Free Critique: The Perfect Contest for You

by Ruth Tenzer Feldman
Published on: June 4, 2012
Categories: Challenges, Humor, Other Topics
Comments: 18 Comments

Summer is coming. So they tell us. The rains are behind us. Almost. It’s definitely time for a bit of fun. The Viva Scrivas are offering a free critique of a picture book manuscript (3,000 words max) or any other manuscript or piece of writing, again with a limit of 3,000 words. All you have to do is come up with the best new word that describes something related to the writing or critiquing process.

Take this word for instance. Lethescriptosis. Not my idea (alas!), but the invention of Gail Carson Levine (author of Ella Enchanted among other books). Lethescriptosis is her word for the malady of coming up with a dynamite idea and then forgetting it before you can write it down. “Lethe” from the Greek meaning forgetfulness or oblivion. “Script” from the Latin meaning something that is written. “Osis” from the Greek suffix meaning a condition (as in a disease). The perfect word.

Here are the details:

1. Invent a word, or two, or ten. Send in as many entries as you like, as often as you like.

2. Leave your entries as a comment on this Viva Scriva blog post, or send them to me (Ruth Tenzer Feldman).

3. The contest closes right after the Fourth of July weekend, at 11 p.m. Pacific time, on July 8th (which happens to be my birthday).

4. You do not have to be a writer to enter this contest. It’s kosher to submit an invented word on behalf of someone else, whom you think would like to have a critique. See how easy we are making this?

5. The winner receives a free critique that is the same quality that he or she would have received through our critique-for-a-fee services.

Let the games begin.

Post Revisions:

This post has not been revised since publication.

18 Comments - Leave a comment
  1. This is not a word but a name I use as a place holder when I have a character that I haven’t given a to name yet. Garcia Solitude. It’s a bit of an homage to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his brilliant 100 Years of Solitude, a book filled with characters having like sounding names.

  2. Here’s a few (I was having fun with google translate):

    arg – possibly confused with ‘Argh!’, means bad, terrible in German and is occasionally uttered when writing

    magna terribilis – that amazing phenomena where a writer thinks they’ve written the best thing ever, comes back to it the next day (or takes it to critique group) and decides it’s terrible

    non erupit – when one desires to set the record straight over their manuscript, but must remain silent and listen while the critique group members discuss their manuscript

  3. Bonni Goldberg says:

    logoludmania = wordplay madness

    amologocise = love of cutting words

    scriptocrat = writing rules

    prescriptophobia = fear before writing

    postscriptosis = the state of mind after writing or completing a
    writing project

  4. Stephanie Shaw says:

    Rejectalation: A demonstration of joy at receiving a (usually form) rejection notice from a publisher. People who suffer from Rejectalation generally also suffer from delusions that the publisher is sincere in saying ‘your work deserves merit.’

    Premature rejectalation: Not to be confused with ‘rejectalation’, this is the condition that arises when one engages in the belief that the manuscript they have revised a mere 20 times is now ready for submission and hits the ‘send’ button.

    Squintique: Derived from the practice of squinting into the mirror and convincing oneself that your hair really doesn’t look that bad. In the literary world, it is giving the same delusional self-assessment to your manuscript. Of course, if you can get everyone else to squint when they look at either you or your manuscript…

  5. Stephanie Shaw says:

    And one that I use a LOT:

    Frankenstory: The practice of trying to work into a manuscript every comment made by every critique group member resulting in something where all the seams are showing.

  6. Pete says:

    Niceatize (nice-uh-tize) v. To provide uplifting feedback in hopes of not crushing the aspiring writer’s spirit, even though there may be little to work with.

    Normal Critique:
    Pete, while your story has a great hook, it ends there. The story has no plot and your character has no voice. It really is more of a multi page statement than a story. I would suggest you look into a basic children’s book writing class to help you in your pursuit of writing picture books.

    Same Critique but Niceatized:
    “Wow, Pete! You begin your story with such a wonderful hook! I think once you really dive into your character’s personality and discover his voice; you will then be able to work on developing a creative plot for your story! You know, a class on writing children’s books would provide you with some good insight on different methods for developing voice and plot plus it will give you a chance to connect with others that have the same passion for story telling that you do! I can’t wait to see a future draft of your story!

  7. Suzan Noyes says:

    Vegysweetdreams – the process of greenygrowing in the proper manner.
    Ringydinging – the sound resounding after you realize your mistake.
    Whippetyflap – one ragged sleeve in a rush of wind across a cornfield.

  8. Lisa McKay says:


    Definition: Conflation of Amazon and “thatwhichmakesyougoblind”.

    (I recently wrote a post on this called Amazturbation and Other Perils of Publishing. You can find it here:

  9. Gina Ledoux says:

    Keesterphrenia – The interruption process of writers; ie: dog barfs within earshot, thumping washing machine, “UH-OH, I promised to bake cookies.” etc.

  10. this post is quoted by The “Futilitarian” Critique « Viva Scriva says:

    […] a Scriva and I get free critiques from my group, I cannot enter “futilitarian” in the free critique contest. But you can. It’s not too late (the deadline is July 8th) to come up with a new word that […]

  11. this post is quoted by And the winner is…. « Viva Scriva says:

    […] That’s the number of submissions Viva Scriva received for the free-critique contest. Can you believe it? A few of these are in the comment section of the blog, but many more came […]

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