Friday, November 18, 2011

Critique Partner #5: Jennifer Kay

Today is the last day to hand in your questionnaire for my FREE critique group matchmaking service. I'll notify everyone of their matches next week.

Note: The questionnaires will be posted as they were given to me. I am not editing them, so any spelling or grammar mistake is theirs, not mine. Even if the writer has given me permission to use his/her name, I’ll refer to that person as Critique Partner # (whatever number he/she is assigned.) This does not mean anyone has been paired up yet. I simply needed a system to identify everyone.

Critique Partner #5 is Jennifer Kay. If you're interested in becoming her crit partner, please contact me at: lynnette_labelle at hotmail dot com. Put "Critique Group Matchmaking" in the subject line or I won't open the email. It would also help if you could attach your questionnaire. I'm going to ask you to fill one out anyway. ;)

Here's more about Jennifer Kay.

Critique Group Questionnaire

About You:

1. In a paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself. (Married? Kids? Pets? Job? Anything you’d like to share, but don’t talk about writing here. Those types of questions will follow.)

I’m a structural engineer who designs buildings and bridges by day and aspires to become a published author by night. I’m recently divorced and have a four-year-old daughter and a new Siamese kitten. We live in the Midwest, and enjoy spending time outdoors and visiting local attractions. Both of us love stories of all kinds – movies, television series, plays, and especially books!

2. What made you decide to start writing?

I’ve always been a reader, but after college when I suddenly had more free time and desired a more creative outlet than my number crunching day job, I decided to write.

3. How long have you been writing at a serious level?

The first year or two I floundered all over the place trying different genres, styles, age levels, and points of view before finding my home in children’s literature. During
that time I wasn’t really serious about writing, nor did I finish anything I started. I’d say I began writing at a serious level eight years also when I began a middle grade science fiction manuscript that became my first completed manuscript.

4. How many completed manuscripts do you have under your belt?

I’ve completed three middle grade manuscripts and am about half-way through a longer young adult manuscript. I’ve also completed several picture book manuscripts.

5. What’s the genre of the story you’d like to have critiqued?

Middle grade fantasy to start with, but in the future I’d be interested in getting critiques on young adult heist manuscripts and pictures book manuscripts. I tend to bounce around within the children’s literature age levels and genres.

6. What genre(s) do you normally write?

Fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and heist.

7. What genre(s) do you like to read for pleasure? Name some authors you’ve read (and enjoyed) recently.

Picture Books: Fancy Nancy, Curious George, Olivia, Where the Wild Things Are

Middle Grade Books: Percy Jackson, Fablehaven, 39 Clues, Princess Academy, Tunnels

Young Adult Books: Gallagher Girls, Heist Society, Eragon, Vampire Academy, House of Night, Hunger Games, Twilight

Adult Authors: Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, Lisa Scottoline, George R.R. Martin, Lee Childs

8. What genre(s) would you prefer not to read?

Historical Fiction and / or adult age level

9. Are you published? If yes, what, where, and when?

No, though I do currently have an editor interested in my middle grade fantasy novel and am working on a revision based on her notes.

10. Do you have an agent? Care to share his/her name and
company? (Not required, just curious).

Yes. Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary Agency

11. Have you entered any contests and what were the results?


12. Are you a member of RWA or any other writers’ groups?

I’m a member of SCBWI.

13. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser, though I usually loosely plot a couple of chapters ahead of me and have a vague idea of where the story will end up.

14. If you join this group, what will you have the members critique?

b)something your agent wants you to edit before she can submit?

15. How often would you wish to exchange work to be critiqued
and how many pages at a time?

Exchanging a chapter once or twice a month would be great. Not sure I could sustain a
critique every week.

16. What are your strong points and areas of improvement as a writer?

My strength is crafting worlds, characters, and storylines. I also have a good grasp of
pacing and proper grammar. My biggest weakness is showing emotional reactions and the mechanics of varying sentence structure, word choice, and dialog methods.
17. Rate your strength/weakness in the areas below using the following scale:

1- Need a lot of help
2- Still working on this
3- I stumble sometimes
4- I rarely struggle with this
5- Very strong in this area

a) grammar: 4

b) spelling: 4

c) punctuation: 4

d) description: 5

e) dialogue: 3

f) narrative: 4

g) POV: 4

h) passive voice: 4

i) action/tension: 3

j) tight writing : 3

k) show vs. tell: 3

l) GMCs.: 3

18. Describe the GMCs (goals, motivations, conflicts) for one of your characters.

Espi’s initial goal is to have wings like all the other fairies. Her motivation is to conform with others. The initial conflict is that her wings don’t arrive on her thirteenth birthday and she is sent away by her family until they do arrive.

As Espi adapts and overcomes the initial conflict, a new conflict arises: a wing infection that strikes all the winged fairies in her colony. Espi’s new goal is to find a
cure for the wing infection, and her motivation is her love for her family
members who are sick.

19. On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being fluffy and 5 being very tough but not rude) what level of critique are you comfortable giving/receiving?

4: Welcome constructive criticism on the story and line edits of the mechanics that are presented politely. Won’t tolerate bashing or put downs of the author. Don’t need ego padding or cheer leading since my family is plenty capable of giving me that.

20. How would you describe yourself as a critiquer (detailed, line edit type person, big picture/concept person, etc.)?

Big picture / concept person with the occasional line edit.

21. Do you have a website or blog? What’s the address? (Are you comfortable with this being posted on my blog? If not, please answer the question and let me know. I won’t post this but need to know more about you when matchmaking.)

No website or blog thought I have considered starting one in the future. Follow many, many other blogs.

Critique Group Specific:

22. Do you belong to or have you ever belonged to a critique group?

Have a local SCBWI group who mainly do fluffy critiques of little value to me. Was part of a great online critique group of 3 writers until the leader became ill and had to end the group. Would like to replace that old group with a new one.

23. A critique group isn’t a place to promote personal agendas such as religion or politics. Will that be a problem for you?


24. In this group, you may find writing with swears, graphic violence, and explicit sex scenes. Will that bother you? Can you objectively critique this type of work?

No, that won’t both me. Willing to critique such work at the young adult age level, but don’t feel it is appropriate for younger readers.

25. Are you looking for a long term critique group or just someone to help you with this particular story?

Long term group.

Contact Information: (Please fill this out, but let me know if you don’t want this or part of this to be posted on my blog. For example, you may not want your email address posted but are okay with your name and website mentioned.)
Pseudonym: Jennifer Kay

Website and/or blog: none

I'll start my regular writing related posts again on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Lynnette Labelle




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