Critique Groups

Critique Carousel Banner

Being a member of a critique group is one of the best ways to improve your writing or illustrating and is highly recommended by publishing professionals across the globe. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned member, meeting with others to discuss improving your work can be useful and fun–and is a perk of being an SCBWI member! Our region is vast, but we are working to bring opportunities to various counties.  

Introducing Critique Connection
We are excited to offer this self-service resource to our local members to connect and form critique groups, but please realize anyone who clicks on the link below has access to the database – which is not monitored. For your protection, please follow the safety precautions listed in the READ THIS sheet (found at the bottom of the Database). By clicking on the link below, you indicate that you understand this is an unmonitored database, and take full responsibility for what you post in it.
About our Critique Carousel Coordinator

Our regional Critique Coordinator is Jen Garrett. If you have questions, suggestions or concerns, drop her an email at

Read the March 2017 ACORN blog interview with Jen for more information about Critique Carousel & how it can benefit you.


"Critique Carousel"

Monthly Critique Meetings

SCBWI California North/Central holds critique sessions year round, 10 times a year. December and April are our only non-meeting months. Why "Critique Carousel"? The critique part is obvious — we are helping each other become better writers and illustrators by giving helpful feedback. Like a carousel our meetings rotate, stopping at different locations and covering different topics. Sessions are held in various locations throughout our large region, to support members and provide camaraderie no matter where you live. Speakers and subjects change as well. One meeting might cover how to give effective, constructive criticism. One meeting might be about how to format a manuscript. Yet another might be 100% critique time. Critique Carousel Meetings are a great opportunity to improve your writing/illustrating and to connect with local people interested in the world of children’s publishing. No matter the topic, location, or speaker, you're bound to walk away a happier, if not better writer and/or illustrator. We hope you'll join us for the ride!


September 2017 Meeting

September's Critique Carousel stops in Antelope!

Critique Focus: Elevator Pitches!

Click here to register.

General Critique Carousel Information:

For some Critique Carousels, we have invited PAL (published) authors to lend their critiquing expertise throughout the meeting. The event is always free to attend, but a personalized written critique from one of our PAL Guides is available as an add-on for $50. That's a deep discount from most professional critiques!

Attendees will break out into small critique groups based on their genre and the number of people enrolled. Manuscripts are generally due about a week before the meeting. Click on the "Click here to register" link for each meeting for specific details, as each month is a little different. Please send them as PDF or JPG attachments to the email address below. Please note that while missing the deadline will not exclude you from the session, it may prevent you from receiving manuscripts in advance, and you will need to bring 4 copies of your pages with you.

Manuscript/Illustration Guidelines: 

·      Manuscript submissions should be double-spaced, size 12 font (preferably Times New Roman).

·      Please put your first and last name and email address on the first page.

·      Your title should be half way down the first page, with the manuscript beginning just below.

·      Picture book/chapter book submissions should not exceed 5 pages, and middle grade/YA should not exceed 10 pages.

·      If your submission is not from the first pages of the work, please provide a 2-3 sentence summary of the beginning.

·      Illustrators may submit up to five illustrations or the first five pages of a dummy.

·      You may submit polished work, or work in the very early stages of development. The goal is to leave with feedback that helps you move forward from wherever you are!

Please indicate on your registration form the genre of the work you will be submitting for critique: Picture book, chapter book, middle grade, young adult, or illustration.

Contact Person: JEN GARRETT is the Critique Carousel Coordinator. All communications, manuscripts and illustrations should be sent to

What to Bring: Please bring at least one hardcopy of your work, a notepad and pencil/pen, and your critique of each group member’s work. (You will receive an email with your group assignments one week in advance of the session, along with further instructions.) We also recommend bringing your creative spirit and an open mind!

Who: Everyone is welcome! SCBWI members are free. Non-members may attend their first Critique Carousel Meeting free. We encourage a $10 donation at the door for any subsequent sessions you attend. Non-members are encouraged to join SCBWI to receive additional access to information, events, opportunities, and discounted registration for events with fees.

General Description: SCBWI California: North/Central holds ten monthly regional critique sessions each year. (December and April are non-meeting months.) The sessions are held in various locations throughout our large region to provide access to support and camaraderie no matter where you live. Critique Carousel Meetings are a great opportunity to improve your writing/illustrating and to connect with local people interested in the world of children’s publishing.


SEPT is scheduled for N.Highlands-Antelope Sept 9th 1pm-3pm

OCT is scheduled for Oct 28th after Karen Sandler's "There's A Killer Story in Here Somewhere" workshop in El Dorado Hills.

NOV  is scheduled for North Natomas November 18th 1pm-3pm

(No meeting in Dec so we can all concentrate on the Holiday Mixer!)



Critique Groups OPEN to New Members: 

If your group is looking for members, our regional Facebook group and the SCBWI Blueboards are great places to post about it.

Alternatively, you can attend SCBWI events and connect with members looking for a critique group to join. Most events have opportunities to exchange contact information, especially Critique Carousels.


SCBWI Members Seeking Critique Groups: 

One of the best ways to find a great Critique Group is to attend SCBWI events like Critique Carousels. Many groups have formed and added members as a result of getting to know other members at events.

Alternatively, you can post in our regional Facebook group or check the SCBWI Blueboards to see if there are any groups in your area looking for members.




  • For on-line critique groups or critique partners: The SCBWI Blueboard (Queries and Critique Requests-Critique Groups) (also accessible to SCBWI members only)