Win a full critique of your spooky manuscript this Halloween!

150 150 Writer and the Wolf Editorial

Do you have a finished draft of a scary middle grade or YA story? Are you ready for an objective, professional (not too scary) critique full of actionable feedback, genre-specific advice and warm and fuzzy encouragement? Have your school friends been dying in strange circumstances one by one and you’re worried you’re next? Okay, I can’t help you with that one, but do you want to make your novel the absolute best it can be and get one step closer to your publishing goals?

Excellent! Step this way. Wait – nobody knows you’re here, do they? Good.

The competition

To celebrate the spooky season I’m offering one talented middle grade or YA author The Monster – a full, jam-packed manuscript critique worth up to £899. If the following apply to you, please submit!

  • You have a completed draft of a novel up to 100,000 words
  • Your story is for children (approx 8-12 years old) or young adults (approx 13-18 years old)
  • It’s a least a bit scary! It might be horror, dark fantasy, a spooky mystery – something you’d be proud to read around a campfire at Halloween
  • You’re willing to sacrifice a very small piece of your brain for a new elixir I’m working on

I’ll pick my favourite manuscript after 31st October and the author will receive The Monster within two months of the announcement. The winning story will be one that I feel has lots of potential and that I can add value to with a critique. All entrants will receive a response (although emails *may* be cursed).

The competition ends at midnight on Sunday 31st October 2021.

Why now?

I’ve been wanting to run a Halloween competition ever since I started my editing business. But with Covid-19 making childcare so unpredictable last year I was scared to commit to such a big project in case I didn’t have the time for reading and responding to entries. Now my son’s in school I get to work a full FIVE days a week so I’m finally ready for you, woohoo!

Send me that manuscript

Whoop, I’m so excited to read your stuff. Send me an email at with the following:

  • The age group your story is aimed at (it’s fine if you’re not sure!)
  • Your genre
  • The full word count
  • The first 5,000 words of your manuscript, ideally as a Word doc attachment
  • A synopsis of up to 500 words (this can be copied and pasted into the email or included in your Word doc attachment)

Small print and promises

I promise to keep all of your work and personal details utterly confidential and won’t share your writing or your email address with anybody. I won’t add you to my mailing list or send you unsolicited emails. I take my role as an editor very seriously and absolutely love what I do, so I would never risk my reputation or your trust by stealing your stuff or spamming you.

I will choose the winning manuscript based on how much I enjoy the writing and overall premise and whether I think I can help you strengthen your story with a critique. My decision will be final.

Thanks so much for reading, lovely writer! Want empowering, feel-good writing chat and fairy dust in your inbox? Plus receive a PDF of my recommended writing craft books for children’s and YA writers (including go-to genre guides and Children’s Lit MA reading list) AND £20 Wolf Credit to spend with me! Sign up today!

Siobhan O'Brien Holmes

Siobhan O'Brien Holmes is a developmental editor working with middle grade and YA authors. She specialises in speculative and genre fiction, particularly horror, fantasy, mystery, sci-fi and anything with a dash of magic or macabre. She is a member of the SfEP, EFA, ACES, British Fantasy Society, Horror Writers Association and SCBWI. She has an MA in Novel Writing and an MA in Children's Literature.

All stories by: Siobhan O'Brien Holmes