The Hugh Holton Critique Program, created in 2010 by the MWA Midwest chapter, was established to help aspiring mystery writers* develop and improve a manuscript related to crime fiction. Writers will be paired with MWA Midwest authors (published authors of crime fiction) who will provide critique and insights on a specific work-in-progress (up to 25 pages). Through their participation in the program, authors requesting a critique will:
• Receive constructive and written feedback related to their manuscript
• Be encouraged to reflect critically on their own writing, focusing on areas to improve and develop
• Be eligible for the annual MWA Midwest writing competition for unpublished writers at no additional cost
To request a critique, interested authors must submit:
• A completed cover letter (see details below)
• 25 typed manuscript pages ONLY, adhering to style guidelines: Double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman type, one-inch margins all around, page numbers on the top right-hand of each page.
• Payment ($25.00 MWA Midwest members; $50.00 non-members)
Requests for critiques will be processed and authors will be matched as quickly as possible. We are taking submissions from April 1 to July 15. Cover letter and manuscript must be submitted to Susanna Calkins by email to s.calkins.nu (at) gmail (dot) com. with the subject header: Holton Critique Program/your last name. We ask readers to provide feedback within three weeks of receipt of the manuscript, though this is not guaranteed. All feedback is reviewed before being sent to the author.
Caveat: Matches with authors who write in your specific sub-genre cannot be guaranteed. Published authors can give feedback in many subgenres, and varied reader feedback has a value all its own. If you will only seek feedback from someone in your subgenre, we suggest you seek a paid developmental editor in that subgenre. Also, some readers may opt to provide anonymous critiques. Critiques cannot be used for blurbs in query letters or in marketing material without the express written authorization of the critique reader.
Payment may be made via Pay Pal to mwamidwest (at) gmail (dot) com or by check made payable to MWA Midwest and sent to Lori Rader-Day at PO Box 30173, Chicago, IL 60630-0173. Please note: Requests will only be processed upon receipt of payment.
Payments AND manuscripts must be submitted by July 15, 2016.
*Depending on availability, published authors may submit a manuscript they wish to be critiqued, but are not eligible for the Hugh Holton Award later this summer (details at the end of this post). For the critique program, unpublished authors will be prioritized over published authors.
In the Body of Your Email
Please include your contact information and manuscript title (please something other than “working title”). Let us know, too, (1) whether you would prefer your manuscript to remain anonymous to the critiquing author, and (2) how you have rendered your payment (paypal or check).
In Your Hugh Holton Cover Letter
1. What is the title of this work-in-progress?
2. To the best of your knowledge, how would you characterize the sub-genre(s) of your manuscript? (e.g. cozy, thriller, noir, historical, traditional, young adult, paranormal etc).
3. Please provide a one- or two-paragraph description of your story, offering some information about the major story arc and the point-of-view characters. This will help situate your reader.
4. Do you have any specific questions for the author critiquing your manuscript?
5. Manuscript formatting checklist:
____ Typed, Double-Spaced in 12 point Times New Roman
____ Page numbers in top right-hand corner
____ Proof-read for minor typos, spell-checked
This Fall: Hugh Holton Award for Unpublished Writers
Unpublished authors who have participated in the Critique Program will have the opportunity to submit their revised manuscript to our annual writing competition in October. Two winners will be announced in December: one MWA Midwest member and one nonmember. The winner of the member category will be awarded a $250 prize. The winner of the non-member category will receive a one-year paid membership in MWA (worth $115).
Manuscripts for the Award portion of this program must be unpublished (including not self-published). Only writers who have no published novels (including self-published novels) can win the awards. The judges for the contest will be chosen at a later date. The judges for members and non-members may be different people.
For additional questions, contact mwamidwest (at) gmail (dot) com.