A free-tique round is open: Red Light, Green Light is here!


My email server is playing lots of fun games with me. It send out an old message about a free-tique round that should have gotten to you way back in May. As a result, a bunch of people, yourselves included, never got the notice about the free-tique round when it was actually occuring.

We are so sorry this happened. At this time, we can’t get another round started because of our schedule. (In addition to the TV viewing, we do have to focus on preparing for our upcoming conferences.)

We promise we’ll make it up with you with another opportunity soon, and we will do something about our email server. Like throw it against the wall or something!

We feel just awful about this!

Cynthea (and The Snooper, who swears up and down that he didn’t do it!)


It’s your favorite time of the year again: RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT is now open for entries. This is the game where only a couple of people win but everyone wins!


All contestants will receive feedback on their entries if they ask for it, regardless of win!

How does it work?

  • Snoop stands at one end of the playground. You and your fellow contestants at the other.  You begin when Snoop says, Green Light!
  • All contestants enter the first-half-page (125 words max) of any children’s FICTION work (PB, ER, CB, MG, YA) before the round deadline.
  • When Snoop says, Red Light! he stops to read everyone’s submission. If he finds something not to his liking, he sends you back to the starting line and you start again with the first half-page of a different work.
  • The results of each round are posted anonymously and your work will not be shared with anyone besides Cynthea and Snoop.
  • If Snoop lets you pass the first round, you wait for him to say, Green Light! again, then you submit your next FULL page in the manuscript (250 words max.)
  • Snoop will continue to judge all works in each round until a contestant gets all pages of his picture book or easy reader past Snoop. That contestant wins in the short-work category. First contestant to reach eight pages of her CB, MG, or YA novel wins in the longer-work category.
  • Winners receive a FREE-TIQUE from the Snooper.
  • Snoop will also be giving feedback on entries submitted after the race is over, regardless of the entrant’s standing in the race. That means EVERYONE WHO ASKS FOR FEEDBACK will receive some input about his/her work.
  • Contestants may enter at ANY TIME. Miss a round? No biggie. Join in on the next.

Are you ready to rumble?!

To participate in this free-tique round, please read the following IN FULL before doing anything.

1) By submitting your work, you agree to the solemn Critiquee Oath.

The Solemn Critiquee Oath

  • I shall not shed a single tear upon reading the results of my free-tique
  • I shall remember I am asking for only one opinion. That is all.
  • I shall not take any comments personally as Cynthea can be insulting and
  • I shall allow [Snoop->the snoop zone] the opportunity to consume the ms if he so wishes.

2) Please make sure you title your emails correctly in the SUBJECT LINE of your emails, not the body of the email. DO NOT ATTACH WORK. Paste it in. Do not attempt to format your work in the email. Snoop is great at reading emails in hieroglyphics.

3) Got it? Now email your first half-page (125 words max) to SUB at CYNTHEALIU dot COM.  <–Please note the new email address for Snoop. The old one was taken over by evil spammers.) This would be the first half-page of your double-spaced manuscript–just like a real editor would see when she receives your manuscript. Title the email (IN THE SUBJECT LINE) with the page number, book type (i.e., PB, ER, CB, MG, YA), and manuscript title to help Snoop keep track. Like so (P. 1, PB, IF YOU GIVE A BUNNY A BANANA)

4) After the deadline for each round has passed, please wait patiently as Snoop reads your entry and gives you an entry number for the work.  Your entry number will be used to conceal your identity when results are revealed. We do not know when Snoop will deliver results for each round, but it will probably occur within the first 12 hours after a round deadline. Results will be posted here at http:www.writingforchildrenandteen.com.

5)  Next, Snoop will say “Green” again with a new round deadline. If your entry was sent back to the starting line, you start over with a NEW work.  First half-page. Correctly titled in the subject line. Don’t  title your next submission with the previous entry’s number. If, however, your entry passed the round, you email the next FULL page of your competing entry like it appears in your real manuscript. This time you title the email with your ENTRY #, like so. (e.g. #75, P.2, PB, If You Give a Bunny a Banana)

6) Play continues until winners have been identified in BOTH categories. If you enter after someone has already won in your category, you may still enter out of curiosity to see how far you can get and also for Snoop’s feedback on that entry.

7) All free-tiques won will be returned at Snoop’s earliest convenience. His schedule is packed these days but he will get back to you as soon as he can.

8) THIS RACE COULD LAST FOR DAYS, POSSIBLY WEEKS, depending on what comes in and Snoop’s schedule. So get ready for one of the most exciting games of your writing life! You should plan to send something off prior to each deadline so you can keep up with your competition. However, you may not send extra pages in advance of round deadlines. If you fall behind in a round though, don’t worry, elimination can happen to any of your competitors at any point in the game.


10) The most important rule of all: breaking any one of the rules will make you subject to complete elimination from RLGL. Don’t screw this up!

Now are you ready?


Red light………………. GREEN LIGHT!

You have until 11:59PM (Central Standard Time) to enter your first half-page. TODAY. Go!

11 thoughts on “A free-tique round is open: Red Light, Green Light is here!

  1. I have one question –

    I promise my first page is only a half page, but it’s 178 words, and the rules say 125 words max for the first page. Should I cut off everything after 125 words? And if so (okay, two questions), if I go to the next round, do I start with where I cut off the previous submission instead of where page 2 of my manuscript starts?

    Thanks so much!

    1. In the past, we never set a word limit, but this year, we did so that everyone starts on more equal footing. You should reformat your text so that you don’t have more than 125 words appearing on your first page, and go from there. Please do not LEAVE OFF any text if you move on to the next round. Just repaginate your work so that it fits in the guidelines. Does that help answer your question?

    1. That comes later. Once the RLGL doors are completely closed, Snoop will provide instructions on what to do, so we can make the feedback process go as efficiently as possible. It’s quite an undertaking! So stay tuned!

  2. Hi Cynthea! I didn’t see anything about eligibility if we’ve entered a contest previously…this is a revised work that was entered in a different contest and won an Honorable Mention. Since I’ve completed a major revision, I’d love to see if I can keep your attention in the first pages. Can I enter RLGL?

      1. Sorry I’m dense. I just got here. I haven’t seen Snoop say RED LIGHT. But the last line said we had until 11:59 yesterday to sub. So am I correct in assuming it’s now red light and I need to wait for the next GREEN LIGHT to sub?

  3. Where will you post the “Red Light” and “Green Light” announcements? At on on this page?

    And if I receive an entry number, may I assume that I may continue in the game when you announce “Green Light” again?


  4. The deadline says TODAY and is posted on May 18. Is the round closed? If not, where will Snoop post the red light?

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