A pair of fresh eyes looking at your work is a wonderful thing and can be especially beneficial when those eyes don’t belong to your other half, best friend or anyone else who is very close to you.
My husband never reads anything I write and it’s probably just as well. If he told me it was excellent, I’d accuse of him of just saying that to keep me in a good mood. If he told me it was rubbish, I’d accuse him of not knowing a thing about writing short stories and then I’d probably storm off.
It’s much better to ask someone who’s ‘at a distance’. That’s why I value my fortnightly ‘swaps’ with Helen. We both know that we can trust what the other says and we don’t take any criticism personally. After all it’s just this one story that is being pulled apart not our total writing ability. Other people often comment to me that they could do with a ‘Helen’ of their own.
So, I’ve decided to put my experience, gained over the last few years, to good use and offer a critiquing service. It’s still in the planning stages at the moment. Sharon from A Quick Read bravely put herself forward as my first guinea pig and she’s given me some very useful feedback on the critique that I sent her and the sort of price that I should charge (we also had a mild disagreement on the number of words required in stories for The Weekly News – can any of you confirm whether it’s 1200 or 750/800?)
Before I open for business, I’d like to make sure that I’m offering what people want (and are willing to pay for). So I’d like to critique a story of up to 2,000 words (for free) for a reader of this blog.
So if you would like me to look at your work and, in exchange, you are willing to give me feedback on the service that I’ve provided – please leave a comment below. Any comment will do and I’ll pick one at random. The competition closes at midnight (UK time) on Saturday June 1st 2013. (By the way I’m going to be tied up with other things for the next day or so – so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear. I’ll moderate them all as soon as I get a minute).
And finally, many thanks to those of you that took the time to review Old Friends during its recent free offer; Anne, Parlance, Julie and Pip.
#1 by Karen OConnor on May 28, 2013 - 11:04 am
I’d be really interested in this service. I had a critique when I took part in a short story writing course and it was really useful
#2 by julielees on May 28, 2013 - 11:15 am
I think offering a critiquing service sounds like a fantastic idea, and not having a ‘Helen’ of my own, I would definitely be interested.
#3 by littlemerants on May 28, 2013 - 11:16 am
I would love to have someone look over something I’ve written. Thanks for doing the competition.
#4 by jac dowling on May 28, 2013 - 11:27 am
Yes please to crit and feedback.
#5 by Christine Steenfeldt on May 28, 2013 - 11:43 am
That’s an excellent idea!
#6 by Wendy Clarke on May 28, 2013 - 12:33 pm
I think this is an excellent service, Sally. I’m sure that lots of people will benefit from your critiques. Don’t worry about putting me in the draw – not because I don’t need a critique (I’m sure we all do!) but just that I am sure there are lots of newer writers who would love to have the opportunity of a helping hand from you.
#7 by Gail Aldwin on May 28, 2013 - 1:40 pm
I’d be pleased to send you a story to critique, Sally.
#8 by Keith Havers on May 28, 2013 - 2:54 pm
I think they’ll accept up to 2000 words now. Plus – the good news is that, at the moment, they are not affected by the new DC Thomson contracts.
#9 by Sally Jenkins on May 30, 2013 - 6:08 pm
Thanks for the info. Keith – and I had assumed that The Weekly News would be affected by the new contracts, so good to hear otherwise.
#10 by hilarycustancegreen on May 28, 2013 - 3:14 pm
I’d be willing. Most of my writing is full length novel-writing. I swap these with another writing friend for critiquing and also use Literary Consultants which I find extremely useful, but frighteningly expensive. On the short story front, my first ever submission to Mslexia was published, since then nothing. Don’t know if they are bad, or simply a misfit with the judges. I should say that I have nothing very recent. I reworked one – Hand In Hand (written in the second person) last year, or I have Sonia’s Last Stand (third person), or White Carpet (internal monologue) all on the 2000 word mark.
#11 by Julia on May 28, 2013 - 4:04 pm
Yes please Sally, put me in the hat for the draw for the free critique.
#12 by susan jones on May 28, 2013 - 5:25 pm
Hi Sally, that’s a good idea, I’m sure your critique service will do well. From the Weekly news stories I’ve read I’d say they were shorter than the 1200, more of 800, but I’m not sure. I would love to read your books, but haven’t got a kindle, and when I downloaded a kindle to the computer it crashed, so I’m not going to try again as it costs too much to repair…
#13 by Douglas McPherson on May 28, 2013 - 6:53 pm
I wondered if I could share a “critique” a fiction editor gave one of my stories this afternoon (I’ll keep you guessing who it was!). To give her credit, she was quick. At lunchtime she bought one of my stories which she “really liked,” so I sent her another in the hope I’d be on a roll. Within half an hour, she emailed:
“Oh dear, what a dreadful array of wasted, pointless lives. I’m sorry, but I don’t like this at all. NO.”
Still, she did soften the blow by signing off with “Best Wishes” and added a PS: “Do send me another!”
#14 by Sally Jenkins on May 30, 2013 - 6:11 pm
That sounds a bit blunt and to the point, Douglas! And the mind boggles at what your story was about…
#15 by Janice on May 28, 2013 - 10:02 pm
Oooh, ths sound like a great idea. I’d really appreciate another pair of eyes looking over my work.
#16 by Paulyn on May 28, 2013 - 10:06 pm
im a green horn so to say.i wont mind if you will have a look at my work. it supposed to be a short novel and after reading some about writing im so scared to go back and take a look at it again.be waiting to hear from you.
#17 by rohishetty on May 29, 2013 - 3:09 am
Hi Sally, you are absolutely right. It’s hard to find the right person to review my stories. My family and friends are invariably polite. Thanks for this and good luck for your critiquing service. I’m sure it will be very successful. Cheerfully, Rohi
#18 by b31pete on May 29, 2013 - 6:08 am
I have just made two loaves of bread, but only need one.
The other one is looking for a home 😉
#19 by Laura Clipson on May 29, 2013 - 8:41 am
I’ve never had a critique on any of my work from anyone other than my family, so this could be a useful experience!
#20 by Edith on May 29, 2013 - 9:54 am
How wonderful that you have such a great critique partner. More than friends, cps are really soul mates, especially if they are writing in a similar genre to you! Best of luck with your critique service! And yes, I’d love to be a guinea pig! 🙂
#21 by Joan Reed on May 29, 2013 - 10:03 am
I have bought and enjoyed your books and look forward to the next one soon. I don’t let my husband read my either?
#22 by Jim Moeller on May 29, 2013 - 10:37 am
Most feedback is good, but feedback from a respected writer is better (the best, I suppose, is from the editor of the magazine/publisher to whom you’re submitting).
#23 by Linda on May 29, 2013 - 11:00 am
Hi Sally, I’d love to receive a review. Pick Me!
#24 by Julia on May 29, 2013 - 5:13 pm
Ooh, I’ve got lots of things that would benefit from a critical eye.
#25 by Dorinda Cass on May 30, 2013 - 9:30 am
What a good idea, Sally! You should do well with that. Up until now I’ve been a ‘silent’ follower. (Hopefully you can’t be accused of stalking a blog.) But I usually follow up your links to competitions and so on and have found much of interest to me. Thank you.
#26 by parlance on May 30, 2013 - 10:07 am
I would love to win a critique from you, and I think the service you are setting up will be a help to many people. It’s a lonely life writing.
#27 by Linda on May 30, 2013 - 3:35 pm
You’re looking for feedback on your feedback? Sounds like a good deal to me!
#28 by aliceinwritingland on May 31, 2013 - 12:27 pm
Hi Sally, please enter me in the draw too 🙂 Thanks.
#29 by Helen Lowry on May 31, 2013 - 4:02 pm
Hi Sally. Please put me in your draw. All help gratefully received. Thanks
#30 by Susie on June 1, 2013 - 9:14 am
Hi Sally, I would love to win a critique. I have no time to go to any writing classes, so would be grateful for any advice. Please could you enter me in your draw? Many thanks.