As most of you know, I’m a Pitch Wars mentor again. Last year, I mentored adult fiction. This year, I’m mentoring YA. As the contest approaches, the mentors have volunteered to do one of two workshops, where potential mentees win critiques. I signed up for the voice critique workshop, which is happening right now. Unfortunately, the workshop is full, so you won’t get a chance to have your work critiqued this month, unless you already won a critique. However, you can read the critiques we’ve done for other writers and possibly learn from them.
As a freelance editor, I work on adult, NA, and YA manuscripts. However, I critiqued a MG beginning for this workshop. Craft is craft. So, for the most part, this isn’t an issue. I wouldn’t edit or critique a full MG manuscript, though.
Because we posted our critiques on Brenda Drake’s blog, we couldn’t use Track Changes. Something I ALWAYS use when editing. Instead, I used colors to code the edit. Blue represents my notes. Red is something the author wrote, but I’m flagging. And green is a repeated word. Now, when you look at the critique, you’re pretty much only going to see blue, which can be intimidating for new writers. Normally, I would highlight in yellow, aqua, and green, and I could comment in the bubbles on the right side, so my actual edits don’t look this…scary.
I could’ve backed off and given this author a break. I understand some new writers might feel overwhelmed with this kind of feedback, and possibly discouraged. But, you have to have a thick skin in this business. Some agents and editors are sarcastic. And some can border on being rude. I tried to give constructive feedback. Beyond all that, I felt it was important for me to address the issues I saw so the author and others reading the post could learn from it. When I edit, I don’t just flag mistakes. I try to help the author learn from them so he can improve.
That being said, this will give you a hint at my style of editing and how I offer feedback. If you like what you see, submit to me during Pitch Wars or hire me as your editor. I won’t bite. I promise.
Here’s a link to the critique on Brenda’s blog: http://www.brenda-drake.com/2016/05/day-17-part-1-mays-voice-workshop-pitch-wars-mentor-lynnette-labelle/.