As I mentioned yesterday, I attended UW-Madison’s Annual Writers’ Institute for the second year in a row this weekend. (Here’s what I learned last year.)
My favorite part of this writing conference is, of course, being in a room with so many like-minded people. Aside from that, I’d have to say the most valuable and beneficial part for me was the advanced manuscript critique, where you submit ten pages ahead of time and have them critiqued by an expert. Then, you have a half hour meeting with that person where they give you their feedback, and you can ask questions of them.
Last year, I had my critique with Rebecca Williams Spindler, who I ran into and got to connect with again this year. She’s got a lot of exciting things going on in her career, and I’m excited I may be able to be part of some of them! Rebecca also pointed me in the direction of a successful author she knows who writes rock star books like mine, Angie Stanton. So now of course I want to read ALL her stuff.
This year’s critique was with nonfiction author and educator Julie Tallard Johnson. Since she specializes in nonfiction, I wasn’t sure how the fit would be, but she really understood what I was going for and was excited about it! I gave her the first ten pages of my next project, The Worst Matchmaker in the World.
What I did well:
Your title made me laugh and drew me in. Then you start with the one line “shy girl…” and I am hooked. Your use of dialogue is very good. You have more than a great start and premise. Keep writing.
What I need to work on:
Remember that the reader is new to all this information, story and characters. So include any descriptions or details that will give depth to the scene, the story and the characters. You do hint of disaster with the title but I want more tension to start with.
If you want to read the full ten pages I submitted as a preview to my next series, I’ll be sending that out to my mailing list next week. So sign up! I’ll also share six things I learned at the conference and give you a free copy of my first book, Front Row!