Tag Archives: lack of feedback

Websites for workshopping your manuscripts

It is so hard to get quality feedback these days. Editors and agents are too busy to give it to you, and so you are forced to rely on the good nature of friends or relatives, or the people you happen to run into when attending a writing group.

My experience with writing groups has been mixed. In the beginning, when i was a brand-new writer, I found them enormously helpful, because I had so much to learn. Now that I have 2 novel-length MSS under my belt, I find them less helpful, because most of the people who show up are typically beginners with an incomplete first draft that needs some TLC. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you are a more advanced writer, you need more help than that kind of person is typically able to give you.

I’ve written before about joining book clubs, and how helpful that can be. I now want to mention a couple of sites that are designed to help writers workshop MSS.

The first one is Critters, which is for “serious writers of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror” to quote their website. To read more, click here.

The second one is Historical-Fiction-Writers-Critique-Group, which is a Yahoo! group. To belong to this group, you have to be extremely dedicated, because you are required to critique 3 MSS a month. This is a group I would love to belong to, but don’t because I can’t make this commitment. However, if you are in a position to do this, and you have a completed MSS that is ready for feedback that is a historical, you should definitely check it out. Click here to find out more.

Image: WordPress.com

–Cynthia Haggard writes novels.  She is currently seeking representation for HE MUST BE SOMEONE,  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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How to Publish Your Novel: The Year of Cecylee

After nearly a year of pitching agents, I thought I would start this blog so that I can write down what I’m learning about this process, both for myself and for the benefit of other people.

The novel I’m pitching is 120,000-word historical novel titled ONE SEED SOWN, TWO MURDERS REAPED. It is the Richard III story told through the eyes of his mother, Cecylee Neville.

I started in February, sending it out to batches of 15 agents. Out of the 42 agents that I contacted, two were interested. The first agent, from a top-notch New York agency wanted in an exclusive. So, in March 2010, I stopped everything dead to give her that exclusive.

It took her 3 months to read my manuscript. In the end, she didn’t take it. When I asked for feedback, she wouldn’t give it. I understand that agents are swamped with material, but I was not happy that my work was dismissed in this fashion. Unfortunately, we writers have the deck stacked against us, and if agents don’t give us feedback, there is nothing we can do except move on.

Next: I almost get representation.

Image: Cecylee Neville, my protagonist, in the summer of 1441, aged 26, when she met Blaybourne, an archer on the Rouen garrison.

Model: Heather Hayes. Photographer: Whitney Arostegui.

–Cynthia Haggard writes novels.  She is currently seeking representation for ONE SEED SOWN, TWO MURDERS REAPED, the Richard III story told from the point of view of his mother. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2010. All rights reserved.

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Filed under How to Publish Your Novel