Monday, March 26, 2012

On the Upcoming Critique (Public Slushpile)

The first 500 words from our top 5 queriers will post tomorrow morning.  I'd like to encourage as many of you as possible to jump in and critique at least 2 or 3 of them!

Here's why:

  1. Blog hits are OFF THE CHARTS during critiques sessions like this, but this isn't reflected in the actual number of critiques that appear.
  2. Which means that MANY are reading without critiquing.  
  3. Which is partly okay, because part of this exercise is to read and to learn from what others are saying.
  4. But it's also partly NOT okay, because I think maybe some of you don't feel like your critique will be "good enough" or that you "don't have enough experience" to offer words of wisdom.
  5. Folks.  This is the place to GET THAT EXPERIENCE. it.
  6. The ground rules are easy:  Be KIND and be HONEST.  In that order.
So...I hope to see many new names tomorrow in the comment boxes!  It's a diverse collection of 5 different genres:  YA Thriller, Space Opera, YA Contemporary, Fantasy, and Chapter Book.  Pick one or two--or all five--and have at it!


  1. Forgive me if I missed this somewhere, but I'm curious as to where this contest is going. Are agents going to be dropping in to critique like they did with the First Line Grabbers?

  2. Are you sure the explosion of hits isn't from entrants checking the page for new critiques every 5 minutes? ;)

  3. I will make sure I get around to it. Sometimes when it's like 40 entries I feel like if I comment on some and not others, it's sending some sort of negative message about the work, but in reality I don't have time.

    I know, I'm paranoid.

    This round is shorter so I will be present on each and every submission, Authoress! :)

  4. Krista, it's pure critique. The prize is the critique. (Though, I ALWAYS have agents lurking; they just sometimes don't tell me until they want to request something ;D)

    Chro -- LOL! Yeah, there's that!

  5. I admit to being a lurker. I kept trying to find time to comment, but I need a week, not a day!

    However, that put me in "agent mind", where agents only have nanoseconds to glance at their slush pile and see if anything jumps out, and right off the bat I see that we really need to work on HOOKS! I didn't see too many hooks that reached out and grabbed at all. # 16 & 18 both had good hooks. Both are winners, not coincidentally. #5 didn't have a hook, but if you took time to read, one found out it was an interesting and different story.

    #13 didn't have the best hook either, but the title alone caught my eye. I mean, Lunch Ladies- how can you resist? Could be that I'm seeking revenge ever since the unfortunate hair cut I called my "Lunch Lady Lois Look" (which took three years and lots of swearing to grow out)? In an agent's mind, you never know what might click with an association. A bad hair cut might be your ticket to fame. :)

    #20 didn't have a hook at all. I love the premise and would have given it a yes for content, but if I were in a hurry, would I have kept reading? I'm an agent- I have important lunch dates to keep, celebrities to see, Lamborghini's to buy (hey, if you're gonna pretend, pretend with gusto). Do I have time to meander through queries that don't first excite?

    Probably not, so maybe one of our future contests could be on hooks. Selling is an entirely different talent than writing an MS, and one that we all need to perfect if we're going to be published. One of those necessary evils, ya know! All that said, I really want to congratulate the writers and give you all two thumbs up for courage! Way to go, people- I hope to see you all on bookshelves soon!

    And Miss A, once again, props for another great (fun!) learning experience for all!

  6. When I read and don't critique, the reason is almost certain to be that by the time I read your blog the entries have dozens of comments on them. Most of what I would critique has been well said by previous commentators.

  7. Ted, receiving another critique that agrees with previous critiques is still helpful to the author. If multiple people say they have the same problem with a piece of writing, then that concern is given more weight. Your agreement with others may be the critique that pushes a stubborn author from, "That person doesn't know what they're talking about!" to "Wow, multiple people are saying the same thing; maybe I should look into that."