MWPA’s Writing Critique Match-Up Program
Give /ɡiv/ verb
freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone); hand over to.
Take /tāk/ verb
lay hold of (something) with one’s hands; reach for and hold.
Give & Take is a members-only benefit that connects writers of all levels who are interested in working with a critique partner to have their own work critiqued and to critique others’ work. Give & Take provides an opportunity for writers to both become more effective at assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a piece of writing, and to receive feedback on their own work. Give & Take is an equal exchange: an exchange of time, effort, and close reading.
While the goal of Give & Take is to match all writers who apply with a partner, in rare instances matches are not possible.
- Current application period: December 1-31, 2017
- Next application period: April 1-30, 2018
- Before applying to the program through the online application form below, writers must have a completed draft (or drafts) that they would like critiqued; a portion of a longer work—such as finished chapters of a novel or memoir—may be considered “completed” but please be sure to select the appropriate word-count on the application: not the total anticipated word-count of the finished book but the word-count of the portion you would like critiqued.
- The MWPA will supply guidelines for helpful critiques (below). Give & Take offers the chance to learn from a peer—there are no instructors or formal workshops. Writers improve their ability to evaluate their own work by noticing what works and doesn’t work in someone else’s.
- The MWPA matches writers and provides contact information. Partners will decide together how many times they will share work, deadlines, and when/where they will meet (if meeting in person). We suggest that if you meet in person, you choose a public place such as a café or public library.
- Each applicant will receive one partner match per application period. Partners may decide for any reason to discontinue working at any time, however they will have to wait until the next application period to reapply for a new match.
- Writers should keep in mind that submitting an application is a commitment—if you need to withdraw from the program after receiving a critique partner, you will be letting your partner down.
PREPARING TO APPLY
While it is not necessary to prepare for the Give & Take application in advance of the months it is open (April, August, and December), for those who would prefer a sneak peek, listed below are its major components.
- Your preference of working with a critique partner remotely or in person.
- The top three counties you would prefer to meet with a critique partner in person.
- Genre of the piece you would like critiqued. You may select one of the following: Fiction, Crime Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Nonfiction, Memoir, Poetry, Children’s, or Young Adult.
- Selection of the level that best fits your goals and skills as a writer: In order to increase the chances that you’ll find a good match, please think as objectively as possible about where you are with your writing.
Beginning | Writers whose work in their chosen genre has never been published by a magazine, journal, etc, and who are focusing on more basic elements of craft, such as plot and character development in prose, or word choice and line breaks in poetry.
High-Beginning/Low-Intermediate | Writers who have never been published in their chosen genre, but have studied and/or have participated actively in writing critique groups.
Intermediate | Writers with one or more publications in their chosen genre who are working on more advanced elements of craft such as developing voice, possibilities of form, rhythm, etc.
High-Intermediate/Low-Advanced | Writers with one or more publications in their chosen genre who have substantial experience with their own practice but perhaps less experience with critiquing others’ work in the MFA-style approach.
Advanced | Writers with several publications in their chosen genre and/or significant experience critiquing others’ work in the MFA-style approach—be it in an actual MFA program or via other workshops/groups—who would like line edits and help polishing their work for publication, as well as writers who have completed and revised multiple drafts of multiple projects in their chosen genre.
- Description of the writing project you wish to have critiqued in 100 words or less. Please give a sense of the themes, plot, characters, concepts, style, etc of the piece.
- Maximum length of the manuscript you are interested in critiquing, taking into consideration the amount of time you will have to devote to your partner’s work during the following three months. The options are Short (up to 7,000 words) or Long (more than 7,000 words) for prose and 10-25 poems or A complete collection of poems (25+) for poetry.