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California Dreamin’ Critique Sessions

Have you ever wished you could have an editor or agent give you feedback on your work before you sent it off to your target agency or publisher? Someone experienced at reading submissions who could point out the strength and weaknesses in your hook, issues with pacing, and whether the characters are someone they care to know more about? A critique from an industry professional?

Critique SessionsLook no further. That is exactly what you get with a Critique Group Session at California Dreamin’ 2017.

This special experience gives you contact in an intimate setting with a publishing professional and a small group of fellow writers, with the purpose of positive, constructive feedback. Each group is led by either an editor or agent. It’s often noted that editors and agents will make a decision on a submission within the first three pages of a manuscript. And that’s if they get past page one. In this session the editor or agent will read up to 10 pages of your work and comment along with the other members of your group.

All writers are expected to submit a maximum of ten pages no later than January 15, 2017. The pages are sent to every member of the group, so everyone can read and make notes. During the critique session, the editor or agent and fellow writers will discuss the pages…what works, what needs work, and how to make it better. As noted above these sessions are meant to be positive and constructive, so as you read your fellow group members’ work, remember that this is not a line edit. If grammar is an issue, give broad examples. Think structure, plot, character. Is the setting working? Is the dialogue realistic? Are you invested in the story? And most importantly why or why not?

I had a new critique partner join a group once and the first thing I had to tell her was I didn’t like her heroine. The woman was a friend of another person in the group so I asked for some guidance on how to share this negative review. The sage advice was to tell her why. I had to re-read the work to come up with the answer, but it was something I could actually pin point. The heroine hated first. She was at her grandmother’s death bed and she showed no sympathy, no affection, no sorrow. Only anger and hate. It turns out she had good reason for her feelings but I didn’t know that. I suggested how much more powerful it would be if, during her grandmother’s final hour of need, the heroine showed sympathy for the woman who had been so hateful to her. It was simple enough to fix once the problem was identified. My critique partner went on to sell that manuscript so this is truly an example of how changing the first 10 pages resulted in a publishable book.

Want your chance to have a critique session including an editor or agent? Sign up for California Dreamin’ Conference 2017. Appointments open October 15, 2016.


Critique SessionTeresa Carpenter believes with love and family anything is possible. The author of twelve romance novels for Harlequin Books, Teresa ‘s books have rated a Top Pick by Romantic Times and Her Baby, His Proposal was nominated for Best Harlequin Romance of the Year.

She lives in San Diego surrounded by her large family. Her day job is in the exciting world of banking. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or attending one of her nieces or nephews sporting events. Her new Princess Camp trilogy is based on fairy tales.

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