Monday, December 23, 2019

It's less than two weeks before 2020!!!!

In 2019, we started something new – First 50 Critiques.  It started out well.  The first entry received 9 thoughtful comments.
Last week's entry received 2 comments.

If people don't comment and leave a critique, there is no incentive for folks to submit their first 50 words for critique.

Or for us to continue this feature.

Do you want this feature to continue?  Why are you not leaving a comment/critique?  Can we make any changes to make this more interesting for you? 

What would you like us to do in 2020?  Please let us know in TODAY'S COMMENTS.  Do you want this feature to continue?  If so, we received one First 50 entry last week for the “adult” category, which will post on January 6.  If you want this feature to continue, PLEASE POST A COMMENT on that entry.

If you'd like us to do something else in 2020, let us know.  We want need your suggestions and recommendations.

Thank you!


Kim said...

I think it's particularly hard to critique the first fifty words of anything. The first 50 words of Melville's Moby Dick are a rambling mess and would likely never find an agent today, but the book itself is considered a classic. I'm not knocking the 50 word critique, of course; I'm sure many find it helpful. But I wonder if you could do the same workshop with, say, the first 500 words instead. Or do one with just queries.

On a personal note, I'd love to see Pass or Pages more than three times a year. I know it's probably difficult for OA to gather willing agents, but I feel like I learn more about what agents are thinking when they review sample work. And it just so happens to be the hardest info to obtain.

Betsy said...

I think you'd get more entries if you didn't have such a narrow genre. That's why I haven't participated.

Dena Pawling said...

Thank you both so much for your comments!

Kim - you are absolutely right that PoP would be great if we could do it more than 3x per year. You're also right that if we did, we might run out of willing agents. We can dream tho =) Also, I've read that most good agents can determine if they will read more of a manuscript if the first page [250 words] hooks them, and sometimes they can tell in less than half the first page. That's why we thought 50 words would be good to start with. We can consider increasing to 250 words if people would want us to try that.

Betsy - this is a good idea. Perhaps after we post the one adult entry we received [look for it on January 6!] we can open up for a general submission of anything folks are wanting feedback on.

Thank you! Look for changes based on your input in 2020. You are all awesome.

Dena Pawling said...

We received the following comment by email which was misdirected and then forwarded to us -

It's a bit difficult to give a thoughtful critique on only 50 words, as there's not much "meat on the bone" to deal with, so to speak. Perhaps if you upped the criteria to 100 words it might solicit a greater response from the critique community?

When I start reading a new novel, (especially if I'm at a book store and searching for a good book to buy, as new hard covers are not cheap any more), I will read the back of the jacket, inside covers, and at least the first page (which is more than 100 words). My time is precious to me and if I invest hours of reading time into a new book, I want to make sure at the onset that the author is going to give me a good read.