Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Westside Writers Schmooze Picture Book Critique Night

On Wednesday, March 11th, 25 brave souls shared their manuscripts at the Westside Schmooze's annual Picture Book Critique Night, and more than 10 additional writers came to join in and provide feedback!

We broke into five smaller groups and Lee outlined the "Sandwich" method of feedback we suggested everyone follow:

1. Say something you liked

2. Let the author ask questions they have

3. Share constructive feedback - i.e., not "you should do this" but "I was unclear on this"

4. Finish with something good, some overall encouragement

Rita added the final twist to the night - when each group finished the manuscripts brought, she provided us with the typed-out texts from recently published picture books. It was fascinating to analyze these works without their accompanying art!

This is a great exercise you can do at home, too.
Just pick a favorite picture book, type out the words in a separate document, and and see if you can identify what gave the manuscript that special sparkle that convinced an editor to publish it!

(You can also ask a friend to do this for you - have them type up the words to a picture book you've never seen!)

All in all, it was a fascinating and successful night.

Come join us on April 15 (one week later than usual due to the Jewish holiday of Passover) for Middle Grade and Young Adult Manuscript Critique Night!

For those of you who'd like to receive feedback on your Middle Grade or Young Adult manuscript, please bring FIVE copies of up to a maximum of FOUR pages in proper format (double-spaced, normal font and margins). You don’t need to bring pages to participate: critiquing is a GREAT way to learn, and to see what everyone else has been working on! But please do RSVP to westsideschmooze@hotmail.com and mention whether you’re bringing a manuscript or not. Both fiction and non-fiction are welcome.

More schmooze details (location, etc...) here.

Hope to see you then,

Lee and Rita

Photos by Rita Crayon Huang


  1. Thanks for the summary of the evening! Sounds like it was AWESOME!!

  2. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall ... I love listening to book ideas. Not to write, but to help me hone my reading and reviewing skills. Thanks for the sandwich!