Writers and illustrators, if you’re ready for the first step to taking your work in progress public, Peer2Peer Critique Day (formerly known as Critiquenic) returns Sunday, June 3 to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
It’s an opportunity to connect with other SCBWI members, and you may even find a critique group or partner to continue with after the event.
Peer2Peer Critique Day is free, but registration is required and is open until Sunday, May 27 on the SCBWI Los Angeles website. It’s for current SCBWI members only. If you’re not yet a member, you can sign up here.
The event runs from 10:30 AM to 3 PM. Bring a lunch or purchase food at the Skirball’s café.
Critique Day coordinator Daka Hermon gives us the scoop on how to prepare and what to expect:
Erlina Vasconcellos: How will Peer2Peer Critique Day be structured? Do participants meet individually or in groups?
Daka Hermon: When registering, the attendees will choose a category: illustrations, picture book dummy or text, chapter book/middle grade, or young adult/new adult. Upon arrival, attendees will be placed into groups. The size of the groups will vary based on attendance, but it’s normally about five to six members.
EV: Writers and artists are notorious introverts. How are you hoping to coax them away from the solitude of their desks and creative caves?
DH: The Skirball Center is a beautiful and inspiring location and a wonderful place to fuel your creativity with others from the writing community. The first time I attended, I was so nervous, but the volunteers immediately eased all my concerns with their smiles, jokes and the fun animal signage they used to organize us into groups. One year the event was even Harry Potter themed with props the attendees used to take pictures. The day is all about connecting, sharing and celebrating your work with others in a friendly environment. And this is a perfect time to make new friends. Many of the attendees have formed long-lasting critique groups from this event.
EV: How many pages should writers bring for critique? Should/can they bring pages from multiple manuscripts?
DH: Writers should bring 5 pages (6 copies) to be read aloud. Illustrators should bring a portfolio (5 pieces) or book dummy. Multiple manuscripts may be critiqued, if time allows, and the other group members are open to reviewing. Typically, one manuscript is best so everyone has time to share feedback.
EV: Any tips for giving kind and constructive feedback?
DH: At the event, we’ll distribute a sheet with helpful guidelines, but here are a few overall tips:
- Start with something positive. Focus on what the writer is already doing well.
- Critique the writing, not the writer.
- Speak from your own perspective.
- Be specific. Offer a specific way the writer may improve a particular issue.
- Bring something new to the discussion. Find something new to add, instead of repeating what’s been said.
EV: Any other tips for preparing and making the most of the day?
DH: Remember this is a fun and creative environment with your fellow peers. We’re all here to support and cheer each other on. Have fun! Ask questions and make new friends!
For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become a member today! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.
Erlina Vasconcellos is the Kite Tales assistant editor. When she isn’t working as a journalist, she writes pictures books and middle grade. Find her on Twitter: @noterlinda