With Two-4-One Kid Critiques, you double your chances for success! Published authors Gloria G. Adams and Jean Daigneau combine their years of writing and editing experience in this unique service that offers two critique edits for the price of one—picture books through young adult novels.
We're excited to interview the founders today and give them a chance to share their services with you.
--- Interview by Nicole Pyles
WOW: I’m so glad to tell our WOW readers about your critique service! First, please tell us a little bit about you and your co-founder.
Two-4-One: Jean Daigneau (www.jeandaigneau.com) has been published in the adult and children's newspaper and magazine markets, including Highlights for Children and Fun for Kidz, and has sold educational testing material, craft ideas, and greeting card text. Her work has appeared in the Guide to Literary Agents and Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market. Her book, Code Cracking for Kids: Secret Communications throughout History with 21 Codes and Ciphers, was published in October 2019 by Chicago Review Press and was a finalist for a 2020 Ohioana award. Her next book with that publisher, Ellis Island and Immigration for Kids, is scheduled for December 2021 release. She is a former SCBWI regional advisor and is active on her local board.
Gloria G. Adams (www.gloriagadams.com) spent most of her career as a children’s librarian and storyteller. She has been published in books and magazines, along with a picture book, Ah-Choo! with co-author Lana Wayne Koehler, Sterling Children’s Books, 2016. She has three non-fiction titles published through Rosen, Enslow, and Greenhaven Press, along with a recently-launched biography of James Anthony Bailey through her independent publishing company, Slanted Ink.
WOW: Great to hear about you both! Why did you both decide to create this company?
Two-4-One: We have both been helped by so many writers and others in the children’s writing community. By sharing what we have learned on our own writing journeys, we feel we are able to give back to other writers along the way.
WOW: How wonderful! What common problem do you see in children’s books that you critique?
Two-4-One: One of the most basic issues is telling not showing. And in picture books, we often see too many illustrator notes. For many projects we find that there is not enough tension, which we believe is what keeps a reader riveted to a book. Along with that major issue is the lack of character development. We feel strongly that a main character needs to connect with the reader and should be different at the end of the story than he or she was at the beginning.
WOW: Helpful insights. What advice do you have for authors who want to write children’s books?
Two-4-One: Don’t quit your day job! Seriously, the children’s publishing world has changed so much since we started writing professionally, and it is certainly challenging in many ways. But our advice is the same advice we would have given more than 20 years ago when we both began. Read, read, read. Read to learn what is being published, read the kinds of books you are writing or want to write, and read books about how to write.
Also, practice, practice, practice. You won’t get published if you don’t write. And that means that no matter what level of writing you are on, there is always something new to learn. Study the writing craft whether it means participating with a critique group, attending writers’ conferences, watching webinars, or reading blogs and articles on the craft of writing.
WOW: Reading and practice are great pieces of advice! What types of services do you offer?
Two-4-One: For critiques, we use a rubric to discuss plot, story arc, character development, dialogue, point of view, setting, and pace. We go into this in as much detail as we feel is needed to explain where we see issues or have suggestions for changes. Some of this information can be very specific and some is general as it pertains to the project as a whole. When necessary, we’ll share our thoughts as to the age level of the story’s audience and how we feel the story and characters fit for those readers. And we sometimes recommend books to read that relate to the project being critiqued. We each offer a critique individually, without prior discussion, and then compile our comments into a collaborative summation as well.
For revision critiques, we go directly to the manuscript and each make comments about changes made. This service is one-half the price of the initial critique.
Lastly, we create an annual calendar planner specifically for writers (available on Amazon). This includes a monthly writing tip and encourages writers to set goals and track progress. It also includes additional space to jot notes and a list of resources helpful to writers.
And, of course, we’re always available to answer questions.
WOW: Awesome! Who is your service for?
Two-4-One: We specialize in children’s books, from picture books through YA, but also consider special requests on a project-by-project basis. Our service is for writers of all levels, whether they are new writers, or those seeking agents, and even some who are already published.
WOW Your service is a welcome addition to the writing community! Thank you for your time and we encourage all of our readers to visit their website and find out more about their services.