Critiques 4 U


Courtesy: Denise Krebs at CC

I don’t know about you all, but I love to critique. Maybe it’s being able to help others with their trouble spots. Possibly, it’s my mutant writing gene that makes the revision stage my most favoritest part of the process. Maybe it’s my inner four-year-old reveling in the knowledge that I’m not the only one who needs help. Whatever the motivation, I do love to critique, but because of all the stuff I’ve got going on, I don’t get to do a lot of it these days.

But there’s this old saying: necessity is the mother of invention. What does this mean? It means that I’m creating my own opportunity to critique. And you guys are the guinea pigs beneficiaries.

Every month or so, I’ll post a call for first pages. If you’re working on something (no erotica, please) that needs fresh eyes, leave a comment. I’ll randomly draw 3 commenters from the 24-hour period that follows and post the winners in the comment section. If you win, you can email me your first page and I’ll give you my feedback.

So when, as Disney likes to say, does the magic begin? Well, there’s this other saying: There’s no time like the present. What does this mean? I think that’s fairly obvious. Anyone who’d like a first-page critique, please leave a comment including your name, the working title of your WIP, its genre, and the intended audience. On Wednesday, I’ll announce the winners and we can let the games begin!


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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81 Responses to Critiques 4 U

  1. Kinza Sheikh says:

    Hehehe…. Found this website in the right time 😀
    I am writing a fantasy, its working title is *drumroll please* “Asdhaa Chronicles”
    (Asdhaa is Persian word for dragons)
    My intended audience is YA, even teen will do.

  2. Julieta Wolff says:

    Thanks for this!
    title: The Devil’s smile
    genre: fantasy fiction
    audience: new adult

    • Hi, Julieta! I’m sorry, but this contest ended on Wednesday, September 10th. I’m going to be running one of these contests each month, though, so hopefully you can submit your first page another time.

  3. :Donna Marie says:

    I won’t be participating, but am really looking forward to enjoying what comes! 😀

  4. I know the contest is closed, but next time you do this would you consider critiquing a blog? I always need constructive feedback, makes me a better writer. Thanks

  5. lidy says:

    I can’t believe I missed this. Next month I’m going to enter this contest for sure.

  6. Thanks for entering, everyone! The contest is now closed, and the winners are…

    1) Kelly Miller
    2) Karen Walters
    3) Terry Gene

    Yay! Congrats, you three! Please email me your double-spaced first page at :).

    Everyone else, thanks again for entering. I hope to do this on a regular basis (monthly, maybe?), so please try again next time.

  7. Hell yeh! I’m up for this 🙂

    Title: “Finding Luna”
    Genre: paranormal mystery / urban fantasy
    Audience: Adults / New Adults


  8. Janet Smart says:

    I’d love to win a critique – if I’m not too late to enter. Thanks!
    Title: Duck and Cover
    Genre: historical middle grade
    audience: middle grade kids

  9. Auudrey says:

    Title: Love As It Seems
    Genre: Romance
    Audience: Adult

  10. Would love this opportunity,
    Title: Jared
    Genre: Romantic Suspense
    Audience: Adult

  11. Addy Rae says:

    This is lovely of you! I’ll have a try. 🙂

    WIP: Working title just ‘Fear’. I don’t actually title until complete.
    Genre: YA Apocalyptic (NOT dystopian)
    Audience: Young Adults and Adults (since a lot of adult women read YA)

  12. Rachel S. says:

    Genre: Action-adventure
    Intended Audience: Upper MG (6th-8th graders)

    Thank you so much!

  13. What the hell, she says, putting on her big girl panties . . .

    Title: Initiate of Stone

    Genre Epic Fantasy

    Audience: Adult (protag is youthful but content is not)

  14. Such a deal! I’m posting your contest on my FB page for writing friends.
    Title: “Dances with Butterflies”
    Genre: mystery/romance for inspirational market
    Audience: Adults

  15. Joan says:

    WIP: Willow Lake (Working Title)
    Genre: Suspense
    Audience: Adult

  16. Terry Gene says:

    WiP: Matryoschka Sarah
    Genre: SciFi Romance
    Audience: New Adult to Adult

  17. Amy Mills says:

    Thanks, Becca, for your time! What an awesome thing to do!
    Title: The Cure
    Genre: Soft Sci-fi
    Audience: Young/new adults

  18. Title: American Gold
    Genre: Mainstream Historical (may end up Women’s Fiction)
    Audience: Adults, particularly those interested in their ancestors coming to the US in the early 20th century.

    Even if I’m not chosen, thank you for offering your time to us.

  19. Liz Masterson Searle says:

    What a nice offer, Becca! Thanks!
    WIP: You’ll Forget Me When I’m Gone
    Genre: Magical Realism
    Audience: Adult

  20. Anastasia says:

    Hi Becca! How exciting (and frightening) haha.
    Here’s my deets:
    Title: Bloodlife
    Genre: supernatural/Sci-fi
    Audience: Adult

  21. henya says:

    What a great offer!

    WIP: Stolen Truth
    Genre: Thriller
    Audience: Adult

  22. Holy cannolis. What a response! Can’t wait to dig into some of these first pages!

  23. Tamara Meyers says:

    Thank you for your generosity! Of course, I hope I’m one of the blessed few, but even if I’m not, I know how precious time is and really appreciate your offer –
    I’m terrible at titles, just calling it “Golden Dreams” (set in 1849 gold rush)
    Genre: Historical Fiction
    Audience: Adult

  24. What a great idea!
    Work in Progress: Unconditional Love
    Genre: Inspirational Romance
    Audience: Women

  25. Barbara Rogers says:

    Hello. Pick me, pretty please!

  26. Janet Evans says:

    Thank you!
    WIP doesn’t have a title but I refer to it as the Pheala book.
    Genre – fantasy.
    Intended audience – YA

  27. What an awesome offer!

    WIP: Jessamine Rose, Monster Hunter
    Genre: Steampunk
    Audience: Late Teen to Adult

  28. E.Arroyo says:

    The Animate – YA sci-fi / dystopian


  29. Aften Brook Szymanski says:

    Struggling with this very issue right now. I feel that my first pages are too wordy and I’ve lost the magic of character by over expounding. I really hope the character sounds her age and not eleven years old…

    Aften Brook Szymanski
    Title: Break Up Protocol
    Genre: Mystery *clean with humor
    Audience: college students

  30. What an exciting opportunity and how generous of you to make this offer. My sincere thanks.
    WIP: Where Light Devours
    Genre: Fantasy
    Audience: Late Teen to Adult

  31. Kristen says:

    What fun!

    …and by that, I mean I have a (slightly) masochistic love of getting my word critiqued/shredded 🙂

    Name: Kristen
    Title: Scarlight
    Genre: YA Magical Realism

  32. Jeannie Hagy says:

    I really love the help you give to writers. Thanks so much! And I’m another of those strange people who love the revision process.

    My novel is a YA called Damaged Goods.

  33. Wendy Storer says:

    Thank you! This is a very generous offer. Would love for someone who doesn’t know me to give me asecond opinion. 🙂

  34. Sherry Bessette says:

    Thank you! This is great.

    Name: Sherry Bessette
    Title: The Raven Wizard
    Genre: Fantasy
    Intended: Kids from 8 to 108

  35. Ben Stoddard says:

    As if this website wasn’t good enough already, you just had to do something this generous.
    Name: Ben Stoddard
    Working title: The Great Unholy War
    Genre: Supernatural thriller
    Intended Audience: Adult (although it’s probably not too intense for teenagers)

  36. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for making this opportunity for all of us to learn and improve.
    Sydney’s Medallion
    Genre: Adult fiction/historical references
    Audience: Adult

  37. Stacey says:

    How fun!
    My working title is: The Replacement
    Genre: Magical Realism
    Audience: adults

  38. Thank you!

    Adult Cozy Mystery

  39. Karla says:


    I’d totally appreciate eyes >:) heheh. – not in the creepy way of course, lol.
    Thank you!

  40. Becca Borawski says:

    Great opportunity! Thanks!

    Name: Becca Borawski Jenkins
    Working Title: South Central
    Genre: Drama
    Intended Audience: Adults

  41. Thank you so much for doing this. I have been reading and benefiting from your site for some time now.

    My WIP is a fantasy novel for young adults called, Way. Intended audience: teens, though I’m hoping for a crossover with adult readers.

  42. Natasha Hanova says:

    Would love fresh eyes on Marked, a YA urban fantasy.

  43. Jill says:

    What a nice offer, Becca.
    Jill Weatherholt
    Working title: Par for the Course
    Genre: New Adult / Romance
    Intended audience: Adult

  44. This is so generous of you!

    I have a middle grade WIP:


    Genre: Historical Fiction

    Jarm Del Boccio

  45. Sandy says:

    I am a new writer and need all the help I can get!! Thank you so much for doing this. It would be an amazing opportunity to have someone non biased to look at my work to let me know if I have what it takes. My WIP is women’s lit/ romance. As for a title I don’t have a clue. Hoping it will come to me by the time I finish.

  46. Becca,
    What a terrific offer. Thanks!
    Work in Progress: Silhouettes Along the Concourse
    Genre: Memoir
    Audience: Adult

  47. Shari Brady says:

    I just read (and used) your Negative Trait Thesaurus and cannot thank you enough for all your books! And thanks for the opportunity to be critiqued. My name is Shari Brady, my WIP title is All the World’s a Stage, a young adult contemporary novel intended for anyone fourteen and up.

  48. Robin Olson says:

    You ladies are fabulous. What an incredible offer you are doing. Whether my name is selected or not, keep doing what you’re doing!!! Thanks!

    Robin Olson
    Working title: Abandoned
    Genre: Women’s Fiction
    Intended audience: adult women between the ages of 20-40, give or take.

  49. Wow!

    Amanda Buxton
    Title: Tessa Einstein and the Quest for Dumbness
    Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
    Audience: 8 to 12 year old girls

  50. You are so cool. Not sure if I’ll take part. I just wanted you to know you’re so cool and very thoughtful. Paying it back. I’m going to do this too. (If I ever get published.) Hugs Becca.

  51. Leanne Ross says:

    I’m just in the process of revamping my first chapter so this would be amazing. Thanks for the chance.

    Leanne Ross

  52. Crystal Wells says:

    Ooo me!
    Contemporary romance
    Working title: A SEALs Sanctuary
    Thanks for the opportunity!
    Crystal Wells

  53. This is awesome! Thank you so much for doing this!

    Karen Walters
    Working title: Gone to Texas
    Genre: Historical fiction
    Intended audience: adults

  54. I have such admiration for your work I’d be honored to get a critique! My adult fantasy WIP is tentatively called Fearing Courage.

  55. Alice Murray says:

    Working Title: Anna and Gracie
    Genre: Drama dealing w/ Mental Illness
    Audience: YA

  56. Sheryl Dunn says:

    Would love a critique…even though I edit the work of authors, I miss things in my own work that make me want to scream in the works of others.

    Keeping my fingers crossed.


  57. Diana Beebe says:

    I have that crazy revision gene, too. I love the revision process!

    My newest WIP, code name HF, is a fantasy in the New Adult age group. I’d love to have a fresh pair of eyes look at the beginning. 🙂

  58. Marcy McKay says:

    What a FUN idea! Thank you!

    Marcy McKay
    WIP: Pennies from Burger Heaven
    Intended Readers: 18 and above

  59. Joss L. Riley says:

    Such a cool opportunity, ladies. Thanks for all the help your offer.

  60. Heidi says:

    Hey, I’m always up for critique!

    Megan Ryder
    Granite Junction 1: Finding Home
    Genre: Contemporary Single Title
    Audience: adult women

    Can’t wait for the setting book!!!

  61. Thanks so much for the offer Becca. Not sure if this applies to a short story collection but I have sidelined my Novel in Progress for a collection of shorts linked by an apocalypse.

    Title: Gossamer Flames
    Genre: Apocalypse/Post-apocalypse Sci-Fi
    Audience: Young Adult/Adult readers – but not just SF readers… also those concerned about green & social issues.
    Opening tale: Ghost Lights – a young abused Indian woman attempts to gather support against a mega solar energy project in North India. [Sets the apocalypse up]

    Many thanks

    Roland Clarke

  62. Grace Campbell says:

    Thanks so much for this opportunity!!!

    My name is Grace Campbell
    Working title: Devil’s Dagger
    Genre: fantasy
    Intended Audience: adults

  63. Sandy Quandt says:

    Hi Becca,

    Thanks for the opportunity for the first-page critique.

    I’ve written a middle-grade historical novel, “No Easy Choice”, I would love your feed-back on.

    Thanks again,

    Sandy Quandt

  64. Paula Cappa says:

    Interesting concept. I find as a writer, anchoring the first pages with character, tension, setting, and a hook to pull the reader in is not easy at all. I struggled with my openings all the time. And as a reader, I’m surprised at how many best selling books fail the test of well-structured first pages. I put down many books after 4 or 5 pages because the writing is dull or unclear and I just can’t get into it.

  65. Skipper Z says:

    My WIP is an SF novella, “Out of Mind”, intended for SF market.
    — skip

  66. To critique is the best part 😉 And heaven knows we seem to need a lot of it. Great that you’re doing this!

    My WIP: A Jar Full of Fireflies, Middle Grade Magical Realism (more contemporary with a tiny hint of magic)

  67. Renee Yancy says:

    I’d love a first page critique. My WIP is “The Dollar Princess.” It’s historical fiction for a predominantly Christian audience of women. Thank you.

  68. Diane Spigonardo says:

    Hello, I write Regency (Historical) romance and when someone critiques my work, I feel you can always learn something from both a positive or negative critiques. It helps you grow as a writer.

  69. Heather Raglin says:

    I’d love to win a critique! What a great idea. Thanks!
    Heather Raglin
    YA-Contemporary Fantasy

  70. What a great opportunity. The novel I’m working on right now is a contemporary YA called Amara. Thanks!

  71. Kelly Miller says:

    My name is Kelly Miller and I would love a critique of the first pages of my third novel. Ive been trying to attract an agent but have had no luck, so another set of eyes would be greatly appreciated. My adult suspense novel is called “Waiting to Live.”

  72. I use your Negative, Positive and Emotion Thesaurus often to help build my characters. Thank you for your work. My WIP is titled “She Promised Her Heart” It is a woman’s contemporary, my name is Kathryn Daugherty

  73. I’m right there with you. I love doing critiques! That being said, I’d love you to take a look at my WIP, “Grinder”. It’s Christian fiction (suspense/thriller) intended for adults. Thanks Becca!

  74. RS McCoy says:

    My piece is The Peripheral Brother, a 3300 word SciFi short story!

  75. I’d love a first page critique. The story I’d love for you to look at is Grace Lets Go.
    Thanks so much for the opportunity.


  76. Dee Chilton says:

    That’s a great opportunity. I’m watching from the wings. I have a novel to write one day, but for now I’m a screenwriter, so I doubt you’d be interested in reading that, although a first page is a first page, it still has to hook the reader in and compel them to want to read on more. Hope you and the chosen writers enjoy the process.

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