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Apr 29, 2021

Agent Spotlight Series: Kiana Nguyen

A warm welcome to literary agent Kiana Nguyen! After dropping out of University of Albany in 2015, Kiki Nguyen had her first publishing internship with Wunderkind PR. There, she discovered a practical industry for her codependent love of fiction. In 2016, Kiki went on to intern with DMLA where she soon joined the team full-time as an assistant literary agent.
Kiki is now building her client list within young adult and adult fiction with a focus on queer and BIPOC authors.

Apr 26, 2021

Building a Realistic Fantasy World

By: Gemma Martiskainen

Creating a plausible world is a challenge unique to fantasy. In other genres of fiction, you work within the parameters of Earth, and the reader will immediately know how the society runs. The setting is familiar to them, so you don't need to spend much time explaining the characters' surroundings. But when you build your own world, you must slow down. For the reader to empathize with the characters, they must understand the world the characters live in. As the writer, you should try to make the world look like it could really exist.

Apr 23, 2021

The Not So Obvious Benefits of Critique Partnerships

By: Ciara T. Craig

“Have you worked with critique partners?”

No, I hadn’t. 

After reconnecting with an undergraduate professor, the suggestion sent absolute terror through me. Share my manuscript? Nerve-racking. But despite the initial hesitation, I began to mull over the idea and research my options. It wasn’t long before I’d created a profile on CritiqueMatch, and quickly learned critique partnerships are beyond beneficial. 

Apr 22, 2021

Agent Spotlight Series: Sarah Gerton

A warm welcome to Sarah Gerton! Sarah is an associate agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd., building a list of fiction and narrative nonfiction for middle grade and young adult readers. Sarah graduated from Wesleyan University and the Columbia Publishing Course. She has been at Curtis Brown, Ltd. since 2015. 

Burnout and Being Transparent With Yourself About It

By: Daisya Spencer

Okay, I’m going to get a little transparent here. Burnout is something that I struggle with and I know I’m not the first person, nor will ever be the last, that struggles with this. The reason I am saying this out loud is to 1) hold myself more accountable and 2) to look back on this moment where, in these rare moments, I am being completely transparent with myself. 

I remember a conversation I had with a fellow student during my community college days. We had a class together. He wasn’t very much of a writer but was incredibly insightful in that he knew what to say. Anyway, I relayed to him the issues that I was having with my writing, and how I mentally wanted to finish a certain work-in-progress on time. His response, although not verbatim, “Why the rush? Just have fun with it.” And he was right.

Apr 20, 2021

Work. Relax. Don't Think.

By: Kevin Killough

Offering helpful critiques to your critique partners is a bit of a balancing act. You want to give honest feedback on where the writers’ weaknesses lie, but you also want to be encouraging. Many critique partners try to balance out the negative comments by pointing out the writers’ strengths, which is a good practice.  
Another way you can inspire your critique partners while maintaining honesty in your feedback is by framing comments on shortcomings in a way that empowers your critique partner. 
Here are a few tips on how to do that. 

Apr 15, 2021

Using Stephen James’ Eight Requirements to Improve Chapter One

By: K.N. Quinn

I have read a lot of first chapters during my time on CritiqueMatch. I base my feedback heavily on “Stephen James’ 8 requirements of a story's beginning,” from his book Story Trumps Structure. These eight requirements are essential to writing a solid first chapter that will hook the reader, and have helped me become not only a better writer but also a better critique partner. 

Apr 14, 2021

Agent Spotlight Series: Fiona Kenshole

A warm welcome to literary agent Fiona Kenshole! Fiona came to agenting after nearly a decade as VP at Laika Studios, creating a development slate of new projects for the Academy Award-winning animation studio including the Oscar-nominated THE BOXTROLLS and CORALINE.

Previously she was a senior publisher in the UK where she published authors including Michael Bond (Paddington Bear), P.L Travers (Mary Poppins) and the Laureate Michael Morpurgo (War Horse) and was UK editor for Beverley Cleary, Lois Lowry, Bruce Coville, Gary Paulsen and Cynthia Voigt amongst others. She was nominated for “Editor of the Year” at the British Book Awards.

Apr 13, 2021

Prettiest Book in the Book Show

By: KD Powell

I’ve been on CritiqueMatch for quite a while. I’ve seen a lot of new people appear and vanish as soon as they arrive. Cruising the ‘search partners’ feature is a good way to see who is active on the site and who is not. People like myself and a few others will often be in the first few pages of the site while some drift all the way to the back pages or vanish altogether. I always wonder why they left and what happened, even if I’m not partnered with them. Now, most people go inactive on the site for practical and personal reasons. Maybe they only have a limited amount of time because of work, school, or personal stuff. 

Apr 12, 2021

Agent Spotlight Series: Maggie Cooper

A warm welcome to Maggie Cooper, literary agent at Aevitas Creative Management! Based outside of Boston, Maggie has been with Aevitas since 2018. Prior to agenting, she worked at small and academic presses, as a writing teacher, and as a bookseller. She holds a degree in English from Yale University, attended the Clarion Writers Workshop, and earned her MFA in fiction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she served as an editor for The Greensboro Review.

Apr 9, 2021

Write What You Know: Famously Misunderstood Writing Advice

By: Meg Fisher

“Write what you know” is perhaps one of the most hackneyed pieces of writing advice out there. It’s one of the first things you’ll hear in any intro-level writing class and is always bound to be a proposed cure for writer’s block. I’ve been writing for several years, and for a lot of that time, I would cite this phrase as the worst piece of advice one to give to any writer. It just seems too restrictive and simplistic. How could I, in good conscience, endorse any advice that seemed to actively discourage research and exploration? However, I feel that the problems I had with this advice simply arose out of misunderstanding. “Write what you know” can most literally be interpreted as “write about a familiar setting or circumstances that you have lived through.” But to me, “write what you know” refers to the emotional core of a story. It tells you to write about your grief, your fears, your euphoria. 

Apr 8, 2021

Agent Spotlight Series: Ann Leslie Tuttle

A warm welcome to literary agent Ann Leslie Tuttle! Ann Leslie joined DG&B in 2017 after working for 20 years at Harlequin Books where she worked on an extensive and varied list of bestselling and award-winning titles in romance and women’s fiction. She received her B.A. degree from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. from the University of Virginia. Helping to grow the careers of established and debut writers has always been Ann Leslie’s passion. Ann Leslie lives in New York City with her husband and young daughter, who is just discovering the magic of books and writing.

Apr 7, 2021

Critique Partners: Covering the Basics

By: Addy Thome

Your critique partners (CPs) will be some of the most insightful readers to ever look through your book. Why? Because unlike your readers, they’re writers. Writers like you who have studied the craft, have written their own books, and are probably planning to seek (or actively seeking) publication.

Before we get into the benefits of having a CP, let’s discuss the difference between CPs and beta readers. 

Apr 6, 2021

Agent Spotlight Series: Amelia Appel

A warm welcome to associate literary agent Amelia Appel! Amelia joined Triada after previously assisting at McIntosh & Otis, Inc. and Writers House. She is seeking adult fiction, non-fiction, and YA.

CritiqueMatch: Share a fun fact about you. 
Amelia: I was a college athlete!  I ran indoor track in the winter and played softball in the spring.  I like to think being a student athlete was proper training for the multi-tasking and time management that’s essential for tackling an agent’s daily workload.

Apr 5, 2021

A 3-Step Process for Worthwhile Critiques

By: Don Evitts

As writers, you’d think we’d always know what to say in a critique, but if you’re like me, that isn’t true. That can make critiquing somewhat problematic, so I’m going over my commenting process.

Step 1. Identify the Subject:

Whenever you’re commenting, it’s important to clearly state what you’re commenting on. Don’t just say things like “What?” or “No!” It’s unhelpful and comes off as rude and sarcastic. Plus, you’re not giving your critique partner anything to work with.

Apr 1, 2021

Agent Spotlight Series: Jennifer Rofé

A warm welcome to Jennifer Rofé, senior literary agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Some of Jennifer's clients include New York Times bestseller Meg Medina, author of the Newbery Medal winner MERCI SUÁREZ CHANGES GEARS; Sid Fleischman Humor Award winner Crystal Allen, author of the middle grade series The Magnificent Mya Tibbs; and Amber Ren, illustrator of the New York Times bestseller Because by Mo Willems and the forthcoming Looking for a Jumbie by Tracey Baptiste.

Jennifer has been on the faculty of many conferences including the Big Sur Writer's Workshop and numerous SCBWI conferences, and she is especially known for her The "So What?" Factor presentation. Jennifer earned a BA in English and a minor in Social and Ethnic Relations with a focus on multicultural literature from UC Davis and has a background in secondary education.