Picture Book Peek Week #2 Coming July 20th!!

Back by popular demand: Picture Book Peek Week
Free critiques of select PB manuscripts – including those wretched rhymers (Yup, 3 of my upcoming PBs are written in verse!)

Peek Week #2 begins July 20th. I’ve changed up the format a bit. Here’s how it will work:

Sign up for a critique by entering your FULL NAME, your PB WORKING TITLE and your E-MAIL ADDRESS in the comment section of this blog post anytime (midnight to midnight Mountain Time) on July 20th. Titles submitted before or after July 20th or without full author name and e-mail address will not be considered.

I’ll throw all titles into a hat and pick 3 for critique. I know this is down a bit from the 7 I read last time, but this more manageable number will allow me to “peek” more often.

Keep in mind:

* Manuscripts must be 1000 words or less.

* I accept only fiction.

* Level of detail in the critique will vary based on my impression of the caliber of the writing.

* Please understand that I’m not an editor and will not be providing line-editing of your work. My critique will be comprised of suggestions for improving your manuscript. So please send me your most polished piece.

* The 3 critique winners may e-mail me their manuscripts as Word attachments. Manuscripts will be kept completely private. When I receive the manuscripts, I’ll let the authors know when they can expect my critique.

* As with any art form, likes and dislikes are entirely subjective. Please understand that my critiques are only one reader’s/writer’s opinion. It’s always wise to seek feedback from a few different readers. If my ideas resonate with you, they’re yours to use. If you disagree, I encourage you to compare my comments with those of other readers. But in the end, it’s your book. Stay true to your vision.

I look forward to reading your work.

Pondering the Predictable Plot Point Part II – MY SISTER’S KEEPER

WARNING 1: Don’t read my post title out loud. You’ll spit all over your screen.


A few years ago, I read Jodi Picoult’s MY SISTER’S KEEPER and enjoyed it. I was especially fascinated by the service dog subplot and drawn into fireman dad’s sensitivity. I can also completely relate to “lion in the house” mom. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but my daughter did last night. And from what I can tell by her comments, they’ve changed the ending. Is it true? I’ll have to see it for myself.

But MY SISTER’S KEEPER is yet another example of a book for which I predicted the ending – an ending, it seems, that should have come as a bit of a surprise, no? My prediction came when it started raining in the last scene – really late in the plot, proving I’m not a book psychic. Nevertheless, I still found it satisfying to have guessed how this clearly impossible character situation would be resolved.

My daughter says the movie ending is completely predictable. And it sounds like they’ve changed the plot and character motivations some. Still, she loved it. And I think I might too.

Have you read the book or seen the movie? What’d you think?

(See also “Pondering the Predictable Plot Point SLUMDOG Spoiler Alert.”)

Deciphering Editor Extraordinaire

A fabulous editor at a top-notch house invited one of my crit buddies to revise and resubmit a picture book manuscript. Yeah!! Tonight we evaluated her revision in light of the editor’s comments. It’s a beautifully, rich story. But here’s the problem. The editor’s early comments seemed to completely contradict her later comments. We discussed. We speculated. We played out 7-8 scenarios, but in the end, we were all fairly stumped by the revision suggestions. So what’s a writer to do? Especially when this baby may only have one more chance to dance for editor extraordinaire. Should my crit buddy dare to e-mail a clarification question? What do you think?