Looking for CP

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Jessica Steenlage

Mar 2, 2021, 3:27:35 PMMar 2
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Hi all!

I'm new at this. I'm looking for a CP or maybe to form a critique group. My current project is adult literary fiction, I guess, though claiming that feels kind of presumptuous. I'm unpublished, unrepresented, trying to get through to a finished MS by June. 

I am at 66K words, probably 70-80% written with a clear picture of where I want to end up, just filling in the color and the flavor and fleshing out what's already there. 

Here's one version of a pitch:

It’s the summer of 1994 in the town of Streamside. Branches droop under the weight of great, green leaves, bindweed rambles its way into every corner. Seventh grade has just ended, Greenday is on the garage radio, and there is trash everywhere. While a garbage strike causes her otherwise orderly town to slump into decay, one girl rummages to carve out a place for herself amidst the chaos. 

Here's a different, snappier take on it:

It was the summer of 1994 and Jenn Wheeler was 13 years old. She had Greenday on her radio, Sun-in on her hair, and revenge on her mind. 

Looking for someone who's in a similar place with their work and wants someone to swap scenes and chapters with, someone who I can shoot one-liners to and that will respond with "wow, you're a genius!" I can offer much of the same. :)




Mar 7, 2021, 11:01:41 AMMar 7
to Critique Partner Matchup
Hi Jess,

We have really similar WIPs and situations! I'm totally new to this, too - unpublished, unrepresented; and although I've written a bit in the past, I just started up again after a 20-year break (ugh, rusty). I have a WIP that's about 55,000 words and also have a very clear story map for the rest (it was a NaNo project a few years ago that I put on a shelf after it was over and want to finish up).

Here's a quick shakedown of my story as it is (and where it's going) - it seems to have a few similarities to your story in setting and character:

In 1992, 16-year-old Shae is straining under the weight of her parents' strict religious rules. She's just been cast in her school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream against her parents' will. Through the play, she meets two troubled boys (Jesse and Danny) who affect her life in different, profound ways. As the play progresses, strange things begin happening to Shae, her friends, and the town they live in that are perhaps related to the mysterious disappearance of one of their classmates at the beginning of the semester. Are these occurrences really happening or the product of bored teenagers' imaginations? Did Jesse or Danny (or both) have anything to do with the girl's disappearance?

The story's themes circle around religious abuse, coming of age, small town prejudices, family dynamics, teenage first love and sexual relationships. It has some understated supernatural/paranormal/horror flavors, and is about teens but definitely NOT a YA book due to some adult content and lots of salty language.

Fair warning: It's in the roughest first draft shape.

If that interests you, I'd love to swap. I'm looking for a fresh perspective on the story, the writing, and need some accountability/motivation to keep working on it. I'm hoping that someone else waiting for new words will light a fire under me to get to it. 

What do you think? :)



Sep 9, 2021, 11:50:30 AMSep 9
to Critique Partner Matchup
Hi Jess, 
Would love to help if I can. I'm relatively new to writing but I read a lot. My current project is finished and just needs polishing and critiquing, however the genre isn't for everyone BL or Boys Love, but with my own twist. It is a little explicit in parts, probably bordering on erotic fiction in some spots, but it is a complete novel. 98,000 words.

Title for the moment is: "How did this happen?" and starts. If you asked, “how did a middle-aged English woman end up being the main character in a BL drama?” I would probably say “that’s a really good question!”


Liz a middle-aged English woman one day discovers the world of BL (Boys Love romance). Her own life has been good, but one night after drinking one too many red wines, she looks back and thinks how her life might have been different if she'd been born a boy instead of a girl. What would her life have been like? 

Fate steps in.

She wakes up the next morning to a life changing discovery. She’s no longer a middle-aged married woman but a 20 something, handsome Thai university student.  Shock and disbelief, she must be dead or something. The timeline is the same, world events are the same, it’s just her that’s different. 

Memories that aren’t hers begin to surface in her mind. She discovers her 'hosts' name is Rune a tall, athletic and very good-looking young man but a little quiet and reserved.  What secret does he hold?

 She suddenly realises she's entered the world of BL and she’s the main character.  What will she do? Is there a way back? Only time will tell.


If you think this is something you could help me with then perhaps we can swap some of our work and help each other, but if its not to your taste, that's fine. It's not for everyone and that's okay and I wish you well with your work.

Amita Basu

Sep 15, 2021, 1:58:59 AMSep 15
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I'd love to help, Jess! I love reading literay fiction. I'm writing my own literay novel, a partly political novel set in a fictitious historical world. I'm drafting. I also write short fiction. If this sounds interesting, please email me at eltum...@gmail.com -- Amita

Amita Basu

Sep 15, 2021, 2:03:39 AMSep 15
to Critique Partner Matchup
Shawna, this sounds interesting to me. I'm writing a literay novel, a partly political novel set in a fictitious historical world. I'm drafting. I also write short fiction. I'm not writing much more here, since common messages on this group sometimes disappear. If this sounds interesting, please email me at eltum...@gmail.com -- Amita
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