Novel Boot Camp: First Page Critique Workshop

Riverdale Public Library Logo(1)Take your first page for a test drive in this free workshop!

My hope is that the critiques will help you to avoid mistakes that get submissions deleted by agents and that cause readers to put the book down (or click away from the webpage) without buying.

Want to know what to expect from the critiques? Check out last year’s workshop.

Please read all directions before submitting:

  • Submissions open Monday (August 6) and close Friday (August 24).
  • The critiques will be posted the final week of Novel Boot Camp (August 27-31).
  • The critique will be posted publicly on this blog.
  • Your name and the title of the novel will not be included in your critique. Novels will be identified by genre only.
  • I will accept up to 500 words, but in the interest of critiquing as many writers as possible I will only critique as far as I feel is necessary to provide useful feedback (see last year’s workshop to get a sense of the format, though I might shake things up a bit).
  • My hope is that you will be able to apply the information from the first week of videos (which are all about novel openings!) prior to submitting.
  • Submissions will be critiqued in the order they are received.
  • Due to time constraints and the number of submissions, I cannot update your first page after you submit it.
  • I also (sadly!) can’t guarantee that every submission will receive a critique because I cannot predict how many writers will participate.

Thanks for understanding!

***Please include spaces between paragraphs as no other formatting will be preserved after you submit the form. Thanks!***

Want to connect with other Novel Boot Camp Participants or find a critique partner?


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19 thoughts on “Novel Boot Camp: First Page Critique Workshop

  1. Chester Hendrix says:

    Ellen – your ‘How To Write a Hook’ video this year was inspiring! I’ve ben grinding my brain trying to think of a way to begin my novel in a ‘hookier’ way, but could never quite figure it out. My novel starts out with three ‘introduction’ chapters for the three main characters – and while I’m comfortable withthem, the hook for each one doesn’t hit until the end of each chapter. After listening to your video [especially your well-chosen examples], the answer presented itself – add an extra introductory chapter [only 800+ words] that is ALL HOOK and sets up following events nicely!

    God bless you for your efforts! You are inspiring many of us strugglers with solid and real-world answers to plaguing questions.

    Your Buddy, Chester

  2. A. Connor Parr says:

    It probably would have been helpful if I had included the title the submission. Oops; the title of my novel is OF TALON AND THORN, Mrs. Brock.

    Thank you again, Mrs. Brock, and God bless!


  3. Chester Hendrix says:

    Connor – you didn’t mess up. Guidelines state –
    “Your name and the title of the novel will not be included in your critique. Novels will be identified by genre only.”
    So – that’s the reason there’s no place for you to include the title of your book. 😉 No worry, Our Faithful Editor will make all crystal clear!

    • A. Connor Parr says:

      Thank you, Charlie! I did read the guidelines, but my brother was waving toy airplanes in my face while I did so and it must have caused me to mentally skip over that section. There’s a reason we’re supposed to write without distractions, but family is totally worth it! :p

  4. Casey :) says:

    I’ve been a fan of your channel for a couple years now; your videos have been a massive help to me! Thanks so much for your time! 😀

  5. Deans says:

    I accidentally forgot to put spaces between the paragraphs and only realized it hours later so I resubmitted. I hope that’s OK and doesn’t mess anything up. Feel so dumb.

  6. datex (@datex1999) says:

    UGHH! So nervous! This is the first time I share my work with a professional (of any kind) and the first time I even try to write something in English (I really hope I translated it well). Unfortunately, my paragraph-spacing format didn´t work at all, but hopefully, that didn´t ruin the experience.

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