want me to critique your story

Want Me to Critique Your Story?

want me to critique your story pinterestWould you like me edit an excerpt of your writing?

I have a new series in mind for the blog, which I think will prove fun and instructive for all of us.

Here’s how it works.

If you’re interested in participating, send me a page of your work-in-progress.

You can email me here. Attachments aren’t allowed, so you’ll need to copy/paste your chosen excerpt into the body of the email.

Please include:

  • The story title.
  • The genre.
  • Your name.
  • Any particular comments or questions you have about the piece.
  • The excerpt to be critiqued (should be no more than 1,000 words).

Every month or so, I’ll choose a submission to critique. I probably won’t publish the entire excerpt, but just enough to comment on and talk about. I’ll be focusing on one or two principles in each post, based on whatever each submission offers.

The results will be posted here on the blog with an accompanying article with tips for improvement and comments on things well done.

I can’t guarantee all submissions will be posted. And please note only those posted will be critiqued. (I will also not be responding to the emailed submissions I receive unless and until I post a critique.) I’ll choose the submissions I feel can best help everyone who reads the critiques.

Sound like fun? We’ll try our first critique out in a few weeks, and you all like it, we’ll keep doing it!

Wordplayers, tell me what you think! Do you like the idea of doing a series of posts based on critiques? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

Comments

  1. Wahahahaha! I read the post’s tagline when it popped into my email and I had to do a double-take. ‘Is… she…what???!!!’
    Definitely going to participate. 😉

  2. Michelle Fronheiser says

    My response matched Kate’s so I won’t repeat how excited I was when I read the email. I will definitely participate as well.

  3. Julie Wilkinson says

    I think it’s a wonderful idea – I look forward to reading your critiques

  4. ms. Albina says

    I would love to do this on my current story I am writing which is about an arranged marriage.

  5. thescratchingquill says

    Brilliant idea! Everyone’s going to love this.

    Do you have any preferences? Messy? Stellar? Typical of the author’s style? Doesn’t matter?

  6. Larry Keeton says

    This is a great idea. I’ve seen other sites who’ve done this and the lessons learned are just terrific. Go for it.

  7. Donna Fields says

    WOW… thank you for this opportunity…Coincidences show up every day…this is one I needed today!

  8. Yes, I think it’s a great idea. I look forward to reading the critiques and perhaps submitting too. Thanks!

  9. Anjana Divakar says

    This is a wonderful idea! I look forward to reading the critiques.

  10. Renee Madden says

    Heck yeah, I’m in!

  11. Katrin Beacom says

    I totally want to participate and look forward to learning from your critques.

  12. Wow! Thank you for taking the time to do this.

  13. Kendolyn Fisher says

    It is a great idea. What a fun way to learn.

  14. Ruth Arnell says

    I can’t imagine amyone not thinking this is a brilliant idea.

  15. Margaret Bemrose says

    Absolutely a great idea, I’ve hit a writer’s block and this could help to start me writing again! Maybe I will participate but if not I look forward to reading your critiques and learning lessons from them. Thanks!

  16. GOTTA LOVE YA. What a cool thing to do for us.

  17. Heidi Mitchell says

    Brilliant! It’ll be valuable for anyone who wants to improve his/her writing. We can learn so much from critiques, even if it’s not our own work.
    I might read all about how to drive a car OR I can get behind the wheel with an instructor beside me. Which is more beneficial to me (and probably most people)? Getting behind the wheel, and that’s what you’re offering.
    Thank you!

  18. Awesome!! I couldn’t believe it when I read it. I would definitely participate. Thanks

  19. Outstanding addition to what is already the best site for authors! This will be an angelic gift to all authors who follow K.M. Weiland’s work to learn from her laser-precise intellect. A Diamond!

  20. I think it’s a great idea. I’ve submitted a section of my WIP Chapter 1 of Greatest Mission.

  21. I may go for it.

  22. Christine Hammar says

    Yes indeed! First I’ll have to translate it from Finnish to English 😊

  23. Mark E Deardorff says

    To quote Mr. Burns of The Simpsons, “Excellent!”

  24. Great idea. I have tried a first draft of my story out on 1 friend and 2 relations with no response. I haven’t the courage to ask if it is just too awful or if any one of them has actually read it. This could really help.

  25. Thank you for this. It is a wonderful opportunity, especially for us newbies. Motivating, too.

  26. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anyone do so much for her or his readers. I am extremely grateful for all that you do for us. Thank you so much.

    From the first time I heard of Patreon, I’ve been adamant that I wouldn’t sponsor someone. That was until I came along your books, website and the Wordplayers group on Facebook. I would gladly support you if you go that route.

  27. Oh my gosh yes! I can’t wait to see the results, even if it’s not my own work chosen. I’m sure there will be some terrific learning moments for everyone!

  28. Great idea – have you thought about doing this for outlines too? – I’d really love to see some critiques on them too

  29. What a great e-mail to start the week with, I’m so excited for this! I think reading your critiques will be a tremendous help to me. I’m nervous about submitting but I’ll do it for the chance to get even a tiny bit of insight from you. I respect and admire you so much thank you Katie!

  30. Yes!!!!

  31. Yes! I love this idea. I think it’s something we could already really learn from!

  32. Nerissa McCormick says

    What a great idea! It’ll be so helpful!

  33. Phyllis Knoll says

    Wow! This is a fantastic idea…and very generous on your part. You always strive to help writers but this is an over-the-top measure of love and kindness. Count me in! I will look forward to reading your selection of the month!

  34. Writers Gonna Write says

    What a great idea! I think this will be a huge help 🙂

  35. Richard Jones says

    This is a fantastic idea. Honest constructive criticism is hard to find on the Internet. I can’t wait to see these examples. I can only hope I get lucky and mine is one of them.

  36. What a gracious, fabulous idea! I would love to participate, both in submitting and in reading the critiques you do. I’m a member of two critique groups, and you learn SO MUCH doing it this way!

  37. Wow. I would love an honest critique from you personally. I absolutely love the idea. I wish you would offer a course and hand out assignments to complete a short novel.

  38. What fun and a great way for everyone to learn. Can’t wait to get started.

  39. Great idea! And necessary help for us all. Thanks.

  40. Yes! I’m in. Great idea.

  41. I’m so excited! This will be a great way to understand what to look for in the first pages. What a learning curve this will be.

  42. Great idea!

  43. YEEEEESSSSS!!! That sounds like so much fun!!!

  44. Great idea!

  45. A wonderful idea. We all stand to benefit from this—as writers and critique partners. I eagerly look forward to participating.

  46. Absolutely. I’m in.

  47. directornoah says

    I was so overwhelmed and excited when I saw this post, and also quite touched by your kindness in choosing to help writers in this way. It’s an absolutely brilliant idea, and will really give valuable insight and experience for both the lucky writers whose excerpts you pick and for all of us reading your critiques. This will be a great learning opportunity for everyone involved, and I’m looking forward to submitting my work and reading the critiques you do.

    Thank you for everything you do for writers, you’re truly a gift and inspiration to us all.

  48. Kris Marinescu says

    Do it!

  49. Thank you so much! I’ve bought and studied almost all of your books, but for some reason or another, I never realized that you / your books go far beyond being just books to study. I postponed being a writer for more or less 50 years – I allowed the “Rat Race” to gobble me up. With “limited time” left, I came across your books via Amazon.com (Kindle). Even though I write in Afrikaans (South Africa), your books and workbooks help me to “catch up”. Once again, thank you very much.

  50. You’re a beautiful person, inside and outside. Thank you so much for doing this!

  51. BJ Phillips says

    This does sound like a great idea. We can all learn something new and it’s nice to see that you’ll say what was good, too.

  52. I love examples. The only thing I’d worry about is getting the critique after publishing. That would stress me out! Maybe we could include an estimated publishing date? I don’t know if that’s helpful or not.

  53. Rhiannon M. says

    Wonderful idea – both as a teaching method, and to help writers with specific work – thank you!

  54. Hi There!

    Sounds like a cool project. Would this be any 1000 pages or the first 1000 pages?

  55. Sally Matheny says

    This is a wonderful idea! I am wondering if this only applies to novel writing. I write for children but I still learn a great deal from you. Thanks for providing us with opportunities to learn new things, regardless of what genre we write. 🙂

  56. I can’t wait!

  57. Chris Boje says

    It’s a superb idea. You’ll certainly be receiving a page of my story. So much to learn! Thank you.

  58. Aleksandra Cwik says

    Sounds exciting! I’ll be sending an excerpt for sure.

  59. I love the idea and look forward to learning more and more and . . . . Thank you for the time and energy you put into your projects to help us improve our writing skills! You truly have a gift not only for writing, but for teaching and helping others.

  60. Sounds great, both from the perspective of getting something critiqued but also to learn from other critiques!

  61. Judith L Kenyon says

    I would love to try this! And thank you for offering!

  62. This kind of help is always appreciated.

  63. Petra Lehmann says

    Great idea! Looking forward to reading your critiques, and will likely submit something too!

  64. Love the idea. Looking over my WIP, most of my scenes are in the 1,200 to 1,500 word range, can you up the limit to 2,000 words?

  65. Marlene McPherson says

    I relish this idea. This will be a plus for many of us who want another eye on the work being done. Thanks very much. Once I read this I decided that I will submit my story.

  66. Sounds like a wonderful thing for those whom you grace with an evaluation. I am looking forward to sending you a thousand words. I do realize you have many who are hoping for some words of wisdom (and thus mine is unlikely to be selected), but perhaps I can learn from the examples you do decide to critique. Climbing up the learning curve can be asper; I thank you for making it a little less so. The fewer asperities, the less exasperated we shall be.

    — Gary Lee Webb

  67. Erica Deel says

    Great idea! I do agree with Bob that upping the word count limit a bit would be useful to submit an entire scene, though. Looking forward to the series!

  68. Sheila LyonHall says

    This is so Exciting! I’m chomping at the bit to tap into your lovely, generous offer. I see this as an invaluable opportunity to benefit up-close-and-personal from your expertise. I believe extending yourself to us in this way is an additionally dynamic example of your commitment to helping writers become authors. Thank you so much!

  69. Yes, I think that would be a great way to learn. I just read an article about how not to start your novel. The first 1000 plus words critiqued would be wonderful.
    Thank you for thinking of us writers!

  70. Wow really? That’s great! I’m a student writer so your expertise in my work would be sooo helpful.

  71. Sophia Ellen Davis says

    Love this idea!

  72. Great idea! Look forward to this!

  73. Judy Peterman Blackburn says

    Sounds wonderful. Would like to be a part of the idea. Thank you.

  74. Awesome! Sounds like it’ll be super helpful for everyone. I think I’ll try to submit as well. 🙂

  75. Wow! What a great opportunity for those of us who get to participate. Thank you so much for your offer.

  76. I love this idea. And someone mentioned above critiquing outlines, which I also like. Or possibly critiquing a synopsis, which could expose plot holes and pacing issues before the writer gets started. Your offer is very generous, and I’m looking forward to the results.

  77. This sounds great, but as a writer above commented, most of my chapters are in the neighborhood of 2500 words. My prologue is around 1500 but cutting it would be difficult.

  78. Elaine Milner says

    I think this is a great idea. It can benefit many readers, not just those whose scene is chosen for critique.

  79. I love this idea! Can’t wait to see how much we learn from this. Now I just have to find a 1000 word chunk to email you!

  80. Tina D Brockett says

    Great idea!

  81. Arulnathan John says

    This is great. Count me in and when do we start? Can I submit poetry as well?

  82. Hey KM!

    Thanks so much for doing this – like everyone else, I of course think it’s a great idea! I have just the story in mind to serve as tribute…

    Would you want us to specify whether or not the piece is an excerpt from a novel or short story? Because I feel like that could be important to denote – at least if an opening scene were used.

    If all goes well I could see this series also being really useful for outlines and back-cover blurbs!

  83. I think this is a great idea. We did a critique panel at the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and it was a popular workshop. I think all of us writers like to get feedback on our writing.

    Becky

  84. Michael Dorosh says

    Would it be far off the mark to suggest that only those manuscripts most badly in need of revision would be considered by you for a critique? Are you considering showcasing some submissions that happen to do one or two things really well? Not trying to suggest anyone’s writing could be above constructive criticism, but rather, it would be encouraging to see some examples of things you think are done well – for example if someone submitted some really good dialogue, or had a really terrific chapter cliff-hanger, etc. The draft of my project has been through half a dozen or so critiques, both paid and volunteer. I obviously think I still have much to work out, but I’m getting to the point I’m more interested now in confirmation that I’ve both made good choices, and heeded well all the earlier advice I’ve been given.

  85. This might inspire me to actually write something…

  86. What a wonderful idea and generous offer!

  87. So cool! I don’t currently have anything to send in, but I look forward to reading and learning from this series anyways… and maybe later on I will submit something! 😉

  88. James L. Mecham says

    Excellent idea! Thank you for your interest and help in improving our writing.

  89. Karla Diaz says

    Thank you for this unbelievable opportunity. You are amazing and your kindness and generosity go beyond what’s expected. This is the first time I share any part of my manuscript. I’m excited and also self-conscious about it, but can’t wait to hear what you have to say (I’m sure it’ll be plenty.)

  90. Great idea. We also do the same at our Bangalore-based write club. You can post stuff here https://writeclub.in/.

  91. Yes, this is a great idea! Thanks for the offer.

  92. Don Wooldridge says

    Echoing what so many have said before. Fun idea and wonderful opportunity. I also thought it might be difficult to select a representative excerpt of only 1000 words but, you are the one who gets to read them. I thankfully defer to your preference on this point. Looking forward to the series.

  93. Karen Baer says

    I know there are several places to have query letters critiqued, but I havne’t gotten very good response from any of them. Have you or would you consider a series of posts on query letters? Thanks!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’ve only ever written a sum total of one query letter in my life. 😉 So not really my area of expertise.

  94. This is so exciting and you’re so kind to offer us your writing views and suggestions! It is so helpful for writers to receive feedback from experts like you. Looking forward to it 😉

  95. A good idea to let us see the mechanic at work, with the hood up and the tools in use. I won’t submit anything, but it will be interesting to follow.

  96. This is a terrific idea. I’d like to eventually participate.

  97. I would love you to critique a section of my novel! Brilliant!

    Jo Hampshire UK
    Creating My Odyssey – Liberating the Real Me After Thirty Years Of Depression and Anxiety http://www.jo-b-creative.blogspot.co.uk

  98. Yes, I’m interested. It would be great to have an unbias professional to look at my work. Currently, I have no one to critique my writing and desperately need other eyes.

    When can I get started?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Go head and submit. I can’t guarantee than all submissions will be critiqued, but I will do the first one sometime early next month.

  99. Thank you so much for this opportunity to have our scenes critiqued.

  100. What a noble gesture of yours.

    I hope this offer is also available for short books about financial mentoring.

    Best greets,

    Pedro

  101. Thank you for the valuable author and the free books. What a great way to begin my day.

  102. Yay! This is perfect! I will submit late today or tomorrow. Do you need the format double spaced? Thank you so much for doing this!

  103. This is a great opportunity for me as an unpublished writer. Chances are a lot of your readers are feeling this way.

  104. I think this is a great idea. It would provide a much need venue for us unpublished word slayers.

  105. Andrew Park says

    You are very generous, K. M. Weiland. Like Bob (above) my scenes are a bit over 1,000 words. I could send you a complete scene and if you stop reading at word 1,000, then them’s the breaks

  106. Paula T. Phillips says

    I think this is a wonderful idea. Not only can we learn from you, but also from each other. Paula T. Phillips

  107. Question: Is there a limit to how many times we can participate?

  108. Yes! I love the idea of this series. I’ll be submitting an excerpt soon.

  109. Sounds interesting. I’m curious about how you picked that word count and what sorts of things you expect to be revealed in that space. That’s about four pages, double-spaced at 12 point TNR.

    Agents use the first five to reveal voice, pacing, a hook, a good opening line, and things like that. I’d assume you’d want to cover the same things, along with maybe style and a grasp of mechanics. The first five double-spaced TNR pages of an MS only amounts to another 250 words or so. How about, instead if 1000 words, 1250 or 1300 words? Just a thought. It might help out folks who are planning to query an agent or traditional publisher. 😁

  110. Hi Kate
    That’s an awesome idea and it will be so helpful to see a draft edited.
    I’m very excited to see this project launch. Great work.
    Thanks

  111. M. Lee Scott says

    Thanks for this awesome opportunity for the unpublished author. It helps to have more than one perspective of our work. Will be submitting soon!

  112. Hi Kate,
    Sounds like an amazing learning opportunity for the community, and obviously for the writer that submitted as well. Great idea!

  113. Sandra fowlks says

    Well, that awakened the sleeping wordplaying giant! My dear, gentle Kate. I haven’t written a word in over three months. One of my big sleepy eyes is open. Time to open the other eye and start writing. Thank you! Like you! Adore you!

  114. Nan Willard Cappo says

    This would be wonderful. I don’t have a writer’s group, but I love this site and have bought–and heavily underlined–your books. So I trust you’d be a good beta reader. Will send in my 1000 words very soon.

  115. My concern is that once an excerpt is published on your blog, the finished product may not be eligible to be picked up by an agent because some portion of it has already been published. Many publishing houses I’ve looked at list that as a disqualifying factor. I’d be interested to hear your opinion on that.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I sincerely doubt that. But I’m not an expert on that kind of thing.

    • I am also not a professional on the matter but I have met Jane Friedman who has lots of experience in the publishing industry. Here is her link about copyright theft and publishing. https://www.janefriedman.com/idea-theft/
      Pretty much from what I’ve read, the blogger sets the standard says there’s no selling of material and no rights held to it. So you’re safe to send an excerpt that might even bring you more publicity;

  116. Please notify the authors if their submissions will be critiqued.

  117. This is nice if you, thank you for this, I’ll be nice to have a fresh opinion on my wip. I was wondering does it have to be the first chapter? I went with that just to be safe.

  118. Tom Youngjohn says

    You don’t want to get too busy though, Ma’am. Your craft is too important. But this is a diabolically brilliant way to drive up loyalty amongst your followers. (Since you don’t have a Patreon page I bought four more of your fiction books, new, hard cover, by the way.)

    Myself I’m a little hesitant to get any advice until I get my first draft done of my work in progress, and then it’s off to the first generation beta readers.

    Were I a successful novelist, I’d offer myself as a critique partner, except I’m brutal about logical discrepancies, and you write speculative fiction. Or the inside of me seems brutal, to myself. This is why I really cannot read fiction anymore. I’m the veritable crit devil. My crit might be far more destructive than helpful.

    And I’m clearly not a successful novelist! Based on my record so far I’m a lousy novelist. I wrote a novel and seven people read it and no one liked it much. So I’m a novelist but a lousy one based on history. But I hadn’t heard of commercial fiction theory at that time. Hell, I didn’t even have an ending to write toward when I started that one.

  119. Tom Youngjohn says

    G-d bless you.

  120. For some of us writing is a hobby, for others an occupation. and for me a life. I write because I love the complexity and the imaginary worlds I construct. I cry with my characters.

  121. Love it! Awesome! Thank you so much for your generous offer xo

  122. Oh, yeah, K M! Thanks for yet another opportunity to learn from you. Soon.

  123. BB - unpublished but a writer just the same says

    Well — absolutely! Would you/the populace consider a ‘review my outline’ option? As a plotter-in-training, the improvements between the scratch draft outline toward the first draft outline toward… each generations of improvement become hazy. Using Scrivener helps ALOT and I begin to see how your use of PROJECT NOTES & SYNOPSIS works will make for an improved outline. I continually seek insights on how to improve the backbones of the story.

  124. mrswillett2017 says

    I love your idea! Much like apprenticeship, we can learn to be better by watching someone else work the craft. Thank you for the help!

  125. Thank you for your generous offer. I’d love the opportunity to benefit from you critique!

  126. Fran Oglesby says

    It sounds great if I’m brave enough to do it. Can you publish it without the authors name? Or can we use a pen name?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Sure. If you specify that you want to use a nom de plume or no name at all, I will respect that.

  127. A mentor is exactly what I need. If I can only choose an excerpt to send you!

  128. Carol Painter says

    This is a great idea, thanks for offering.

  129. Carmone Harris says

    Oh this is awesome. I would love this. So it says {WIP} That’s after first drafts, correct?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      WIP just means work-in-progress. You can send whatever you’d like, although pieces that are more polished are more likely to be chosen for critique.

  130. Hey, this means it has to be part of a longer piece and not a short story, right? Can it be part of a novella?

  131. Just submitted! Yay!

  132. Sheila LyonHall says

    I followed the link above (“You can email me here.”) to submit my 1,000-word excerpt for a Story Critique. The link ends up here (https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/contact/), which appears to be a “general” Contact page. You make reference to “Frequently Asked Questions” but there’s no reference to “Story Critique” on that page. As no one else is asking for help in this area, I suspect I’ve skipped a major beat somewhere. I’d appreciate you re-directing me to the “email” link to submit my story excerpt. Thanks!

  133. I love this idea! It’s a win-win for everyone. And so generous of you to share your thoughts and talents.

  134. Shawn Baumann says

    This is an exciting idea! Does it matter if the piece has already been self published on Smashwords?

  135. KM,

    I love this idea. I’m excited for both halves of this opportunity to learn, both as a writer and as a writer-buddy who will inevitably continue to give feedback to peers. I am looking forward to this series and I hope to have something to submit soon. Thanks for the opportunity. 🙂

  136. I’m so new to this and would love the opportunity for you to have a look at some work of mine. I have an attack scene I’m not sure of…

  137. Coming from Katie, the idea is fantastic. I can almost see her being swamped with emails right now. (mine is already out)

  138. Thank you for doing this. When are you going to put on the critique your story post up?

  139. Me: *sees the first post and remembers*
    Also me: *scrolls through WIP to pick an excerpt*

    I’ve been meaning to submit something for a while and I’m just now getting to it…

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Feel free! However, do know that, as I said, the queue is huge right now, so I won’t be able to critique everyone’s.

      • I completely forgot you were doing these! Combing through others’ works with a critical eye is one of my favorite ways to learn. I’ll go read that first critique now. : )

  140. I love this idea. It’s important to pay it forward, so to speak. I also offer free editing of a chapter because as a beginner it’s vital you know your strengths and weaknesses and not everyone can afford to hire an editor.

  141. Elizabeth Parr says

    Can I submit the start of a short story (maybe novelette) WIP or does it have to be from a longer work?

  142. Elizabeth Parr says

    Is there any particular part of a story or anything you’re looking to critique or should it be just anything from anywhere in the WIP?

  143. Leslie Davis says

    This post was from a while a go. Is it still a current offer?

  144. Jessica Salmonson says

    How about this year, do you still have the time?

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