and editors are struck in a "commercial" mode and aren't interested in something that is merely "literary." You may even have a topic that has very limited appeal; perhaps you have a memoir that would only interest your friends and neighbors.

We cannot promise that your manuscript will win a prize.

We are not ghost-writers, typists of handwritten manuscripts, or agents. If you are in need of those services, we may be able to suggest someone or some firm, but you will NOT have to worry about our receiving a referral fee.


Not only would a business have charged a lot more than we have in the past, a business would also have tracked the publication record of its clients more vigorously than we have done.

Nonetheless, past users of the Intelligent Eye have expressed their thanks for our service. Some of their manuscripts have been published:

THE WAR EXPLOITS OF THE USS FLASHER, a history of the World War II submarine by William McCants

AN AMERICAN BEACH FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS, a history of Northeast Florida's only beach community for blacks, by Marsha Dean Phelts; published by the University Press of Florida

THE FALDETTA, a novel by Pauline Furey

POTTER FIELD, a novel by Lewis Thomas (also winner of a Midwest novel contest)

. . .and other works, including computer workbooks for college classes, scripts for audi



What did the writer SAY in the following sentences? And what did the writer MEAN to say? See if you would change anything, and then check the Intelligent Eye's assessment in the "answer" section.

1. Having soured in the refrigerator, Mrs. Jones poured out the milk.

2. Elton Smith, who is married with nine children, is interested in accident prevention.

3. Janna Phillips became interested in public affairs after a fatal accident in Springfield last February.

4. The possibility of blind people being offered the same car parking facilities as other persons is to be investigated.

5. Police who searched Jack Wilkins' residence on Beach Boulevard found forks and knives belonging to the Jacksonville Electric Association and twenty-three squirrel skins.

6. The main purpose of this survey was to find out what the youth of Dunmore do do, and where they do it, how many nights they do it, and if they find it easy to meet people in town to do it with.

7. Between you and I, I will take the job irregardless of what they offer.

8. The Beatles or Paul Simon were her favorite singers from the Sixties.

9. The James' house is next door to our's.

10. On Tuesday, April sixth, nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, four artists from Birmingham and a photographer from Chicago was in an exhibit at the museum.

11. Sitting next to the fire place, he said, "Join me." Angela sat and refused to look at him. Taking a sip from his drink, he said, "You're still mad, aren't you?" He pretended not to notice when she did not respond. Jiggling the ice in his drink, he said, "Well, if you won't talk to me, then wait on me. Get me a refill."


1. DANGLING MODIFIER: Who or what soured in the refrigerator? "Mrs. Jones poured out the milk that had soured in the refrigerator."

2. WORD CHOICE, PACKING, AND INFORMAL USAGE: The writer shouldn't combine facts just because they would fit into a sentence. A sentence should have a natural flow and the parts should resonate with cause-and-effect. Moreover, never refer to SEX unintentionally since the readers and listeners will giggle. You cannot use "accident" and "nine children" in the same sentence without the readers saying, "Nudge, nudge, wink wink, see what I mean?" We assume the sentence meant to say something like this: "Angelica and Elton Smith, residents of Fairhaven, say they spend most of their time in the emergency room. During the past year, their nine children have had three severe cuts, two broken arms, and numerous sprained ankles and bruises. To head off problems, they have started a neighborhood safety campaign."

3. VAGUE REFERENCE: Is the ghost of Janna Phillips running for public office? Probably not. The writer meant to say, "Janna Phillips became interested in public affairs after her best friend was killed in a traffic accident in Springfield last February."

4. EXACT WORD USAGE, WEAK VERB, AWKWARD PASSIVE: Obviously, no agency is going to have blind motorists trying to park in its lots, but the writer may be referring to a drop-point. Notice that we have 15 words before we reach the main verb--which turns out to be a vapid "is" followed by a weak passive infinitive, "to be investigated." So, the writer probably meant to say, "The Municipal Safety Committee is investigating ways for the parking lots to provide pick-up and drop-points for the visually handicapped."

5. PUT THE PARTS TOGETHER THAT BELONG TOGETHER: What does the JEA own? Did a thief steal forks and knives from a JEA cafeteria AND squirrel skins from the JEA? Probably not. Maybe the squirrel skins simply belonged to the occupant. So perhaps the writer meant to say, "Police searched Jack Wilkins' residence on Beach Boulevard and found forks


How To Contact the Intelligent Eye


When mailing your manuscript, send it (and return postage) to

Intelligent Eye
NFW Kent Campus, Box 109
3939 Roosevelt Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32205

fax 904.766.6654