Monday, July 21, 2014

Become An Honorary Revision Warrior

We have something to CELEBRATE! Revision Warriors has reached 20,000 page views. Wahoooo! 

I know, right?! TWENTY THOUSAND is a big number.

But wait, there's more! Our very own, super fabulous RW'er, Michelle Smith, just released the cover of her book Play On due out in April 2015. Show Michelle some love and add it to your TBR list: Goodreads

To show our how much we appreciate everyone’s support, we want to invite two people to become honorary revision warriors for a day. Whoop, whoop! *fires confetti cannon*

At the bottom of this post, there’s a Rafflecopter widget thingy (totally the official name, btw. ;) ). You can sign up anytime between now and Sunday, July 27th at Noon ET, and we’ll pick two winners that’ll receive a 3 page critique from a mix of revision warriors. Click here to check out our bio’s.

Fun, right?

Now for the official stuff:

Critique will be of the first three double spaced pages of your manuscript. We’ll ask the winners to submit their pages within 72 hours after notification.

Completed manuscripts and WIP’s alike are welcome.

Your pages with our comments will appear on the blog. Critique is learning process for everyone, not just the author receiving feedback, and not everyone has amazing critique partners. We want to show what that process looks like. If you’re not okay with your pages appearing publicly, please do not enter.

Blog readers will be encouraged to leave respectful, constructive comments. If that makes you uncomfortable, please do not enter. 

Winners will be announced on the blog July 28th. We’ll also email winners with additional details, like how to get your pages to us. *Make sure you leave your email address with your entry * If we do not have your email address, or don’t hear back from you within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen. *

Critique #1 will go live on the blog Monday August 11th and Critique #2 will be Monday August 18th.

  • Because this is all about YOU, we want to make entering easy. Just leave a comment telling us you want to enter and fill out the Rafflecopter with your name and email. Tweeting and/or spreading the news about the giveaway is not required (but it is appreciated. hint, hint.) 

Again, we’ll contact the winners directly to discuss the who, when, and where, so please, please, please, make sure to leave your email.

Okay, on to today’s post. Because this blog about all things writing and revising, and we’re doing this fancy critique giveaway, I’m going to talk a little bit about critique groups. It’s kind of a big topic, so this is more like the tip of the iceberg, but if you're thinking about joining an established group or maybe starting your own, here are some things to think about.

Why are you seeking a critique group?

The obvious answer, of course, is to make your writing better. But can you dig deeper here? Better, how? Plot holes, character development, world building, dialog, pacing, grammar? Are any of these areas your specialty? Understanding your strengths, weakness, and what you hope to get out of a group, is a big step toward finding your people. And yes, my CP’s are definitely my people.  #CPLOVE, FTW

Once you know what your needs are and what you can offer others, here are some more things to consider:

 How much time can you dedicate to a group?

Joining or starting a critique group is a commitment, both of your time and the time of others. Respect that. Yes, sometimes life happens, but for a group to stick together long term, everyone involved is responsible for doing his or her part.

How often does the group meet? Weekly, biweekly, etc.
Will you meet in person or online to discuss critiques? If online, what service will you use? GChat, Google Hangout, Skype?
Will there be written critiques? If so, how will those be handled?
When is the submission deadline?
When are critiques due?
For written critiques, will you setup a Google or Yahoo group? Email only?
Are there word count limits.

What can be submitted for critique?

Will any genre be off limits?
Any content restrictions?
Are all categories accepted? A, NA, YA, MG, PB
Are short stories, poetry, queries, and/or synopses acceptable for submission to the group?

How will online critiques be run?

Is there a group leader?
How will you ensure that time is used efficiently?
Will you focus on big picture issues and leave nit picks and grammar for the author to read on their own?
Is there a time limit for each critique?

Some final thoughts for critique-givers and receivers:

In the end, only you know what is best for your story!  Use the comments that resonate with you and don’t worry about the rest.
Critters, understand that a suggestion you gave may not be used, and that’s perfectly okay. Our job is to offer our help, not make another author’s story into something we would write ourselves.
NEVER share another author’s work with anyone outside of the group. This one should go without saying, but I’ve heard horror stories so I’m throwing it in here.
Be vocal.
o Be polite, but don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. You are responsible for making your writing better and getting the most out of your group. If you have specific areas you want feedback on, let the group members know.
o The opposite is also true—if you do not want certain types of critiques, make that clear with your submission. Ex: This is a first draft. Please don’t focus on grammar.
And most importantly, respect your group members. I cannot stress this enough. Be kind, supportive, and constructive. Always.

Okay – that was way more than I meant to write, and it’s only the starting point! If you have any questions about joining or starting your own group, please ask in the comments. We’d love to help! Or if you have experiences about critiquing you’d like to share, we want to hear ‘em!

And without further ado, Rafflecopter widet thingy is below. Please don’t be shy about entering! We won’t bite, I promise.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. YAY for RW critiques!! I can't wait to see the entries!! Cheryl, all of your critique group advice is amazing!!! I wish I would have found this post 3 years ago! Seriously, perfect tips for those wanting to join a group or start their own. :)

  2. DITTO! I remember when I first started. I visited a few forums but it was really difficult to get feedback. Thanks so much for composing this post. Great information. :)

  3. Excellent rundown, Cheryl! So important to get those details hammered out right at the start. :) Can't wait to see the entries!

  4. I'd love a critique of my first three pages! Thanks for considering me :)