So my critique group is going into full lock-down mode as we read each other’s manuscripts. We all committed to finishing our novels by a certain date (or finish revisions, in most cases), and now we’re meeting in January for a full novel review. What is that and how do you do one?

  1. Email a group of friends (make sure they’re writers). Try to keep the numbers low. You don’t want to do more than 6 full novels unless you have lots of time (count reading time as well as actual meeting time).
  2. People commit (or somewhat commit) to finish their novel by the deadline. Typically you give a few months time, so they can polish it off.
  3. DEADLINE arrives. Everyone has emailed their stuff out (sometimes at the last possible second, literally) — we always did it on a first come, first pick basis (you get to pick where you fall in the lineup). Some people wuss out at this point and don’t submit. That gave some people incentive to submit early.
  4. Read like crazy. Make sure you give your group enough time — critiquing a novel takes more time. 4-6 weeks is good.
  5. Meet in person. Yeah, you can do it online, but it’s just harder. In person, there is debate about comments and you get a general feel about your novel. But it’s a commitment, so plan about 1 1/2 to 2 hours a person (and keep to that time limit!). And make sure to have lunch breaks!

And my friend Kevin was so totally awesome, and made us all covers. (quick note: I’m not sure where he got these pics, but no copyright infringement intended.)

Kevin — Joshua Fallen and the Matter of Darkness

MG Science Fiction
13-year-old Joshua Fallen awoke with the ability to wield dark matter, and then found out only he could save the universe from destruction.

Joel – Time Breaker

Contemporary YA Science Fiction
After teenage Aly discovers she’s a time walker she must convince her allies she’s not the Time Breaker, while stopping her brother, who is.

Shallee — Devolutionaries

YA dystopian
Ash must sacrifice his ability to talk in order to hone the telepathic skills he needs to rescue his grandpa from a Government experiment.

ME — The Last Onset

YA dystopian
This time, Armageddon was planned.

So what do I think?

WOW! Seriously . . . that’s amazing. Hopefully it shows that he can see the world I tried to build, because I looked at it and went: yeah, that’s my world! I think those are even silhouettes of the actual skyscrapers I’ve modeled my Skyrisers after. My only thing would be that Mykelle needs a gun. Seriously, this girl goes out and kicks trash! And I almost want two boys silhouetted behind her, but that might make it too busy. And that sun . . . it’s just amazing. Especially since you don’t know if it’s rising or setting, which is perfect for this book. Great job, Kevin!

Two others submitted, but they have yet to have covers made . . . but I do have Karen’s fabulous pitch!


YA Light Fantasy
After a breakdown Tessa gives up singing,but when she enters a world where music is magic she must find her voice if she ever wants to leave

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