Conference Critique Services

Wondering how your writing stacks up? Had a few rejections and want to ferret out why? Or you are just not sure where your manuscript is heading?

We offer three opportunities for critiques, our Advanced Manuscript Critiques arranged ahead of the conference, and two opportunities to meet with writing experts at the conference with Writing Doctor sessions and Right Here, Write Now sessions. See below for more information.

Advanced Manuscript Critiques

Our instructors are available to provide you with feedback for your first 10 pages of your fiction or nonfiction manuscript (double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier).  You choose a critique mentor and a time to meet at the conference during your Registration process. They read your work prior to the conference and then sit down with you during your scheduled time to provide feedback for you as you continue to hone and define your work. You will meet with your instructor at the conference for 30 minutes for a personal meeting. If you are interested in this service please submit your pages by March 5, 2019, the fee is 105.00.  $125.00 after March 5, 2019.


  • Christine DeSmet – Fiction
  • Angela Rydell – Fiction
  • Julie Tallard Johnson – Nonfiction, Memoir

Here’s what you may send:

  • The first 10 pages of a fiction or creative nonfiction manuscript, or book proposal segment, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier
  • Up to 3 poems, single-spaced, no longer than one page per poem


Send your critique material to:

Writers’ Institute Critiques,
21 N. Park St. 7th Floor,
Madison, WI  53715,


Email it as a Word document for PC or a Rich Text File (RTF) to

You will have your meeting scheduled when you register.  If you miss your meeting, we will do everything possible to reschedule during the regularly scheduled conference hours, otherwise your material will be held at the Writers’ Institute Registration/Helpdesk located in the Concourse Hotel or mailed to you after the conference. (Please contact Laura Kahl to make those mailing arrangements.)

Questions? Please contact director Laurie Scheer at 608-265-3972, or contact Laura Kahl at 608-262-3982 or

The Writing Doctor – 30-minute sessions

Conference perennial favorite Dr. Kevin Mullen, assumes the moniker of the “Writing Doctor” and helps writers with a range of ailments. He’s available for 30-minute sessions on Friday and Saturday at the conference. Want a quick one-page critique? Perhaps you have a question about a query letter, or how about a question about voice or the tone of a certain paragraph? All of these topics are welcomed – and more. Sessions are $20 each. Sign up during your Registration.

New This Year

Right Here, Write Now Critiques – 30-minute sessions

Right Here, Write Now Critiques are 30-minute sessions conducted by some of our talented speakers. Each of these speakers will give you their undivided attention for an in-the-moment critique of your work. You can opt for a critique of, or questions about a list of genres and subjects such as historical fiction, memoir, marketing, Young Adult, query letters – you name it.

Here is a list of our Right Here, Write Now Critique experts and their specialties:

  • Debra Brenegan – Fiction, Short Story
  • Barbara Britton – Romance, YA, Christian Fiction
  • Kat Falls – YA
  • Joanna Hathaway – YA, Fantasy, Historical
  • Libby Fischer Hellmann – Mystery/Thriller
  • Julie Holmes – Mystery, Fantasy
  • Jim Papandrea – Sci-Fi, Nonfiction, Inspirational/Christian
  • Sue Roupp – Memoir, Fiction
  • Heather Shumaker – MG/YA, children’s fiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction, adult nonfiction
  • Judith Adrian – Memoirs, Nonfiction
  • Nick Chiarkas – Mystery/Suspense, Writing Your First Novel
  • Coleman – Playwriting
  • Ann Garvin – Contemporary Fiction, Marketing
  • Christine Keleny – Historical Fiction, MG fiction
  • Anne Davidson Keller – Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Rex Owens – Historical Fiction, Nonfiction magazine articles, radio show host
  • Rachel Werner – Media Relations/PR Coaching
  • Julie Tallard Johnson – Memoir, Nonfiction, Self-help


Right Here, Write Now Critiques are $20 and there is no limit to the number of critiques you may want to request.  Just simply sign up for the date and time while you register for the conference. Your conference schedule will reflect your meeting time.

What to bring to your Right Here, Write Now Critique session:

  • On the day of your critique session, bring your items with you to assure the best use of your 30 minutes. Perhaps you would like feedback on the first page of your novel or one page that you find particularly difficult to write – bring that one page.
  • You could bring an outline of your novel or nonfiction book and have an expert analyze your story’s direction.
  • You could bring your laptop/iPad and share your author website with an expert to get feedback on your content.
  • Perhaps you have a query letter that you would like critiqued.
  • Maybe you have a question about your writing career – bring that question, along with your writing path so far.
  • These are just a few suggestions for topics to be discussed during these Right Here, Write Now Critique 30-minute sessions.