July Critique Connection

People were such fans of my Critique Connection post in April that I wanted to give new readers a shot at it and existing readers who didn’t find their love connection more space to find possibilities. I’m thinking of turning this into a semi-regular thing.

Remember, finding the right critique partner is like dating. Don’t try one or two and decide that critique isn’t for you or that you don’t benefit from feedback. I just went to Utah and saw the kind of passionate, supportive writing community they have there. I’m more convinced than ever before that a critique group is the secret of writers whose work is above and beyond the rest.

So keep trying. Try to find good critique partners here, try other online resources, try writing classes at your local university or bookstore, get creative. People still post on my April Critique Connection, so I’m sure there’s still interest.

If you want a critique partner: write down your name, the age range you write for (picture book, chapter book, MG, YA, etc.), your genre and anything else you want to say about your story, the word count, your email address so that prospective partners can contact you (I suggest typing it like this: mary at kidlit dot com, instead of mary@kidlit.com, so you don’t make yourself a spam target.) You can also tell people a little about how you like to work. Do you like to exchange chapters? Read full manuscripts? Do you give notes? Do you want to Skype? It’s up to you to work out communication style, critique frequency, and other rules with your new partner.

People who’ve posted on the April Critique Connection thread recently: You may want to repost your listing here to keep it most current.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve made any critique connections from April, and any other thoughts you might have. Then cruise the comments and see if your next critique partner isn’t listing themselves, ready to read your work!

30 Replies to “July Critique Connection”

  1. I was hoping you’d do another one of these soon 🙂 I’m looking for critique buddies who write chapter books. When finished, mine will under 10,000 words (think ‘My Father’s Dragon’ type genre with lots of pictures).

    I already have some critique partners who are amazing, but they focus more on YA, so it would be great to also have a couple people who actually write in the children’s market to be beta readers.

    Because my book is so short, I’d like to critique by the whole work, rather than just chapters. But I’m not quite done yet, so it would be in a couple of weeks. Of course, I would be willing to read yours in that time.

    You can contact me at tianalei at gmail dot com.

  2. I’m writing a MG fantasy (Steampunkish) adventure. Two stories have been finished and I’m in the process of re-writing the first (intro) story from the ground up. Each story is about 20,000 words.

    I’m a former elementary school librarian with lots of experience reading to the MG age group. I’m willing to give detailed critiques or general feedback if interested. (Detailed query feedback can be seen over at WriteOnCon.com and at Forums.NathanBransford.com)

    I’m looking for someone who is willing to give me honest, detailed feedback on what works, what doesn’t work and what is “missing” from my writing.

    I’ve written a bit on searching for a Query Partner at my blog: http://bit.ly/aSvEV3

    If you’re interested, please let me know at fivecat ATT gmail DOTT com.

    (And thanks, Mary — this is a great way to allow writers to find like-minded people!)

    — Tom

  3. Thanks, Mary, for doing this again. I found a great critique partner the first time around, but it’s always good to have more than one perspective. I’d be happy to be one of multiple critique partners for someone else, too.

    I have completed a MG light fantasy (50,000 words, think The Lightening Thief meets The Dark is Rising) that has been revised a few times and needs a final polish, which I will complete in the next week or so. I am looking for someone who also thinks that he or she is near the end.

    I am looking for a critique of my whole manuscript at this point, but am willing to do full-mss or partial critiques, even chapter by chapter if that’s what you think you need. I critique big picture and grammar, though the latter takes me longer. I work a full-time job and am a parent of a small child, so my writing takes place in the wee hours and my critiquing when I can fit it in, usually on weekends. If anyone’s interested, please email me at dianemagras at gmail dot com with your word count, hook or brief synopsis, and I’ll send you mine and we can figure out if we want to see first chapters before committing to the rest.

  4. Thanks, Mary, for doing this again. I found a great critique partner the first time around, but it’s always good to have more than one perspective. I’d be happy to be one of multiple critique partners for someone else, too.

    I have completed a MG light fantasy (50,000 words, think The Lightning Thief meets The Dark is Rising) that has been revised a few times and needs a final polish, which I will complete in the next week or so. I am looking for someone who also thinks that he or she is near the end.

    I am looking for a critique of my whole manuscript at this point, but am willing to do full-mss or partial critiques, even chapter by chapter if that’s what you think you need. I critique big picture and grammar, though the latter takes me longer. I work a full-time job and am a parent of a small child, so my writing takes place in the wee hours and my critiquing when I can fit it in, usually on weekends. If anyone’s interested, please email me at dianemagras at gmail dot com with your word count, hook or brief synopsis, and I’ll send you mine and we can figure out if we want to see first chapters before committing to the rest.

  5. I write mostly YA, though I have a MG ghost story in my queue after my current project. I’m about halfway through my WIP, which is YA romance. The expected word count is 60 – 70k. I like to exchange chapters. My email is belle5678 at yahoo dot com

  6. Ms. Kole, thanks for this.

    What I write: YA Romance, mixed with horror / fantasy / comedy (but don’t worry, I don’t include all those in just one MS)

    What I can offer: I’m great at pointing out what works right and what doesn’t work so much for me in a really nice way. 🙂 I have a YA paranormal romance e-book out and it’s gotten some nice reviews so hopefully, that means my writing doesn’t totally sucks. Mm…I think I can help out a bit with query letters, too. 🙂 I’ve completed another YA that I’m currently querying and working on my next YA.

    What I’m looking for – Anyone who writes and loves YA romances…

    My email: marianpinera@yahoo.com.ph

  7. A. J. Walker says:

    Any Christian fiction writers here? Specifically MG / YA?

    I’ve got a complete (34,000+ words but not more than 35,000) MG manuscript completed that is Biblically based set in contemporary times.

    I’ve had a few people read it but they are friends, not writers, and of course they’ve all said “it was great!”.

    Me: “Why?” Them: “I don’t know.” Me: What did you think of the MC?” Them: “I loved it!” Me: “Why?” Them: “I don’t know.” Me: “How did the main conflict play out, was it believable?” Them: “Yes!” Me: “Why?” Them: “I don’t know.”

    See the problem?

    Love and appreciate my friends but I really need something more before I feel comfortable.

    I would really like some feedback from writers. I’ve tried online sources but they are few and far between, especially for Christian writers. Sending 800 words at a time for a completed 34,000+ MS would be taxing. For me, I’d want to read the whole thing, not bits and pieces. Plus, I’d rather work with people personally not post snippets on a forum board.

    I’ll happily read your full MG/YA MS or whatever parts you want. Doesn’t have to be Christian based. I can give general impressions, plot, pacing, characters, continuity, and flow for whole MS or whatever parts you want to share. Depending on length and what you are looking for, I could turn it around fairly quickly.

    What I’m asking for is a full read so I can get a better sense of how ready it is to start the query process or repair any holes, problems, etc before hand. I know every writer things their MS is pure gold, but I’m not crazy enough to send it out without trying to get some real feedback.

    My email is ajwalker ATT live DOT com.

  8. I write YA, usually fantasy or science fiction, and the occasional MG. I’d be happy to critique either YA or MG, and in just about any genre. (So I guess on this site, that means I’m willing to critique just about anything:) ) Also, I’m most interested in critiquing the full manuscript, as that’s what I need.

    My current WIP is a 63,000-word YA dystopian. (One-sentence pitch: “The fate of the biomedia-obsessed world rests in the Tooth of one teenager after a hostile corporate takeover–emphasis on the hostile–leaves him the last Wingtoother standing.”) My first two beta readers are about finished with their critiques, so I’ll probably be ready for beta readers three and four sometime in the next two to four weeks.

    You should know, though, that I’m a lightweight when it comes to sexual content, so if your manuscript has much more than passionate kissing, I’m probably not your gal.

    E-mail me at kvandolzer(at)gmail(dot)com if you think we’d be a good match!

  9. Erica Olson says:

    Marian – you’ve got mail. I hope. Otherwise you have something in your spam folder. In which case, email me back at ericao75 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

  10. Rebecca Thomas says:

    I have written a YA romance with some light fantasy and would love to have some feedback. This is my first novel, and I have no experience with writing and publishing. I’ll warn you that my book is too long at this point (127,000 words), but I’d be happy to hear constructive criticism on the first third or half if reading the entire manuscript is not feasible.

    Of course, I’d be delighted to read and critique your work.

    Let me know if you’d like a brief synopsis before you decide if you’re interested:).

    Email me at rebeccathomas211 (at) gmail (dot) com.

  11. I couldn’t agree more with getting a critique or attending a writing class. I was in a creative writing class recently, and it was the best. Of course, the professor’s comments were like gold, but my classmates helped me to see things differently. And they helped me realize what they wanted to hear most in a story. Most of the time, they enjoyed conflict and/or relationships the best!
    Here is an interesting story on this topic. This is almost unbelievable really. Okay, so I had a best friend in HS. Who didn’t? We lost touch shortly after HS; We went our separate ways. Why? I have no idea or I do, but that’s another story… I saw him briefly a handful of times in the span of 20 yrs., but we recently spent some quality time together at our twenty-year reunion. I come to find out that he, like me, majored in English. Not a big deal, but then, we talk about what we’re working on, and we are both working on animal fiction stories. Although both of us have been working on our pieces separately with professional authors, we plan to critique each other’s manuscripts soon!
    I’m still very surprised by this. I always thought of him as my twin!

  12. I could use fresh eyes on my MS. It’s YA Paranormal (or light SF). I would be ready and willing to critique anyones work as well. I don’t care the genre. Just make sure it IS Kidlit friendly.

    My email is kathyrnroberts at hotmail.com.

  13. M.B. West says:

    I would love to find a beta or two. I write YA and my current is a YA Urban Fantasy with a male MC. It has paranormal, romantic, and fantasy elments.

    I am also more than willing to partner up, but would prefer to send full MS’s and only in YA. I would probably consider myself a tough critter with a supportive tone. 🙂


  14. Joseph Miller says:

    Hello All,

    My name is Joseph Miller. I’m not currently looking for new critique partners, but Shari Maser and I have tickets to Mary Kole’s workshop in NY. Although we tried to make it there, things didn’t work out for us. That means we have two tickets available for anyone who has last minute plans to attend Mary’s workshop next week.

    If you want the tickets or have questions about them, then please email me at:


    or Shari Maser:


    Anyways, I hope you find your critique partners and wish you the best.


  15. I just wanted to pop in and say that this worked out amazingly for me last time! Not only did I get a great critique partner, but a friend as well. Thanks Mary!!!

  16. Yay! I was really hoping you would post this again. I’m looking for one or two crit partners. I write YA urban fantasy and light sci-fi. Here’s the one-sentence description for my current WIP, which I think is VERY close to being ready for submission:

    When supposedly-extinct demons kidnap every adult Mage, Fire Mage Miranda must partner with a young Holy Warrior for a cross-country rescue mission. (MIRANDA’S FIRE – 60,000 YA urban fantasy)

    If you’d like to get an idea of how I write, the first 250 words are up on Authoress Anon’s blog for the current Secret Agent contest here: http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/2010/07/july-secret-agent-47.html

    I prefer to do whole-MS critiques and my favored form of communication is email 🙂 I think I’m a pretty tough crit-er but I always tell people they’re free to disregard anything I say. 🙂 My current WIP doesn’t have any explicit sexual contact due to the nature of the MMC, but I’m not opposed to it in general. I’m looking for a quick turn-around and will do the same.

    I can be reached by email: sarah.n.fisk at gmail dot com

  17. I primarily write PB and YA though I do have one completed chapter book and a middle grade with a few chapters down. I have a great crit group for PBs and a fantastic local writer friend who writes MG so my younger stuff is covered, but I need someone who writes YA.

    I write contemporary YA. No paranormal or fantasy elements. I like reading some paranormal and fantasy but I don’t write them and am not the best beta for them. I would really love to find someone else writing contemporary YA with some humor, some issues, some snark, some romance, some hearbreak, some revenge — if real life throws it in the path, I’m into reading about it.

    I have a completed YA making the query rounds now and another one brewing in my head. The one making the rounds has been critiqued several times by a couple of great writers and I’m optimistic but may still need crits on it or help with revisions, hopefully requested revisions. This is not the first novel I ever wrote. Like most writers, I have a dead manuscripts graveyard in a drawer. I’m open to chapter by chapter readings and full ms reads. As far as scheduling, I’d rather go it on an “as needed” basis. When you need something read, you need it read, right? And if you’re not ready for me to look at something on next Tuesday, then you shouldn’t feel pressured to get a chapter done just because you’re up next on “the schedule.” Yes, I’m a pantser, too.

    Contact me at shellicornelison at gmail dot com if you’re not scared off yet.

  18. I write YA, but genres vary. My current WIP is paranormal, but I’ve also written dystopian (my favorite) and have some contemporary ideas in the pile. I’ve just started writing again after a number of years, so I haven’t had a crit partner yet.

    I’m looking for a partner for my current project, which stands at 35k right now and which I’m hoping to finish by the summer. Ideally I’d like to find someone who’s willing to trade chapters/chunks rather than a full WIP at once, because I can turn around shorter pieces faster.

    My email is elizabeth at dvw2 dot com.

  19. Robert Linke says:

    Thx Mary for doing this!

    Interested in looking at essentially any YA/MG, except ‘edgy’ YA. Would enjoy any synopsis e-mailed to me. rmlinke(at)comcast(dot)net

    The novel I have written is a 78,000 word YA (light fantasy), the first in a series of five, and I would love any critique. I am currently in a re write after getting some editorial help, but I can send either a few chapters or the whole thing. The book chronicles the adventures of a 16 yr. old boy and girl (twins), in a world of my own design, blended with elements of traditional Tolkien folklore, with a heavy environmental theme (In a former life, I was a zookeeper, conservation is just in my nature).

  20. Hello! My name is Nicole and I write YA and usually my stories have elements of the paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi, and focus heavily on romance. I tend to write stories with some violence, swearing, and sexual content.

    I’m currently working on a YA dystiopian that I’m in the stages of revising and would love feedback. Its about a world where everyone literally follows his or her moral compass, and one boy will go against his to get the girl he loves.

    I best communicate through e-mail and I’m open to exchanging chapters or full manuscripts to anyone interested and who also writes YA.

    E-mail is: settle.nicole at gmail dot com

  21. I’m a YA/MG writer (kind of in the middle), mainly paranormal mystery. I am yet to have something critique-able, but if someone’s willing to be on the standby for when I am finished with a novel I’m estimating will be complete at around 50K words, that’d be great! I hate to be so vague, but I’m really not prepared to share my work yet–give me a little while and I’ll be ready. If you’re interested, my email is cass234 [at] live [dot] com.

    If you need a critiqueR, though, I am more than happy to help! Please know that I am a teenager so would be a great candidate for reading YA or MG if you’re looking for your target audience’s opinion. I keep up with my email well and respond to most emails in less than 24 hours and would prefer to critique by a few chapters/pages rather than the whole manuscript. I regard myself as a tough critiquer, but I promise you that you can disregard some of what I say if you don’t agree. 😀 I look forward to hearing from you!

  22. Is anyone ANYONE looking for a picture book partner? I would love some feedback on several complete picture books I have (390 – 600 words). My email is heather [at] yourhomeeditor [dot] com. Appreciate it, and I’m very happy to critique!

  23. Robert,

    I sent you an email and would be interested in partnering. Check your inbox and let me know!


  24. Hi everyone! I know I’m a little late to the party, but if anyone is interested I’m looking for a critique partner. My current complete WIP is MG fantasy (48,000 words). I would love to read anyone’s MG or YA manuscript in the genres of science fiction or fantasy. I’m also an engineer, so I can give technical advice or critiques for science fiction.

    I tend to give detailed critiques that let the writer know what I’m thinking at points throughout the story as well as more traditional grammar/plot stuff. I am looking for someone who can also give detailed critiques.

    Please email me at ANPietruszewski at gmail dot com.

  25. Hello! I, too, seem to be a bit on the tardy side to this little party. I am looking for a critique partner for my current project (with the hope for long-term connection!), a 104K-word YA urban fantasy with paranormal elements. I’ve had some terrific beta readers in my demographic, but I need some technical writerly guidance to provide fresh eyes and an objective voice.

    I am a copy editor, so I can provide help with grammar and syntax.

    When reviewing a manuscript, I use Word’s tracked changes to provide comments, critique, and grammatical fixes. In exchange, I’m interested in someone who can also provide detailed commentary, with specific emphasis on identifying potential problems with voice, flow, and believability (which is sorta funny, considering there are fantastical elements involved)…basically everything. I don’t need grammatical guidance or copy editing unless it’s a blaring problem/typo I’ve missed.

    Looking forward to connecting with you. I’m Jenn: somberbee /at/ gmail dot com.

  26. Hi, all!

    I’m in the middle of an edgy mystery YA about boy cousins who discover more of murky lineage than they should’ve known–and have to stay alive long enough to understand why they are who they are. But it’s still heavy in the revision process, so if a crit partner’s willing to work with me through its zygotic/tadpolish stages, that’d be great. I’m using this novel as a springboard for another book idea which I’d like to develop into a dystopian series, but lghtened with humor, puns, romance, sex (yes, the S-E-X word!–but done tastefully (thanks, Piers Anthony) *smile*). My other project’s an MG urban fantasty that too, might become a series, but I’m limiting this to three books, I think. This too, is in its first draft stage, but half completed.

    Bit about me: I’ve edited for a vanity/self-pub house (which from this end of things as a writer, NEVER go this route unless you know 10,000 friends to sell your book to), hold two edit credits for a book published in the UK, edited for my college’s literary review board and have been in critique groups since the early 90s. I’ve been writing all my life and am a stay-at-home homeschooling mom as well as run a small fitness business. Between homeschooling an almost 13 yo, running a household with 2 dogs and a cat in it, as well as caring for my fitness and its business skeins, you can appreciate why I’m halfway through my projects, so please be patient with me regarding ideas. I’m also a mostly self-taught writer, have attended conferences but am real choosy which to go to. My dream conference: a retreat/boot camp that’ll push my imagination to its limits and force me to write past what’s easy, simple or conventional. With my current YA, I *might* have created my own niche market for YA boy MCs interested in uncovering mysteries that aren’t oozing Scooby-Doo or have a lot of squeamish girls in it. Think younger versions of Sean McNamara/Tommy Gavin/Christian Troy as these male MCs–and ruggedly cute handing uncomfortable themes, too. I’m okay with this angle of storytelling: how do kids, especially boys, deal with issues mostly left for girls to be empowered on the other side of it? Don’t boys get this same empowerment, too? Shouldn’t they too?

    I’m currently in a fabulous crit group with a mix of published, agented and verge-of-published authors as well as newbies, and I’m looking for that one–or two, three or four, max–writing pal(s) that’ll tell it like it is but not be weird about things if I vent a spleen once in a while over what you said (I know, I know, we’re s’posed to “chin up” and grow a skin, but I defy ANYONE here to tell me they’ve never screamed at their doctors when a contraction hit or went crazy with pain over a toothache and didn’t let the whole world know about it) and you won’t not just hate me for it, but tell me, “hey, buck up, that’s what you signed up for, you’re talented, but it’s not enough, girlie, so stop sniveling!” In other words, one of my strengths, I’m told, is subtlety in context. A HUGE weakness: verbosity. I do very well with covert content in overt “hidden in plain sight” content, as it were and I didn’t know I had this ability until someone pointed it out to me. That said, my current crit group tends to skim this aspect of my writing and suggests their voice in place of mine, changing its meaning altogether. That’s a frustrating drag, as you can imagine.

    I’d consider myself an intermediate writer–have the basics down solid, tight in syntax and writers essentials–but I’d love to find someone who can tell me straight what works, my strengths/weaknesses and why something does or doesn’t move them.

    I can get back your chapters of a YA/MG 1-2 weeks, or a completed/WIP MS in 2-4 mos. time, if preferred. If I’m invited to a group, I’ll have to see how that dynamic fits in a schedule, and I can take it from there. My feedback’s firm, hard but fair; I go with the positive sandwich. Sometimes, however, there’s positive in all negatives, and if I can’t find something redeeming of the MS, I’ll most definitely state the letdown as gently as I’m able to.

    That’s enough from me. Sorry for this being longer than I’d intended. Appreciate your time, Readers, thanks so much! My e-mail is ghosthawke at gmail dot com.

  27. Help! My best internet buddy is getting married and has left me without a reliable writing partner. Where are her priorities?!?

    I write for children and adults in poetry, short stories, picture books, and novel formats (well, one novel mostly. The Novel that Never Ends.) I am keenly interested in speculative fiction and fantasy. I am very reliable and seasoned when it comes to critique, and I won’t give you huge chunks to read in return (at least not right away!)

    I am a very social writer – I get turned on creatively by chatting, commiserating, and brainstorming with other writers. I am looking for witty, quirky, creative people who like to talk about their creative projects.
    Ideally I’d like to match up with folks who write for all ages, but what’s most important to me is personality.

    Prospective partners should be addicted to the internet and instantaneously available for banter and idea-swapping (haha-telepathy helps!)

    If you’d like to chat, please drop me a comment at ladytairngire [at] livejournal [dot] com

    Cheers – Lady T.

  28. I know I’m coming to this kind of late, but I’m looking for a few brave souls to read a 60,000 word steampunk MG/YA adventure. What I need is someone to, in the words of the original Karate Kid, “Sweep the leg!” In exchange, I’d be happy to read any other full manuscripts. My interests lie mostly in genre material, but I’m pretty open. You can reach me at bobcordwainer at hotmail.com. Thanks and good luck to all!

  29. Hello! My name is Marc Chatham and I write for ages 4-8. The genre that I write for is children’s christian fantasy picture books. My story is a about snails. The word count for my story is 945 and my email address is machatham at gmail dot com.

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