Novel Boot Camp: Workshop #1 Submissions

14577156699_e85ccc7396_oWelcome to the third annual Novel Boot Camp! I’m so excited to be back for another year of writing tips and workshops!

If you participated last year, welcome back to another year of Boot Camp! If this is your first time participating, thanks for joining us! Novel Boot Camp is a ton of fun and a great opportunity to get free feedback on your novel. If you don’t know what Novel Boot Camp is, you can read more about it here.

Because Monday is Independence Day, we won’t start delving into our first topic until Tuesday. Next week is all about protagonists with four video lessons on how to write stronger, better, and more realistic characters.

Today I’m opening up the submission form for the first workshop. For the next two weeks (starting Tuesday, July 5) I will be posting the results. Make sure to submit your opening in the form below and check back every day to see if your submission was chosen for a critique.

If you’d like to see the full schedule for Novel Boot Camp, you can check it out here.

Workshop #1: “I stopped reading when…”

ca_20150131_026Hooray for Workshop #1! This was my favorite workshop from the last two years of Novel Boot Camp so I’m very excited to bring it back this year.

Agents, editors, and readers make lightning fast decisions about what they want to read. This workshop is intended to simulate the querying experience for writers who are hoping to traditionally publish. For those planning to self-publish, this workshop helps demonstrate what readers might think of your novel excerpt when deciding if they want to buy your book.

Last year I worked through 100 novel openings during this workshop. This year I’m going to run this workshop for two weeks so that I can get through even more. 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.

You will also have the opportunity to help your fellow writers by voting whether you would continue reading after the first page.

The Critiques

I will reveal my feedback on your submissions in multiple blog posts throughout the first two weeks of Novel Boot Camp. Each blog post will include excerpts from the submitted first pages. Your name and the title of the novel will not be included. Novels will be identified by genre only.

My feedback will include the text up to the point that I stopped reading along with a few brief comments about why I didn’t continue.

You can read last year’s critiques here.

Results will be posted every weekday from Tuesday July 5th to Friday July 15.

Because this is a free course, I cannot predict how many writers will participate. This means that unfortunately I cannot guarantee everyone will have a chance to participate in every workshop. I will post submissions until time prohibits me from continuing. Thanks for understanding!

Submit your first page below:


Comment Question: What do you think is the biggest problem with your first page?

Want to connect with other Novel Boot Camp Participants?


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Novel Boot Camp: Free Novel Writing Course & Workshop in July

16771863247_55acf2edd5_oNeed help with your novel? Join the third annual Novel Boot Camp and whip your story into shape!

What is Novel Boot Camp?

Novel Boot Camp is a free writing course and workshop for aspiring novelists. It includes daily video lectures, discussion questions, a Q&A session, and two writing workshops with both professional and peer critiques.

This year I’ll be moving from text-based lectures to video lectures. You can view the videos by subscribing to my YouTube channel, but if you’d like to ask questions, answer the discussion questions, or participate in the workshops, please follow this blog so you receive updates to your email.

I’m really excited about this year’s topics, which include:

  • Writing Strong Protagonists
  • Novel Structure & Plot Points
  • Scene Structure
  • Active & Reactive Scenes
  • And more!

The Schedule

4926954971_1a10788d3b_oJuly 1, Friday: Welcome Party & First Workshop

We’ll kick off Novel Boot Camp and submissions will open for the first workshop. During Workshop #1 I will be critiquing your novel openings and providing a brief paragraph of feedback. Last year, I critiqued 100 novel openings! You can check out last year’s version of this workshop here. I will be critiquing novel openings in the order they are submitted. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to get through all submissions.

July 4, Monday: No Activity Today!

If you’re in the states, please enjoy Independence Day!

July 5 – July 8, Tuesday – Friday: Protagonist Week & Workshop #1 Feedback

This week will be all about protagonists. I’m going to cover character flaws, goals, motivation, and realism. Workshop #1 will run throughout the week with daily posts of first-page critiques.

July 11-15, Monday – Friday:  Novel Structure & Workshop #1 Feedback Continued

The second full week of Novel Boot Camp will focus on novel structure. I will cover the first plot point, the midpoint, the second plot point, the climax, and the pinch points. Workshop #1 will continue with daily posts of first-page critiques.

July 15, Friday: Workshop #2 Submissions Open

Submissions for Workshop #2 will open Friday morning. This will be a peer critique session, but I will be offering my critiques as much as possible. Due to time limitations, I may not be able to include every participant in the critique session. Sorry for any inconvenience.

July 18 – 22, Monday – Friday:  Writing Great Scenes & Workshop #2 Peer Critique Sessions

This week will focus on the two different types of scenes (active and reactive) and the key components of each. The peer critique session will run throughout the week so please stop by and critique the work of the other participants!

July 22, Friday: Q&A Session Submissions Open

The submission form for the Q&A sessions will open Friday morning. You will be able to submit any questions you have about writing or editing.

July 25 – 29, Monday – Friday:  Tailored Topics & Q&A Sessions

This week the videos will be tailored to the specific needs and requests of this year’s Novel Boot Camp participants. I will choose the topics based on issues with your first pages as well as the most commonly asked Q&A questions.

How Do I Join Novel Boot Camp?

There is no sign-up form for Novel Boot Camp. Simply follow the blog (RSS feed and an email notification form are available in the sidebar) so you will receive notifications of the workshops and daily lessons.

I hope to see you all there!

If you’re planning to participate in Novel Boot Camp this year, what are you most excited to learn about?