When I put my critique service on hold last year, I continued to feel a pull to help other writers. I realized what I loved about critiquing was teaching other writers what I have learned over the years. What I didn’t like was the unmanageable number of hours I spent writing critiques. I was also uncomfortable with concerns that my good intentions of helping other writers might actually achieve the opposite – I worried the heavy detail I provided in critiques might discourage writers. And I would NEVER want to do that. Being haunted by my desire to help other writers, I thought there had to be an easier more efficient way to share my knowledge. So, I decided to write a book teaching about the issues I saw in most manuscripts I critique. Because I wanted to teach in a way that could be customized to each individual’s manuscripts, like my critiques were, the book evolved into a series of lessons and ultimately a self-paced writing course that also created a method for analyzing picture books.
I am happy to announce the launch of ART OF ARC: How to Analyze Your Picture Book Manuscript. This is a self-study course that will deepen your understanding of picture books written with a classic arc and introduce you to other picture book structures. Understanding story and character arcs will help give your stories order and the tension that will energize them from the beginning to the end. This energy will not only drive your protagonist forward – it will also drive readers to turn pages and keep reading. The course offers worksheets that will improve existing manuscripts and make future writing stronger. You will gain the knowledge and receive the tools to assist you in analyzing your own work prior to investing in professional critiques. It guides you through a manuscript-self-assessment process that may help prevent submitting manuscripts prematurely. It also shows how to avoid common writing errors and apply writing elements that will enhance your stories in a way that will take them to a higher level. The tools provided are perfect for analyzing mentor texts, too! All the above and much, much more for less than the cost of one professional critique! Detailed information about the course along with my qualifications to teach it can be found art of arc website. You can find a few testimonials below.
ART OF ARC is one of the most comprehensive writing classes I’ve ever taken. It breaks down complex aspects of story structure in a clear manner that helped me to understand every element of picture books, from hook to satisfying ending. The worksheets helped me to dissect my stories and see what they were missing and how they needed to be rearranged, making the revision process a lot less painful. If you want to learn how to develop a great story arc with a hook, page-turners, tension, dark moment, climax, and satisfying ending – this class is for you! Alayne even includes links for writing resources.
– Donna C.
Children’s Book Writer
Alayne has outdone herself with this course; I don’t know HOW she does it. Things I thought I understood about writing picture books are now crystal clear!! Alayne somehow manages to make it simple and easy to understand yet delves deeper into the workings of a picture book than I ever have before, and I’ve studied picture book writing quite a bit! Great information, wonderfully laid out to lead you systematically through analyzing and improving your manuscript. Almost every lesson gives really helpful examples. I loved this course! I’ll continue using it to polish my manuscripts in the future.
– Meg M.
Children’s Book Writer
Fresh. Straight forward. Thought provoking. Idea generating. WOW! It clarified and enhanced my understanding of things I’ve learned prior to the course. You’ve explained things I’ve heard before in a way that is clicking better now. I feel I have a better eye for story arcs, extraneous information that bogs stories down, lack of forward movement, how authors keep or do not keep tension in their books, etc.
– ART OF ARC Beta Students
MORE INFORMATION ON ART OF ARC: How to Analyze Your Picture Book Manuscript can be found on Alayne’s website.
Are you struggling with a story that you know has potential but you can’t quite figure out what’s not working?
Are you ready to submit your manuscript but lack confidence that it is ready to be submitted?
Are you new to picture book writing and need some gentle guidance?
I can help you.
My critiques are unique because they not only offer comments on your work, they also provide mini lessons or refresher courses in picture book writing (when a manuscript calls for it). I make notes on what’s working well in the manuscript, and I highlight trouble spots. After I pinpoint the major issues with the manuscript, I explain why it is an issue and give clear examples of what I mean. I often give examples of how the story might be improved, and I excel in helping writers who are new to authoring picture books.
Vivian Kirkfield, BA, MS, Author, Educator, Parenting Speaker – Most writers have two persona – they are strong bold conveyors of thoughts while at the same time they are sensitive and protective about their work. Someone who does critiques must have two persona as well – stellar editing skills with an eye to marketability and readability combined with an empathetic and caring manner. Alayne Kay Christian fits this description to a tee and I am thrilled to recommend her to others who seek a professional yet personal critique of the highest quality. Alayne not only gave me line-by-line edits and helped me with plot and character problems, she also did mini-workshop lessons in the areas where my story was weak. I will use her services again without hesitation.
Beth Halleran, Children’s Writer – I can’t say enough about Alayne and her work critiquing my picture book manuscript. Highly detailed, comprehensive in scope and compassionate in nature, I found Alayne to be the ultimate resource for me and the manuscripts close to my heart. Alayne took me through my manuscript step by step, with gentle hands, offering guidance I could not possibly get elsewhere. I highly recommend hiring her for a professional, manuscript critique
Lori Mozdzierz, Children’s Book Writer – Pssst! If you have a manuscript where you’re whining, “Help! I’m stuck and I can’t figure it out,” Alayne is the manuscript whisperer! Not only does Alayne offer outstanding suggestions, she asks questions about the story that help get the rusty wheels of creativity turning again.
Laura Jenkins, Children’s Writer – Alayne did a wonderful job critiquing my manuscript. She was precise and direct and pointed out things that neither my critique group nor I had noticed. The critique went above and beyond what I had expected. Her notes and feedback will help me not only fine tune the manuscript that I am currently working on, but will also be helpful in all my future writings. I cannot say enough about her critique. It is by far the best critique I have received thus far, and I would not hesitate to use her services again.
Teresa Robeson, Author, Illustrator and contributor KidLIt411.com – Having had feedback from several critique groups, as well as from paid, professional critiquers, I consider critiques from Alayne among the most useful that I’ve ever received. Alayne gives thorough and thoughtful line by line edits, often pointing out issues that no one else has spotted. Her approach is gentle, probably from her background as a life coach, and she guides you with tact and good humor in showing you precisely where your writing needs to be changed. She explains clearly why she is suggesting the edits she does, and, when you need it, provides you with examples that you can consider using or that help you see the problem in a different light. Whatever your genre, I highly recommend Alayne’s critique services. She has experience in writing for various ages and categories, and impeccable grammar. Her critiques are a worthwhile investment in your writing career and a great value for your money.
I’m sorry – my critique service is on long term pause. See my website for other critique services you might like.