Honest Critiques

No, I mean it. REAL honest. Email your excerpts or full stories, up to 1000 words or so, to honestcrits [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk. Synopses would also be welcome. My backlog is so daunting now that I recommend not submitting anything you are not prepared to wait a couple of months for a response on.
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  • Thursday, August 04, 2005

    What This Blog is All About

    I edit books for a living. Where I work I manage the slush-pile, among other things, and read hundreds of unsolicited manuscripts every month.

    The general level of quality, I'm afraid, is really, really low. Really low. Some of the things I see, it's amazing people will let you see them, really. But the only response I can give in an official capacity is: thanks, but no thanks. If I said what I really think of much of this stuff, it's likely the author would never buy any of our books again.

    This is an anonymous blog. You don't know me, I don't know you. I don't have to be polite to you, or fob you off with form letters. If you send me your work, I will give an honest and forthright critique, and an assessment of its chances with a publishing house. All you need to do is email it. And of course: no charge. You might even save yourself the cost of a few stamps.

    Anything you send may be posted here, along with my comments, for the amusement or edification of anyone who happens to wander past.

    So what do you say? I'm waiting to hear from you.
    Torgo, 11:03 pm


    This is a good idea. I'll see what I can dig up from the unpublished pile of misbegotten manuscripts I have taking up space on my hard drive and send them in...
    Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:48 am  
    Hmmm. I'll have to keep an eye on this.

    Interesting idea. But I wonder how you'll get through it all. If you already do that in your job it'll be like bringing work home. And I think that once people find you you'll actually get a decent response.

    Good luck.
    Blogger Phoenix, at 6:39 am  
    Hello Phoenix,

    Well, it's really an experiment to begin with. Who knows, it might be worthwhile.


    Blogger Torgo, at 1:42 pm  
    What do you want in the way of word counts?
    Anonymous mistri, at 1:49 pm  
    Anything over 1000 words I probably won't post in its entirety. If you have a synopsis of the rest of the book (if there is a rest of it) send that along as well so I can see where it's going.
    Blogger Torgo, at 6:59 pm  
    It seems you work with so many sci-fi or mystery stories, how about a disfunctional family short story. And maybe the US has unusual families that don't translate into UK. I need suggestions, but am I turning to the wrong person?
    Anonymous Mary, at 6:06 pm  
    Just curious to see how it's going thus far. Have you been inundated yet? Have you written much yourself? Or do you find it difficult to write after a day of slogging through the slush pile?
    Anonymous TreeBurn, at 7:15 pm  
    Mary: SF and mystery just seems to be what I've had so far. I'll look at just about anything.
    Blogger Torgo, at 8:15 pm  
    I think this is a wonderful service to us would-be writers. I sorta like just perusing this blog. I've only been writing a short time. I lack self-confidence to actually submit anything for critique. The fear of failure is huge. Yet, I will emerge past this fear and send something. Thank you for sacrificing your time.
    Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:14 pm  
    I've had trouble with others I asked to critique my writing. Most say sure, but never get past the second page.
    I like your idea ... and I sent you a sample.
    3:52 PM
    Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:58 pm  
    Is there a potential rights issue? Post here and you have published it? Does this have any potential for problems if a publisher later wants it? And are there any copyright issues?
    Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:29 pm  
    Hello Anonymous,

    I am not posting anything in its entirety, and imagine (though I Am Not A Lawyer) that what I do here constitutes fair use of extracts for the purpose of criticism rather than publishing. That said, if you are concerned, please do take advice. I can't believe that there would be copyright issues.
    Blogger Torgo, at 5:08 pm  
    What a great idea. I'll get my little proposal out to you soon.
    Blogger M. C. Pearson, at 11:37 pm  
    Dear Critic:

    Just checking back with you.
    I sent you pages from a novel - "Shadows on the moon" - back in July or August. Where do I fall in the list of your "To Dos"?

    Dan Hurley
    Anonymous Dan Hurley, at 9:22 pm  
    Well Torgo,
    I applaud your ambition. But. If you ever get tired of it, feel free to circulate some of that slush over to my site at www.digitalpulp.org. I've run out of ad dollars so business has been running slow.

    Hell, stop by yourself. I basically took everything I learned as a creative writing major and put it online. I think you might like it.
    Blogger JDM, at 3:51 am  
    I just forked out $69 for a childrensliteraryagency to perform a very generic critique on the first paragraph of my 2000word childrens story. And yes you guessed it, wanted megebucks for the editing of the same paragraph.Can you improve on this?
    Anonymous eddie.mclay, at 8:39 pm  
    Will check back
    Very keen to see you sa success.
    Blogger City Slicker, at 10:06 am  
    What a fantastic idea. In today's highly sanitised and politically correct environment it is easy to imagine the frustration of not being able to say what you really think about someone's writing.

    I understand you already have a large pile of submissions. Are you still accepting new ones?

    Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:31 am  
    I am new to this site. There are no dates showing. How old is this blog?
    Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:58 pm  
    Hi Torgo,
    A great, good and moral endeavor. Would you prefer to edit prose or can I submit poetry also for your expert advice.
    Blogger Hemu, at 6:57 am  
    Hi can i still send you my work? What do yo
    u get out of the deal?
    Blogger sbnblogger7, at 10:21 pm  
    Are you accepting ms. up to a 1,000 words and what do you get out of the deal?
    Blogger sbnblogger7, at 10:23 pm  

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