Monday, March 4, 2013

Call For Submissions: What's Broken?

In poking through some old stuff to see what I could come up with for you this week, I rediscovered the rounds of What's Broken? that we did back in 2011.

Cool idea!  I don't have the least recollection of this.  (No, really.  This is when my brain starts to scare me.)


This is a crit round for manuscripts in distress. In other words, you've got a COMPLETED story, you've done a lot of revising, but you've got a scene or a section or an opening or a transition or SOMETHING that just isn't working.

Let me repeat:  COMPLETED stories.  HEAVILY revised.  But with a problem.

I will take 10 submissions of 500 words of whatever's broken.

And then, hopefully, you'll receive enough critique to help you fix it.

This round is open to agented and unagented authors.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the honor system. If your manuscript IS NOT FINISHED, or if you honestly don't have something that isn't working for you no matter how hard you've worked on it, please don't submit.

I want to target folks who are really wringing their hands over something.

Submission guidelines:
  • Submissions will open at noon EST today.
  • Submit an excerpt of up to 500 words of your COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT.
  • Include a few sentences to set up the scene, so we understand what's going on. (I'm adding 50 words to the count to cover your set-up.)
  • Please submit via our amazing web form.
  • Only 10 will be accepted. Please do not submit if you know you do not qualify.
  • I will accept 1 alternate in case one of the 10 for some reason does not qualify.
  • This is not a lottery.  The submission window will remain open until all slots have been filled.
The excerpts will post on WEDNESDAY MORNING.

A short note:  Please don't neglect to include a lead-in.  Seems like, whenever I hold a contest that calls for a lead-in, some people don't write one. YOU WANT PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON, RIGHT?  So please make sure you lead us in.

Ask questions below!


  1. Oops, I didn't include a lead-in! Should I re-submit?

    Would the lead-in include a short summary of what the issue is we're having with the section?

  2. Hi,

    My excerpt got cut off in the final submission for some reason, even though it showed up fine in the preview form.

    How can I modify this?

    Can I email the missing excerpt to you?

    Sorry for this mess :(

  3. You can email me your lead-in; just put your post number (that you were assigned by the bot) in the subject line of your email.

    Your lead-in should set the scene for us, so we know where we are in the story. If there's something particular you want looked at, you can certainly include that. (For instance, "Is the action in this fight scene too confusing?")

  4. Hong, is yours #4? It's in the database; nothing's missing. Must've been a quirk on the other end.

  5. Yes, it's #4. Phew, thanks so confirming that nothing is missing!

    I look forward to reading other people's submissions :)

  6. My question is this: I have a completed story - but I am currently revising it from first person to third. A few things are changing, but not much.

    Does that count as completed?

    I assumed not, so I haven't been posting anything on your blog. But I figured I may as well ask. :)

  7. Shay --

    For any contest that includes an agent, I would say, no, your manuscript isn't "complete" because it's not yet ready to query.

    If, aside from changing the tense, you feel like your manuscript is complete in the sense that it's clean and could be queried once the tense changes are made, then this sort of in-house critique would be fine.

  8. Hi, I think half of my entry got cut off as well. It's number 9. Should I send the complete entry to you?


  9. THANK YOU so much for doing this! I've really been stumped on how to fix my beginning, and I'm looking forward to all the advice I can get. I didn't list my problems/issues on my contest entry, but undoubtedly your expert readers will see them right away.

    Can't wait to read the other submissions. (Misery loves schadenfreude...)