Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wanted: Critique Partners

Do you enjoy reading stories of intrigue, romance, and adventure set in a historical setting? Are you willing to critique the first 10 pages of my completed novel? Interested in extreme karma points as well as having my eternal gratitude? 

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above you must be a bit crazy, which means you’re exactly the kind of critique partner I’m looking for. I already have a few devoted critique partners, but I’m looking to get feedback from a slightly wider audience concerning the opening of my Civil War Novel The Long Defeat. Below is a quick blurb of my book:

Will and Nate think that the American Civil War will end in a month, but neither realize that they will both have to try and kill each other before it is over. When Will loses a court case defending a runaway slave in Massachusetts he enlists to fight for the North, while Nate leaves his family’s wealthy Louisiana plantation to defend the honor of the South. These two strangers meet under a flag of truce in Virginia only to later fight one another on several battlefields. Both men get more than they bargain for when two brash young women, a Boston blueblood named Emma and a New Orleans courtesan called Marie, volunteer as nurses for the North and South. Serving alongside the men at the front, Emma falls for Will who suffers from a troubled marriage, whereas Marie courts Nate despite his engagement to a Southern heiress. As the four-year struggle unfolds both Will and Nate must ultimately decide how different the enemy across the lines really is from themselves, and whether the women they meet at the front can ever be a part of their lives back home. All the while the dangers of the battlefield may prevent some of them from ever returning home at all.       

If you’re interested in reading the first 10 pages please email me at or just leave your email address in the comments section. I’m more than willing to offer myself as critique partner in return for anyone willing to critique the first chapter of my completed novel. So…anybody willing to swap some stories or at least offer some good karma vibes?     


  1. Sure. I'll do it. I don't know how useful I'll be as far as fact-checking goes, but I know a thing or two about good story-telling. I don't really have much to swap, but a rain check would suffice.

    I'll email you.

  2. Ten pages? If you want to send it over I'll tell you what I think. I'm having a critique partner read over mine too. I don't normally read anything dealing with wars but I liked your blurb...very nicely btw. My email is listed on my site. :)

  3. That sounds amazing! If I didn't have two other books I'm trying to completely critique I would so be there! Good luck!

  4. Sounds fascinating, but I'm swamped right now. I see you got help though, which is pretty cool.

  5. I'd love to critique some of your novel if you still want some feedback. Sending you an email.

  6. Hope you get a lot of responses! That's how I found my three critique partners - I posted a cry for help.

  7. Count me in -- I'm swamped with the new school year and all, but I'm always willing to help a brother out. I'll be visiting your inbox in a minute.

  8. I really want to read this, but am a bit snowed under for the next week or two. If you still need someone next week, please give me a shout.

  9. If you still need help, I'm totally willing to take a look at ten pages. School's starting soon, but a first chapter should be do-able - especially for a story that sounds as great as yours! :)

    My email is

  10. That sounds like a very complex and fantastic novel. I'd love to critique but I must exercise adult behavior since I'm buried under a senior thesis and say maybe later?

  11. Hey, check in with me after 9/17. I'll be unable to access internet (long story) until then, and I'll be happy to look at 10 pages. Thanks for comment on my blog! San Francisco is so beautiful!

  12. Hey Mark, If you like a non-author scientist read your novel then contact me. I think you have a long list of experts and I am OK not reading it until it gets published.

  13. I'm not well-read in your genre at all, so I don't think I'd be much help. Looks like you're getting some good bites here, though :)

  14. Sounds like a great plot, Mark. Seems you have a lot of volunteers already. :) That's good to see. I look forward to reading the whole book one of these days. :D

  15. I am in… I love wars and books/stories that revolve around tactics and the mayhem that only brutal war can bring.

    I can offer a critic on flow, and delivery… and possible help where the action is concerned, but grammar is not my strong suit: so I’ll pass on that part.

    If you still need or want another person to look at it—hit me up.

  16. McKenzie – Thank you! You are awesome!

    Donna – Aw shucks;) Thanks for critiquing:)

    Laila – Thank you very, very much! Although my story is technically a war novel, I focus on the characters themselves and how it changes the men and women caught up in it.

    J.A. – No worries, but thanks anyhow:)

    J.L. – Indeed, but thanks for the good karma:)

    Allie – You are a rock star! I always want feedback, Thank you:)

    Alex – I have gotten some great ones, thanks. I like the ‘cry for help’ part;)

    Milo – Thank you, sir! I super appreciate it, and have forwarded the first 10 pages to you:)

    Sarah – No prob, we all get busy, but I’ll give you a shout next week as you suggested if that works for you then.

    Bethany – I always welcome feedback, so thank you very much:)

    Steph – Understood. If you feel like neglecting that “adult behavior” though at any point, just let me know;)

    Linda – Will do, thanks a ton:)

    MrsLittleJeans – Whatever you write, whether you write or not, I welcome all the feedback I can get. If you’re still interested, please email me at, thanks!

    MPax – I do have lots of wonderful volunteers, but there’s always room for one more;)

    Jeff – Awesome! Glad that you’re interested in the genre, any of your expertise would be most welcome. Thank you!

  17. Oh I'm so glad you had so many that agreed. There are a few sites that do critiques, I did a post awhile back about them.

  18. Mark, your posted instantly caught my eye, as my first book, which I started shopping this summer, is an edgy historical YA set on the Kansas-Missouri border in the early days of the Civil War.

    If you could use an extra set of eyes, my e-mail address is mefayard(at)yahoo(dot)com. BTW, my husband is from Mountain View, and we now live in Tehama County.


    P.S. Thanks for stopping by Bird's-eye View. Would you believe I've always considered myself review challenged, even after I had to review plays for a daily newspaper? Your words brightened my day!

  19. wow, your story sounds amazing. Love that first line of your blurb. I hope you get a lot of responses.

  20. Hmm, cough, I just read the comments... It's great you've got lots of responses :)

  21. Looks like you have quite the response here! Good for you. Your novel sounds fascinating. Since you have so many critique offers, I guess I'll have to wait until the published version is available. :) It's nice to meet you, Mark, and I look forward to getting to know you better.

  22. Sounds like a great book. If you still need someone after I turn in this round of edits to my publisher, I'd be happy to take a look. Good luck!

  23. This post is a great idea. I might have to steal it for my next WIP :)

  24. Clarissa – Thanks for the tip, I’ll check them out:)

    Michelle – Thanks a million! I’ve sent over a copy to you as well:) Your Kansas-Missouri story sounds like a must-read, let me know where I can find out more. Glad to have made your day!

    Lynda – Thanks:) Feedback on my blurb is welcome as well.

    Susan – Nice to meet you too. Thank for stopping by:)

    Ciara – Sure thing, just let me know where to send you a copy, thanks!

    Kelley – Indeed, I look forward to seeing it:)

  25. Hey Mark! I'm a new follower sent over by Jeff King.

    I see that you have many volunteers, but if you need another, I'm open. I'm critiquing one of your above commenters WIP right now, but I can certainly handle 10 pages easily. You just let me know.

    I write psychological thrillers, but I love historicals, as well. Feel free to come on over to my place sometime.

  26. For now I have to just issue good karma! The blurb is great and the book sounds very interesting. Good luck with your critiques and revisions.

  27. Mark, I see that you are swamped with offers. That's good, the blogosphere is full of helpful writers willing to lend their time and share their expertise.

    I dare not volunteer, cause I don't think I am a great critiquer (is there a word like that?).

  28. Hi Mark. Will probably not be around in case you post later so wanted to wish you a happy weeked. :)

  29. I'm in for ten pages...but I warn you, I read romances for a living so my eyes might be a bit different. I can't wait to hear how this experiment goes for you.


  30. Nancy – Nice to meet you. Sure thing, I’d love to have more feedback! Just email me and I’ll send youa copy, thanks!

    Shannon – Thanks, I’ll take all the good karma I can get:)

    Rachna – I’m sure you’re a great critique partner:) If you’re still interested just let me know.

    Laila – Happy weekend to you too:) I just got your comments back, thanks so much! :)

    Christa – Thanks a ton! I just sent a sample over to you.