Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Last month, my partner in crime, John announced CritFest, our short story critique competition for writers of the ages 13-20. It is so epic! You get to write a short story and submit it for the chance to receive feedback from an industry professional.
Up until December 20 (10 - we've extended the deeadline for you NaNoers) you can submit your short stories to CritFest (see the bottom of the post for the rules courtesy of John!). The ten stories, as chosen by myself and John, will win full critiques of their short stories (done privately) from one of the industry professionals below!
If you don’t make the top ten, the ten runner-ups that John and I choose will move to a separate voting stage. Each of these entries will be posted on the blog for everyone to vote for their favorite and possibly make critiques of the entries. The top three will win fantastic prizes, which will be along the lines of ARCs, perhaps some sort of critique from us, and other things. One random commenter will also win a prize. Note: If you don’t want to enter for this part of the contest—only the first one, where your work is not posted—please say so in your entry.
The awesome industry professionals participating, ranging from editors to literary agents to authors who are all full of knowledge and sure know how to critique. They include:
Shade (Shade, #1) Possess Code Name Verity
Ginger Clark, top-notch literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd, representing fantastic YA authors like Elizabeth Wein, Jeri Smith-Ready, Gretchen McNeil, and more!
Jodi Meadows
Incarnate (Newsoul, #1) Asunder (Newsoul, #2)
Jodi Meadows, author of the popular INCARNATE (HarperCollins, 2012) and ASUNDER (HarperCollins, 2013)
Victoria Schwab
The Near Witch (The Near Witch, #1) The Archived (The Archived, #1)
Victoria Schwab, author of THE NEAR WITCH (Disney, 2011) and the totally amazing THE ARCHIVED (Disney, 2013)
Leigh Fallon
Carrier of the Mark (Carrier Trilogy, #1) Shadow of the Mark (Carrier Trilogy, #2)
Leigh Fallon, author of the popular CARRIER OF THE MARK (HarperTeen, 2011) and SHADOW OF THE MARK (HarperTeen, 2013)
Kat Zhang
What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)
Kat Zhang, author of of the newly released (and excellent) WHAT’S LEFT OF ME (HarperTeen, 2012)
Thumbnail photo of children's and young adult author Cath Crowley
Graffiti Moon A Little Wanting Song
Cath Crowley, author of the award-winning GRAFFITI MOON (Pan Macmillan, 2010), A LITTLE WANTING SONG (Knopf, 2010), and more!
Jeyn Roberts
Dark Inside (Dark Inside, #1) Rage Within (Dark Inside, #2)
Jeyn Roberts, author of the the thrilling DARK INSIDE (Simon & Schuster, 2011) and RAGE WITHIN (Simon & Schuster, 2012)
Emily Steele, awesometastic editorial director at Medallion Press, publishing YA authors like Rachele Alpine and many more!

(We’re still looking for two more participants, which we’ll most definitely find by January. If you’re an agent or editor or published YA author and would like to participate, please email John at TeenRiter(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!)

As a recap, the rules (courtesy of John from his CritFest post):
- To participate, you must be of the ages 13-20. No exceptions.
- You don’t need a finished manuscript or anything special. All you need is to write and polish a 1.5k-5k  word short story (we've lowered the minimum word count from 3K) and submit it to us during the appropriate time.
- For your entry to be counted, you must tell us in the entry whether or not you’d like to participate in the voting stage, too, in case you end up to be one of the ten runners up.
- The story must not have been previously published on your blog or elsewhere.
- Only one entry per person.
- Please only enter if you’re genuinely interested in a critique from these industry pros. The critiques will be nice but honest, so if you’re looking for a cheerleader, this contest is not for you.
Submission Info & Dates:
- The short stories should be 3k – 5k words in length and should be some form of Young Adult, although genres within the Young Adult category work too. Other than that, anything goes. There’s no set prompt; just a short story.
- You can start submitting your short story NOW, (if you even have it written yet) but it may be best to hold off for a few weeks because we’ll be running short story writing advice posts and John have an opening paragraph critique going on throughout November, which should hopefully help make your short stories even better.
- The deadline for entries is December 10th.
- We’ll announce the top ten finalists as well as who will critique their stories on January 10th, and we’ll post the ten runners up for the voting round the next day.
- There’s plenty of time to get your short stories written and polished, but those of you doing NaNoWriMo might want to start writing them now then go back and edit them in December before the entry window closes. I know how busy November is with NaNoWriMo, so I made sure there’s still time for you guys. Don’t worry!
- Please send your submissions to TCWTContests(at)gmail(dot)com. Short stories should be attached as a .doc file. We’ll respond with a receipt of confirmation after one week. If you don’t get a confirmation after that time, please resend and let us know via comment. Formatting of the email should look like this:
Name/Pen Name:
One sentence pitch of your short story*:
Whether you’d like to have your story posted on the blog, if you’re one of the runners-up:
[Attach the short story as a .doc]
And that’s it!
If you decide to participate…
This event is obviously pretty large, and we’d really appreciate anything you can do to spread the word. Tweets, facebook posts, etc. are awesome (but not required). Or if you blog, we’d really appreciate any mention of CritFest in a post, or even adding our CritFest badge to your sidebar. You can get the HTML for that here:

Or grab the image here:

So, if you have any questions drop it to me in the comments.

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