Finding the right critique partner isn’t easy. Exactly why I periodically run a contest in search of a new member for my critique group. People come and go in critique groups. Sometimes, they stop writing or their writing schedule slows down. Sometimes, they get an agent or publisher and are boggled down with deadlines and don’t have time to critique. Sometimes, life gets in the way. Whatever the reason, it’s not easy keeping a group going, but I’ll try my best to make that happen.
Over the past year, I’ve had fantastic critique partners, who helped me mold my book into shape. They saw things in my manuscript that I can easily see when I’m editing for my clients but am unable to find in my own work. Sucks, right? It just goes to show even editors need editors (or critique partners). We are—wait for it—human too. Shocking. I know.
One of our members was fortunate enough to land a well-known agent and a three-book contract with Harlequin. Great news for her. Not so great for our group because this meant she no longer had time to critique our work. See? Life happens. So, I started up the contest to find another member.
Despite our proposed grueling schedule—critiquing forty pages a week (twenty per member)—we had twenty-five authors enter the contest. The samples we saw all had potential, but we had to narrow down the list. After all, we only need to fill one spot.
In some cases, entries were immediately rejected because the author wrote in a genre we didn’t read or feel comfortable critiquing. In other cases, the writing was good but other samples were stronger. And, some samples were well written but didn’t appeal to us. It’s a subjective industry. Just because something wasn’t a good fit for us doesn’t mean someone else won’t love the work.
But we need to find a good fit for our group.
We narrowed the selection down to nine contestants who will move on to the second round. They’ll send us a longer writing sample and do a short critique. I’ve notified everyone about his or her status in the contest. If you haven’t heard back from me, I may not have received your entry, or the cyber gods might have eaten my message. If you’re wondering whether or not you made it through to the next round, take a peek below.
Here’s a list of the nine amazing semifinalists (in no particular order):
Congratulations, semifinalists! We’re excited to read more of your work.