Kathy Ide, Critique Team Coordinator for the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, shares some of the many benefits of stopping by the Hospitality Center during the afternoons.
Blogger: Kathy Ide
The Critique Team is one valuable resource of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference that sometimes gets overlooked in the frenzy of editor appointments and workshops. Conference participants can stop in on a break or during any of the afternoon workshop times for a 15-minute one-on-one meeting with a faculty member. No appointments are made; just come by whenever is convenient for you. As many times as you wish.
This year we have almost a dozen faculty members on the Critique Team, with expertise in fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, YA, poetry, articles, short stories, indie/hybrid/e-book publishing, blogging, ABA markets, and more. No matter what type of writing you do or what stage of writing you’re in, you will benefit from a personal meeting with one of these industry professionals.
Here are ten reasons you will want to make time in your schedule to visit the critique team:
Direction on a project or idea – The Critique Team can help you decide if your nonfiction book or novel is ready to pitch to an editor. Or whether you should turn your idea into a book or start with an article. You’ll want to visit the Critique Team early n the conference so you know whether you should start making editor appointments or if you need to take a particular workshop.
Brainstorming – Have you been told your book idea would work better as a series of articles? Or that your memoir would be more marketable as a Christian Living book? Does your novel lack something but you don’t know what it is? Our Critique Team members can help you brainstorm, plot, and plan.
Feedback on your work-in-progress – If you never show your work to anyone (besides family and close friends), how will you know if it’s any good? Bring a few pages of your writing to the Critique Team. We can offer honest feedback that will help you see your project’s strengths and weaknesses.
Practicing or preparing a pitch – You have a meeting scheduled with an editor and feel completely clueless. Everyone is talking about “pitches.” What exactly is a pitch anyway? Is yours any good? Visit the Critique Team for an opportunity to practice a pitch or start one from scratch.
Industry Insights – How does this whole publishing thing work? What are your options? Do you need an agent at this point? Ask a Critique Team member for some insights.
Help Processing –If you submit a manuscript to two editors and get responses that seem to conflict, or if an editor review leaves you confused or hurt, come see us. A Critique Team member can look at those comments through the eyes of experience, point out common themes, and help you make sense of what was said. Don’t waste time on frustration or confusion, come see us!
Encouragement and prayer – Writers’ conferences are exciting and fun, but they usually include moments of information overload and discouragement too. Come talk with a Critique Team member if you need to pray with someone about your writing goals, cry over a disappointing manuscript review, or be talked out of going home early. (You wouldn’t want to miss what God has planned for you, right?)
Processing exciting news – Sometimes good news can overwhelm us. What does an editor mean by “Send me a proposal?” Did the agent really mean it when she said she wanted to represent you? Or maybe you just want someone to celebrate with. The Critique Team would love to share your exciting news—especially if we prayed you through a difficult moment or evaluated the manuscript that just got requested!
Applying advice – You’ve received great feedback at the conference; the question is how to apply it to your work-in-progress or to future projects. Before packing to go home, visit the Critique Team and ask for tips on applying comments and suggestions or understanding how to implement something you heard in a workshop.
Planning your next step – Whether you’re brand new to writing, coming out of a season that affected your creativity, or needing to take your career to the next level, a Critique Team member can help you figure out where to go next. You might want to do this near the end of the conference as you prepare to go home and apply what you learned.
The Critique Team is located in the Hospitality Center, under the Dining Hall. Critique Team hours are Saturday through Monday, 1:15-6:00 pm, during breaks and while workshops are in session. (Instructors understand that conferees sometimes need to leave for appointments. So if you find that a workshop you’ve chosen isn’t right for you after all, feel free to leave quietly and come see the Critique Team.)
This valuable service is included in the price you paid for registration. Don’t leave the conference without taking advantage of it. At least once!
Have you been to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference before? Did you take advantage of the opportunity to meet with a Critique Team member? Why? Why not?