Turbo Monkey Tales is a group blog focusing on the craft, production, marketing and consumption of Children's Literature. We are illustrators, writers, animators and media mongrels. We are readers! We are published, unpublished and self-published; agented and searching, and 100% dedicated to our Kid Lit journey, no matter where we are on the path. Join our Tribe and grab a vine. The more the merrier!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Whole Novel Help

By Kristen Crowley Held


You've finished your novel! Woohoo! Congratulations! Now what?


Maybe you’ve already taken advantage of opportunities at workshops and conferences to have an industry professional critique the first 5-25 pages of your manuscript. You’ve polished those first few pages until they shine, but you’re not sure the rest of your novel is up to snuff.


Is there such a thing as whole novel help?
Absolutely! Let’s take a look at some options.

MANUSCRIPT SWAPPING
Find another writer who's willing to do a manuscript swap. They critique your novel and you critique theirs. Finding a good match isn’t easy, and may take some trial and error. Get to know the other writers in your area by attending local conferences and author events. Your regional SCBWI chapter can also be a great resource. You just might discover the perfect crit partner in your own hometown, but if not, there are several websites where you can find writers who are willing to do a manuscript swap. Here are a few places to look for your perfect match (note that some of these sites require you to register in order to gain access to their boards, but registration is free):


Verla Kay’s Blue Board: Queries and Critique Requests 
Absolute Write Water Cooler: Beta Readers, Mentors, and Writing Buddies 
Nathan Bransford: Connect with a Critique Partner 

In addition, several writerly blogs have offered matchmaking services in the past and may do so again. A few to watch:
Maggie Stiefvater's Words on Words Critique Partner Love Connection 
Mary Kole's Kidlit.com Critique Connection

AUCTIONS
Bid on a whole novel critique and help out a worthy cause! Some annual opportunities to check out:





Keep your ears open for other auction opportunities that may be one-time events, but just might offer that full manuscript critique you’ve been looking for.

WORKSHOPS
Want to spend a few months working on your novel with an industry professional and have the added bonus of meeting other writers who are doing the same? These programs can be amazing opportunities to improve your craft.

(All the fabulous things you’ve heard about this program are TRUE!)


Highlights Foundation Whole Novel Workshops (Middle Grade  and Young Adult)


Many SCBWI regions also offer workshops on novel revision that include the opportunity for feedback on your entire manuscript. Check the SCBWI website under Regional Events to see if there’s an upcoming event that will work for you.

INDEPENDENT EDITORS
You can find oodles of information online about what to look for when choosing an independent editor to work with one-on-one. Here are a few our monkey tribe has had the pleasure of working with:


Whatever route you choose, keep in mind that what you are seeking is feedback, not a “quick fix.” Be sure to communicate your aspirations and expectations and give yourself time to process the input you receive.  If you approach the experience of soliciting “whole novel help” as an opportunity to learn, you really can’t lose.


And if you've already benefitted from some "whole novel help" I'd love to hear about your experiences!

18 comments:

  1. Excellent information here Kristen!

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  2. This is great, KCH!! Thanks so much for putting it all in one place.

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  3. WOW!! That's a *wealth* of resources! Nice post. #turbomonkeysrock

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  4. Kristen, this is such great info! Thanks for doing the research and letting us all know.

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    1. Thanks, Marilyn! I'm so glad my own search for "whole novel help" led me to the mentor program and my fellow monkeys!

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  5. Really useful list, Kristen! So often my first chapter is solid and the rest falls apart. Unravels, if you will, like an old sock monkey. (Terrible metaphor.) (But notice I'm not deleting it before posting this comment.) (Okay I'll shut up now.)

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    1. Haha! But I beg to differ. Your manuscripts read way more like a well-knit Christmas sweater.

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  6. Thanks so much for putting all this information in one place.

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    1. My pleasure! Thanks for stopping by, Debra!

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  7. Such a great resource for writers, Kristen! Whole novel help is so important. And I can't tell you how glad I am you went with NV SCBWI! :)

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  8. Wow, what a great source of information! Thanks!

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    1. You're welcome, Ann! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Thank you, Kristen, for this wonderful information. It's a lifesaver! I'm interested in a whole novel approach, so this is very helpful!

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    1. Thanks, Ellen. It's good to have options, isn't it?

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