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How to Format

How to Enter the Random Drawing for a Critique

Estimated Genre Lengths


June Block Party Critique Session #2




June Block Party Critique Session #1

May Block Party Critique Session #2


May Block Party Critique Session #1



April Block Party Critique Session #2

April Block Party Critique Session #1

Previous Content

Here’s the character sketch worksheet Kelli linked in the chat, but a quick search of Google or Pinterest will yield more options:

How to Format

When you’ve been notified that you’re getting a Block Party critique, please save your submission as a Word doc named: 


After you have triple-checked the nomenclature for typos (it has happened multiple times, making the doc unsearchable), email it as an attachment to

First page only: single space in upper left: 

  • Name
  • Email address (if you want me to send your annotated mss. back!)
  • Genre (fiction picture book/adult novel, etc)
  • Target age of reader if it’s a children’s book
  • Word count

In the header on any subsequent pages (I find that making the header text a lighter color than the body text is helpful. Grey works):

  • Name and title on upper left
  • Page number on upper right. 

Body of manuscript: 

  • 12pt Times New Roman, black, regular. 
  • Insert 3” and then enter title
  • Title should be centered and capped
  • Place your name centered below the title in 12 pt. Times New Roman
  • No cover page for picture books
  • Double-space story text
  • 1-inch margins all round. (That is default in Word.)
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph by .5”
  • Left align paragraphs, ragged right
  • No lines between paragraphs
  • One space between sentences (If you’re of a certain age and learned on a typewriter, retrain yourself not to include two spaces!)

The example below is meant to be blurry. I just want you to see the format.

Neighborhood Library

See below for how to format your manuscript in Word.

Neighborhood Library


Neighborhood Library


Neighborhood Library


Neighborhood Library

Neighborhood Library


How to Enter the Random Drawing for a Critique

(video and image tutorial)

Click to download the image below.
How to get a critique

Estimated Genre Lengths

From this site

  • Board Book — 100 words max
  • Early Picture Book — 400 words max
  • Picture Book — 600 words max (Seriously. Max.)
  • Nonfiction Picture Book — 3,000 words max, but closer to 1,000 to 2,000 words
  • Early Reader — 1,500 words is the max
  • Chapter Book — This varies widely, depending on grade and reader level, usually starting at 4,000 words and 15,000 words max
  • Young Middle Grade or MG — 15,000 to 25,000 words
  • Middle Grade or MG — 45,000 words max for contemporary, mystery, humor
  • Upper Middle Grade — 65,000 words max for fantasy/sci-fi, adventure and historical
  • Young Adult or YA — 85,000 words max for contemporary, humor, mystery, historical, romance, etc. 95,000 words max for fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, etc.
  • New Adult — 65,000 to 85,000 words