New Year’s Resolution (and Manuscript Critique Giveaway!) by Virginia Law Manning


Happy New Year, my fellow creators!

Ahhh… 2017! A fresh start! There’s no time like the present to take on some new writing and/or illustrating goals! If you’re not already in a critique group, why not join one now? All the listings on the EPA Local Critique Group page have just been updated. Take a peek. If you find a group that meets your needs, contact the group’s leader and inquire if you can observe a meeting.


Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR, recently posted a list of four questions you should ask yourself about critique partners. Here it is:

  • Do I trust this person’s taste and judgment?
  • Does this person understand what I’m trying to create here?
  • Does this person genuinely want me to succeed?
  • Is this person capable of delivering the truth to me in a sensitive and compassionate manner?

It might take some time to figure this out. Be patient. In the meantime, you can work at being the best critique partner for your group’s members. Finally, don’t worry if there’s not a group in your area, contact me and we can discuss the possibility of starting a new group that is convenient to you.

If you’re already in a group, great! 2017 can be your year to engage in the process more enthusiastically. Submit more frequently! Revise more deeply! Network more vigorously!

I’m a big believer in critique groups. My critique partners help me see flaws in my work, encourage me when I’m frustrated, share important industry information and keep me from going batty!

Please leave a comment below and let me know how your group is going or ask a question if you’re not sure if a critique group is right for you. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered to win a manuscript critique from me on up to 10 pages (normal manuscript guidelines). You’re not obligated to accept, after all I know some people already have great critique partners, but if you’d like a fresh set of eyes on your work, remember to leave a comment below.





This entry was posted in critique groups, Giveaways, New Year, New Goals, writing goals, Writing Tips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to New Year’s Resolution (and Manuscript Critique Giveaway!) by Virginia Law Manning

  1. Kara Newhouse says:

    Happy that I can say “yes” to all of Elizabeth Gilbert’s questions! Something else wet do that’s very helpful: at the end of our meetings we each set a writing or revision goal for the next month.

    • Brinton Culp says:

      Very glad to have Kara in my critique group! Being in a critique group helps me to know what’s working and what I need to keep working on. Another great benefit is accountability. By attempting to keep to a regular meeting schedule, along with setting goals at the end of our meeting times, we push ourselves to bring something to the critique table. We also share resources and information–a book that might be similar in style to our manuscript, an insightful podcast, a new contest. A huge thank you to my critique partners!

      • Kara Newhouse says:

        True about sharing resources! Although we met through an SCBWI-EPA event several years ago, I wasn’t subscribed to this blog until Brinton talked about it last year 🙂

      • Brinton, I’m so happy you and Kara have this great group! It sounds like you’re doing EVERYTHING right! I’ll still keep you in the drawing for a critique in case you want a fresh set of eyes. Best of luck accomplishing your writing goals for 2017?

    • I’m so happy too that you have a great group! I love this idea of setting writing or revision goals at the end of each meeting. I’m going to suggest that to my picture book writing group! Thank you!

  2. Jeanne says:

    I belong to two critique groups. I love and need them both.
    My online group writes together at scheduled times, shares info, critiques, and supports one another. We had initially met in person at a Highlights Foundation workshop.
    My other group meets in person. I enjoy the face-to-face contact. We also support one another and grow as writers. Though we are still working on a usual meeting place and time.
    Can’t imagine making this journey alone. So glad to be connected to other writers!! ⭐

    • I absolutely agree, Jeanne! Meeting in person is great and I KNOW I couldn’t do this journey without my network of KidLit friends. I started the journey several times before in my life (without SCBWI) and got side-tracked each time. Not this time!!!!

  3. Emily says:

    Just the push I needed this morning to get involved with a group! Thank you!

    • Emily, if you don’t see a group listed on the EPA Local Critique group page, make sure you contact me. A new group is forming that isn’t up there yet. I don’t know where you live but this one is in Delaware County. Also, I’d be happy to help you start a group!

  4. unbecca says:

    Love the Elizabeth Gilbert reference! Thanks for your promotion of the benefits of a critique group — motivated me to start looking!

    • Definitely take a look! If you’re going to the EPA Pocono Retreat, you can also try out the critique group process on Friday night at the Peer Critique-athon. Information coming soon! Good luck and please keep in touch if you find or want to start a group!

  5. Kristen C.S. says:

    Great idea to set critique group goals for the New Year. My CPs are priceless–though my group can be hit or miss. I’m always on the look out for a few more serious writers that I can swap with–in person or online. Thanks for all you do! =)

  6. I’ve been a member of an SCBWI critique group for a little more than two years and I can’t say enough about how helpful it is! Connecting with other authors/illustrators has been wonderful, not to mention creating deadlines that help to hold me accountable for creating new work.

    • Agreed! I definitely need the deadlines to keep me working. In fact, I have to finish an illustration for a deadline tomorrow… Back to work, Virginia! I’m so happy you’ve found a great group!

  7. Nina Haines says:

    I would love to have a fresh set eyes.

  8. janet bryce says:

    Great idea. I felt more confident in my writing after my first critique. Still looking for a group to join.

    • Janet, if there isn’t a group on the EPA SCBWI “Local Critique Group” page, why don’t you start a group? I can help you! Also, I’m not sure where you’re located, but there is a new group forming in Delaware County. The info isn’t posted yet but should be soon.

  9. Pingback: Celebrate Member News! by Lindsay Bandy | EasternPennPoints

Comments are closed.