Monday, January 31, 2011

Welcome to the Next Level!

Reading Elana Johnson's blog on feeling left out today, especially the comments, I was struck that a lot of people are looking for crit partners, beta readers, etc. So, today I'm opening the floor to you guys.

What do you write (genre/word count/20-30 word blurb)? What kind of feedback are you looking for?

I've found it helpful to trade small samples of writing- a query letter plus ten pages or so and see how things go instead of jumping in with a crit partner that you may not "get" and may not "get" you.

I don't remember when I found out that CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were friends, but it still surprises me (in a good way) that two of my favorite authors were in the the Inklings, a writer's group that met weekly in The Eagle and Child, a pub referred to as The Bird and Baby. Fyi- I'd like to rename my blog Bird and Baby, but it's kind of an obscure reference, so I'm holding off...for now;)

Would they have become as good as they were without that friendship and the feedback? Or were they two great writers that would have been just as good without their association? I don't know.

None of our crit partners are going to be perfect- Tolkien told Lewis that the Narnia series would be never sell, after all, but it is my opinion that if we keep trying, we can find writer friends that will help us reach the next level by encouraging us to produce the very best that we're capable of. And maybe we can help them, too.

In the comments, please tell us what you write. If you're looking to connect with some fresh faces, let us know.


  1. I'll go first! I write urban fantasy with a mythic twist.

    WAYS TO FALL (100k words), is about a young woman who leaves a perfect world and comes to the fallen modern world, seeking to learn how to protect her sisters from the contamination of men but falls in love with the FBI who discovers her.

    That's over 25 words, but it's my blog, so whatever;) I'm set on crits right now, but I'd be willing to beta read for somebody and take a raincheck for when I finish my next maniscript.


  2. I have a super group of crit partners, and I'm not looking for more, but I certainly do like this post! Good luck!

  3. Kelly this is GREAT! I followed you over from Elana's blog! Nice to "meet" you :)

    I would love to have a small circle of crit partners. My current story is a YA fantasy/supernatural/romance called The Kiss of Death. It's about a Grim Reaper, and on the dark side.

    A beta read on it would be great! Any takers? I would like to beta read for others also :)

  4. Wonderful post, Kelly. I'm so glad Kiersten opened up her blog comments to people looking for beta readers that day. It's made all the difference:)

    I don't have a manuscript that needs critiquing right this moment (although maybe I will in a few more weeks if I pick up a few more rejections from agents:) ), but I'll throw my two cents into the ring.

    My current project is called WHOSE TEETH ARE AS SWORDS, and it's YA science fiction about a boy with this oral implant called a Wingtooth that keeps him constantly connected to the Stream - and a girl without a Wingtooth who tries to take down the Wingtoother establishment.

  5. Keri- Nice to meet you! Thanks for throwing your hat in the ring- why don't you email me your first three chapters? My WIP is a little rough, but maybe in another month or so I could have the first few chapters in decent shape and send it to you? (I'm trying to knock out the rough draft right now.)

    Thanks for the comments, friends:)

  6. And Krista- I was so nervous posting on Kiersten's blog but it paid off to go outside of my comfort zone! I think I met you and Amy and some others all then.

    Teresa- thanks for stopping in and for letting me spam your blog:)

  7. Wow, Kelly, that's exactly what I wanted to hear. I still feel like a party crasher, but I'll snap this right up.

    I need beta readers. Fresh eyes.

    IN MEMORY is a YA urban fantasy about teens with not-so-superpowers:
    Brian wants to keep his girlfriend.
    Leah wants to keep her sanity.
    They both want to keep Esha alive.
    They can pick one.

    Kerri, I'll take it! Send something to me at rejects at Q dot com. You too, Kelly, when it's ready. (Krista, I've been secretly wanting to read your book. It has such a catchy title. ;-)

  8. Thanks for the post, Kelly. I have been looking for a beta reader for my adult mystery novel, The Enchanted Locket, about a women whose life changes once she finds an old locket.

    I would love to be your beta reader whenever you are ready. :)

  9. Ben- that sounds really interesting. I like your blurb- very intriguing.

    Jen- is the Enchanted Locket done? I saw that you were working on it from your fb posts. I'll let you know when I finish this next one. Thanks!

  10. Kelly, this is a wonderful idea! I wouldn't mind one more set of eyes on my Adult Science Fantasy. I just finished an awesome round with my crit partner and made several changes. It is 87,000 words. Anyone interested can email me at charity(dot)bradford(at)gmail(dot)com

    Jennifer, I like mysteries and will gladly read and comment for you.

  11. Hey Kelly! I wanted to email you about possibly stealing your idea and doing this on a bigger scale, but I couldn't find an address. I think a lot of people could benefit from this! Email me if you're interested.

  12. Kelly and Charity- I am almost finished with the manuscript. One of my friends has been helping me with the editing. I should be finished with the changes next week.

    Charity- I would love to read and comment your manuscript. You can email me at:

  13. Hi Charity- sonds great! I hope you find some takers!

    And Natalie- you can totally steal my idea as long as you cross your heart we're new bffs, okay? lol
    I'll email you.

  14. Ben, I had a problem with your e-mail address. Could you try e-mailing me and see if that goes through? Then I can respond to yours...

  15. Hi Kelly! I followed you from Elana's blog. I write young adult paranormal/scifi.
    I currently working on (3) novels. One is in the revision stage. First draft 87,000 words. The other two are in the outlining stage.
    email: christine(dot)danek(at)verizon(dot)net
    Great idea and thanks!

  16. Um...I'm a loser. I "checked" my spam folder, where I had two messages. I never really check them, and I deleted them. I think one of them was yours, claiming your prize...


    Could you email me again?


  17. Hi Christine- nice to meet you! Thanks for taking part. I'd try emailing some of the people above directly if no one emails you- I'm not sure how often people are checking back, so jump in there;)

  18. Hmm. I got your e-mail, Ben, but when I tried to reply, it still didn't go through. Anyway, here's the e-mail I was going to send:

    "If anyone reads WHOSE TEETH ARE AS SWORDS, it should probably be you:) I'd love for you to read it and tell me what you think. But would you mind waiting until I see how this latest batch of requests pans out? That way, I'll have a clearer idea of where I want to go with it and how to make some initial changes before I send it to you. (And if, by some miracle, one of these requests turns into an offer, I'd still love to have you read it and get your feedback on it.)

    "And of course, I'd be happy to return the favor. Where are you at right now with IN MEMORY?"

    Feel free to e-mail me. Or leave a note here. I'm sure I'll see it, since I visit Kelly's blog often enough:)

  19. I forgot to post my e-mail. If anyone needs a beta read just drop me a message :)
    kerri192804 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  20. This comment makes twenty! A new record;) It's cheating, I know.

  21. Oh, I really did need to leave a comment- Elana- thanks for leaving a comment. I'll resend the email:)

  22. Kelly,

    I've something in the works regarding critique partners. After speaking (well, emailing) with Natalie, she said I should get in contact with you as well. Would you mind emailing me so I can let you know what the plan is, and see if you are interested in helping out?

    Chris (C Michael Fontes)