Nancy's Books

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Value of a Critique Partner

Recently my critique buddy and I have been writing one-paragraph and one-page synopses of our manuscripts. We ship each synopsis back and forth for comments and suggestions. Trusted feedback from a reliable source is invaluable. A new set of eyes sees what I have missed and questions sentences that were not clearly stated or whether my choice of words/phrases/ideas actually works.

We writers are often bonded like glue to our words. Our feelings and sweat pour into the work, along with hours of research, dreams, desires, and sometimes tears. Emotionally, we are close to the words we write, sometimes too close. Days, weeks, months later, the words are printed and we hold the “baby” in our hands. It feels so right, so perfect, so ready to send out into the publishing world. Unfortunately, it probably is far from ready if your work is anything like mine. At that phase, the manuscript is ready for another set of eyes to read and evaluate. Constructive criticism is your secret weapon to write a more compelling and powerful story.
Before you write the first word, you may want to run your story idea by other writers to get feedback. Will it work better for a picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult novel? Early feedback can help guide you in developing the plot and characters. So, if you don’t have a critique partner, do yourself a gigantic favor and find one.
Next week, I’ll discuss writing a synopsis.
Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
(I’m discontinuing Call for Submissions for Young Writers until September.)
Hanging Loose magazine welcomes high school submissions. As with other writers, we reply within three months, and high school authors whose work we publish receive the same small fee and two copies of the issue in which their work appears. We feel a special responsibility to those young writers who look to us not only for possible publication but sometimes also for editorial advice, which we are always happy to give when asked.
Our work as editors is of course time-consuming, but we feel a strong commitment to give as
much time and attention as possible to the work we receive from high school age writers. We urge writers of high school age to follow these guidelines, in order to help us respond to their work.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
BALLOONS Lit. Journal (BLJ), an independent biannual online journal for children and young adults readers, invites well-crafted and mind-blowing submissions for our audience (12+). We would love to have new poems, fictions, artworks, etc. for our Issue 2. Typical pieces for kids will be unlikely to get through. Deadline info Deadline: June 15, 2015
Submission guidelines at

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