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Critique Connection and Bay Area Oportunity

Every once in a while, I devote a post to those writers who are looking for critique partners. This is your opportunity to post about yourself and your writing in the hopes of finding a match among other readers.

If you want a critique partner, please leave a comment and include:

  1. Your audience (picture book, MG, YA, etc.)
  2. What you’re working on that’s ready for critique (genre, length, whether it’s finished or not, etc.)
  3. What you’re looking for in a critique partner
  4. Your email address, spelled out (ie: mary AT kidlit DOT com) to avoid spammers

I’ve heard from several readers who have connected with critique partners as a result of the blog, so I want to make sure nobody out there is wanting.

While I’m at it, I want to make sure you hear about an excellent opportunity for my Bay Area readers. Andrea Brown herself — the incredible, talented, and wise President of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and I’m not just saying all those nice things because she’s my boss — will be teaching a workshop on landing an agent at Books Inc. on November 14th.

For those who can’t make it to the Andrea Brown Agency’s Big Sur workshop in December, this might be a great (albeit abbreviated) alternative. The workshop with Andrea Brown is on Sunday, November 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and it’s called: Publishing Secrets Revealed! Finding, Catching & Working with an Agent.

This fun, informative and interactive workshop will include information for writers of children’s books and adult books, covering details on working with an agent, finding the right agent for you, the seven fundamentals for writing strong fiction and everything writers need to know about the changing environment in book publishing.

Literary agent Andrea Brown has spent 35 years in the publishing industry as an editor, agent and author and will provide details, secrets and information to help writers at all levels. The cost of the workshop is $60 and it will be held at Books Inc. Opera Plaza 601 Van Ness Ave in San Francisco.

To sign up, email wordplay AT booksinc DOT net, call the bookstore at: (415) 776-1111 or go to Books Inc. Opera Plaza in person. You can find more information on the Books Inc. website.


  1. Gail Shepherd’s avatar

    I’m definitely seeking a critique partner for an MG fantasy novel, approximately 50,000 words. I’m a longtime journalist and editor, poet and fiction writer, but this is my first foray into kidlit. I can promise you a thoughtful and thorough reading (I’m open to YA but not picture books) and I’m an excellent line editor. I’m also a member of SCBWI. Look forward to hearing from you! Contact me directly at

    Thanks for posting this Mary, been looking for some time with no luck.

  2. Chelsey Blair’s avatar

    Definitely in need of critique partner(s)

    I write YA and currently have two projects ready for critique. One is a retelling of The Little Mermaid wherein a girl who cannot speak trades her artistic talent for a voice and learns that talking is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    The other is about two cousins who thrive on their talent. When one has a life-altering accident both begin to find that their places in the world aren’t what they thought they were.

    I want a critique partner who can help me work with language as well as plot to make sure the stories flow well.

  3. Kathryn Roberts’s avatar

    I would love a critique partner.

    My YA is complete and almost ready to submit (depending on the feedback I get =). I need someone who will read the entire MS and not stop halfway. And someone who reads fast.

    kathrynroberts at hotmail . com

  4. Erin B’s avatar

    I would love to snag a crit partner for my YA Dystopia.

    I’m not necessarily looking for detailed, line edits, or even a complete read-through. I just want some honest opinions on voice, plot, flow, etc. If you start reading and get bored halfway through, great, I want to know that (and what made you stop). If you think a characters actions are unrealistic, I want to know that too. I’m looking to find whatever weak areas exist within the MS so that I can smooth things out and refine the work into query-ready status. (I do believe it is close though).

    Too keep things short and sweet, here’s a one-line pitch of the MS: Looking for answers after the disappearance of his brother, Gray Weathersby climbs the Wall surrounding his hometown to discover that perhaps, ignorance is not bliss.

    I’m interested in partnering with other YA writers. I’m best at broad-top level critiques over line-editing (similar to the type of feedback I hope to get), and prefer almost all genres, although I am not big on paranormal…

    erin [at] heyerin [dot] com

  5. Erin B’s avatar

    Oh, and thanks for this post Mary. Very helpful outlet for the critique partner search 😉

  6. Liz S’s avatar

    Thanks for doing this Mary!

    I’m looking for a crit partner for my YA historical, which is a work in progress. I’m currently about halfway done with a later draft.

    I need someone to tell me what works, what doesn’t, if the story is too confusing or not interesting enough. If the characters are believable, if the time travel makes sense, etc. I don’t need line edits (yet!) It would also be great to find someone to bounce ideas off as I work out the last half of the novel.

    Here’s a short pitch about my WIP: When 18-year-old Anne Marie Gessner goes in search of her deceased mother’s past, she instead tumbles – literally – into the life of a distant relative, Charlotte Corday. With her two realities becoming increasingly intertwined, Anne must decide whether or not to follow Charlotte’s destiny: to kill one man to save 100,000.

    I’d be willing to exchange chapters and do either broad or line-edit critiques.

    LizSF72 (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. Diana’s avatar

    audience: picture book, MG, YA

    Ready for critique: at least 2 finished PBs (700 words and less), WIP YA girl humor novel-in-verse

    Looking for in a critique partner: exchange MS/chapters, do general or line-edit critiques, can critique in 1 week

    email address: deescovery AT hotmail DOT com

  8. Diana’s avatar

    Thanks for this opportunity, Mary.

  9. Melissa’s avatar

    Anybody out there live in Seattle? I’m new in town (West Seattle) and looking to meet & exchange work with other writers.

    I write MG and YA. I love to critique almost anything.

    I have a silly chapter book ready for critique. I’m also beginning work on a YA.

    E-mail: melkoosmann AT yahoo DOT com

    P.S. Thank you, Mary!

  10. Kristen Hilty’s avatar

    I would love a one-on-one critique partner for picture books. I have several that are ready to be shared, but I’m working on new ones all the time. They are almost always 700 words or less.

    I participate in a face-to-face group, but their PB experience is minimal. I’ve also had experience with online PB groups, but the commitment varied widely.

    I’m looking for a partner that is polite but honest and is as serious about writing as I am. I am looking for advice on voice, plot and characterization but line-editing is welcome also. I am an SCBWI member for several years now. I have one published magazine article, but PB is my real passion.

    If this sounds like a partnership to you, I can be reached at hiltys AT embarqmail DOT com. Thanks!

  11. LadyJai’s avatar

    I am so interested in this. Thank you, Mary, for posting! I am very new to all this. I just started writing again, and I thought I would be doing NaNoWriMo but that got too intimidating to me since I just started back to my writing again. A full novel is not something I think I am quite ready for. So, I found this lovely idea for Picture books.

    So far I have 3 drafts (under 300 words) for 3 different stories. I am totally new to this genre and just started learning about the whole process from beginning to published. I would really like to find someone who is pretty versed in it all and give me hints and basic edits that will help me with getting it published. Not sure if I am explaining myself quite right. :/

    You can contact me at ladyjai at gmail dot com.

    Thank you so much and I look forward to your help!

  12. Erin Kelly Cormier’s avatar

    My recently completed MG novel is now in the querying universe and I want to take a quick breather before starting my next project. I would love the opportunity to get lost in someone else’s work, so anyone out there who is interested can email me at ekentrada (at) gmail (dot) com. I have no manuscript to trade, but as I said, I would love the chance to get lost in a work that is not my own. Editing and critiquing another MS is a great way to escape while still sharpening mental writing skills. 🙂

    I have to blunt, though — I don’t have expertise in many of the more popular MG/YA genres. I don’t read or write any fantasy, sci-fi, horror, or historical. My own MS is a mainstream work that features your run-of-the-mill middle-schoolers with typical adolescent problems. There are no vampires, ghosts, goblins, alternate universes, or werewolves. If you have a similar manuscript, feel free to send along a few chapters to see if we’d make a good fit.

    I have some editing experience. I just finished editing/writing abridged children’s versions of “Treasure Island” and “The Wizard of Oz” for FlyingWords Inc., and recently edited a picture book for author Janice Repka.

    ** Thanks for doing this again, Mary. I found an excellent critique partner through this blog several months ago.

  13. Kirk’s avatar

    Hey there,
    I’m in the market for a crit partner. I’m working to complete my first novel, a YA fantasy, about 80,000 words.

    I’m seeking someone willing to be brutally honest (but at the same time sensitive to my fragile writer’s ego. LOL). Willing to do the same.

    We can talk more if you’re interested.

    kraftka AT frontier DOT com

  14. Bree’s avatar

    Thank you Mary!

    I’m a big fan of lists, so I’m keeping the numbers!

    1. My audience: YA Science Fiction

    2. What I’m working on that’s ready for critique: Science Fiction/Dystopia, 65,000 words, and it’s finished but I’m in the process of heavily revising.

    3. What I’m looking for in a critique partner: Someone able to pick up small mistakes (my grammar is usually pretty good but an extra set of eyes is always nice) and also willing to discuss voice, flow, where things get confusing. I appreciate honesty because I want to be published and it takes criticism to get there but I would like to work with someone who knows how to be blunt but encouraging. And in return you’d get the same from me.

    4. My email address: sabrina(dot)wolford(at)gmail(dot)com

    5. I like my lists rounded out to fives and tens, so here’s a fun fact I learned today: People in Iceland drink more coke per capita than any other country in the world. The more you know!

  15. Genissa’s avatar

    I just recently found kidlit and have spent the last couple days continually hitting the older post button, reading all of Mary’s past blogs. When I got to April and saw her previous post on critique partner’s, I said to myself “gee, I wish she’d post another one of these soon,” and here it is, a few days later, and my wish is granted 😀

    Anyway, I’m working on two YA novels now, one a fantasy, the other a paranomal romance, both of which are still in the early stages. I’d be fine with a MG or YA writer as a critique partner. I just graduated college over the summer, with a BA in English. I’m fairly young (23) and have a pretty good grasp on the teen world today, since not long ago I myself was one, and I work as a manager at a theater where most of my employees are teens. I also love English and all it has to offer. Yes, even grammar.

    I’m looking for an honest critique partner, who can help my characters and their stories come alive to the reader on the page, and not just scurry around in my brain. I promise to do the same in return.

    Please e-mail me if you’re interested – gbornong AT gmail DOT com

  16. Carmen’s avatar

    I’m currently revising a YA fantasy about a princess who’s been asleep for sixteen years. I’m also starting on a comtemporary YA about a girl who decides to be unhappy because she blames herself after the death of three of her loved ones.

    I’m not sure if I’d be a good critique prtner. I can’t look over your grammar but might be able to tell you more general things, catch ploholes, if the story makes sense to a reader.

    If anyone is interested this is my e-mail:
    angeldies at gmail dot com

  17. Anabel’s avatar

    Definitely in need of critique partners
    I just recently ended my new adult paranormal romance novel and now is in process of translation because i write more fluidly in Spanish my native language. As soon its translation ends it will be ready for critiques.
    Meanwhile I offer a sincere critique of any type of novel YA or adult. Everything I read is in English so don´t worry I can´t fully critique a novel in this language.
    I am looking for a sincere critique partner who can help me improve my novel and I offer that in return.
    I can critique in English or if you like it in Spanish.
    Please contact me if you´re interested: ANACASAMADRID at hotmail dot com

  18. Grmarlow’s avatar

    Wow, Mary, you must have read my mind! I was hoping you would do this again. Thanks.

    I need some feedback about the center of my YA historical romance. I’ve read it so many times I can’t tell if I’ve wandered off the main plot. A fresh pair of eyes would be appreciated.

    I’m willing to do a critique in exchange. I teach, so I have experience with both “big picture” and line-level critiques. But the down side of me being a teacher is I may take a while to get back to you, depending on my grading load at the time. I will read just about any genre, though paranormal is not really my thing.

  19. Grmarlow’s avatar

    Great -now I’ll get spammed. Let’s make that Augustinapeach AT yahoo DOT com


  20. Gail Shepherd’s avatar

    Thanks again for this post! My pleas for a crit partner have been languishing on the SCBWI boards for months — I got half a dozen nibbles from your blog post in less than 24 hours. This is a GREAT service. Bless you, Mary.

  21. Alison’s avatar

    Thanks so much, Mary.

    I have one finished, contemporary YA manuscript ready for critique (83,000 words.) I’ve been submitting it to agents for about four months and have been getting some contradictory feedback, so I’d love to hear what other writers have to say. I’m much better with character and language than I am with plot, so I need someone who’s the opposite to critique me.

    I’m working on another realistic YA novel (this one’s much funnier) and might want to exchange chapters in the future, though the amount of time I have to write is unpredictable. I will not be a good partner if you want someone who can reliably send pages every week.

    My email is alisoncherry AT gmail DOT com. Hope to hear from some of you!

  22. Dawn Brazil’s avatar

    I am looking for a critique partner. I have written two full novels both are young adult fiction science fiction. I am working on a thid it is young adult fantasy. I see the improvement from one story to the other but I only have relatives/friends read my stories and they all say their great. But, I still edit and find errors that they don’t catch. Help!

    My story I am struggling the most with is, The Chloe Chronicles and the Rebirth. It is 75,000 words complete. Chloe feels she is going insane after a number of bizarre things happen to her, what she discovers about herself and her family shocks her to her core.

  23. Dawn Brazil’s avatar

    I guess it would have been helpful in my previous post if I’d left a way to contact me…LOL

    If interested in partnering with me please email me at:
    dawn DOT brazil AT gmail Dot com

  24. Kathryn Jankowski’s avatar

    Thanks for offering this again, Mary.

    I’d love to work with someone interested in MG and YA fantasy. I’m currently revising a MG piece (about 40,000 words).

    I’m a former teacher and journalist. I’ll be honest and supportive.

    If you’re interested, the first 250 words of my MG fantasy are posted on my blog at

    My email is: kjakowski56 (at)gmail(dot)com

    Thanks again!

  25. Kathryn Jankowski’s avatar

    Oops! Left out a letter in my email. It should read: kjankowski56(at)gmail(dot)com.

  26. LadyJai’s avatar

    Maybe I am more in line of looking for a mentor…

    Thank you Mary for offering this. It seems I am the only one who has a need for children’s picture books. I’ll keep looking…


  27. KC’s avatar

    I would also love (and hugely appreciate) a critique partner.

    I write YA and adult fiction, various genres, although my current project is a YA dystopian. It’s complete, around 70,000 words. I have a few other complete projects that I queried, gave up on, and just kept working on new things. I had an agent a few months ago, but she unfortunately left the business.

    I think I’m looking for a “big picture” critique partner. I’m pretty good with grammar and sentence structure and things like that, and I’d just like a general take on pacing, voice, plot, etc. I’m happy to do the same for someone else, though I won’t do line edits. I read very quickly and don’t really have time to fix grammar errors.

    My email is ktcinthecity (at) gmail (dot) com. Feel free to message me!

  28. Angela’s avatar

    I love this Mary! It’s great! I have one crit partner, we’ve grown very close, but she is so busy I’m looking to branch out and add someone else.

    2. I have finish and was querying for a YA contemp. novel. Then After a very detailed R on a full, it opened my eyes to changes. I’m making thm and would love to have someone to swap with, or if you are just looking to read something. I read mostly YA, all sorts. I have other YA’s in the works but am working specifically on this.
    3.I like details. I’m not looking for an overall crit I want someone to drive in and disect. I am the same way. i want someone with honesty. Don’t be afraid to tell me you hate something, and I won’t be.
    4. angelhett AT gmail DOT com

  29. Kari Girarde’s avatar

    1. YA
    2. It’s WIP, Paranormal Romance, will be 50 – 60K
    A girl sings at her grandfather’s funeral awakening something dark
    within the sea and something deep within herself.
    3. Would like to exchange chapters for honest feedback about voice, flow
    and craft. An online connection would be great, if you live in SF then, in
    person would work too.
    4. Kgirarde at yahoo DOT com

  30. Claire E. Smith’s avatar

    Would love a critique for my YA sci-fi about a time traveler. The completed manuscript is 44,635 words and it’s the first book of a series.

    Would also like query letter help if possible but not a demand.

    E-mail: cesmith2012 at g mail dot com (good idea for spammers!)

    Thanks so much everybody!

    Happy Writing,

    Claire E. Smith

  31. Priscilla Mizell’s avatar

    1.) Picture Book

    2.) I have one completed manuscript (275 words), two WIPs, and a couple more ideas.

    3.) I would love to work with a critique partner who is knowledgeable and passionate about the picture book genre.

    4.) priscilla.mizell AT gmail DOT com


  32. Seth Z. Herman’s avatar

    Hey all,

    Props to Mary, thanks a ton.

    Got a YA/urban fantasy that I’d like to swap out with someone, titled The Guardian Lineage. It runs 95k (I know, a little longer than most). I’m already part of a critique group, and I’ve been on as long as I’ve been writing, so I have experience with this critiquing thing.

    Looking for overall critique, mostly focusing on voice – my plot is set (and awesome). Line edits are great, but only if you have time for them.

    If you’d like to find out more, just click on my name (it’s linked to my blog) or drop me an email. sethzherman AT gmail DOT com

    Thanks again, Mary.

  33. Isabel’s avatar

    Fantastic idea, Mary! 🙂

    1. YA Historical/Fantasy set in the 1500’s. I know, I know. I was a history/writing double major, what can I tell you?
    2. 80K, finished. It’s called The Mapmaker.
    3. I’ve gone through several rounds of revision, submitted chapters for critique but I’ve this nagging suspicion that I’m not telling the point/crux/soul/theme of the story well. Kind of like I’ve been telling it under water as opposed to standing behind a podium, mic in hand. I would love to work with someone to hammer out the small details like word choices, characterization and plot pacing.
    4. Please email me if you’d like to be virtual friends 😉

    Ibanez DOT Isabel AT gmail DOT com

  34. Penny K’s avatar

    1. PB

    2. 2 PB complete. One is 828 words and the other is 409 words. They are both in rhyme. I am brand new. I will be more than willing to critique, but would be new at this.

    3. Interested in general thoughts about manuscript. I would be honest and would expect the same. I work full time, so wouldn’t be interested in details such as correcting grammar and spelling. (Well, if it just glared at me, I would tell you.) I taught school for 26 years and now am sell books to school libraries.

    4. penlenklo AT aol Dot com

  35. Paul Higgerson’s avatar

    1. MG

    2. 1 MG complete, but still revising, approx 35-40000 words.

    3. This is my first work, and I am new to this. I am looking for someone to critique my work, and give me an idea where it stands. I am interested in any thoughts about my manuscript and how to improve it. I am more than willing to critique, but my inexperience should be noted. I would be honest and offer my opinions regarding content. Editing is not my strong suit.

    4. phiggerson AT yahoo DOT com

  36. Jan Welborn-Nichols’s avatar

    Mary – Thank you for providing this wonderful opportunity to connect with other kidlit writers.

    1. MG manuscript, revisions ongoing, approximately 50,000 words.

    2. Really interested in assessment of voice (does it work for 10-12-year-olds?) and narrative pacing.

    3. Will provide thoughtful and supportive critique for other MG or YA project.

    4. Sample at:

    5. Contact: jan (at) marketartscreative (dot) com

  37. Amy’s avatar

    I have a completed 80,000 word time travel YA. I’ve revised for so long that I can no longer tell what’s working and what’s not. I’ve had some great critiquing partners, but they’ve gotten busy or moved on.

    I read fast and enjoy giving feedback, but I’m probably not the best match for contemporary, realistic YA or young MG. I enjoy all other genres. I’m kind of a grammar nut, but I try to stifle it for the sake of bigger picture feedback.

    Send me an email if you might like to swap chapters. amywilson24 at gmail dot come


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