RLGL Final Around Results COMPLETE


Thanks again for your incredible patience in waiting for the final results for RLGL. We hope you have written or revised at least one major work while you were waiting for the pooch to get his head out of the refrigerator and work on your stuff.

We have two winners for the longer-work category! See below.

ALL RLGL WINNERS: I will be contacting you by email on Thursday to schedule a the phone consult you won, where you’ll get a chance to hear what the pooch  thought of your opening pages.

ALL Participants: We hope you’ve gained some new insights about your writing and the writing of others.  And remember, this was just one pooch’s opinion. If it does not ring true to you, happily ignore the input and listen to your inner-writer. Publishing is definitely not a one-size-fits-all kind of business. However, if you get the same feedback from others or feel deep-down that perhaps there might be something to the opinion, keep an open mind and see if revision can take your manuscript to the next level.

Thanks again for playing! Also, if you have plans to reserve a paid critique slot, May is now full. June 5 is your next deadline for an end of June turn around.  To reserve a slot, make sure you are signed up for the correct list and email Cynthea  what you need.

Happy writing, everyone!

P.S. If you turned in your stuff prior to the Final Round deadline but do not see anything for your entry, please contact me at cynthea AT gmail dot com. We think we may have missed an email or two in our frenzy to get this finished.

Format Back Next Round 8 Notes
0 MG X* Concerned that there isn’t enough in the plottting in chapter 1 to feel like this matters enough. Consider making the plot a bit more involving or unique and less every-dayish feeling (could happen to anyone, anywhere).
28 PB
38 YA Pg. 8 WINNER!
40 YA X Submitted over the 250 word count limit for successive pages :(
45 MG X Ultimately, this seemed so singly-focused on one thing in this many pages that the story lacked depth and the pacing feels off. Scale back on this topic and move the plotting forward. We’ve been in the main characters head for a looooong time ,too.
50 PB
63 YA
65 MG X* Set the scene bettter when you change locations, especially if the location is new to the characters involved.
66 MG
77 MG
85 MG
92 YA
93 YA
96 YA
97 MG
107 MG
109 PB
125 YA X* The pacing of this story is getting a bit slow. By this many pages in, we should have a stronger idea of the overall premise.
134 MG X Page 8.  WINNER!
147 YA
150 MG
151 MG
154 MG X* The characterization here feels very forced. And focused on minutia. Doesn’t seem like this should take up most of a page in your book. Ease back.
172 PB
183 MG X There’s nice writing here, but ultimately the story felt like it lacked depth. Why should the reader care? This is a very plot-oriented opening – let’s balance this out with a bit more character development at the same time so we feel more invested in the storyline
187 MG
190 PB
191 YA
205 MG
207 MG X Ultimately, the context should have been presented much earlier. See previous comment. Not a hard thing to change though.
209 MG X
210 PB
211 ER
212 PB
214 MG
219 YA
234 MG X
235 CB X Kissy is having a hard time understanding what is at stake here for this story. Why should the pooch care? There’s potential in the writing but … we just can’t seem to get why any of this matters story-wise. Reconsider how this story begins. Establish better what the premise of this story might be.
238 PB
245 MG X* This is well-written, but overall, now that we’ve seen this many pages, we wonder if the premise could be more relatable somehow or have more depth to draw us in more. Why is the MC so into what he’s into? Is that a way to get at the heart of his character  better?
255 PB
265 YA
267 PB
271 MG X
275 PB
276 PB
277 YA
282 PB
283 YA
289 YA X This page was a bit disorienting. Where did that other character come from. Had he been there the whole time? Confused. Spend somet time setting up the scene a bit better, work on logistics so the reading is smoother and less disorienting.
295 YA X There needs to a be a bit more polish with technical aspects of the writing. But what really did I, is that by page 4, it’s a little too unclear what this book is about.
296 MG
297 MG X* The chapter break feels very unnatural, especially since the next chapter is just a continuation of the same scene. This feels very forced.
305 PB
309 PB X The humor is fun but overall, it distracts from the main point of the story. It seems a bit too complicated given the premise. Simplify and pare this down to its heart. What are readers supposed to walk away with when all is said and done? Can you do this in fewer words and keep the plot a bit more streamlined?
310 PB
311 MG
316 PB X* This has a ton of potential. But we think it needs to not be gender specific to make this even more marketable, also some more attention could be paid to the story arc of this manuscript to make it even more unrejectable.
322 PB
324 PB X Interesting concept, but the execution seems to falter quite a bit.  It’s not clear what the story structure and theme is; also  seems long for the format.
329 PB X In the end, this didn’t pan out in a way that felt compelling enough. The sense of humor is nice but work on tightening up the plot, deliver a surpirse at the end, and work on that  theme. Also shorten this in general.
334 YA X* First scene doesn’t feel developed enough, go a little further before the scene change.
335 MG X This is very disjointed between scene 1 and the flashback. Try not to rely so heavily on a flashback in the first opening graphs of your book. The sequence of time is a bit hard to follow as well, in the flashback itself.
336 MG X* Slow down with your opening a bit so it’s not this difficult to understand the setup
337 CB X* This seems a bit older for a chapter book at the moment. Too soon to tell though for sure.
339 YA X* Not super fond of the shift in POV after such a short moment with the first character. Just as Kissy was about to settle down with the first character, the channel is changed so fast you wonder why we started watching the first channel. Give the pooch some time to settle in before flipping.
340 PB
341 YA X* Abrupt transition between page 1 and 2. A bit odd not to stay in the first scene longer.


RLGL Wrapping Up: Round 7 Results COMPLETE, Final Round Deadline for Existing Entries ONLY April 23 11:59PM CST

Dear Tiquees:

Thank you for your monumental patience while Kissy deals with a whole host of tasks related to bacon consumption, chew-toy destruction, and every pooch’s favorite time of the year: Spring Break! We are back and it’s time to start closing down RLGL in preparation for summer. This means there will be no new entries for RLGL. Round 8 results will only include the entries that had been received up to this point (about 7AM CST, Apr 22), and entries from existing works that are still hanging in.

If you sent in your entry and followed the rules before April 8, 11:59 PM CST, your results should appear in this round. If they do not, contact Cynthea at her email address, not the sub address.

Also, if you are considering a paid critique, the sooner you notify us, the better. Sign up for the list and email Cynthea if you hope to get a May slot.


Format Back Next Round 7 Notes
0 MG
1 MG X Kissy faded  on this one. He’ was going to give it one more page, but then felt the writing needed to be pushed a bit further. It’s feeling a bit too forced, but overall, it definitely use a bit stronger voice to make it feel more distinctive. This piece isn’t standing out like it should.
9 MG X The pooch thinks the topic is great but the writing needs to come up a bit in the story’s execution. it’s just not singing like it should and some more careful  characterization and development of the narrative will really take something that has potential and shine it up into a gem. This needs to shine! We want it to shine. But at the moment, the pooch just has to give it the paw.
28 PB
38 YA X* Be careful of making this book sound one-dimensional, like a stereotpyical 80’s problem novel. Those days have come and gone. So we need to make sure that there is more to this than the problem itself.
40 YA
45 MG X* A little hard to understand how to visualize this. And see previous comments about fleshing out the setup better in these opening pages. We’ll give it one more page to see if anything more comes to light. We hope so. The pooch is hanging by a very thin strand of bacon on this one.
50 PB
63 YA
65 MG X
66 MG
77 MG
85 MG
92 YA
93 YA
96 YA
97 MG
107 MG
109 PB
125 YA X* The scene change is a bit abrupt with the new character intro – smooth this out a bit. Where were this person the whole time? Confusing.
129 YA X Ultimately what killed this for Kissy is that the MC is allowing someone else to do what the MC would really be doing herself too. This didn’t seem likeable. If she really loves the family member, that would be her first priority, not minding other people’s stuff. Easy to fix though.  Also see previous comment, her mind keeps digressing to things she wouldn’t be thinking about when she’s just lost the family member. Really get into your character’s head. Imagine what you would think if your family member just ran off.
134 MG X* This page lacked anything truly memorable. The writing here has gotten a bit flat and also the voice seems to falter a little (sounding more adult-ish, than child-like). This page doesn’t feel like it’s earning it’s place. Consider heavy revision.
147 YA
150 MG
151 MG
154 MG
172 PB
183 MG X* What this needs is a clearer setup. This is reading a bit cartoony – which is totally fine -but needs to be consistent throughout, from the very beginning. For a larger than life story – make it clearer from the get-go that it is – look at other MG books that stretch reality in this way. There are also plenty of TV references to examine as well.
187 MG
190 PB
191 YA
205 MG
207 MG X* Still don’t have a strong sense of the “so-what” of all of this. After this many pages, it should be much clearer. What is the bigger picture? The writing is good, but the interest is fading very quickly for this pooch.
208 PB X There’s a plot in here that could work, but the execution lacks emotion. Kissy really wanted to be one with this main character but just found himself reading a plot rundown. Consider 1) really shortening the text and sticking with your MC as much as possible, eliminating things that seemed distracting. 2) work on getting more deeply into your MC’s head and showing us his plight, versus sending him through the motions of the plot.
209 MG X watch for a little stuffing of detail at a moment where it doesn’t fit. Considered what just happened and where the MC’s mind would be. Jamming in details that feel out of place, given the context, can really pull a reader out of a story fast.  Easy fix though.
210 PB
211 ER
212 PB
214 MG
219 YA
221 PB X The humor is great, the idea is in the right direction but what’s not super clear is what this story is about by story’s end. While Kissy has a feeling the theme is friendship – this could come through much more clearly – and what exactly is the takeaway about friendship through this plotting? Answer that and make sure that is coming through more clearly. In the end, the pooch wondered if the younger audience was going to be able to relate to the MC and his counterparts predicament. Very important to build upon this. That connection and relatability between story and intended audience.
234 MG X* Consider writing this in past tense. There’s some awkwardness with the tense. Watch for breaking when there’s no need. Study how to transition in time without a break. Also the transition feels like someone just changed the channel. Smooth this out.
235 CB X Let’s see what’s on the next page. But this one is hanging by  thread here if it doesn’t pan out.
238 PB
245 MG X
255 PB
265 YA
267 PB
271 MG X* This helps, but the writing here was a little stiff compared to what came before it. But Kissy is always a sucker for a good pooch story so we’ll keep going.
275 PB
276 PB
277 YA
282 PB
283 YA X* This feels more like MG versus YA at the moment. Be careful of the MC’s voice, almost coming off as too self-important. So scale back a little on that. Let’s see where this goes. Right now not super clear what this will be about.
284 MG X Unfortunately, the pacing really stalled on this one because so much attention was paid to minor movements. The page is filled with them to the point you lose track of what’s importat. Please visit the Revision 911 article and watch the dependency on dependent clauses as well. These are simple fixes to make and will improve the clarity and pace of your writing dramatically.
289 YA X* Add a little more depth to the telling. Still a bit hard to picture.
295 YA X* The writing feels very distant, making it difficult to feel involved with the story. The pooch will give it another page, but work on  drawing out more depth to the characterization.  Right now the MC feels dramatic and a bit empty. There’s not much to go on through the end of page 3. This next page needs more teeth to pull this one out.
296 MG X* Hopefully what’s going on will be outlined in the next page, otherwise, Kissy will be just plain confused. Clue him in a little on the premise of your book.
297 MG
305 PB X* Same comment as before.  The pooch really dug this one. Has potential but do add more depth.
306 PB X At this point, Kissy was not drawn in enough to keep going. The writing started to feel a bit flat and repetitive. And there wasn’t much here to draw out the emotions of either character that this involves. While again, the premise is intriguing, more needs to be done here (in terms of style, emotional development, theme ) to make this one demand more attention.
309 PB X* This seems a bit long overall, and we are a bit fearful this is more of a punchline than a full-on story with heart. Hmmm…
310 PB
311 MG
316 PB X* This one has taken an interesting turn. And the pooch wonders if the story should have started out a bit differently. It’s a great concept, but we also need to be concerned with Gender roles, etc. Let’s see where this goees…But definitely work to make this shorter.
317 PB X This character has promise but the storyline doesn’t have enough meat to it to make it feel promising.  Put on the marketing hat and give this either 1) More social value 2) more emotional value or 3) more evaluation value. Or all of the above. :)
318 PB X Ultimately, this was a good example of poetry but this, overall lacked pizzazz when it comes to really rallying your target audience (the pre-schooler/kindergartner) with the educational bend that this has in the picture book format. How do you make this read a bit more accessible to the target audience? A bit more fun to read aloud? A bit more engaging in terms of storyline? A bit more surprising and unexpected?
321 PB X Ultimately, this telling feels a bit stream of consciousness – like. Not sure where it is going, and the pooch wasn’t reeled in. Consider narrative more closely – examine story arc.
322 PB
324 PB Attachment submitted.
327 PB X Ultimately, this one felt a bit long and the pooch still wondered what this was about. By this many words in, the story should feel like it has more weight / importance? It’s reading very much like a short story for a niche market, which isn’t bad per se. but not quite what Kissy is looking for.
328 PB X This story has potential but it’s lacking in story arc/emotional arc. See if you can go a bit deeper and really bring out a theme (a so-what?) for this story. Right now it is coming off as cute, but its lacking weight – concerend this will be viewed as slight in the marketplace, as is. So really go further with the overall idea
329 PB X* We wanna see what happens. Boy do we hope this ends super cleverly.
330 PB X This has potential but the way this turned out didn’t seem like the best direction exactly. It makes it sound as though in order to gain friends, one must conform versus embrace uniqueness/differences. The pooch doesn’t think this was the author’s intentinn but that was what the takeaway seemed to be by story’s end. Reconsider how this story resolves.
331 PB X Concept is good but execution feels a bit too commoplace/true to everyday life which makes for an ordinary versus extraordinary beginning. Try to reimagine this concept with larger than life fiction than demands attention in the PB format
332 PB X See 331.
333 PB X This concept felt a bit too off the beaten path. Very loose with such random elements put together. Try a different premise for this pooch. He just couldn’t connect.
334 YA X Be careful of harsher language in opening lines, if you plan for this book to also be shared in schools, etc. It may not be a consideration for you, but we always tell writers this if they want their books to appear in school libraries, Scholastic, etc.
335 MG X* This opening is a bit hard to understand from the first line. Also feels like the MC has a chip on shoulder / temper the voice. We want to care / empathize with the MC but so much snarkiness/negativity gives the pooch some pause (paws).
336 MG X* A bit hard to understand. Switch in topic is jarring.
337 CB X
338 PB X This seems like it has a good theme, but the execution is a bit everydayish / too true to life which makes the manuscript itself seem too commonplace, not unique.
339 YA X
340 PB X* This is an interesting idea, however, have to be careful. This sounds as though it’s  a situation that makes someone feel sorry for the main character, which could be viewed as offensive. Tread carefully and focus on the true meaning of this story. What is the theme? What is the hope for this story?  We have some ideas but as the author, get the story’s theme to come through a bit more clearly.
341 YA X* Yikes, this is a mature and somewhat nasty opening. Ha. No doubt, going this route could  turn off some people just by sheer grossness and appropriateness of content. But let’s see what’s on the next page.
342 PB X This is sounding like something meant for an older audience or a different format than PB. The style feels more short story-ish and the content feels like early middle grade at the minimum. Check out the PB section at your book store and look for  stories with similar subject matter – published in recent years.


RLGL Round 6 Results COMPLETE, Round 7 deadline, 11:59PM CST April 8, 2014

UPDATE: Round 6 Results are now complete. If you sent in your submission after March 27, 11:59PM (provided you have followed all of our insane rules), your submission rolls into Round 7, which ends on April 8, 2014.  Thank you all for your incredible patience. We hope you found that good chew toy to chomp to smithereens while waiting for these results.

This next week is extremely loaded for the pooch.  And if you are considering getting a paid critique from Cynthea while the pooch is busy chasing garbage trucks, watching ANIMAL PLANET, and of course, begging for bacon, please make sure you make the next deadline of May 5, for May submissions for written critiques. Though keep in mind, phone consults may be scheduled at any time that works out for both Cynthea and you.

Now on to Round 6 Results. Again, if you thought your results should have appeared here, double-check your submission and make sure you followed the rules and met the deadline. If you did not, correct your mistake by resubmitting to the correct inbox by the Round 7 deadline.  Arrrrroo!

Round 6 Results

#        Format  Back to Start  Next Pg (250 words)   Notes

0 MG X* By now the pooch needs to know where this is headed but the small incident here seems a bit too magnfied –  make the event bigger so the reaction is justified or else your MC will seem TOO weak and oversensitive.
1 MG
5 MG
9 MG
22 PB
28 PB
30 YA X This opening is still a bit too veiled. It’s unclear what this story could be about really, with alll the different elements mixed in. Kissy gave up and gave it the paw. Please try again with another work.
38 YA X* Pacing is really stalled on this page.  This page and the one before it could really be just one page, once all the extra stuff is taken out.
40 YA X* That is a lot to try to remember and keep straight in one page. Try not to dump so much in a short span with so many different characters all at once. Sounds a bit rambling
45 MG X* Definitely try to hint that there’s more to the story than what is outlined in chapter 1. Fleshout the setup there a bit more before you break to chapter two. Otherwise the novel feels empty, plotting-wise.
50 PB
62 YA X This intro feels a bit too drawn out to get to the part that matters and as a reader, we don’t understand why we would care for this character. What are her hopes. We know what may be getiing in the way of that, but the lack of a positive want or desire makes it difficult to empathize with the MC and her plight.
63 YA
65 MG X
66 MG
69 PB
77 MG
85 MG
92 YA
93 YA
96 YA
97 MG
104 PB
106 PB
107 MG
109 PB
121 YA X Ultimately this opening feels a bit focused on one topic that the characters seem flat overall, see if you can revise this so that it’s clear there is more to them than just this.
125 YA X
129 YA
134 MG X* Bea careful of making the character too unlikeable. If he’s this robotic, we begin to not care about what happens to him. Soften this a little.
147 YA
150 MG
151 MG
154 MG X
172 PB
183 MG X* Very strange location for a chapter break. Work out how to know when to break for chapters.
187 MG
190 PB
191 YA
205 MG
207 MG ccc Establish what is so important about the MC’s goal. Unclear and the pooch is losing interest fast. His paw is shaking.
208 PB
209 MG X* Be careful of children drinking adult-like drinks, feels really out of character. Pulled us out of the story fast because we wondered if she was much older than we had thought. Easy fix though.
210 PB
211 ER
212 PB
214 MG
219 YA
221 PB X* Let’s see where this goes. Same comment as before.
234 MG X
235 CB X* Not sure I get what’s at stake here for the MC and what she wants for herself?  Why does any of this truly matter? The opening pages should setup the ride we are about to take.  The pooch is not feeling as pulled in as he should be by this many pages in
238 PB
245 MG X
251 MG X Ultimately, there are too many details here that feel coincidental. Perhaps have the discovery of the coincidence come out more slowly, over time, as they learn new things about the mystery – if in fact, they are deliberartely destined to solve it.
255 PB
264 CB X There didn’t seem to be anything on this page that matters to the story.  Be sure to edit out parts that don’t truly matter. This opening could stand to be reworked. As it stands, it feels a bit too much like a play-by-play of an ordinary day, versus a setup for a novel. Your opening needs to feel a bit more distinctive.
265 YA
267 PB
271 MG X* Provide more context as to what is headed for the main character. Right now, the pooch doesn’t have too much to go on and the other character is upstaging the main character a bit in these opening pages. Balance this out a bit.
275 PB
276 PB
277 YA
282 PB
283 YA X* Now we see what’s going on, but it was a bit disorienting in the beginning. Establish much sooner the species, or we will assume human and not this common speies, unless painstakingly clear, especially if the book is tagged as YA versus MG.
284 MG
289 YA X
295 YA X* This feels a bit overwritten in spots and was hard to follow, without a second re-read. Don’t try this hard. Clarity is important.
296 MG X
297 MG X* See if you can get to the answer in less space, this kind of goes on a bit long. Easy fix.
298 PB X This felt very pat and also gives the impression that one thing can solve all the kiddos problems. Be careful of this as it may give some false hope. Still like the topic though
301 PB X The story isn’t entirely clear – like what could be the so-what? Kissy wonders if this opening is strong  enough to carry a picture book.
302 PB X Ultimately, the execution felt very pat. It was much too simple for the MC to solve his problem  and the answer seems to come from nowhere, versus motivated by the story itself.  Nice sense of humor though but work on story development.
303 PB X Unfortunately, this premise just wasn’t right for Kissy. The pooch wonders how relatable this is, how universal. Also the next page is heavy with minor dialogue. Make sure every word counts, spoken or unspoken.
304 PB X Ultimately the pooch wasn’t drawn in on this page either. So many things to keep track of, it just seemed a bit too scattered and frenetic…we had forgotten what the story was or could be about.
305 PB X* Ultimately, this has potential but needs to be revised to get at a stronger theme for the book, and perhaps with more examples (versus just using one throughou the entire book).  Develop this idea into a PB with more breadth and a clearer so-what.
306 PB X* Same comment as before.

307 CB X If this is to be a chapter book, you have some stiff competition: See if you can more clearly define the confict with this cast of characters. Right now it feels a bit too stream of consciousness.  Check out Chris Colfer’s MG series that uses a similar idea. You will want to make sure you deliver something just as strong, but for the CB crowd.


309 PB X* Be careful of firearm references in PBs. Many parents, teachers, librarians have issues with illustrations of them for books meant for kindergartners. Easy fix tho
310 PB X* The choice of animal feels more regionally popular, but let’s see where this goes.
311 MG X
312 PB X The style doesn’t feel like a PB text. Consider rewriting this without all the minor movements. See Revision 9-1-1 article on PBs at wfcat.com as a reference.
313 PB X The educational bend to this one goes a bit too far above PB target audience.
314 PB X This has charm, but watch the use of technology in PBs, this will quickly become outdated (visually).  Also why is this important to the MC? Unclear. Establish in opening lines
315 PB X This opening is strictly dialogue and I’ts not highly illustratable scene-wise, this would work well for a chapter book though – the writing style – see Revision 911 PB article on www.wfcat.com
316 PB X* this would be more fun visually if these weren’t humans, but let’s see where this goes. Always think of missed opportunities (visually). If the illustrations are just everyday scenes, it starts to become pretty snooze-worthy.
317 PB X* Hope this has heart, feels a bit punch-liney at the moment
318 PB X* Some of this is hard to picture instantly, even upon a second read. So watch for this. Don’t get tooo creative with it, that the visulization gets difficult for the agent/editor.
319 PB X This seems like it could be a great concept, but the rhyme didn’t scan well for the pooch. For that, it’s getting the paw. Really work on meter, scheme, syllabic stresses.
320 YA X This opening is much too forced with the backstory or a supporting character jammed in like this. Scale back and focus on forward narrative with a dash of backstory mixed in. Not a dump.
321 PB X* This intro could be compressed to half its size so the setup is clearer in fewer words. Let’s see where this goes. It usually doesn’t require more than three examples to establish something in a picture book. To list 8 is a bit much. Pick your very best details.
322 PB X* This is cute. Could be strengthened as a picture book or a board book, language and story-wise. See if you can clever up the ending so the resolution isn’t so easy.
323 PB X This feels a bit too loose with the concept – if you’re going to use fantasy- go fantasy all the way. Here, it’s combined with regular human stuff so it feels scattered. Loose in concept
324 PB X* Cute concept, but watch the wordiness.
325 PB X This also feels a bit loose in concept – the names of the characters, coupled with the use of hi-adventure, and then a nature topic.  A bit too helter skelter. While it’s good to think out of the box, motivate the out of box thinking so it still feels tight, despite disparate topics.
326 PB X This reads a bit too life-threatening for a PB opening. Scale back or perhaps this belongs in a slightly older work.
327 PB X* Feeling undecided by this one, sometimes it is hard to understand without a bit more context in the sentences. Also, the pooch wonders why this matters, but we will see where this goes.
328 PB X* Nice twist to the concept, but the bodily function just doesn’t seem tight enough for the concept. But let’s see whwere this goes.
329 PB X


330 PB X* This has merit.  Though this could be tighter in execution so that a story arc builds, versus repetitive sequences that seem to have the same level of energy in each


RLGL Round 5 Results COMPLETE, Round 6 Deadline Extended Mar. 27, 11:59 pm CST





3) DID NOT GET A NUMBER for Round 5 and


please forward your email to the Cynthea address so we can get your entry processed.

Round 5 Results are COMPLETE.  The next deadline for existing entries and new entries is now March 27, 11:59PM CST.

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU SEND RLGL ENTRIES TO THE SUB ADDRESS. Woof! Cynthea’s personal email box is for addressing issues only. Put it this way: To get in line, you need to stand in the right line. Nothing worse than getting to the front of the line after waiting for days, only to realize you were in the wrong line the whole time.

Also make sure you submit the correct # of words. If you are on the first page, 125 words. If you are on any page after that, 250 words.

First page entries do not have entry #s. You will get one when it is assigned to you. DO NOT use old entry numbers on new entries.

****If you do not see a response next to your number, please verify that your entry was sent to the correct address in the proper format, etc. before the Round 5 deadlines (there were two deadlines: one for new entries (March 20, 8PM CST) and one for those who were waiting for results from Round 4 (March 23, 11:59PM CST)***  If it was, and you titled your email correctly, etc., then forward your old email to the cynthea address  and tell us what’s wrong. If you did not send in your entry in time and everything else was correct, your results will appear in Round 6. DO NOT REPLY TO OLD ENTRY emails. This really screws up the order of Kissy’s emails. If you plain messed it all up, send in your entry with everything corrected to the sub address and it will be reviewed in the round it was received in.

NEW ENTRANTS: Any *new* entries received until the next deadline is set will be part of Round 6. Please make sure you only have ONE entry at a time in the entire contest. Multiple entries will result in disqualification of all of your entries.

Please do your very best not to send emails until AFTER your round is COMPLETE.

Also, new and existing clients: the paid critique deadline is coming up on April 5, please make sure that if you plan to receive a paid critique from Cynthea, please sign up for the paid critique list if you have not already for the rates, etc. and make the April 5 deadline for written critiques. We know RLGL has been great fun, but don’t miss the deadline if you wanted to get a full written critique. Cynthea’s critiques are very similar to Kissy’s, except there’s less bacon talk and barking involved. Phone consults may be booked at anytime, as usual.


#               Format     Back to Start  Send Nxt Pg: 250 wrds      Notes

0 MG X Watch out for long interior monologue in the middle of convo.  Toward the end there if the list keeps going, it’s gonna be too long.
1 MG
5 MG X
9 MG X** By this many pages, should have a much better sense of story.
22 PB
28 PB
30 YA X* Not sure how the opening connects with the next part. Hopefully that will become clear soon.
38 YA X
40 YA X Hard to picture the narrator/characters referenced. Draw in visual details to fully develop the picture in the reader’s mind. Not just for setting but the character’s themselves.
43 ER X It’s unfortunate because the concept could be a lot of fun. The resolution felt very pat and convenient. It’s the right resolution, but work out the plotting so this comes together more cleverly, and the overall reading is a bit more suspenseful, making us wonder how on earth could this sort of resolution come to pass?
45 MG X
50 PB
57 MG X This continues to suffer from all the important info being relayed almost strictly through dialogue. Don’t be afraid to use internal monologue to help us get to know the character’s a bit better too. It reads a bit too stiffly.  It’s a fun idea but work on the mastery of dialogue, versus interior monologue, versus narrative action and description.
62 YA X
63 YA
65 MG X* Not understanding why the MC didn’t know this from the beginning.
66 MG
69 PB
72 MG X Something about the mysterious circumstances that get sidestepped so easily, and the character’s voice, which can seem a bit snarky/rude is making Kissy give this the paw. The pooch just isn’t drawn in as much as he’d like to be after this many pages.
77 MG
85 MG
91 MG X Ultimately, there wasn’t enough here in Chapter One to keep Kissy rooted in front of his laptop.  Was there really a chapter’s worth of story in Chapter One? There’s no need to break here.  Felt very forced and abrupt. Rework the opening to move the story forward more clearly by the end of Chapter One.  How is this incident different from all of the other times this has happened before? Make that clear.
92 YA
93 YA
96 YA
97 MG
104 PB
106 PB
107 MG
109 PB
121 YA X This one is also feeling a bit hard to remember. Though distinctive in time, the opening is reading a bit flat overall.
125 YA X If anyone is reading this, sometimes Kissy feels like the easiest thing you can do to clear a round is to write a clearly written scene. Comprehension/clarity is so important. Don’t make agents/editors backtrack and have to read your page twice just to understand how to picture this in their minds. Read your writing for clarity/ability to visualize. This sample of a page did just that.
129 YA X* We really wanted to follow this character, however, stay in your character’s head. If what just happened happened, would she really be thinking about some of the things mentioned in this page? A family member just ran off. Keep her mind where it should be until there is mental space for  more relaxed kind of thoughts.  Stay with your character, given the context, otherwise Kissy will give this one the paw.
134 MG X
137 MG X Ultimately, Kissy just couldn’t get into the premise as much as he tried. Something about how this opens just didn’t feel super gripping. What’s at stake? Why does it matter for the MC? What does he really want? How can today’s kids relate? Find parallels and see if you can work that into the opening, approaching it a different way.
147 YA
150 MG
151 MG
154 MG
157 MG X Unforunately the pacing just seemed off here.  Tighten this so the story moves a little faster. Still don’t know what the setup of this book may be.
161 MG X This started off with what the characters don’t want versus what they do want, and seemed to hit the same issue over and over again, making this seem more dismal than intriguing with a dismal backdrop. Work to balance positive desires from a big picture POV with the negative circumstances to make this opening a more balanced read.
163 CB X Ultimately, Kissy feels this may not be the best way to open your story. It’s a very slow start. Consider Carl Hiassen’s HOOT as an example of opening your story in an intriguing way, given the genre of your book. Also your MC reads older than his stated age. I would age the age to 12 to make this squarely MG, instead of CB, given the maturity of the MC’s voice.
172 PB
183 MG X* Having a hard time figuring out if this is supposed to be fantasy or not.  The premise seems a bit odd and I wish this were better justified in the story and explained.
187 MG
190 PB
191 YA
205 MG
207 MG X* So many names to keep track of in one page. Eek. Kind of lost track of what was going on.  Indicate why he must take this trip or we don’t even know why we should care.  Kissy’s paw is shaking
208 PB
209 MG X
210 PB
211 ER X* The storyline feels like it’s meandering a bit. Like it’s just moving from one thing to the next without any real motivation. Starting to wonder what the point of the book is.
212 PB X* We don’t even know what to make of this except it is oddly funny and so bizarre. See if you can try not to make it a book that crosses two potential holidays together. Maybe change the christmas character into something less associated with any particular holiday. Perhaps something really really  the opposite of his behavior that children really adore to consume.
214 MG
219 YA
221 PB X We hope this has heart and not just a punchline
234 MG X* Be careful of being too jokey jokey when serious stuff is happening. Stay in his head. Don’t force humor in the wrong spots.
235 CB X* This is reading a bit more like young middle grade with all the politicking going on.  Also the first part did not transition well into the second. Is this the best way to open your book?
238 PB
245 MG X
251 MG X*  The coincidence and how readily the character’s believe it makes them sound a bit too naïve. Instead motivate the belief more or temper their confidence that this is the case. Feels too forced
253 PB X This feels like a punchline versus a full blown story. Each stanza felt a bit repetitive of the one preceding it, versus complicating the overarching plot instead. Also watch for resolutions that just come to the character magically without any setup, etc.
254 PB X Yeah, this ends with a pat resolution. But the concept could really work – see previous comments
255 PB
264 CB X* We would classify the voice as MG; she is very self-aware. Typically 8/9 year olds sound much younger in chapter books and the telling is simpler because younger kids are reading these books. Think Judy Moody. Clementine, etc. Consider upping the age so this falls more squarely into MG.  Also watch for appearance of typical mom saying typical things in opening pages. It doesn’t help your manuscript sound unique. Consider starting elsewhere in your story.
265 YA X* Watch for references to TV shows. Give your book a longer shelf-life. Easy fix
267 PB
270 MG X Ultimately, Kissy feels that how this opened may not have been the strongest. Perhaps Chapter 2 is really where the story starts – begin on the day that is truly different for the MC, versus a whole chapter on backstory.
271 MG X
275 PB
276 PB
277 YA
282 PB
283 YA X* This is a bit confusing and hard to picture the narrator as the actions are taking place. Is he invisible? How come he does not appear to be in the actual scene itself?  Hopefully this gets cleared up fast.
284 MG X



287 PB X This one falls in the category of many other PB entries that have gotten the paw from Kissy. Everydayish opening, short-story style.  Parental figures showing up in early lines, saying typical parental figure stuff. To make this standout as a commercial major trade picture book, the story should feel larger than life and give maximum opp for eye-catching illustration. Typical scenes just don’t do that as well as competing manuscripts.  Visit the PB wall at B&N (where all the books face out) and count how many books feature an everyday scene with human characters, speaking regular dialogue in a typical everday setting. Not many, if any, and there’s a good reason for that.
288 PB X See 287, except here the main character is not a child, but an adult which make this less universally connectable. Consider making a child the star versus an adult.
289 YA X* Set the scene a bit more visually. Hard to picture the characters or setting in any memorable way.
290 PB X See 287
291 PB X See 287. Also, unless this is a speech balloon kind of picture book with very strong dialogue, detailed minor conversations don’t usually make for great PB text because illustrating minor dialogue is not the point. It’s an eye catching visual scene that matters. PB style is usually less dialogue-filled. It is worth studying in contemporary PB stories. The balance of dialgue vs narration.
292 PB X Have to be careful of using content that might be replicated by a child when using human characters.  Also, once again, if this weren’t possibly dangerous, it still features a pretty typical scenario found in everyday life. Contemporary PB fiction usually takes an everyday concept and makes it much larger than life.
293 PB X See 287. Also see 291.
294 PB X This is an interesting concept, but the execution feels too commonplace.  Maybe there is a version of this in the manner of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. See if you can approach it from that angle?  Remember, larger than life. Not like real life.
295 YA X
296 MG X
297 MG X* Detail the visuals a bit better so it’s more distinctive. Hard to picture.
298 PB X* This is a good topic, may be of interest to some publishers. Let’s see where this goes.
299 PB X It was hard to follow which animal was which and what this picture book may be about.  Kissy scratched his head and then just gave it the paw.
300 PB X Punctuation and capitalization in opening lines made Kissy give this one the paw.
301 PB X* This one’s odd. Kissy will see where this goes. Hopefully it’s point will be come clear.
302 PB X* A popular TV show makes this one seem less original, but we will see where this goes…
303 PB X* Can’t tell what is happening with the sounds. Not clear, where is this premise headed exactly but we will give it another page because of charm
304 PB X* Title is too close to a food product brand. The premise isnt super attractive to this pooch, but we will see where it goes…
305 PB X* Interesting idea here, have to be careful not to sound presumptive about race and language. Easy fix though.


RLGL Round 4 Results COMPLETE


Round 4 Results are now complete.

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU SEND RLGL ENTRIES TO THE SUB ADDRESS. Woof! Cynthea’s personal email box is for addressing issues only. Put it this way: To get in line, you need to stand in the right line. Nothing worse than getting to the front of the line after waiting for days, only to realize you were in the wrong line the whole time.

Also make sure you submit the correct # of words. If you are on the first page, 125 words. If you are on any page after that, 250 words.

First page entries do not have entry #s. You will get one when it is assigned to you. DO NOT use old entry numbers on new entries.

If you do not see a response next to your number, please verify that your entry was sent to the correct address in the proper format, etc. before the Round 4 deadline on March 12, 8PM CST. If it was, and you titled your email correctly, etc., then forward your old email to the cynthea address  and tell us what’s wrong. If you did not send in your entry in time and everything else was correct, your results will appear in Round 4 or Round 5, depending upon when you sent it. DO NOT REPLY TO OLD ENTRY emails. This really screws up the order of Kissy’s emails. If you plain messed it all up, send in your entry with everything corrected to the sub address and it will be reviewed in the round it was received in.

Round 4 Entrants who were waiting for results in order to proceed to Round 5 (#1-#275): If you passed, your entry will be part of Round 5 if you submit your page by March 23, 11:59PM CST. If we don’t get it by then, your entry will be part of Round 6.

NEW ENTRANTS: Any *new* entries received until the next deadline is set will be part of Round 6. We are trying to get everyone back in sync again.  Please make sure you only have ONE entry at a time in the entire contest. Multiple entries will result in disqualification of all of your entries.

Please do your very best not to send emails until AFTER your round is COMPLETE.

Also, new and existing clients: the paid critique deadline is coming up on April 5, please make sure that if you plan to receive a paid critique from Cynthea, please sign up for the paid critique list if you have not already for the rates, etc. and make the April 5 deadline for written critiques. We know RLGL has been great fun, but don’t miss the deadline if you wanted to get a full written critique. Cynthea’s critiques are very similar to Kissy’s, except there’s less bacon talk and barking involved. Phone consults may be booked at anytime, as usual.


#                Format   Back to Start  Send Nxt Pg   Notes

0 MG X* Watch the forcing of too much internal monologue at the wrong time. Kissy almost gave that part the paw. Suspending time like that to relay a bunch of info breaks from the reality of the scene. Also don’t forget to set your characters better so this can be pictured more readily in the mind
1 MG X* This entire page reads a bit forced and the pacing has completely stalled. Kissy will give it one more page….
4 YA X Ultimately, four pages in and Kissy was scratching his head about what this could possibly be about. Consider reworking these opening pages by using a scene that might speak better to the overall setup for your story.
5 MG
9 MG X* Let’s get to the next subject. Kissy’s paw is shaking.
12 PB X Liked the idea of this, the funness of it. But ultimately this felt a little bit loose in terms of the elements used. Tighten up the motivation for the kind of characters you used or tweak the characters so they make more sense. See if you can up the value of this piece by incorporating some sort of educational concept to give this more oomph. RIght now, it reads as cute but not important/strong enogh.
22 PB
28 PB
30 YA
38 YA X* What happened to the friend, btw? Keep all the balls moving  when your’re storytelling, like juggling. Sometimes it’s too easy to just focus on the one ball that you’re holding.  But there’s always a couple that are in the air at the same time.
40 YA
42 YA X Utlimately, the main character didn’t seam approachable enough. What does she want What does she desire? Kissy felt like he was kept at least a hindleg’s length away from getting to know her better.
43 ER
45 MG
50 PB
56 MG X By this many words, the pooch was still confused. To the point that he wasn’t even sure if the characters were human or animals. Consider slowing this down a bit and setup what is at stake here? What is the overarching story? How can you hint at or detail that better from the beginning?
57 MG X* No need to rehash the same info, progress the story forward. Easy fix
62 YA X* Kissy is having trouble remember this one, when compared to others. That’s a sign that something is not distinctive enough about the character’s voice. Start studying characterization in really strong character-driven YA books, written in 1st person. See if you can see what tools the author uses to make the character’s voices stand out.
63 YA
65 MG X* Try to set the scene a bit more visually when the special thing is found. Not force all of it through dialogue.
66 MG
69 PB
72 MG X* The MC is a touch unlikeable. A few tweaks should fix this. Make sure the MC doesn’t come off as jerkish.
77 MG
85 MG
91 MG X* Concerned with pacing now. Get to it. Nothing has really happened yet, and we are 4 pages in. Hmmmm. Kissy’s got a toenail pointed toward the line. When there are four pointed in that direction, this one’s burnt bacon. (which is still tasty btw)
92 YA
93 YA
96 YA X* This reads more like an MG as an opener than a YA, also it doesn’t feel fully fleshed out by the end of chapter one.  Add more depth to the storytelling. Round this out.
97 MG
104 PB
106 PB
107 MG
109 PB
119 MG X Ultimately the forcing of details at the wrong moments made Kissy give this the paw. Also watch the language in MG. Certain words are controversial to both parents and schools for middle schoolers, regardless of how authentic it may be.
121 YA X
125 YA Submit 250 words please.
128 MG X This feels shy of 250 words, but ultimately what did it was not staying in your character’s head. After finding such a thing, he acts like he just found an old gum wrapper, never to be thought of again. Very forced. Stay with your character – he seems to be doing X, then Y, then Z but the logic and motivation from one thing to the next feels light and hurried.
129 YA X
134 MG X Watch for scene breaks that aren’t needed. This makes for choppy jarring reading. You already have two in just 4 pages alone.  No need
137 MG X*  A  bit forced in relaying of backstory through dialogue. Be careful of this.
147 YA
150 MG
151 MG
154 MG
157 MG X* Pacing is a bit off, Kissy’s paw is shaking. He’ll give it one more page.
161 MG X* We are not sure why the book started where it did. Hopefully this becomes clearer real soon. Kissy’s paw is twitching.
163 CB X* This doesn’t seem to really be going anywhere in the forward story. It’s all been backstory, mostly. Reverse the balance.  Kissy’s paw is twitching.
166 YA X Ultimately, we could not get our bearings on the situation. There’s too much vagueness in the detailing of the scene, the thoughts, who’s who, etc. The pooch got frustrated.  Consider coming at this from a different angle or seeing if you can tighten the execution.
172 PB
173 MG X Ultimately this page got bogged down with overwriting. The character is very much in his head to the point that it sounds unnatural to have all these cleverly devised thoughts and analogies all in a short span while another just  character moves from point A and point B. Took Kissy right out of the story to the point he couldn’t even contemplate what this book may be about. Watch the pacing. Pick your moments.
183 MG X Are you sure you want to end the chapter where you did? Move the plot forward a bit more unless this is a short chapter book?
187 MG X* It’s not clear what the potential conflict of this book may be. Instead it feels like Kissy just read a nice monologue but ummm.. What’s the story? Better get to it quick. His paw is twitching.
188 PB X This is very fun, but as it stands it just reads like a cute poem. We feel like you are halfway there – find heart to this story or at the very least an educational angle with this story. (Piggies in a Pumpkin Patch is a good example of cute poem With an educational angle.  Or go another route – Character driven with heart when you do a rhyming PB like this one, e.g. any of the Bear titles by Karma Wilson)
190 PB X This has some strong potential but it could definitely use a little tightening. Build the arc – go small, and get bigger with each example. See if you can make this even more clever and perhaps educational, too, about the character’s species. Good work. But refine to perfection!
191 YA
196 PB X I would review the notes from the previous round because this did feel too predictable and not quite distintive enough for this pooch.  See if you can make this a bit more character-driven and the realization should be not based on fear alone, round out the epiphany.
203 PB X The rhyme just wasn’t strong enough. Really work out the scheme, and syllabic stresses so that when read, it will scan more readily
204 MG X Ultimately, this premise was not right for this pooch. Try again with a different work.
205 MG
207 MG X
208 PB X* Same comment as in Rd 3
209 MG
210 PB
211 ER X* Watch the sentence structure. Make sure this will still make sense when read aloud, without the pictures as an ER
212 PB X* Again, the pooch is doubtful for some reason, but entertained. Let’s see where this goes.
213 MG X Disqualified.
214 MG
219 YA
221 PB
225 PB X In the end this was a bit too hard to track as a PB. There are so many elements here and not all of them are following the pattern established. Simplify and make the phenomenon that is happening consistent throughout.
228 PB X* First, no skipping stanzas unless you truly mean to cut them out. Second, this has potential. But it needs more oomph – an educational angle would be great for this piece to go along with the poem. Was touched on, but not the heart of it. Needs to be central to the storytelling.
231 X Ultimately, Kissy wondered where the child is in this story. Also the prose was a bit flat. See if you can work on 1) upping the kid appeal of this story by using a child as your main character and 2) making your writing more vivid – study description, setting, use of visual detail to help a reader visualize what’s laid out in the scene.
233 PB X Ultimately, this premise didn’t connect with the pooch. Try again with a different work.
234 MG X* Be careful of making him sound too snarky or negative. Temper
235 CB X* The writing could be a little bit more distinctive. It’s reading a bit flat with the voice and the character’s aren’t easy to picture in the reader’s mind
236 PB X In the end, this one was a bit too whimsical or quirky for the pooch’s taste. He was left wondering why? Why does this matter? What’s at stake here, Though whimsical can be great – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a great example of that – see if you can find out what’s missing when you compare your story with other whimsical picture books.
238 PB
239 YA X
245 MG X
248 PB X This became too repetitive and didn’t really build up to anything – consider story arc to make this feel more like a story versus a series of refrains. We were left wondering, why does this matter?
251 MG X
253 PB X* Same comment as in Round 3
254 PB X This could use a bit more marketing oomph but has great potential. See if you can really work the topic a bit more and make this more educational while still relaying a good story with the plot and characters you got. Also really perfect the rhyme. The pooch can think of a number of ways to amp this one up a notch or two. So refine this more and you’ve got something pretty cool here.
255 PB
256 PB X This was fun in dialogue, great sense of humor but ultimately, the pooch is trying to sniff out a story here. There needs to be a bit more surprise to this one, ingenuity. Consider the concept of story arc while educating at the same time.
262 PB X This is about something else entirely and it made Kissy wonder – how could this be more universal? Two opposites, but only one dimension really. Hmmm. Doesn’t seem like enough meat to carry a PB.
264 CB
265 YA
267 PB X Ultimately this was  a cute poem. But this could be tightened/fine tuned  to make for a stronger picture book, which can also be spun off into a board book. See MY PUP as a reference by MARGARET O HAIR. Look at sentence length, educationa concepts, etc.
268 PB X Ultimately this story felt repetitive and left Kissy wondering – where’s the bacon? What is this about exactly? By this many words, the value of this book should be clearer to the editor/agent.
270 MG X* This one feels a bit slow and difficult to connect with. Hmm. One more page…
271 MG X


275 PB X* This is pretty wordy and descriptive for a PB text – leave the details up to the illustrator, by now I should have a much stronger sense of story. As an author, that’s your role. The art, is the illustrator’s. This needs to be addressed through revision, but we will see where this goes.
276 PB X* This is a little different, let’s see where this goes. It reads a little flat. Spark up the writing a bit more.
277 YA X
278 PB X This is great from an educational standpoint, but the storyline itself is very repetitive. Build a story arc, rhythm or pattern that works it’s way to a climax, which will engage the reader much more.
279 PB X this concept felt too loose, the elements aren’t consistent or logical to make this feel tightly written. It’s a bit too much like random attributes were put together to make this character who he is, versus hand-picked attributes that would make sense for who he is, with a twist to keep him unique.
280 PB X This one just didn’t engage the pooch in a way that stood out. It has educational value but feels a bit too quiet to grab his attention in these opening lines
281 PB X The title and the refrain can be misread to mean something else. Have to be careful here. The subject is interesting, but we wondered if this could be spun more to make it more commercially appealing. Think larger than life.
282 PB X
283 YA X
284 MG X* A bit confusing as an opener. Smooth it out so it’s much clearer whose perspective this is being told from, in line one, versus later.
285 PB X The opening sounds a bit reporter-like in terms of style. Like it’s from a nonfiction piece. See if you can find a more engaging way to open your story.
286 PB X This reads much older than a PB text because of the prose’s style and the perceived age of the MC.

RLGL Round 3 COMPLETE, Round 5 Deadline March 20, 8pm CST


PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU SEND RLGL ENTRIES TO THE SUB ADDRESS. Woof! Cynthea’s personal email box is for addressing issues only. Put it this way: To get in line, you need to stand in the right line. Nothing worse than getting to the front of the line after waiting for days, only to realize you were in the wrong line the whole time.

If you do not see a response next to your number, please verify that your entry was sent to the correct address in the proper format, etc. before the Round 3 deadline on March 12, 8PM CST. If it was, and you titled your email correctly, etc., then forward your old email to the cynthea address  and tell us what’s wrong. If you did not send in your entry in time and everything else was correct, your results will appear in Round 4 or Round 5, depending upon when you sent it. DO NOT REPLY TO OLD ENTRY emails. This really screws up the order of Kissy’s emails. If you plain messed it all up, send in your entry with everything corrected to the sub address and it will be reviewed in the round it was received in.

Round 3 Entrants who were waiting for results in order to proceed to Round 4 (#1-#205): If you passed, your entry will be part of Round 4 if you submit your page by March 19, 8PM CST. If we don’t get it by then, your entry will be part of Round 5.

NEW ENTRANTS: Any *new* entries received up until March 20, 8PM CST will go into Round 5.

Please do your very best not to send emails until AFTER your round is COMPLETE.


#                Format      Back to Start  Send Next Pg   Notes

0 MG X
1 MG X* there’s some strong writing here, but stay on topic, the MC’s thoughts wanders off a bit too much, given the context. What she wants to say but is prevented from saying. Focus on that, not scenery, necessarily unless it specifically relates to what she wants.
4 YA X* Kissy’s paw is really shaking. There were a number of forced details In this one. Watch the character’s thoughts. Are they al motivated, given the context of the scene? Is she highly distractable or is this the author trying to work some stuff in, at the wrong time? Watch for this.
5 MG
9 MG X* Good topic, but it seems hung up on it a shade. Round it out more, versus singly focused on … look, here’s a book about X. See? It’s a bit too self-aware, but some minor tweaking and you should be good to go.
11 PB X This one seems to lose its focus with other characters who aren’t quite related and their backstory isn’t used in an innovate way that affects the storyline. We like some idea of this but strip it down and go back to the main point of the story and work out the stuff that’s distracting. Also come up with a resolution that’s a bit more clever. This one felt a bit too easy.
12 PB
16 PB X This had a ton of charm but ultimately the ending fell flat for me. How can you make the theme of friendship become the heart of this story. Versus something that felt more like a punchline.
22 PB
24 PB X This reads so much like a punchline. Give this one more meat. The topic is sooo promising but think even MORE out of the box so that this feels like it has a lot of heart, too. Not just a few chuckles. Also consider making the title and premise more gende-neutral to make this even more marketable. Expand the idea.
28 PB
30 YA X* The thoughts seem out of order here. Stay with your character as much as possible. After an incident like the previous page, what would be the first think she’d think on the next page?
38 YA X
40 YA
42 YA X* There seems to be some unnatural foreshadowing going on. Keep in mind, this is in first person, stay in her head and what she’d really be thinking at that time.
43 ER X* Feels like this needs a bit more spark to stand out. Let’s see where this goes.
45 MG X* Make sure that this is conceivable for realistic fiction. Don’t bend the rules of real law in this case. This is kind of  like writing a realistic fiction book and basing it entirely on the fact that the kid can drive a car at 12 in his/her state.  Don’t mislead the reader in this way. Spin this so the end result is the same.
50 PB X
54 PB X This idea has potential, it’s quirky and important, however the ending didn’t feel like much of a struggle. Kind of pat and easily tidied up with a nice little bow. See if you can make this a bit less literal and a little more sly. Also let’s see the story arc increase in intensitiy with a surprising climax to make this even more engaging.
56 MG X* Feel a bit disoriented. Not sure what their roles are and what the concept is, exactly. Also watch for forced details that would not be thought ,given the circumstances.
57 MG X* Really try to avoid jamming in backstory in dialogue this way. Reads so unnaturally. Keep doing this and this one is getting the paw.
59 MG X This was a bit disorienting. With all the elements on page 1 and page 2. Slow down a   bit, stay on topic given the context of the scene.
62 YA X
63 YA
65 MG X* Some of the dialogue is anticipating the author’s thoughts, not the character’s. Stay with your characters. Don’t force in background info or details that the character really wouldn’t be thinking at that moment.
66 MG
69 PB
72 MG X
76 YA X this meaners from topic to topic quite a bit and the pooch is raising a furry eyebrow about what to do with all this information. It’s a bit “too” heady at the moment and he’s lost interest. The writing is good, just needs more control so that the story can move forward. Characterization is just one part of storytelling, The forward action needs to be  clearer here.
77 MG
85 MG No entry
90 CB X Unfortunately, the voice seemed too disjointed for this pooch. Sometimes young for his age, sometimes too old for his age. Consider NOT trying to get too creative with this and smooth it out. It’s rare to have someone this young carrying a chapter book unless your character is Junie B. Jones and her voice was pitch-perfect. The pooch is worried others may think this doesn’t come up to par in comparison.
91 MG X* There’s some technical stuff with the writing that’s making this harder to picture than this should. The story seems unique, but I’m concerned about the writing. There’s a heavy reliance on dialogue versus internal monologue or plain old narration to convey visual detals.  KIssy’s paw is shaking.
92 YA
93 YA
96 YA X
97 MG
104 PB
105 PB X In the end, this felt a bit too repetitive and the ending felt pat? See if you can make this a bit more clever and unpredictable? Think of the story arc – rising action, climax, etc.
106 PB
107 MG
109 PB
112 YA X Not believing the grief here. Compare page 1 to 2. Is it really the worst thing in the world if the next page there’s teasing and joking? Have to be really careful when starting a book with a death of a loved one.  There’s good writing here, but the believability factor sailed southward fast.
116 YA X In the end this moves at a minutia-like speed, and the overall effect is that it feels a bit melodramatic even though the scene is supposed to be quite dire. Find the balance between dramatic effect and melodrama. More subtletly, less overwriting is key here.
119 MG X* Parts of this feel YA, hmmm… Watch for forcing of details that don’t matter, given the scene.
121 YA X
125 YA X
128 MG
129 YA X* This is going to sound weird, but see if you can make the voice less down-on-oneself sounding so that when we get the dismal news we are still inspired to read about her in the following pages. Too woe-is-me and it’s just not exciting to read.
134 MG X
135 PB X In the end the compare/contrast thing is great, but the execution just didn’t feel unique enough. Like other comments, this is something we can see everyday. Find a new way to spin this so its like nothing else.
137 MG X* A bit jarring to realize these are children when the opening made one think it was adults. Feel a bit misled.
147 YA
150 MG
151 MG
153 PB X In the end, the concept felt good, but the execution fell flat. How can this story become more clearly suspenseful and informative at the same time. Right now, it feels like the MC is just going through the motions
154 MG X* Did the POV switch? Sounded like 3rd person, then went to first. SO many names in a one page, too, hard to keep track. Slow down and situate the reader a bit better. Kissy’s paw is twitching
155 PB X In the end, this becamse too repetitive and the focus was so narrow. See if you can turn this into a larger story, broader story with a clearer takeaway by story’s end
157 MG X* While these details are great, you only need about half of this to make your point, watch your pacing
160 PB X The plotting of this is a bit forced for the “suprising reveal” at the end.  As an informative book, it begs the question why the last stop was the stop that it was, given that everything else was in order, except for that thing.  Be consistently factual or this will get criticized for the convenience of the solution.
161 MG X
163 CB X* the backstory feels a bit jammed in and we wondered if this was set in the past or current day time, given what the character is doing
164 PB X Ultimately this one read a bit too much like the Napping House and the ending didn’t have a true result that was much different from the beginning. However,  this topic does deserve its own book. To make this more worthwhile, it could stand to be more factual versus “inspired” by one small event as a creative nonfiction piece.
166 YA X* Small little breaks in the nemesis voice. Watch for this.
167 PB X Ultimately, this just felt more repetitive than going somewhere. It wasn’t clear why this mattered despite the cute character.
168 PB X Ultimately we weren’t drawn in by the storyline. While sweet and charming, it just didn’t resonate with this pooch. Try again with a different work.
171 PB X The conclusion doesn’t feel motivated, given all that the MC has done that seems mean. The theme however is admirable; we just wished the pooch could have been convinced by the outcome. Think story arc: obstacles of increasing difficulty, climax, and clever resolution to help this along.
172 PB
173 MG X* Unclear what the MC is apprehensive about.  Clarify so we know what to be apprehensive about as readers.
174 PB X This has a certain charm to it, but the story feels too light for a PB. Consider an ER format with these two characters.
177 PB X Unfortunately, this just felt like a repetitive series of stanzas and didn’t quite build up to anything more involving than the first page. Consider story arc when writing any great PB story. Rising action, climax, etc.
180 PB X Unfortunately, this just didn’t take it far enough in a different direction than the original. Look at other fractured fairy tales as examples of how far you may need to go to be commercially successful with something like this.
183 MG X
187 MG X Make sure you send in the full 250 words when you send pages after page 1 in the manuscript.
188 PB X Cute but is there a theme? A so-what? We hope so.
190 PB
191 YA
196 PB X*  This is starting to feel a bit too predictable or not distinctive enough.  How can you modify this so that certain details make this character irresistable?
197 PB X Ultimately, the pooch did not connect wit the premise. Why does this matter? What is this about? A beautiful journey is great, but the question is why must a pup get on board?
201 CB X This one feels a bit too hard to place in the marketplace when the pooch thinks about it. A lot of the professional concepts seems a bit out of reach for even the chapter book crowd. There’s more adult humor to this than you would think. Consider modifying the MC’s profession to something children understand a lot more readily.
203 PB
204 MG X* This is so bizarre. One more page, the naming of people and things is irritatingly repetitive. Kissy’s paw is shaking.
205 MG
206 YA X This beginning feels like it’s trying a bit too hard. The opening lines quickly become something much more grave that there doesn’t seem to be the right context to motivate the character to think those lines, given the situation. Feels a bit too forced?
207 MG X
208 PB X* This feels like it might be slight overall, but we will see how this goes.
209 MG X
210 PB X* I’ll see where this goes because of the child-like qualities of the characters, charm, but this seems very short storyish
211 ER X* While the sentence length feels like an ER, the word choice seems off. The character seems unique though so we will see where this goes. It has charm
212 PB X Not sure if this premise is gonna work, but you made the pooch chuckle.
213 MG X Unclear who this is narrated by and why he/she would see this
214 MG X* Be careful of stereotypical mom types showing up within the first few lines of a manuscript. Doesn’t come off as origjnal
215 PB X The opening here feels very plain and not particularly unique in terms of what’s happening. Get your story off to a stronger start!
216 PB X Could not connect with  the premise. Please try a different work.
217 PB X See comments from previous rounds about imagination as the premise /coupled with an everyday scene.
218 PB X The opening here just didn’t have the spark we are looking for. This feels a bit too everydayish as written.
219 YA X* Watch spelling and punctuation. Set the scene a bit better. A bit hard to picture
220 MG X Characterization here feels very forced as an opener, and collectively reads a bit too unappealing
221 PB X* Unclear what the MC is doing, but interesting setup
222 CB X This reads a bit sparse in content for a chapter book. Is this the right format for your story?
223 CB X This also reads a bit too simplistically for a chapter book in terms of style.
224 PB X Couldn’t connect with the premise very readily
225 PB X* The topic is interesting but the story itself seems a little complex for a PB, but we will see where this goes
226 PB X I think the challenge here would be to take the everyday-ness out of this and see if the parental figure can be eliminated altogether. Right now Mommy is upstaging the main character
227 PB X The topic is good, but the execution in these opening lines feels too commonplace. See how you can make this story feel much larger than life as a fiction PB
228 PB X* This feels somewhat repetitive with each sequence but we want to see where this goes
229 PB X This sample is not 125 words, also it is opening up with a simple, everydayish scenario. Next time, please submit the full 125 words.
230 X
231 X Isn’t one of those items a death sentence for a pooch? Kissy is worried for the MC. Biting his nails over here.
232 PB X This reads a bit too mature in style and content for a picture book audience. Also an everydayish, short story kind of opening. Consider longer work?
233 PB X* Premise feels a bit odd, but let’s see where this goes
234 MG X
235 CB X Some of the logic doesn’t quite flow from sentence to sentence. Smooth out
236 PB X* This is wordy in style for a PB, but more importantly, what is the significance of the premise? Unclear. We’ll see where this goes, but the subject matter feels a bit hard to connect with
237 PB X This reads like a story written for an older audience, given the complexity. CB age at least?
238 PB X* This one is a little off the wall, but we’ll see where this goes. Off the wall and perhaps educational could work. Hope this has substance.
239 YA X* I’d change out the grotesque detail. Some editors and agents won’t be able to stomach this. Pick unique, but this one seems to pushes the limits a bit much and makes the character seem unlikeable.
240 PB X Couldn’t connect with the premise. Consider the kindergarten audience. And the use of a certain word multiple times makes this difficult as a readaloud to a kindergarten class. Watch word choice.
241 PB X Fun, but the elements felt a bit too disparate (loose). Also what’s at stake and why does it matter to your audience?
242 PB X The species of the animals and the situation didn’t feel compelling enough, especially when the main character is coming off as unlikeable. Also, how can you spin this so that children can relate a bit more to the problems presented here.
243 PB X This would be hard to follow for a typical PB audience. Consider simplifying or using a format meant for older readers.
244 PB X This was too hard to follow as written in manuscript form.
245 MG X
246 PB X The topic is interesting but the execution is a bit hard to follow. Think about how this will sound when readaloud, too. Fill in the blanks a bit more. And try to use examples many kids wil connect with
247 PB X The major elements felt too loose, making the story feel a bit random. Consider species of animal and location
248 PB X*  This seems intriguing ,but we hope this doesn’t read like a punchline. Let’s see where this goes
249 PB X Could not connect with  the premise. Please try a different work.
250 PB X Sounds like it could be a great historical fiction topic, but the opening here felt a bit too off that particular mark. Would consider reworking the opening so it’s clearer why this book is important
251 MG X But kissy does prefer bacon.
252 PB X Unfortunately, the topic just feels like it lacks substance and there didn’t seem to be a real rhyme and reason to how the story flowed. It felt like a collection of descriptors about the same thing, which makes it more repetitive than a story that is building toward a great climax.
253 PB X* Relatable premise, but what is motivating the choice of species? Is this a loose detail or could it be even tighter? Regardless, we will see where this goes
254 PB X
255 PB X* It seems weird that the animal species does not already have what he wants, given his species, a known scavenger. Can you motivate your animal species a bit better?  We’ll see where this goes, though we worry if this will have enough substance to it. Also, please have the parental figure take more of a backseat if you can.
256 PB X* This idea seems to encourage the opposite of what parents want children to do, a bit troubling but we’re curious to see what happens next anyway
257 PB X Fun rhyme, but how would the MC’s actions actually cause what follows? Can you find a better way to instigate a true mixup?
258 PB X Didn’t connect with the premise. Please try a different work.
259 PB X See comments about every-dayish scenes with a typical parental figure in the first few lines. This reads too much like other manuscripts.
260 PB X This opening is weighted toward the parents versus the main character. Consider reversing
261 PB X Great topic but see 259 comments. Take the same idea and make it larger than life to up your chances. Also consider leaving out the age fo the main character in this case so this becomes more universal.
262 PB X* This Is a great topic, rarely addressed but sorely needed. Could be appealing to certain publshers. Let’s see where this goes
263 PB X This feels more like a short story – very realistic, parental figure within the first few lines. Gotta find a way to make PB stories compelling to grab the industry’s attention.
264 CB X* This reads more like an MG, in these opening lines
265 YA X Disturbing, but let’s see where this goes
266 PB X This is kind of a let down when you realize it’s just a kids’ imagination. See previous round notes about imagination in PBs and how that can harm your idea more than help if not done in a unique way.
267 PB X Interesting way to execute this. Let’s hope there’s a good twist.
268 PB X* This is cute, but we are hoping this has lots of educatonal value, emotional value and/or social value to carry a PB.
269 PB X This one reads very short-story like in style with all the description and the everyday quality to it, as though it might be something you might see in real life.  See other comments about this in terms of PB. While well-written, it doesn’t fit the format as much as the pooch prefers


270 MG X
271 MG X
272 PB X Even though is not an everyday setting, what is happening still reads like a typical scene in any household. For a setting like this, there’s so much more you can do with this! But make sure your premise is important enough first
273 PB X Couldn’t follow the story well. Be careful how you’re using art notes. The story still needs to be understandable when read aloud.
274 CB X This opening is a bit disjointed. See if you can tell it a bit more linearly – in order of the actual events might help this get off to a better start. It’s odd to be suddenly thrust into the scene after some introspection about the past and then the present.

RLGL: Round 2 COMPLETE, Round 3 deadline Wed. Mar. 12, 8pm CST

NEW ENTRANTS: Wanna play? Read the rules here. You may enter at any time.

EVERYONE: Round 3 officially closes on Wednesday, March 12, 8pm CST. Submissions received after this deadline will roll into Round 4.

UPDATE: We have two Free-tique winners! Winners, do not contact Kissy until RLGL is completely over. We will let you know what to do when we come up for air. PB entries are no longer eligible to win a free-tique, however, an agent referral is always a possibility if Kissy sniffs out something he think might interest Jen. You may still continue to enter PB manuscripts while RLGL continues and receive feedback. 

There was a very large number of entries in Round 2. Kissy’s paws are pooped from all the typing. You may have noticed all the typos in his notes. His bright and happy eyes have become squinty little furry slits. His mood is worsening, and he fears he may be morphing into an actual human slush-pile editor. If you want to keep his spirits up, please be sure to follow the rules when it comes to subject lines, email addresses, word counts, etc.  Also, more virtual bacon helps. He has been enjoying all the bellyrubs and scritches behind the ears, too.

If you are submitting the successive page in the work  (e.g. P2, P3, etc.), please make sure you include the entry # assigned to that work in the subject line (see rules). Failure to do so will delay your results and cause your work to miss rounds.

Do not send submissions  for Kissy’s review to Cynthea’s email address, unless you are inquiring about an issue. The sub address listed in the rules is the ONLY email address for submissions to RLGL for Kissy’s review. If you fail to send it there, it will not get reviewed in the correct order for the round. In fact, you will probably miss the round if it does not make it to that address in time for the deadlines. *Please use Cynthea’s email address only for follow-ups if you believe something went wrong with your submission and you did, in fact, follow the rules! *

You do NOT need to include previous text with your pages. Kissy has a great memory and this slows him down when trying to find his place. And we don’t want to slow this pup down!

If you receive a number for Round 2,  please wait for results to post and wait until they are COMPLETE before inquiring about it. This helps us a lot!

#             Format      Back to Start  Next page       Notes

0 MG X Not bad. Be careful of painting bullies as stereotypical bullies. I don’t want to feel like I’ve seen this before.
1 MG X* This isn’t a super engaging opening but so far we can understand what’s happening on the page, which says a lot. We hope something interesting is going to take place or be presented in this next page.
2 YA X Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite follow what was happening because of the way the story navigates from past to present, etc. Awkward. Streamline the telling
3 PB X Not feeling captivated by this one. The story feels like a folktale (not a bad thing), but the length and the content makes this one difficult to place in the major trade market.
4 YA X* Not understanding what the setup is – why the MC is in the predicament she is in. It’s a bit too mysterious. The pooch will give it another page, but hanging by a piece of stringy bacon here.
5 MG X Unclear here what is going on. Slow down and explain better what the parents do for a living and what it has to do with the mystical references.
6 PB X This read like a punchline in the end. Go for a concept with more heart/substance. More marketing value (e.g. emotional value, social value and/or educational value.)
7 PB X This is a lot of fun but I wondered if this could be even better if you made this an early reader and changed up the characters to animals, just to make this way more marketable. This is a bit dialogue-y for a picture book and somewhat complex as well, but for an older reader as a ;eveled reader, it could be a good fit.
9 MG X
10 PB X in the end, this feels too complex and wordy for a PB text. Cut back on the chatter and narrate only the important parts.
11 PB X* So this is turning out to be something a little bit different. But be mindful of overdoing the puns. It gets distracting and sounds like noise after a while. Choose your moments.  Curious to see what happens next
12 PB
13 YA X Unfortunately, it was hard to believe that after  something this tragic has happened, the main character shows no sign of it. Motivate her thoughts better or explain why she’s not completely messed up. The MC’s thoughts just seems too put together, given the situation
16 PB
22 PB X Unfortunately, this ends with little effort from the MC. The ending felt very pat. Also the story arc was a bit too flat as well.
24 PB X* This still reads a bit older for the audience. Simplify the text. Shortening it in general and making it snappier with the voice of a younger child will really help. It’s very cute.
26 MG X This page was a bit hard to follow, wasn’t sure what was going on and why. Also, in the end, we just weren’t drawn in by the species themselves and what they may be trying to accomplish, since that wasn’t super clear.
27 PB X
28 PB X FREE-TIQUE WINNER!  I think this has potential. Let’s think about ways to make this even more worthy and rejection-proof.  CONGRATS!
30 YA X Wondering if the present tense for this book is a bit awkward.
35 PB X The nunber of puns in this one is a bit too much. It’s reading unnaturally and getting bogged down by them. Gain more control over the humor.
38 YA X* This is overwritten in spots. Don’t try too hard for simple details that are not critical. Diffuses the reader’s focus. Kissy is this close to giving this the paw because 1/4 of the time he didn’t understand what the MC was talking about and how to picture it in his canine head.
39 YA X The character is really a bit too down on herself, which makes her less appealing to read about.  This is an easy fix though – establish her character in fewer lines and move on to the actual plotting. The pace is already flagging because there’s so much repetition of the same idea about the character and how she views herself.
40 YA
41 PB X In the end this was just too long for a picture book and it seemed too similar to the movie about similar topic.
42 YA
43 ER X* Now we can kind of see how this could be an ER. But this needs to read more like an ER, with more attention to word choice, sentnece structure, etc. Let’s see what happens
44 YA X Kissy is scratching his head over here. There’s not enough context to understand what is motivating the character’s thoughts and actions so in the end the pup was just plain lost as to what she was doing and why.
45 MG X Nice save! Is this a real thing though? Specify state.
50 PB
52 PB X In the end, the style was very wordy for a picture book. Might be totally fine for a short story, but it’s really imporant to leave room for the illustrator. Also this felt every-dayish as well and perhaps not enough to carry a picture book as written.
54 PB X Feels a bit too literal? But curious to see how this ends
55 YA X This opening scene doesn’t feel distintive enough. What’s unique about the MC’s situation that feels different than typical bullying scenarios.
56 MG
57 MG X* Can we make this sound more mysterious? She’s acting as though she hasn’t found the coolest thing ever! Is she really into what’s happening or not? She seems so casual about it.
58 PB X We’ve seen this cumulative story structure done many times, so it’s imperative that you build a story arc with each sequence. As it stands, the only thing that feels truly unique about this cumulative PB is the kind of animals used, but let’s get some real plot going with this cumulative structure and see what you can do with it.
59 MG
61 PB X Unfortunately, we weren’t captivated. While the humor is nice, the species of animal and what was at stake just didn’t feel compelling enough.
62 YA X* We’ll hang on and see what this is leading up to…
63 YA
65 MG X Unclear why the MC feels things have changed significantly for herself (old versus new). Establish
66 MG
68 YA X Unfortunately, it was just too hard to understand what was going on and why. So much was left unanswered as the character went about her business. Should be easy to fix though. Story seems intriguing if the pup only knew what was going on.
69 PB X This feels more like a poem, than a picture book in verse. Hmm.. What’s the story?
70 PB X In the end, this just felt too complicated for a PB text. We got lost in the story and it’s point after all this text.
72 MG
76 YA X* This is a bit confusing. The character’s background and what is motivating the character right now to do what he’s doing? We need more context or you will lose us entirely.
77 MG
80 MG X Chapter 1 feels more like a scene than a true chapter and then it switches abruptly to backstory in Chapter two. I would smooth this out. Very jarring. Set-up the present story a bit more before you go back in time, if it’s even necessary to do it this way.
81 PB X This is an interesting idea, but it’s just too wordy as a picture book for this pooch. See how you cut this down to half its size. We do like the concept though.
85 MG X* Explain this contest a little better? Still don’t fully understand what/why it’s so important to the town
87 PB X Unfortunately, this premise felt a bit too odd for kissy’s taste. But points for originality. We just wished we felt pulled in more.  What if you thought about bringing actual children into this story and telling it from their POV. Show us why we should care so the reader can connect better. This could have  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs-classic feel to it. But we’re missing the kid element.
90 CB X Let’s see where this goes …
91 MG X The same idea is repeated several times in these opening pages. Progress the story forward without too much hashing and rehashing. Easy fix
92 YA X* She seems a bit too self aware after what she just experienced the night before. That’s some pretty hard stuff and she’s so clearheaded about it. Hmm.
93 YA X This felt a bit too melodramatic. Scale back. This might work well for TV, but in books, usually you’ve got to tone it back a notch because it almost always reads way more dramatic in someone’s head than how it looks when seen on TV. Don’t ask the pooch why that is.  Weird human psychology
96 YA X* Be sure to set the characters early on. Can’t tell where they are really. Hoping something interesting takes place or this one’s getting the paw.
97 MG X* I’d shorten the monologue and get on with it.
98 PB X In the end, this was just too long and every-dayish for a PB text. Reads more like a short story.
99 PB X While this is cute, the text felt too wordy and long, given that it’s a picture book. Also, it’s not clear why this matters so much to the MC.
100 PB X The subject matter seems great. However the writing is very short-story like, which can be hard for picture books. Really see if you can cut this in half and add more spark to the writing. Not everything has to be on the page; it also slows your pacing.
104 PB X This didn’t feel fully developed. It lacked conflict and as a result, the ending came abruptly and was resolved with little effort.
105 PB
106 PB X This has got lots of potential in terms of educational value but what about entertainment value? After a while it gets really repetitive. Build a story arc with this concept using some key animals that all do this activity, and this could be a real winner! Make the story go somewhere, versus repeat itself a bit too much
107 MG X Still have no idea what’s going through this kid’s mind and what he plans to do. Let me inside his head a bit more so we’re not lost as to what this story may be about.
109 PB FREE-TIQUE WINNER!  I think this has potential. Let’s think about ways to make this even more worthy and rejection-proof.  CONGRATS!
112 YA
116 YA
119 MG X* Still not sure what’s going on. Hmm, better find out quick. Also, watch one of the character’s actions. Flipping the bird in MG is a bit much. Not really necessary and a turn-off for school/library market.
121 YA X* Kind of a slow start, pacing might be slow in this one. Let’s see…


125 YA X* Kissy is so close to giving this the paw. Watch for overwriting. We got lost in this paragraph trying to remember what “it” was referring to in each sentence and wondering if there was a cleare, more straightforward way to say the same thing. It sounds like what we are talking about is a straight-up natural phenomenon. But as written it sounds much more complicated than necessary, for the sake of writing.
126 PB X While we are not creative nonfiction experts, we feel there may have been too many liberties taken with the actual person’s life in some of the stanzas. However certain parts of this seem workable, when it comes to education value.
127 PB X Could not connect with the premise. Story feels slight? Can’t really tell what this is about exactly and why it might be important. In this many words, it should be a bit more evident by now.
128 MG X* This opening line feels forced, especially when reading what follows. I’d rework these opening lines. But let’s see what happens next.
129 YA X* Beginning the opening for this long in 2nd person feels a bit awkward, but let’s see where this goes.
130 PB X Could not connect with the premise. And holiday picture books can be tough so they really have to stand out as being truly about the holiday, or you might want to reconsider the execution altogether if the theme strays too far from  this holiday’s traditions.
131 PB X This is such an odd premise that the pooch didn’t quite know what to do about it, except to give it the paw. While fun to picture, what exactly is this story about and why does it matter?
132 PB X Unfortunately, this is another manuscript that feels like an everyday kind of story. It seems like it would make a fine short story for other markets, but we wonder if the idea can carry a picture book for the major trade market.  It also feels like it might be too long and wordy for a typical contemporary picture book.
133 PB X This is another picture book idea that takes everyday life and sprinkles a kids’ imagination in. Unfortunately, this is a common approach writers are taking to picture book writing, which rarely stands out as being unique. Instead, identify the theme of your story and use a larger than life way of telling it.
134 MG X* Interesting premise, however, there’s some awkwardness with the dialogue and physical action, and puncutation. Be mindful of this because Kissy would give this the paw if he really felt like being a stickler today. Fortunately, he just ate bacon so he’s in a good mood.
135 PB X* I like the contrast and compare thing going on here, and I’m a bit curious, BUT this started out a bit confusing when I was expecting to follow the rhythm of the nursery rhyme and that didn’t happen. Rework the opening.
136 YA X Unfortunately, this felt overwritten and forced throughout. Don’t try this hard to grab the reader’s attention. Sometimes the simplest of beginnings in the most natural of places is the way to go. This start just feels a bit too melodramatic?
137 MG X* This opening also feels a bit like it’s trying too hard to impress. Simplify parts so the focus is on the details you want the reader to notice. Versus putting such great focus on every detail such that the focus becomes diffused altogether and we forget what we’re reading about.  In other words, pick your moments to show your writing prowess. The title of this work could also stand to be a lot stronger.
138 PB X Holiday picture books are tough, but can be great with the right premise and unique execution. Here the situation seemed a bit too commonplace/ everydayish. Go bigger with a picture book manuscripts, written for major trade publishers.
139 PB X Great premise, but the execution is not unique unfortunately. Think more outside of the box. We’ve seen many manuscripts with this premise and this manuscript blends in with all the others. See other notes about striving for unique exeuction when doing a common premise that has merit. Trying to avoid very every-dayish content in picture books addressing this topic. GO bigger. More imaginative and not something you might actually see in real life. :) Fictioanlize it even more!
140 PB X Overall, this felt a bit too loose. While educational, it almost seemed like the educational part was sticking out more than it should. A bit forced. Also consider using more appealing characters that children might be able to relate to more. It’s hard to do picture books where the main characters are personifications.  Good topic though.
141 MG X Within the first few lines, there is a strong echo with the word “much,” which make Kissy wonder if more editing needs to be applied to this work. Make sure your opening page and your sample is fixed of things like this prior to submitting. See Revision 9-1-1, the article on basic mechanics on www.wfcat.com This will reallly help things like this from tripping up your work.
142 PB X This feels much too descriptive in style for a majotr trade picture book.  While this may be perfectly fine for a short story, in picture book manuscripts, the author needs to allow the illustrator to come up with a lot of the visual details. This also makes me wonder if this story may be longer than necessary as a PB manuscript.
143 YA X I hope others are reading this, because it seems like half of the novels Kissy has received begin with a character waking up. Or being trapped somewhere. Also, YA fantasy openings tend to be overwritten. Resist detailing every minor movement to the point that it either feels overdramatic. This also makes it difficult to understand because there is so much minutia being relayed in a short span. Circle every action or verb in these 125 words and you will see what the pooch means. This is all easily fixable, however, so do not be disheartened. Awareness is half the battle.
144 PB X There is some charm to this, but it’s hard to tell in these opening lines why this matters. Is this PB story slight? Or is there a great theme to this one? It’s not feeling like it should be taken very seriously. Perhaps, shortening your opener and getting to the point faster will help. Pick details that will later impact the story, that will hint more clearly the reasons why readers should relate to this character’s dilemma
145 PB X Could not follow what was happening and what this story is about.  The title also feels very hard to relate to … It leaves Kissy with a filling of “say what?” versus “Oh boy!”
146 PB X This is cute, but somewhat predictable and also feels older for the picture book audience, given what the main character is doing. Can  you age this down and try the same idea and make it less predictable? Think on this.
147 YA X* This feels more like MG as an opening. Also do not forget to set the room a bit more. Hard to picture.
148 PB X Unfortunately, Kissy is not into the occupation of the characters.  And for this reason alone, he gave it to the paw. We’re sorry, but do try again with a different work.
149 PB X Like the idea of this, but the execution still feels like something we might see in a typical day with a typical household. Every-dayish. Go farther to fictionalize this in every way so that this story can demand the attention required as a major trade publisher PB.
150 MG X* As an opener, it could be strenghthened quite a bit. However, the writing was clear and we got a good sense of character and setting, just wished the opening in general was more interesting. We hope the next page does it.
151 MG X* A bit circular in logic. I would clean this up and make it easier to understand so that we get a better sense of where the character is, relative to everything else. The tense is awkward.
152 PB X Unfortunately, let’s  see a less every-dayish execution of this premise. There are already entrants in this contest alone with this subject matter, with the same issue. While the song is cute, you must find ways to really go outside the box and make this subject feel unique. Fictionalize this even more into something we might not see everyday.
153 PB X* This is clever, but also somewhat hard to picture how the art would be done. At the same time, we are going to read on and see if the story holds up. Personification is also a tough sell so this makes us wonder if there is a better way to approach the same concept.
154 MG X
155 PB X* This topic seems narrow. Would encourage you to take this idea further though.  Really, this should just get the paw for such a narrow topic. But there’s promise here in the writing so let’s find out what happens anyway.
156 PB X Like how true to life this is, however, it’s not feeling like a big picture book story. For this reason, because it feels so every-dayish/slice of life, it’s getting the paw. However, you might want to consider tackling chapter books or longer works because the style and content here is very promising if you had a character who was just right for those formats.  If you want to stay with this topic, find a bigger, more fictionalized way to execute the idea.
157 MG X
158 PB X Some of the dialogue doesn’t quite follow what was said before. It’s hard to understand what is meant by some of the lines and why it matters. Overall the concept  feels too loose, and I wondered if there was a way to get this to jive a bit better.
159 PB X The storyline feels slight overall. Why does this matter? Is there enough here in the end to carry a picture book? That has to be pretty evident from the first half-page.
160 PB X* Some version of this could really work, but we are hoping there’s a strong story arc to this. It’s unclear who the character really is and from what point they began. Setup the story a bit better.
161 MG X* The opening feels a bit forced. How it jumps from one thing to the next, and ultimately lands on the main character’s genetic condition. A bit odd. I’d rework this opening.
162 PB X See previous comments about other manuscripts that address the topic of imagination. This, like the others, all sound like each other. Can you find a more unique way to go about the idea so that the imagination in itself stands alone as a story?
163 CB X This sounds more like straight-up MG though.
164 PB X* To what extent has this been fictionalized? It seems like it might be taking too many liberties as creative nonfiction. However the topic is awesome, if you have actual facts that back up what is happening specifically in the story. If not, consider writing a story about this topic that doesn’t take as many liberties.
165 PB X This story just doesn’t stand out as well as it could. It lacks spark as an opening. The writing and the storyline feels somewhat predictable. See if you can compare this opening to commercially successful picture books featuring animals as main characters – can you detect a difference in energy, intrigue, suspense?
166 YA X* This is somewhat overwritten, but still understandable. Phew. Watch for awkward sentences that read unnaturally. Sometimes just being clear, versus “elusive” for effect, is better as an opener.
167 PB X* Cute idea for this character, but we want to know why this matters? What’s at stake for this little guy if he doesn’t conform? Also try to shorten this more, it sometimes reads a bit digressive for a PB.
168 PB X* There’s a certain charm to this, but we are left wondering, why does this matter? Why should the reader care and want to know what happens? Kissy hopes this story has some real meat (bacon) to it.
169 PB X Premise feels unimportant. Can this story carry a picture book? What’s at stake? Why does this matter to the reader, parents, teachers, and librarians? If that’s not clear up front, it will come off as a nice story, but you gotta grab that editor’s attention if they are going to invest thousands and thousands into your book.
170 PB X While this is fun, see 169.
171 PB X* This is a bit odd and fun, so we’ll see what happens next. Watch the stanzas that don’t completely rhyme though.
172 PB X* Watch how easy, or not so easy, some of this is to understand for a five year old kindergartner. You might also want to hint at what is to come in these opening lines so we understand what’s at stake for the story.
173 MG X* Some attention is being paid to details that don’t matter. So make every word count. Also watch for repetitive actions is a short span. Minor
174 PB X This is super-cute. I hope the theme of this story gets executed well. Because this is a good example of being inventive with a common premise.
175 PB X This story feels very every-dayish for a PB manuscript. What is the theme of this story? Can you fictionalize this more? What’s at stake? What’s important here that will make a reader, parent, librarian, and/or teacher feel like THIS book is something they will pay $17 for.  This is what you need to convince the agent and editor of.
176 PB X Unfortunately, this sounds like a lot of other manuscripts, even though it may not be. Your opening lines must establish that this story is truly unique, even if the premise is not.
177 PB X* What is the rhyme and reason to how this story is laid out? It feels a bit random, the order of things. We hope this has some sort of narrative to it. Let’s see where this goes.
178 PB X Unfortunately, the every-dayish, true-to-life telling does not help make this manuscript seem unique. A common premise with a fairly common opening. How can you make this story feel larger than life, versus like real life? PB manuscripts demand inventive stories that you won’t find everyday.
179 PB X This, too, feels much more short-story-like than picture book like. In other words, if you can conceive of seeing this on an ordinary day in the park yourself, chances are your story won’t stand out. Your opening needs to feel larger than life, versus like real life.
180 PB X* Gotta be careful with this premise since it’s been spun off before. I’d like to see where this goes. Is it different enough? Are we bringing anything truly unique to the table here with an old tale?
181 PB X Unfortunately, this one seems to be taking the long route to get to the heart of the story. What’s at stake, why does it matter to your audience? Right now, it’s just not pulling the pooch in.


182 PB X This is cute, and I think you could do something with this. But as it stands, it just reads a bit flat and wordy. Can you make this opening more exciting? Either in style or in content. It needs to grab this pooch’s attention.Woof!
183 MG X* Slow down and set the characters a bit better.
184 PB X Couldn’t follow what was happening in the text. Seems very loosely plotted and random? What is this book about? Is the story beefy enough? Or slight? Can’t tell.
185 PB X This could be something pretty neat but then it gets sidetracked a little and I wonder if you could make the educational angle more pronounced while still being an inventive narrative. Concept stories like this one still need a plot to me.  Look at Rhyming Dust Bunnies as an example of a concept book that has a story arc but does a great job of educating at the same time.
186 PB X This was a bit too graphic for Kissy’s taste and as a picture book, it may be a bit challenging to illustrate without going over the line for this pooch.
187 MG X
188 PB X
189 PB X The rhyme didn’t scan well enough for this pup.
190 PB X
191 YA X* This opening is a bit awkward. Forced details in here, and some weak logic in the writing. Easily fixable but keep an eye out for jackhammering in details that don’t fit the context of the forward narrative.
192 PB X Too difficult to picture what might be in page turn with the text. Interesting idea, but flesh this out more. And see if you can make it sound less “dark.”
193 PB X Another manuscript that reads more like a short story than a PB text. See Revision 9-1-1 for Picture books on www.wfcat.cpm
194 PB X Another manuscript featuring imagination but still more true to life than a fiction picture book would be. See other comments about this.
195 PB X Not sure what to make of this, it feels a bit flat overall, like reporterly versus creative nonfiction. I would work on stylizing this a bit more? And see if you can rework the opening so that it doesn’t feel like a rundown from birth to death?
196 PB X
197 PB X* Not sure where this is headed, but let’s see if it’s got some meat to it.
198 PB X The pooch is missing the point of this one. It feels very loose and a bit random, given the main characters.
199 PB X This, too, feels, a bit loose. Random elements all put together. Gotta make the manuscript feel tighter/more cohesive. And watch out for every-day like openings.
200 PB X It’s uncanny how similar this story is to another that the pup just gnawed on. Once more, this premise is very common. This execution is very common. Gotta think outside of the box and stay away from writing PB manuscripts that sound too much like something that could actually happen.  Also writing about someone’s imagination is not as imaginative as writing something that sounds completely imagined. There’s a difference. Food for thought.
201 CB X* I’m going to put this in the CB category, it reads too old as a standard PB, but fits the CB audience age well, even if it’s completely graphic.
202 PB X This started out nicely but quickly became something that sounded just ordinary. And even slight, given what it is that he wants.
203 PB X* Rhyming this text helps make this premise a bit more imaginative in execution, however, let’s see if this truly turns out to be something larger than life.
204 MG X* Very odd, but we’ll see what happens next. Try to establish more about your MC so we can picture him better.
205 PB X Watch for the errant capitalization. And if this PB is what I think it’s about, this is usually not a topic for major trade publishers, in the PB category. This text feels more matureand might be better aimed for an older audience.

RLGL: Round 1 Results COMPLETE


If I received your submission by 9AM CST on March 6, your results have been posted. If you did not receive a number and you did turn in your submission to the sub address before the aforementioned deadline, please email me at cynthealiu AT gmail DOT com, and forward your email submission that you sent AND explain what’s wrong.

*Do not send new submissions to Cynthea’s personal email address, only inquiries if something is wrong.*

Round 1 closed at 9AM CST on March 6. Round 2 is open until March 9, 6PM CST.

Results for Round 2 will appear in a new post, not this one. So make sure you are refreshing the home page at www.wfcat.com to see any new posts.

For those of you who submitted after the Round 1 deadline, your submission will be part of Round 2 results. If you are part of Round 2 and have not received a number, that is because Kissy has not assigned it yet. So please DO NOT REPLY to what you already sent, asking about your number because that will change the order in which Kissy reads your email, causing him to miss it for the round you are supposed to be in.

It is so important that you continue to wait until the post says the results are COMPLETE for your round before you email and ask Kissy what when wrong, if you felt something has. To do so prior to the round will really screw up his focus and recordkeeping. So please hold all emails until the round is COMPLETE.

This post on this website will say the word COMPLETE, very clearly in the headline.

Woof! :)

Also, if you have an * next to your result for your number that means that Kissy’s paw is twitching. He’s tempted to send you back to the starting line to present a different work. So make sure your next page is even better than the last, if you can improve upon it. If no asterisk appears, it means that Kissy wants to see what happens on the next page, but it does NOT mean two paws up, way to go! necessarily.

So keep your eye on the fuzzy tennis ball and do not let your writing or story slip.  No asterisk just means that he will turn the page.


RLGL Format Back to Start Send Next Page Notes
1 MG X
2 YA X* Feels a shade overwritten. Try not to narrate every minor movement to this level of excrutiating detail. Use touches where it’s important.  Forget the rest.
3 PB X* Story feels a bit older for the picture book market
4 YA X
5 MG X
6 PB X* Hoping this will not read like a punch-line
7 PB X* Not usual PB fare, this one may be a tough one to market, given the characters, but let’s see where this go. Well-written/vivid.
8 PB X Interesting idea, but the MC did not seem compelling to follow. Consider shortening the intro. A bit repetitive.
9 MG X* Circle the # of physical actions in this 1/2 page. Give me what’s important. It’s a bit frenetic to read.
10 PB X* Seems long and wordy for a PB opening. Hmm…
11 PB X* Concerned this premise has been done recently several times, but maybe this one’s execution is even better. Let’s hope!
12 PB X* A bit hard to understand for a PB audience, but let’s see where this goes.
13 YA X* Not the strongest start for YA in terms of content, but let’s see where this goes.
14 PB X It’s not the concept as much as it is the notion that this animal would not eat what she wants so desperately to have, preface this early on if it’s nonsensical for the species so the reading is more comfortable.
15 PB X Premise wasn’t right for this pooch, but try again with another story!
16 PB X
17 PB X This reads older in style and age of the MC for PB audience; also need a more compelling opening. This feels a bit every-dayish.
18 PB X This would definitely fit chapter book format better for voice and situation, when compared to the typical picture book.
19 PB X Premise did not seem appealing for this pooch. Try again with another story!
20 PB X Difficult to follow what was happening.
21 PB X Concept seems workable, but execution felt flat. Commonplace scenarios in PBs could stand to be more fictionalized to make this more compelling.
22 PB X
23 PB X Premise wasn’t right for this pooch, but try again with another story! Nice humor though
24 PB X* Great title but execution feels mature for PB audience. The pooch will give it another page because the concept is great. Let’s see where this goes
25 PB X Mixed feelings on this premise. Seemed cute but oddly violent? at the same time. A few tweaks should fix this
26 MG X* This seems fun, but the pooch is not that into the species of the MC. However, he is curious to see what happens next.
27 PB X* This premise is giving Kissy flashbacks. Slightly concerned that this is reading a bit darker than it should as an opening for a PB.
28 PB X* This is probably not every editor’s cup of tea, but we want to see what happens next
29 PB X While well-written, for the PB format this reads a bit too much like a longer work, given the narrative style. Also, very every-dayish too, that it doesn’t immediately demand the pooch’s attention
30 YA X* A bit confusing which way she’s going, why, and time of day.
31 PB X We think we may have seen this one before, but regardless the premise feels every-dayish / like typical from kids and their imaginations versus something that’s fictionalized
32 PB X Concept seems too loose, given the species and what they are talking about. Motivate your choice of animal. Also as an opener, this is quite chatty.
33 PB X While quite realistic, this felt like a commonplace/veryday situation and doesn’t quite make for a unique and grabbing PB opener.  The style also leans toward something more commonly seen in longer works.
34 PB X This was also another PB that opened with a fairly commonplace situation. This could be pushed a lot further to make it standout better among the competition.


RLGL Format Back to Start Send Next Page Notes
35 PB X* Feels like the animal species was picked at random, switching up the situations to match the species better would make this a lot stronger. Good PB topic. Let’s see if the next part really comes together.
36 YA X Man, Kissy really want to like this more, but because the piece was difficult to comprehend upon first scan and then required another slow re-read to truly understand what was happening, it got sent back to start. Imagine that overworked editor at the desk, wanting to take the next subway home and it’s already 8pm. Make sure your first page is clear. A pooch shouldn’t have to work so hard. Do not sacrifice clarity and story for the sake of the writing.
37 PB X Couldn’t quite connect with the premise. And there’s a lot to follow in 125 words.  Concept also feels a bit loose.
38 YA X
39 YA X* This feels like it’s trying a little too hard to establish the character’s distinguishing physical straight.  We could probably get the same idea with only 20% of the words use so we can get to the setup faster. Also if the character sounds a bit hyperfocused in this way, it makes her seem one-dimensional, which I don’t believe is the actual case.
40 YA X* Interesting. But watch for things like casting eyes around as if they are being thrown around. Also you have an “eye” echo in the first two lines. Simple fix. But opening lines are important so I’m bringing this up.
41 PB X* We have to be careful of always making mom appear so early in a PB if Mom is just going to be standard Mom talking standard Mom-talk – I only say this because it’s tempting to do that when a child has a problem, but it also makes your manuscript start to read like so many manuscripts Kissy gets. So make sure your opening lines don’t sound like everyone else’s if you can help it.
42 YA X* There’s some awwkardness in the writing but easily fixed, however if it gets worse, you might get the paw.  So watch your words carefuly. Be careful of narrating every physical action to the point that it feels reportly.
43 ER X* This feels like it’s being pitched for the wrong format. PB may be much more suitable. Let’s see what happens next.
44 YA X* This feels a bit everywhere-  the disparate elements in such a short span seems a bit hard to put together. However, I will read on to see if it comes together a bit better. This may not be the best opening for your book.
45 MG X* Explain why he gets such a special privilege, this better be in the next few lines. Answer questions for the reader when the reader would raise the question if the answer is something the character would know and you’ve setup the proper context to answer it. In other words, don’t frustrate your reader.
46 PB X This feels commonplace/ slice of life-ish.  Again, it’s well written for a short story, but for a major trade publisher PB, it needs to really stand out story-wise – illustration-wise. I think the premise is good, but the execution could be re-envisioned to make it much stronger.
47 PB X This felt a little old for a picture book, especially if the children are writing such vivid letters. Consider reshaping your character for a longer work.
48 PB X Check out other comments about everyday situations and also Mom appearing so early in the manuscript saying Mom-like things. While it’s possible to open a PB this way, it can start to look like everything else quite quickly. This premise is also very common and a good one because children are so like this!, however execution needs to truly be unique to make this stand-out better as a PB manuscript.
49 PB X Same comment as 48’s. Except in this case it’s Dad playing standard-Dad. Again, good premise, execution needs to stand-out for this pooch.
50 PB X
51 PB X See comments 48 and 49. Great subject; need unique execution of the subject or this will not demand the pooch’s attention. :(
52 PB X* This seems to take the long route to drive a point home but let’s see what happens next. Will this be more than just a book about what her problem is? Or is there more to this?
53 MG X Hard to understand what the set-up or premise might be in this first 1/2 page. Reconsider your opening to draw the pooch in.
54 PB X* I would rework the title, interesting concept.


55 YA X* This reads like MG, versus YA as an opener, but let’s see where this goes
56 MG X
57 MG X* Dialogue feels a bit forced. Considered using interior dialogue instead.
58 PB X* Using a common household item to describe where this animal sleeps seems a bit odd. I’d rework? Feels forced in the rhyme.
59 MG X* Be careful, feels a shade overwritten which is effecting the story’s ability to get to the point. Tighten
60 PB X First 125 words please. Resubmit first 125 words into the next round.
61 PB X* Concerned about the premise, but enjoy the humor. Tighten. This is pretty wordy.
62 YA X* This feels a bit melodramatic as an opener and is a pretty common kind of beginning. I’d rework your opening lines to make this sound more unique as a story starter
63 YA X Watch for the animal-action references – once is fine, twice seems a little odd given the context and location. Minor comment/easy fix.
64 PB X Did not know what to make of this. Seems very long for a PB text, given how little was covered in 125 words. Also hard to follow what exactly is important for the story? The writing style seems better suited for a longer work.
65 MG X* The first few lines feel tacked on, compared to the rest.
66 MG X* Set the main character. A bit confusing to read. A lot being conveyed in 125 words so it’s important to make sure the pooch can picture this better.
67 PB X This has potential but doesn’t go far enough to feel like the execution is strong enough. Gotta make the resolution much more clever. We don’t want this to read like a punchline. It needs to have bit more depth as a story.  (Meaning)
68 YA X* Definitely rework this opening; there’s so much focus on interior decorating, it breaks character. What is your MC’s true focus as she hears what’s going on? Would she really describe ALL of these things in the way that she has in such a short span, given what is happening at the moment?
69 PB X
70 PB X* Very odd premise, not sure what to make of this, but I’ll see what happens next.
71 PB X Could not understand what was happening in the story and what the specific conflict might be for the characters. Kissy is scratching his head over here.
72 MG X* The shift in time is a little awkward. Smooth that out or begin where the story truly begins.
73 PB X The story didn’t feel compelling enough to keep this pup’s interest. It’s got a very every-dayish kind of feel to it and he wonders what the theme of this book is. Does not feel like it has a strong takeaway, either. PB manuscripts need to stand out to get noticed. Go bigger with your storytelling.
74 PB X See 48.
75 PB X Could not connect with the premise. Feels slight and punch-liney. Great humor though, just wish the story felt more substantial.
76 YA X* This feels overwritten – strive for clarity. The logic is a bit circular and I’m left wondering what I’m supposed to truly gain from these 125 words.
77 MG X* See 76.  See if you can keep the time linear in this opening so it’s less confusing. This is in the present, then in the past, this in the present again so quickly.  Jarring
78 PB X Execution feels a bit loose. Motivate the circumstances better, explain why your MC has this problem more clearly. And why would the second creature even bother helping. Also be mindful that these creatures aren’t very familiar to the PB audience.
79 PB X See 75.
80 YA X* Watch the overwriting. Whenever you have inanimate objects performing actions that humans would do, It often sounds awkward, especially if done multiple times in succesion. Simplify the writing for clarity’s sake. Too often writers overwrite their first lines, which gives the feeling of “trying too hard.”
81 PB X* This feels very wordy for a PB, but the pooch wants to see what happens next. Tighten the writing.
82 PB X See 48. While stories about real-life imaginings are fun, stories that we make up that sound real, given the context of the story, even though we know it has to be made up is “fiction.” This texts reads more like non-fiction about fiction because we could easily do this on our own today as children and parents. But what about the stuff we cannot do as children? What about the characters and situations that are completely made-up that we will not ever see in real-life today? Stories like those stand out better as PB fiction. that’s not to say that this doesn’t have merit, but countless others have written this story in some fashion or another.  In terms of major trade publisher thinking, this is something to consider when compared to your competition.
83 PB X Execution feels a bit loose and for this age group, a lot of kiddo’s don’t quite get the kind of place they live in, just yet. However, if you set this up better, it could work.
84 ER X This does not fit an ER fomat. e.g. controlled vocabulary, sentence structure, etc. This reads like something from a longer work.
85 MG X* Need better context as to what the quest is so I’m not left confused about why this is important to the MC
86 PB X Unfortunately, we’ve seen this storyline before multiple times. It’s a good concept, however the execution feel wordy and a bit every-dayish as an opener. Can we find a more zippy and distintive way to write this story?
87 PB X* This feels a bit mature and the premise odd, but I’ll see where this goes.
88 YA X This seems a bit forced as an opening. What motivates the MC to be awake earlier than usual? To give the writer a chance to layout the setting and see who is coming in? Seems kind of obvious to the point that this doesn’t feel natural. I’d rework the opening so that the character’s and their actions feel much more motivated.
89 PB X Didn’t connect with the premise. Also seems to take the long route to get to the potential conflict and why the reader should empathize or care.
90 CB X* The first line seems like a bait and switch. Try not to do this. If she doesn’t really have this gift, then don’t give the impression of this on line one, only to make her sound ordinary again a few lines later.
91 MG X
92 YA X
93 YA X* Feels a shade overwritten. Check out the third line and count the number of words before it gets to the subject and verb of the sentence. Also the shift from present to past to present in three lines feels forced as well. Easy fixes but worth doing if these are your opening lines.
94 PB X Could not connect with the premise. Feels a bit uninmportant as an opener. Why does this matter? Why should the reader care? Wish the story felt more substantial in these opening line.
95 PB X This reads a bit older for the PB crowd, given the voice of the M.C. Also this feels a bit every-dayish too for a major trade PB.
96 YA X
97 MG X
98 PB X* Very wordy for a PB and the point is made more than enough. Tighten the writing and increase the pace. Not a lot of plot is covered in these 125 words and it makes me wonder if this one is a bit long overall.
99 PB X* Feels a bit wordy so tighten the writing and make the opener sound like something is at stake. It seems like it doesn’t really matter at all. Hmmm… Rework
100 PB X* I like this premise, but the execution feels a bit ordinary. How can you make this text more fun to read, zippier? More charming?
101 PB X Was not compelled by the premise. A bit too gross for this pup. And the way this presented feels slight?
102 PB X Interesting way to use the format, however how can you make this book have more market value? (Emotional value, social value, or educational value) so it does not come off as slight.
103 MG X These opening lines are awkward to read, jam-packed with description where inanimate objects are doing all the actions. It isn’t until the next graph that we even see a character appear. Tell more, by describing less. Move the story forward as you “paint” the scene in with setting.  Resist dumping it all in like this in the first few lines.
104 PB X
105 PB X* The rhyme is not coming in as strong as it could, but curious to see where this goes.
106 PB X* Watcht the rhyme. A few stumbles.
107 MG X* Feel a bit left out of the MC’s head while he’s doing all of these things.
108 PB X Don’t quite understand the premise and where this is headed. Title feels a a little old for PB audience too.
109 PB X* Wish I understood the significance of each custom as they are addressed. That would improve this story a lot.
110 PB X This feels like it should be a longer work, given the style. Also a bit too everydayish for a major trade PB text.
111 PB X Didn’t quite follow what was happening until the second read. And even then it seems a bit too loose when put together for this pup. Try a different work!
112 YA X
113 PB X This felt a bit everyday-ish. True to life, but what makes this story truly stand out as a fiction picture book? Can you write this story in a way that moves away from real-life and into larger-than-life PB fiction?
114 PB X Rhyme is not quite coming in a as well as it could, but overall, the story felt a bit light in content. Go for bigger purpose/meaning with these characters pr higher educational value to make it more marketable.
115 PB X This feels a bit too episodic and  talks about imagination versus being a truly cohesive story in itself. Shark Vs. Train is a good example of imagination in progress with somewhat of a story-line to follow and educational value as well.  It, too, is episodic but use that for a reference when you think about upping the market value of your work.
116 YA X* A bit mysterious in an almost frustrating way so I hope this is all explained in the next lines or I will be left with a big, say what?
117 NA X The time sequence of these opening lines for the sake of foreshadowing is a bit hard to follow. It goes from present, to referring to the future, back to the present, then a reference to the future, then back to the present, then back to the future then to the past. PHEW. Not worth it. Rethink your opening. Don’t try this hard to compel your reader.
118 PB X The premise seems slight, not significant enough to carry a picture book. The opening lines also feel light on story as well.
119 MG X* Opening feels a bit rushed. Not sure I understand how everyone relates to another and where the main characters are in relation to everything else.
120 MG X The way these opening lines read feels so impersonal and generic. Can we liven up these opening lines? Make this feel more real. Perhaps use names, internal monologue for the main character, etc? Bring me into the story. Resist just reporting the facts.
121 YA X
122 PB X Could not connect with the premise. Feels slight and punch-liney. Needs to have more market value as a major trade PB concept.
123 PB X This feels really casual/every-dayish. Is this enough to carry a PB? These opening lines do not feel distinctive enough. Consider the theme of your story and see if there is a way to fictioanlize this even more so that it does not start to read like a lot of other manuscripts Kissy chews on.


Important RLGL Update

Wowowow! Kissy has a lot of entries to gnaw on and he thanks you in advance for the glowing compliments. Please don’t hold it against him if he eats your ms.

Hang tight. We will post results gradually as we go through them. Do not email to ask about your result until we declare that all results have been posted. Doing so may subject you to complete elimination since it really screws up our mojo if we spend more time answering emails than reading submissions.

Also, if you miss a deadline, you may submit after the deadline to roll it into the next round. You just cant submit to the round that closed. We’re sorry if we weren’t clear on that. But do not expect a number assignment until after results have been posted for the round you missed.


by Cynthea Liu