Got Critiques?

So I’ve been working hard at revising my YA fantasy set in Japan. I’m a plotter, and I’d outlined most of the story before I started, but there were still some holes in the story that I needed to fix. I’ve been going back through, chapter by chapter to fix stuff and digging into characterization before I get down to the nitty-gritty line edits. Usually, I end up doing 3-4 passes, depending on how well I do with my first draft.

Thank god for my critique partners – I don’t know what I’d do without them! I’d given the first section to just a few of them to look over, and was starting to get comments back. They liked it, but stillfelt like there was still something off. And I have to admit, it just wasn’t quite working for me either. Unfortunately I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. Luckily, I’ve become friends with the fabulous Audrey Lockwood over at Keys to YA, and she offered to take a look at the first chapters for me.

Wow – in just a few short hours, she’d totally nailed what was wrong with my opening! There was plenty of atmosphere and mystery and questions, but that was hiding a larger problem. There was s nothing that officially could be considered conflict. And we all know what happens when there isn’t conflict in a book…we stop reading. Talk about a death-knell for opening pages! So based on her comments, I’ve gone back to the beginning and am trying to redefine the character’s goals, conflict and disaster for each scene to make sure she’s being proactive instead of reactive. It’s been a ton of work, but I know my story is going to be SO much stronger for it.

So why bring this up now?

Well I have some fantastic news! In honor of her 1 year blogiversary, Audrey is giving away a critique of your first five pages! And it’s so simple to enter. Just hop over to her blog and leave a comment. Trust me, you want to win this! The contest is open until April 6th, so you still have plenty of time. You can thank me later 🙂



  1. Thanks for the promo, Jamie! You’re the best. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with the rewrite.

  2. Having critique partners you can trust is awesome. Glad you’re making progress with your writing 🙂

  3. Sounds great!!! Congrats on discovering a solution!

  4. Sounds like you are lucky to have Audrey! I’ve been saved by my CP’s more than once! They are worth their weight in gold. I’m off to check out her contest! Thank you for the link.

  5. It’s amazing how something we struggle over and just can’t figure out can be so easy for someone else to pinpoint and help fix. I keep hearing such amazing things about critique partners and how invaluable they are, and I’m jealous – I desperately need one, but just can’t seem to find anyone. Best of luck to you with your writing!