My critique group, 6 Ladies and a MANuscript, and I are hosting the first #KidLitZombieWeek June 22 – 26.
What IS Kid Lit Zombie Week?
It’s a whole week dedicated to reviving “dead manuscripts!” These are stories that you may have shelved for one reason or another. It could be that you hit a wall. You may have received some discouraging feedback and set the story aside. If you’re like me, you got stuck on the ending. (Endings are hard!) Whatever the reason, now is the time to bring those dead stories back to life!
Check out the Kidlit Zombie Week website for details.
Critique groups can help you breathe life into mummified manuscripts.
Maybe you will share your “dead” story with your critique group or critique partner(s) BEFORE you revise it. They may help you brainstorm ways to revive your manuscript.
Maybe you’d rather take the first crack at bringing back your shelved story. Then your CPs can give you feedback afterward.
Maybe you want feedback before AND after the story gets saved.
Whatever works for you!
When I started writing for children in the summer of 2018, I joined the Kidlit 411 Manuscript Swap group on Facebook. I began swapping stories with individuals. One of the wonderful writers I’d swapped with more than once invited me to join her new picture book critique group on Facebook. I was thrilled to join the group and begin getting to know other children’s writers. This group is particularly special to me, because it’s my first critique group. We swap stories, share resources, and, maybe most importantly, encourage each other.
When I participated in National Picture Book Writing Week (NaPiBoWriWee) in 2019, I connected with another super PB writer. She invited me to join a regular weekly critique group. I write many picture book manuscripts, so I jumped at the chance to get (and give) weekly feedback on them.
I’m part of other critique groups, including of course 6 Ladies and a MANuscript. Each group has its own style and benefits.
The power of fresh eyes on a story cannot be overstated. The feedback I receive from my critique groups — as well as individual critique partners– helps me to revise, edit, tighten, and improve my manuscripts. On the other hand, reading and critiquing others’ work also helps me become a better writer. It’s a win-win!
So you want to form or join a critique group… what’s next?
- Get involved. Participate in kid lit events and contests. This is a wonderful way to connect with new writers.
- Ask around. Tell other writers you’re looking to join a group. Use social media to your advantage. Seek out writers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Decide what works for you. Maybe you want the accountability of weekly or biweekly manuscript exchanges. Or are you looking for a more laid-back approach to critique groups? There are all kinds.
- Check out SCBWI for critique group possibilities.
- Other resources to connect with critique partners or groups:
Have you revived a dead story– or two or three– this week? How did your critique partners or groups help? Maybe you helped another writer revive a story. If so, how? Do you have any tips for connecting with others?
We hope participating in #KidLitZombieWeek has helped you learn, grow, connect, and bring life to dead stories!
Don’t forget to join us on Twitter for the pitch contest and pledge for prizes!