Online Critique

Running critiques online required streamlining our process.  Please read carefully, it's not hard, but it's easy to get mixed up.

Check the Date

We have to get the ball rolling a week in advance of the event.  So if the meeting is Saturday, January 23rd, we need you to email your file to us at 7-5 days out (ex: Saturday the 16th-18th).

At the T-5 days mark, our moderator will collect all the files and email to all the participants.  This gives you 4-5 days to read everything and make notes.

What to Send

When the time comes, use your favorite word processor to save a .doc or .docx Word file with no password. We can't handle exceptions, Word is the industry standard for handling manuscripts.

Our document formatting guidance remains the same as normal:

  • Hard Guidelines (If not met, material will not be permitted):

    • Title, Name, email, page number in the Header 

    • Double-spaced (no single-spaced)

    • Font:

      • Preferred – Times New Roman or an equally legible, standard font

      • No smaller than 12-point size

      • 1-inch Margins

    • 10-page maximum

      • If you have more that you would like to present, you may ask if members wish to regroup somewhere after the meeting to hear remainder.

  • Soft Guidelines:

    • Add line and page numbers to assist readers in giving specific feedback.

    • Know your piece well enough to rate it, G, PG or Adult.

    • If you want to have the first page be a recap and our list of what you're looking for in feedback (and display the rating). This will not be count towards the 10 pages of content.

    • Reviewers should not be marking up the intro-page (some do, it's not necessary)

At the Meeting

After some initial chit-chat, once everybody is present, the moderator will begin the meeting by picking the first manuscript from the digital pile and asking who has feedback and then go around to all the members. Here's some basic tips:

  • Unless it's a small meeting, you've got two minutes to give your thoughts.  Remember you also marked up the file and wrote notes and will email them back to the author, so don't waste time on the piddly stuff

  • Try to find something that might need improvement. Only hearing "it's good" doesn't foster improvement.

  • Try to find something positive to say about the piece, save that for last, Authors' hearts are in these works.

  • Be kind. "It sucks." isn't helpful.  "I didn't like the protagonist." gives the author something to look at.

Author On Deck:

While your story is being discussed, stay quiet.

If somebody asks a question, be brief in answering, remember it's their turn to talk.

We cut out the rebuttal in the video format. By all means, thank folks, maybe recap, but a critique is not the venue to argue in defense of your authorial choices. You are the only person who needs convincing.

At smaller meetings (ex. 3-4 stories total), we can relax the time limit and let folks go back and forth a little.