Round 5 Results COMPLETE: Round 6 open

New Entrants and those of you who have received Round 5 Results, you may submit for Round 6 until Tuesday 8/28/12 at 11:59pm CST.  Have no idea how to play? Read the rules here and come back.

Kissy and I are shaking in our boots over here. This is tense.  Currently, we are $100 short of TONIGHT’S GOAL 5 DEADLINE.  If you haven’t dropped a fiver (or more!) yet in this competition, better do it now.  BTW, If you are independently wealthy, be a hero and plunk down what you’ve got.  All of our contestants and Kissy’s furry friends in the lockup will thank you! All donations are tax-deductible through PAWS.

Let me remind you of the prizes in our competition:

  • The honest, direct feedback you’ve been getting with every page you submit.
  • Free-tiques if you win
  • Eligibility to win a Client Referral to Agent Jen Rofe of Andrea Brown Literary Agency
  • And TOMORROW’S SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!!! Don’t you want to know what that is?!!  Trust me, most of you are really going to need this!

What is all of this worth to you? $20, $40, $60, $100?!!  🙂

Help us get to Round 6 by clicking on this link and donating!

Round 5 Results are COMPLETE. If you do not see an X in your row,  it is likely you …

1) titled your emailed incorrectly (e.g. missing page number, did not include the  assigned # after page 1).

2) sent it to the wrong email address.

3) sent your submission after the deadline.

Pardon the pooch but please make sure you help us read and record your submission correctly.  Because of the high volume, we can no longer spend the time to find emails, look up numbers, or try to figure out which page you are on.  If you made one of these errors, no worries.  Correct the mistake and it will be considered in the next round.

Never want to miss another free-tique game again? Please make sure you are signed up for the free-tique email list for future games like RLGL!
Want to personally fund Kissy’s kibble? Consider having a paid critique instead.


Type Send in next 250 words Go back to start
4 MG X* Okay, this is REALLY it. If nothing happens in the next page, this one’s done. 🙂
6 YA X
12 YA X* I feel like we’re missing some of what the MC wants in this first chapter (we had more of what she didn’t want) but what about what she’s going to try to seek or attempt to gain, regardless of her tragic circumstances?  Round out her character more.
26 CB X The last couple of pages felt like a digression to show us what your character is like- instead set up actual events that will get that character info across while STILL moving the story forward.
29 PB
38 MG X Really wished we could have gotten to this a bit sooner.
40 MG
42 CB X I still think the writing and the ideas presented here have potential, but I’m missing the glue that gives this series of events a true feeling of “STORY.” Right now it’s just reading as a series of events. What I need is to understand the goal/aim/objective of the main characters.  Think “Borrowers,” think “Rats of Nimh,” think “Wind in the Willows.”  More specifically identify what this story will be about so I have something to root for.
44 YA
48 MG X
50 YA
54 YA X* Establish that they were doing something illegal. Also  there’s a pretty crazy sentence in there. Try to fix that.  Watch using physical detail for your MC too late in the book. Jarring.  And see my previous note. Hmm….. That’s still a problem.
57 CB X The pacing still feels a bit slow for a chapter book. I’m going to think of this as a young MG instead.  And if you revise, consider getting to this point a bit faster. Do a little snippy-snippy!
60 MG X* This page didn’t go very far in terms of moving the story forward… Trim, trim! And I would lose the campy joke.  Your pacing is stalling.
61 YA X
62 MG X* Love the voice, but the story has stalled on this page… We need to move forward so I can understand what the present story (not her past) will be about more specifically.
64 YA X
67 MG  X*  Could do without the extra joke. And at this point, I’m dying for the story to move forward. We’ve been in the same mode for a bit now.
68 YA X Unfortunately, we strongly feel that these opening pages aren’t doing your story justice. I don’t’think this story is beginning at the point that is different for the MC.  Right now it’s feeling very every-dayish and there’s not much here to draw us in. It’s a shame because the writing is promising
72 YA X Unfortunately, I love the sci-fi-ness of this, but after all that techno talk and five pages in, a lot more could have happened by now.  I’d do a lot of trimming to this pre-amble to the inciting event so we can be more involved in the story from the get-go.  Lots of promise here, just a shaky, drawn-out opening for me.
200 PB X Still love the charm of this main character but this resolves so suddenly and without real cause. Also can you think of something else the character is missing that would be more relevant to the character? Think as kiddie-like as possible and think superstitious/lucky charm route.  Think about your so-what? and set this up so that in the end it is resolved by something related to something you setup earlier. Right now, it just reads, I’ll have the MC do this and I’ll be done. It’s got to be more clever than that.
204 PB X Gosh, this is so weird and charming, but ultimately, I got lost. What’s this story about exactly? As a PB text, I feel like I should really know this by now.  So I’m struggling with understanding what is taking place and why specifically should I care as a reader? Establish more clearly and upfront.
207 PB
213 MG
216 PB
217 CB
220 MG X* Pacing is a bit slow overall. By this many pages, I should be more deeply engrossed in the storyline, but right now I don’t have much of storyline to be engrossed in.  I might lose patience with this one if something more engaging doesn’t pull me in soon.
222 MG
224 MG X
225 MG X* I’m wondering how this location got set up and is this too much of a stretch? Some explaining is needed on that one.  Still weird and fun. I’m going to keep going with this.
226 MG X A lot of info on this page is really good to know. Wished I could have gotten to this on page 1-2, not this late in the game.
227 PB
228 YA X Unfortunately, I lost my patience with this text. By P.5, I expected to have a much better idea of what this book might be about and what the MC wants for herself.  Seeing neither, Kissy’s paw pointed this one back to the line.  Find a different way to begin or cut to the chase more directly.
232 PB X* This is really well done but I fear the premise is just  not marketable enough. Ugh, it’s so frustrating because there’s a lot of good in this work.  I’ll read another page and see if anything hits me.
235 YA X This is getting the paw because as much as I would like to keep reading, I really need something to hang my hat on to root for this character! This is easily fixable in these opening pages.  I’m sure you’ve got it somewhere in your manuscript; It’s just not showing up early enough.  (See previous note)
237 MG X
239 MG X
240 YA X I feel like this page is almost doing a play-by-play to get the character from point A in time to point B in time, but I’d actually just like to get to the real starting point of this story. I haven’t seen it yet and I wonder if it’s deeper in your manuscript.
243 MG X* I would have liked to have seen more dimension to this story by now.  It was so focused where it was for so long, I just hope there’s more to it as an MG novel.
304 YA
306 PB X Great premise but really missing the kiddo POV from this story.  Keep the premise but stick in the kid so the reader can build a connection regardless of the subject matter. Right now it feels more like poetry, than a PB story in verse.
307 MG X
311 MG
313 YA
314 MG
319 PB
400 CB
401 PB X Unfortunately, this text felt more like an anecdote versus a picture book story. Not sure exactly where the story arc is here.  See Revision 9-1-1 for PBs on Also watch the wordiness of this text.
406 PB X You’re on your way to making this stronger. But ultimately, the so-what left me feeling empty-handed. Keep this educational notion, keep the species of character, now find something super kid-relatable (emotion-wise) and stick these guys in there, and solve a kiddo’s dilemma through your educational concept.  Got it? 🙂
407 PB
410 ER X Ultimately, this read too much like a laundry list of an ordinary character’s day, versus a story.  How can you take a simple idea, make it more character-driven, and give us that feeling of story at the same time. Think Character, Problem, Obstacles along the way, Climax, Resolution (but simplified for this format).  Evaluate other stories that have the simplicity of yours and look for story structure to give you an idea of what your work might be missing.
411 PB X Ultimately, I felt like this execution lacked the overall zippiness and sparkle that a PB version of this story would need.  Also, this seems more convoluted and detaily then it needs to be. Could you instead consider that Skipaloo is already a prized possession that ISN’T allowed to go where he’s going. And then see what happens? Try to tell a similar story more universal/relatable story directly. ANd also be mindful of making the character seem too bratty.
412 PB X Better structure but ultimately, I’m failing to connect with the so-what of this story. I really need a more obvious so-what so that I can better understand its market value as a PB.
500 MG
501 MG X* This might start off better if you set your character in a scene related to the content, otherwise it feels a bit like a monlogue-y data dump
502 PB X Interesting concept, but I fear the execution isn’t strong enough.  See Mostly Monsterly as an example of a PB text with  rhythm, structure, and snappiness.  You want your work to come off just as tightly written.
503 PB X* A bit wordy but intriguing. Let’s see if this packs enough oomph to be a picture book.
504 PB X* This is a very quirky opening, I’m curious to see where this goes, but I’m concerned it might be a little too far off the beaten path in concept.
505 MG X* This opening is a bit confusing. I don’t understand who two of the characters are in relation to the MC.
507 YA X
508 ER X* This does not read like an ER to me, given the sentence length and vocab. But maybe it will work as a picture book…
509 YA X
510 YA X* This reads like it could be more of an MG based on the premise. Just a gut thought.  I’ll keep reading.  Like the premise.
511 PB X* Like the premise, not so in love with the wordiness.
512 PB X Interesting… hope this has a so-what though? Definitely a twist on a concept I haven’t seen yet.
513 PB X Some elements of this are promising but overall this felt too loose. Like not what most people think of when it comes to this topic.  Go for the  obvious … Make this feel tighter in concept
514 MG X* Slow down. set the scene a bit better. having trouble picturing what’s going on. A bit confusing.
515 PB X Unfortunately, this didn’t stand out for me. It felt a bit too slice-of-life, commonplace.  Picture books must feel “big” in style, concept, and/or story, even if the premise is a common subject.  Also, because the kiddo character is so young, you might have a mismatch of story to readership as well.
516 PB X Could not connect with the premise. Usually, I look for universality, how relatable is this to the masses of kindergarteners and parents/teachers/librarians out there?
517 MG X* A bit confused because it sounds like the mc is very MG but the character is performing a very teen task.  Weird.
518 CB X
519 PB X* Commonly tackled premise so execution really has to stand out.  Not sure I’m gettign that, but I’ll read another page and see if there’s potential. Also it felt a little too easy for the MC’s plan to work.
520 YA X* I would really like this piece to lead with a teen or teen characters.  I’ll read another page but this concerns me. There’s no instant connection for the reader here.
521 MG X* A common way to begin a story, but not bad, be mindful of the MC sounding too negative at the outset.  I’ll keep reading.
522 PB X This reads so much like an older work, or a short story. The style, I  worry, does not lend itself well to the PB format as well as it could. See Revision 9-1-1 for PB articles on
523 PB X* I’m not sure this will fly as a PB concept, but I’m curious to see where this story goes …
524 PB X* Not sure I totally get what is happening here but I’ll see if the next page clears it up …
525 YA X
526 PB X The writing voice her is VERY well-suited for a young MG novel or chapter book. I would encourage the author to write in longer formats that gives the writing style the room that it needs.
527 PB X* The opening setup has potential but this feels loosely written. I want to see more spark, pizzazz, humor. Blow this out!  Right now it’s not standing out like it needs to. I’ll read another page to see where this goes, but Kissy’s paw is twitching.
528 MG X Watch your capitalization in the first line. MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION.
529 PB X* There’s something in this concept that has potential. But whoa, the wordiness. TIGHTEN. We’ll give it another page to see where this goes. Check out Revision 9-1-1 for PBs on for more revision ideas.
530 CB X* A bit concerned that a holiday chapter book like this one is too narrow of a concept for a chapter book.  But I’m curious to see where this goes … it really needs to be super-memorable to hold up a chapter book based on this premise.
531 PB X I like the charm of the visuals, the flow of the text, but I’m REALLY concerned that this premise is not BIG enough to hold a picture book.  It’s a shame so think about spinning the so-what of this piece.
532 YA X* There’s very heavy Noun-Verb, Noun-Verb thing going in every line that makes this read a bit stiff.  I’ll read another page to see if the writing shakes loose of that; I hope so!
533 MG X The writing style and the character’s voice reads very much like an older child. Really consider writing longer format work, like an MG novel or chapter book.  You’ve got that prose style those formats need.  Unfortunately, this character’s voice, coupled with the content feels like a mismatch.
534 PB X Unfortunately, I felt like the story here didn’t quite hint at a so-what that will give this higher market value. While it sounds like a  rescue story, I wondered who the main character was, what was his flaw, and how was he going to overcome that?  This dives right in without a setup.
535 PB X The concept is interesting, but the elements feel really random and too loose.  Think about bedtime and what would be a more natural thing to thump in the night that might need a bit of TLC himself.  Also work on snappying up the text even more. There are some dashes of that. But almost every line needs to leap off the page.
536 PB X* This is a common PB structure, so you’ve really got to get the execution to stand out and offer something new with each page turn.  Instead of repeating the same sequence over and over again, think about developing a story arc with each sequence.  Reference: The Napping House, The Mitten, and  Move Over, Rover. PBs that build an arc, using a repetitive (but not really repetitive) structure.
537 MG X Does the MC have a name? Would help? Also think about interjecting a pointed detail or two that would characterize the MC more as she’s going about her business. This opening reads a bit MG to me at the moment. So I’m marking it as that.
538 MG X


9 thoughts on “Round 5 Results COMPLETE: Round 6 open

    1. Yes, you must wait for further instruction before sending in the next page. Your page could be eliminated so sending the next one confuses us. So please wait for your results before submitting anything.

  1. I was unable to submit for some rounds. Can I still submit now, since my MS passed the last round I entered? Would I just send the next pg (250 words max)? Or do I send several pages up to the round we are currently at? Thanks!

    1. Yes, but you can not play catch up if you missed rounds … Missing rounds is no bid deal though. You never know how this game will turn out.

      So just send the next 250 words in your manuscript.

  2. This contest is incredibly valuable to me. Plus it offers a fun way to help a worthy cause. I hope we make our next goal, and then some!!

    1. It means, there was nothing we felt really compelled to say about that particular page. (In other words, it usually means we thought it was decent or it rocked). Now if you have an X in the Go back to Start column, and no comments, that’s probably an error. We always give comments if something is sent back to start. I hope that hasn’t happened.

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