When I first started this blog in 2009, I did a few critique contests and had a lot of fun providing feedback on small snippets of writing. I did another critique series in 2011. My wonderful social media assistant, Amy, pointed me to another blog currently doing this for thriller and mystery writers, and I thought, why the heck not do some critiques again?
I’d love to be able to feature content more regularly. My articles are usually quite long and take a while to write, and critiques will be a fun break in the routine. So here we go!
What I’m Looking For
This current opportunity is for MG and YA novel openings only. I am seeking the first 250 words of your fiction as a submission. The submission will then be critiqued on the blog as a learning exercise for the person submitting as well as the reading audience.
Not everyone who submits will be guaranteed a critique. The last time I did this I had to close submissions after 100+ people sent their projects. I’m aiming here for a series of 10 or so critiques, and I will choose samples based on their potential to teach the writer and my readers something interesting about the craft or the marketplace.
If this is fun and works out well and you learn a lot and like it, I’ll do the same thing for picture book openings in the winter.
What To Expect
I’ve done a series of “workshops” on the blog before. You are welcome to search the blog for other workshops I’ve done in the past (not all of these results will be relevant). This post is a good example, though the sample is quite a bit longer than what I’m looking for here.
I will reproduce the 250 words that you send and weave some comments in with the text, as well as giving overview feedback. Hopefully readers will flock to the series and give additional feedback in the comments.
How to Submit
Please send the first 250 words of your MG or YA novel opening (only the first words of your novel, after any quotes you’re using) copied and pasted into an email message. I will not accept attachments for this opportunity (#ripinbox).
Please send them to email@example.com with the subject line Blog Critique.
Deadline: Midnight, Central, on Friday, July 26th
You are welcome to give me a few lines of context for the submission, like whether it’s MG or YA and whether it’s a WIP or has already been on submission, but keep this brief.
Only the submissions selected for the workshop series will receive critique. I regretfully do not have time to explain my reasoning for selecting or not selecting a particular piece. No private critiques will be given during this opportunity. All submissions will receive a response within eight weeks with an update about their selection status.
I anticipate a lot of responses, so writers not following these directions will be disregarded. I’ll then take a few weeks to sift through submissions and start the series in September or October.
The Potential Implications
The understanding is that if you submit, I may choose your excerpt and feature it on this blog. I will provide critique on the snippet and readers may contribute their thoughts in the comments. This is a learning exercise and the purpose is to teach and to learn, for the writer submitting, and the people reading. There will be no financial gain for either of us during this exercise. I am not paid for the critique and you will receive no immediate financial benefit. No rights are exchanged, and you retain the use of your creative work once this is done, as well as the ability to use any comments you receive to improve the work. I do not own the work.
Some people may not want to submit their work for a public opportunity like this because they do not want to share their work online. Some people wonder if their odds of attracting agent or editor attention will increase or decrease as a result of this opportunity. I make no claims or guarantees in either direction. All I can say is that I fully believe your work will be stronger as a result of receiving critique. But the ultimate choice is up to you. If you are hesitant at all about participating, do not submit.
If you can’t wait for this opportunity and want to work on a private one-on-one basis, hire me as your book editor and we can dive in together.