We’re Romancing the Vote, 2024

The Romancing the Vote folks are putting up their 2024 auction July 1-5 (that seems right, they’re working to guarantee voting rights for all), and they asked if I’d critique again. The person I critiqued for last year did not like the feedback I gave her–I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but sometimes I lack tact–so I figured a new approach might be in order.

Yes, Argh, I’m making Bob Mayer collaborate with me on the critique this year. Here’s what we’re doing:

“NYT Bestselling authors Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer have written six novels together (and many more apart) so by now they know how to analyze a work of fiction and discuss it in detail. That’s what they’re offering here. Each author will read the manuscript and do a short written critique outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the work. Then they’ll go into a chat room and talk about the book in depth, analyzing it and possibly changing each other’s minds about their critiques. (It happens.) The writer will get two short critiques and the exported discussion of the book which will probably be lengthy. Please be warned: Bob is a fiend about plot and Jenny lives or dies on character, so the critiques will be vigorous and soul-destroyingly honest (they suggest drinking before reading) and their conversation about your book will be equally frank and tactless. If you are a sensitive plant, this probably is not for you.”

Starting bid is $100 because we’re arrogant enough to think we’re worth it.

So . . . this should be interesting.

Oh, and there are a TON of other great things up for auction, book baskets and crafts and yes, critiques by other writers. That’s July 1. Go and bid on something for democracy, it needs all the help it can get in this election. Thank you very much.

43 thoughts on “We’re Romancing the Vote, 2024

  1. Y’all’re worth much more than $100! Thanks for donating your time and opinions for democracy! She needs all the help she can get this year T-T

  2. I’ve donated books and jewelry in previous years. I think I found out about it too late this year to contribute, although I did fill out the form online. I hope you guys raise a bazillion dollars.

    I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to have you read my work…

  3. I love that you roped Bob into this. The suggestion of “drinking before reading” your critiques made me laugh out loud. Tact is highly overrated, at times. The naked truth is often needed.

  4. I looked it up online and didn’t find
    2024 Romancing the vote.

    Would anyone share the link?
    I would love to participate.

    The value of Jenny and Bob’s assessment is much more than $100, if I were a writer I would be all over that!

    1. So far the closest I’ve come is an Instagram account so I’m following it in faith they will post the auction info when it opens. As will, I’m sure, Jenny here and Jenny and Bob on their FB accounts.
      I’m thrilled to support voting fairness and access. To me voting is like jury duty – it is a duty we perform just as much as it is a privilege we enjoy.

      1. The auction is supposed to go live tomorrow, for BROWSING only, and then the actual auction starts Monday. If it’s live before I head out for my cataract surgery (leaving home around noon), I’ll post it here (but in the Working Wednesday post). If not, I would expect there to be a button added at romancingthevote.com with a link to the auction itself.

        1. I not only hope but expect all will be well with the surgery. Hope the recovery goes swiftly!

    2. Romancingthevote.com One of the buttons has a link to the item-donation form.

      Accepting donations until the 28th.

    3. Auction is from July 1-4. I didn’t have a link, but I’ll post one here as soon as it goes live.

  5. It looks like the auction will not go live until July 1, so until then, there may be nothing to see – here is a link for the RomancingTheVote page to keep an eye on


    And here is a link to the GoogleDocs page for any other authors or creators who might want to consider donating – the last day to do so is June 28, so think fast!


  6. Sadly I have no book to be critiqued. Would you guys consider also offering something for non authors? I would pay a lot for some of your discarded scenes for example.

    1. Debbie that is a great suggestion! It would be a great gift to the non-writers (but enthusiastic readers) on this site. Many of us are too busy reading to consider the time sink that writing would constitute! Taf

    2. I don’t know if any Arghers have donated any reader-focused items, but a popular item in the past for readers is “annotated” versions of books, and the auction organizers have said that they do have some annotated books this time around. I like the idea of reading someone else’s annotated books, but wouldn’t know where to start with mine.

  7. I enjoy the interaction of two of our bosses. They have a lovely friendship and a fruitful professional relationship.
    Both like to share their (vast) knowledge and are extremely good at that. Their approach when critiquing the work of students/employees cannot be more different, though.
    I appreciate one more, because she is fair and direct with her feedback (even when it is “painful”).
    The other will never tell you a single negative comment. He will play dead if necessary.

    In one meeting, his comment was “Very good, you almost got it”, followed by her
    “Not even close”.

  8. I did query critiques last time, and the winners were very polite about the feedback they received, but also fairly resistant to killing their darlings (which included some fundamental misconceptions about how effective queries work).

    So this year, I’ve donated a bunch of simple little quilts (not technically miniature quilts, because most of the blocks are full-size), which can be used as cat (or small dog) beds, fur collectors (easy to wash to remove the fur), table centerpieces, wallhangings. Last time, I only offered baby/lap quilts, and a number of people were excited about them but got priced out (donors were VERY generous, more a reflection of their willingness to support a good cause than the value of the quilts themselves), so these quiltlets are being offered for a flat fee ($40), so everyone can get a wee bit of quilty goodness (AND support voting access) at a price that won’t break the bank. I also donated three baby/lap quilts that will be auctioned off, so I have no idea what the price will end up as.

    Auction goes live tomorrow for BROWSING ONLY, and then for bidding on Monday. I’ll pop into Working Wednesday if I can, and post the direct link to the auction, but if I can’t (it’s cataract surgery day for me in the afternoon), there will undoubtedly be a link at romancingthevote.com tomorrow.

    1. On resistance to killing darlings: Assuming we’re not, as in the original sense, just talking about supposedly brilliant bits of prose (and anyone who won’t kill those after feedback is probably hopeless, although conceivably a brilliant original—there are rare precedents). I’m not sure about other genres, but in sf there is a strong tendency for new writers to cram every good idea they’ve ever had into their first novel. Many of these would be better removed and have had their own stories written around them. So sometimes that kind of darling is just misplaced, and need not really be killed, just trapped and released in a safer territory. The same may be true of side characters.

  9. Cheers and a big thank you to everyone who is contributing to Romancing the Vote and to everyone who bids/buys. You give me hope–and the country a better chance. <3

  10. That description sounds highly accurate and should let the bidder know what to expect. It’s excellent!

    Good luck Gin on the surgery! May your quilts raise lots of $$.

  11. The critique sounds amazing. Some writer somewhere is going to be super lucky. And the cause is excellent. I hadn’t heard of it. Definitely going to check it out.

  12. Brenda Novak used to run an auction for diabetes and I bid on a critique and got one from Kelley Armstrong. It was very Frank and of course I was disappointed that she did not adore my manuscript but she was perfectly right and I rewrote and it got a lot better. Hopefully by July 1, I will be a lot better and ready to bid

  13. Fab idea. Kind of taking the “She said, He said” thing on the romance road. Think the winner will be very lucky and pleased to get your combined feedback:)

  14. I don’t think we have anything similar to Romancing the Vote in Canada. Our next election is in 2025 and choices are between stale and frightening. Regardless, voting is important. Millions of people around the world don’t have that option to exercise their franchise without fear for their safety.

    Hope all the Edmonton fans are recovering. The Oilers did their best but the Panthers obviously didn’t want to the answer to the question “who went down 4 games straight to lose the Stanley Cup” in a spirts trivia quiz.

  15. OT: Heinlein’s first-written, posthumously published For Us the Living is on sale today (only?) at $1.99 from Kindle and other ebook sellers. I mentioned it earlier when my book club discussed it, I believe. It’s a utopia largely based on Social Credit ideology, as in the Alberta political party of that name, plus Heinlein’s push for free love and libertarianism. Ineptly written and preachy (especially by RAH’s later standards), but it contains the seeds of much of his later work.

  16. I take all manuscript critiques with a grain of salt if not a shot of tequila.

    (I don’t actually like tequila, but that’s the mental approach I adopt toward anyone kind/brave enough to be honest about something I wrote.)

    1. Good point. We didn’t say. I think we’ll take whatever you want to send. Full manuscript or proposal (30 pages, synopsis, cover letter).

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