Saturday, July 4, 2009

PLEASE READ: 1st pages clinic

I am beginning to despair of maintaining two blogs. Keeping up with the Editorial Anonymous one is tough enough right now. Do you guys want me to keep posting 1st pages, and just let you all comment? (And I'll chip in in the comments if I have a chance?)


Anonymous said...

I'd prefer to see your responses, even if three or four months go between a post. There are plenty of other forums for peer crits, and that's not what I came here for.

However, I don't think anyone should be angry if you decide to stop doing the first page crits. You've already given us tons of helpful advice (and no, my page has not been done yet, in case anyone wondered...).

Anonymous said...

It's a lot of work. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Thanks for being so generous with your time.

Your comments are useful, and, as the first person said, peer feedback is usually available to most of us.

Merrilee said...

I say post them as they come in and let the anonymati at them. Only say something if you have something you particularly want to say.

Better to ease off one blog than burn out and lose both. We'd be distraught.

The Storylady said...

Your comments mean a lot to me, but if you absolutely can't do it, everyone else's comments are worthwhile too. So please don't let the first pages clinic go away.

Rebecca said...

I'm with the first anonymous comment - I love seeing your comments but I completely understand how much work one blog can be, let alone two!

Could you combine them? Maybe do this one day a week on the other?

When I first started reading this blog I went back and read through the old posts so I think that's a great resource even if you decide not to continue. Regardless of what you do, thank you for taking the time to give us such great insight. It's a tremendous help!

ABH said...

I another who is more interested in your critique than in anyone else's. I have plenty of people who aren't editors to read my work for me.

But truthfully, EA, when I sent in my first page, I assumed you were planning to pick a few here and there that would give you a chance to say something interesting. It never occurred to me that you would pledge to critique every single first page that anyone happened to submit. And that you would then keep the queue open to an infinite number of submissions. I'm not sure these are reasonable commitments to make.

Buffra said...

I think you need to do what works for you. I enjoy reading others' works and the feedback, but don't make yourself crazy about it.

SammyStewart said...

I really appreciate all the work thathas been done here too. However, the occasional comment from you would also be helpful.

Anonymous said...

I'd be a little bummed at not seeing your critiques, but as everyone else said, do whatever works for you.

Nancy Coffelt said...

You have been a saint around this. I think you should do whatever keeps you sane.

And that's exactly why I just poured myself a nice glass of wine.

Sanity is tasty.

MelissaPEA said...

You already gave tons of constructive feedback, which we all appreciated.

Plus, writers are really neurotic. (Understatement?) We tend to revise a lot. So the first pages we submitted are probably drastically different by now anyway. Take a breather or stop the clinic, if it's taking up too much time.

Eilonwy said...

I'm with the first poster. If the Anonymati are also the Occasionalati, that is fine by me.

I need feedback from someone whose style and taste I understand well enough to synthesize with my own work. The other Anonymati may be brilliant, but I don't have a strong enough sense of any of them to make good use of most of their comments on a manuscript (sorry, folks!) I'd rather have your feedback on one first-page a month (or something similarly manageable for you) than a free for all.

Sure it would be nice if you had time to critique everyone's submission, but it would also be nice if you published a book for each of us too. Given the limits on your time and budget, I'm really happy to have even the occasional glimpse of the professional mind at work and play. I hope you'll just pick the occasional page (ignoring the order of the queue) that you think is a good example of something (strong voice, evocative mood, bad taste, thesaurus overdose, etc.) and teach us how you think about the issue and thus how we might want to think about it too.

myimaginaryblog said...

I would still enjoy reading your readers' comments, but perhaps that's because I haven't yet discovered all the peer-review sites your commenters have mentioned. And of course reading the reactions of a real editor is especially interesting.

Whenever maintaining my own blog becomes a chore, I back away from it until it's fun again.

Ebony McKenna. said...

From a selfish point of view, I prefer the anonymous blog to the first pages clinic. The blog gives me some insight into how editors work and what drives them (hilariously) nuts.

Which site allows more catharsis?
Which site feels more like work?

(I don't have any pages in the clinic waiting list, so that's probably why I'm recommending you ditch it).

Chris Eldin said...

I also agree with the first anon. I think your writing advice is an invaluable tool for us to peek into how the editing process works, but if it's too much for you, then it's not fair to you.

I also wanted to say that I thought more people would be chiming in on the comments. There's usually a dozen or less commenters (I know myself I don't comment on all of them), and the sense of community I had hoped for over there just doesn't seem to be kicking in, despite all of your very hard work and efforts.

I love the other blog and am learning a lot, and am just grateful for any time that you give us.

We'll support you with whatever decision you make!!

Colorado Writer said...

I'd love to see the remaining crits, but perhaps as a post on the regular blog...once in a while.

Sheila said...

You have been very generous with your time, and your critiques are both entertaining and informative. But critiquing is a lot work, so I wouldn't begrudge you backing off on that.

I say go ahead and post them and let people comment. Chime in if you have an insight you'd like to share.

I know some people think there aren't a lot of comments on the ones you've posted. But often, I have nothing else to add, so I don't feel the need to comment. Maybe the absence of your critique would prompt more people to comment. Maybe.

JenniferWriter said...

I just stumbled onto this blog and have found it interesting and informative. I've already been reevaluating my first page in light of some of the comments. I agree with others, anonymati feedback is better than none! I hope the blog survives!

Anonymous said...


Peer Review Sites -- has a (free) Share Your Work, password protected board, with a forum dedicated to children's books.

There's also the SCBWI boards, but you do have to pay to be a member of SCBWI to access these.

And you may want to find an online critique group. I found mine through the Verla Kay boards (a free forum for children's writers).

There are other sites, as well, but these three are the best places for children's writers, in my opinion. I have posted work over at AW in the past, found my critique group at Verla Kay, and have found beta readers from all three sites listed above.

Editorial Anonymous is my favorite blog, because it is dedicated specifically to children's books. However, this is not the place I come for peer review. I come here for the editor's POV.

- Anon 12:41am (remaining anonymous because I have a novel in the revision stage with an editor at a big house, and she may just be EA. You just never know!)

Anonymous said...

I, too, would highly value your comments, even if fewer and further between. I wonder if you can somehow merge First Pages with the original EA blog -- I find your comments and insights on others' manuscripts to be just as helpful as your comments and responses to people's questions. Why not answer questions some days, and offer feedback some days, rather than feel pressured to do both simultaneously?

Anonymous said...

I've appreciated each posting you've made, but if it's too much then please stop.

Comments from the rest of the Anonymati are not necessary, as most of us have peers who already offer us critical feedback.

My own submission is old enough that my text has changed considerably, and I wonder if any excepts more than a month or two old can just be skipped. And then maybe one of every five submissions.

Even if it's not our own work, we do learn from your comments.

Vic K said...

I'm with the first Anon here, I find your comments fascinating. I don't think the peer commenting is that valuable because I've noticed from previous comments that everyone is extremely polite and nice. Sometimes too much so maybe, when a good dose of, 'hell no, that's as ordinary as hell,' wouldn't go astray.

I don't have pages in the line-up, by the way.

But anyway, at the end of the day, it is better for you to be happy than be burnt out. I also agree with the person who expected you to do just your faves, like Query Shark does. Blogs shouldn't be pressure. Not in situations like this, when they're not building fame or fortune for you and they're just a public service.

Whatever works for you, we'll get it, truly, we will. : )

Vacuum Queen said...

I think you can easily close the 1st pages, and leave it there for people to search the archives. It'd be sad, but hey...every once in awhile you could throw a page into your EA blog and that'd be fun too.

Anonymous said...

I'd love it if you continued posting them and letting Anonymati comment.

It's helpful to read others comments even if they aren't yours.

You could post five at a time once a week and that would let us continue to read and garner ideas for our rewrites.

I've been unable to find a critique group so it's been helpful to me.

Anonymous said...

I think that someone above me already stated this, but I've also been a little put off by how few Anonymati comment. To have 100 first pages waiting and only the same handful (me being one) of blog readers willing to comment on a page, that's discouraging.

So if people want something for nothing -- feedback for their page, though they don't offer feedback for others, it strikes as being ungrateful.

I love the first pages, but I think you should do what you want.

Interestingly, I did get my page critiqued with snark from EA, though not a lot of guidance on how it could've been improved -- so I focused more on what the commentors said.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I didn't pay attention and submitted a couple of pages (which are way back in the queue somewhere). And those pages have changed drastically in the meantime. So personally, I am fine with never seeing mine come up here.

Yes, there are other sites (like the Crapometer) for peer critique. Not sure they have the readership that EA has though.

I've tried to comment on all of these and have yet to finish that task. So if we are having trouble keeping up, why should we expect you to keep going?

You have been very generous with your time, energy and editorial knowledge. Whatever works best for you sounds great.

Mandy said...

ANON 6:51 --

I'm sorry, but your statement is completely illogical.

People didn't send their pages specifically for YOU to comment, Anon. If they sent the pages with that goal in mind, and then failed to comment in return, your assertion would make sense.

But people submitted their pages to receive EA's opinion (and EA has done a very good job with that. I really don't think anyone ever expected her to do 100 free critiques).

In exchange, these people are reading EA's blog, learning the ropes of the publishing business, and (hopefully) sending EA better queries and books. This makes her life easier, I'd imagine, and is her reason for having the blog.

Those who do not comment on every entry are not being "ungrateful". I'm sure those who you've provided comments for appreciate those comments. However, as has been said by others above, people go elsewhere for peer critique. There are those online sources, and lots of authors also belong to critique groups. I often spend two hours per critique for members of my critique group; I do my part for other writers.

ANON 6:41 -- go to some of those online sources provided above. I'm sure you can find a critique group if you put in the leg work and do a little networking.

Anonymous said...

Mandy --

(I'm Anon 6:51)

Thank you for setting me straight. Dear God, what was I thinking? Or, you know, not.

Sorry, but my comment is not at all illogical. If you are sending to EA and she was sending you her comments back via your private email then yes, then that would be one thing. But she's leaving the comments open on purpose so others can chime in. The more the merrier. At one point she even thanked people for taking the time to comment on others' work. More than one person has gained insight by comments left by Anonymati.

Not everyone has a critique group. I don't. I'm glad you don't need anyone's opinion other than EA. I'm also glad you do your part by providing critiques for others. Obviously I don't personally know you, so if you are somehow the Mother Teresa of critique giving, then my comment probably wasn't directed at you, was it?

My opinion stands. There's a hundred critiques lined up. Very few comments get made by Anonymati. To me that is ungrateful.

Merry Monteleone said...

I'm a little late to this party, but I totally understand if you don't have the time to keep critting.

You've already critted my pages and I appreciate all of the time you've taken, and all of the anonymati's time. When I post pages anywhere online, I'm grateful for any and all feedback - the good, the bad and the ugly. But I think there are a good portion of people who put work in here that really only wanted your feedback.

What if you emptied the queue as it is and let people submit for peer crits if they still wanted to participate? That is, if you had the time for that sort of thing... either way, I think we're all really appreciative of all the time you spend here and at your regular blog.

Trixie said...

EA, you have such a magical way with words.

In many of the past comments, readers have stated how they are very upset by few people critiquing the first pages. The reason I never critique is that EA has already stated what I WOULD HAVE SAID. Sometimes she states EXACTLY what I would have said, but in a much more eloquent critique. How many ways do people need to hear the same thing? I repeat...EA HAS A MAGICAL WAY WITH WORDS...hence, join a critique group if you need something more. I am in a fabulous one.

That being said,this blog would be nothing without EA's magic. If people want a critique forum then this could be it (sans magic).

EA- you already do writers a wonderful service writing Editorial Anonymous. I can't tell you how much I have learned about the industry through your blog alone- the Anonymati is just a bonus.

Like Sarah L said- I have a first page in the queue, but it has already morphed far beyond what I submitted.

I'll take what I can get and won't sniff at it. You are an invaluable source. Thank you for all you have already done for us.

Anonymous said...

"...The reason I never critique is that EA has already stated what I WOULD HAVE SAID..."

I think this can be true, Trixie, but I guess I'm coming more from the perspective if EA's comments AREN'T what you (as a reader) would say.

A great example is a few entries down, for the MG "Stone's Nest." EA said that she'd definitely read more and it sounded promising, but then 90 percent of the Anonymati said, stuff like "Huh?" and, "Wow, I'm really confused, why are five characters mentioned in the first page? Who is the MC? Why does he want a bath? Why is he talking about castle decorations?"

That's why I feel the balance of EA's comments coupled with others' is really valuable. EA makes overall general statements and the Anonymati nitpick in the way other writers do when they read your stuff.

Beck said...

Here's my take. People come here for your advice. If they value it as much as I personally do, they'll wait patiently.

No need to give yourself a hernia trying to churn out comments on first pages. Take your time - sort of an "if you build it they will come" sort of feeling.

On that note, not everything needs YOUR hand! The anonymati have your back. I like the suggestion of posting first pages with your most screaming comments (the comments you just had to put on if any at all) and let the rest at 'em. This provides multi-faceted feedback!

grannyhelen said...

I agree with some of the commenters here - your advice is greatly appreciated, but please don't lose sleep trying to get to everyone (mine's still in the queue, too :-) )

Parker said...


Did you decide what you're going to do about the 1st pages clinic?