Writers helping Joplin, MO

UPDATE!!! Thanks to you, we raised $4,000 in four days for the Red Cross efforts in MO!! I really appreciate everyone pitching in. Will be announcing the raffle winners in a few days.

You all know of the devastation that hit Joplin, MO. Folks are still looking for loved ones. Those who survived the storm have to figure out how to start their lives over. From scratch.

Most people have the inclination to be generous at times like this. But then they get busy, because the demands of day-to-day life are relentless. Maureen Johnson and friends decided to help guide people to donate by offering critiques and books earlier in the week. I was tied up at BEA all week, but I’m home now and it is my turn.

All you have to do to participate is to contribute at least $10 to the Red Cross. That will earn you one chance to win the FABULOUS GRAND PRIZE OF A MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE. If you contribute $50, you have five chances! If you contribute $1,000, your name goes in the hat one hundred times!!! (I figured that anyone wealthy enough to win a traditional auction has enough cash to pay a freelance editor for critique help. This is my way of leveling the playing field.)

If you win my contest, I will critique YOUR manuscript (yes, I am looking at you). I will read the entire thing or the first 400 pages (whichever comes first) and I will send you a letter with my thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of the story. Interested? Keep reading. (I’ve included alternate instructions for people who do not live in the United States.)

AND..In addition to the manuscript critique, I will give away at least five of my books to Almost-Winners, whose names will also be drawn at random. (If you are an author or an illustrator and you want to donate a book to the pile of loot, let me know!) UPDATE! David Macinnis Gill is donating books, too!

UPDATE!! Book Doctor Jason Black (@p2p_editor) has stepped up to sweeten the deal. He is offering, to anybody who donates any amount to my raffle, $50 off a full manuscript critique. In a nutshell, if you buy a ticket (or several!) to my raffle but you don’t win, you can still get something for it: a discount on the same thing you were hoping to win from me! If you’re interested, all you have to do is chip in to my raffle and contact Jason via twitter to let him know!


1. Donate at least $10 to the American Red Cross, via the Ozark chapter website. At the bottom of the page, click the red DONATE button.

2. On the next page, click the button that says “Disaster Relief for Countless Crises (e.g. Tornadoes, Spring Floods, Wildfires, etc.)”

3. On the next page, click MAKE A TRIBUTE GIFT.

4. Page after that, click E-Card.

5. Page after that, fill out your personal and credit card info. At the bottom of the page, where it says “Tribute Gift Information,” click “Yes, I would like to send an eCard.”

SUPER-IMPORTANT!!! 6. Select an E-card. (I don’t care which one. It’s not really “in honor” or “in memory” of me, but this is your way of proving you made the donation.) Send the e-card to laurie AT madwomanintheforest DOT com. E-card Subject can be “Writers for Joplin.” MAKE SURE YOU INDICATE HOW MUCH YOU HAVE DONATED!!

7. Complete the donation process, THEN send me a tweet or message on my Facebook page or comment to this blog letting me know how much you donated. (I hope this will encourage lots of people to join in.)

8. UPDATE!! Contest will run until midnight, Pacific Standard Time, TUESDAY, May 31, 2011.

9. Winner’s name will be drawn at random. For every ten dollars donated, winner will have one chance in the drawing. Winners will be notified by email. I make no promises or guarantees that my critique will get you published. Also, I can’t promise to show it to my editor or agent. But I will give you honest, constructive comments about your story.

IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES, YOU CAN STILL PLAY! You can donate through the International Red Cross/Red Crescent, choose which of their projects you want to support, and send an email to laurie AT madwomanintheforest DOT com with the details of your donation.

I got the ball rolling by donating $500. (I promise not to put my own name in the hat for a critique!) Now it’s your turn!!

(PhotoCredit: AP/Mike Gullett)
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  1. Posted May 28, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Just donated $15.00.

  2. Suzi
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Great idea, Laurie! I like it even better than the auction (which was also wonderful, but WAY out of my price range). Just donated $30.

  3. Posted May 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for doing it this way! I’m all for helping those affected by these disasters, but I’ve been feeling like doing traditional auctions rewards people with money and since I’m all too keenly aware of how much it sucks to not have any, I was starting to feel a bit prickly. This seems so fair for all concerned.

    I also had a question–if you’re in the middle of revisions and therefore have half of a revised manuscript, but not the other half, can you still bid and then have the critique when the revisions are done?

  4. June Edelstein
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant idea. I hope lots and lots of people do this. I’ve been posting ways to donate on my FB page, and will share yours, as well. (PS: I just donated $40 via your contest – love the prize!)

  5. Posted May 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Great idea! Doing the right thing without an award is sometimes tough, but for those who are working really hard to publish their mss will have yet another incentive to help others. I’m so very thankful for people like you who make a difference.


    • Posted May 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      ::blushes:: Thank you, Jennifer!

  6. Posted May 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Great idea! I bet more money will be raised this way than in a traditional auction.

    • Posted May 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      I sure hope so, Greta. Please help spread the word!!

  7. Josie Leavitt
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Fab idea, Laurie. I just donated $50.

    • Posted May 28, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, sweetie. It was great to see you the other night!

  8. Posted May 28, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink


    You are seriously SO sweet to do this… You have such a compassionate heart and that is one of the things I admire so much about you!

    Oh my gosh, literally, I am kind of freaking out at the thought of YOU possibly reading and critiqueing my work… That would be just. incredible.

    Would you consider critiqueing a one-act play?

    I love you!
    I’m about to donate right now! I will message you on Facebook!

    • Posted May 28, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      I’ll critique a play if you want, but with the caveat that I’ve never written one.

      • Posted May 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Well you don’t have to that’s fine. 🙂
        I probably won’t win anyway.
        But I just donated, and sent you the e-card! Hope it worked!

  9. Claudia Burgoa
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the opportunity to help by helping, donated $40.00

  10. Katy Duffield
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful, caring thing to do! Thanks so much!

    I just sent a $100 donation in your name.

    I’ll post the info on Verla’s blue boards.


    • Posted May 28, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the donation and for sharing the news!

  11. Cindy P Gates
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the manuscript offer, but more importantly, thank you for getting this donation drive rolling. It is a gracious thing to do. I donated $200.

    • Posted May 28, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for helping and for the kind words, Cindy!

  12. Posted May 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Donated $50. What a great cause!

  13. Posted May 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Count on me for $50, Laurie. I was donating anyway, but it was great to be able to join a community of concerned writers to do it this way. I live 40 miles away and passed by Joplin on I-44 yesterday on the way to Springfield. So heartbreaking to see the huge, tattered flag at half staff.

    • Posted May 29, 2011 at 4:59 am | Permalink

      That is a stunning image. Thank you for sharing it and for donating!

  14. Mark Henderson
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Just donated $10. As a Missouri resident, I want to say thanks for doing this. I have relatives who lost friends in Joplin. While money can’t bring them back, it can help the survivors.

    • Posted May 29, 2011 at 5:00 am | Permalink

      Thank you for helping us!

  15. DR
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Great idea. I donated $20.
    Thank you,

  16. Posted May 29, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I’ll take my five chances for $50 bucks. It’s a great deal, even if I lose!

    • Posted May 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      You’re already a winner, Jason!

  17. Posted May 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I still have the daffodil (bulbs) you gave away at Rutgers and now am happy to share this connection with you, too. Thank you for setting up a great way to help out, Laurie. I just donated $200.


    • Posted May 31, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the generosity, Tracy. So glad the daffodils are still blooming!

  18. Posted May 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    What a great idea. Thank you so much for your generosity and hard work. I donated $50. I hope it’s okay if I forward my receipt because the tribute page didn’t come up for me.

    • Posted May 31, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      It’s fine to forward the receipt, Steph. Thank you!

  19. Crystal
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Donated $30. This is a great idea and I’m happy to have been reminded to donate. Thanks!

  20. Posted May 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Just donated $150.00. Alas, no manuscript but did want to help. Thanks for your leadership on this effort!

    • Posted May 31, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your kind generosity, Carol!!

  21. Maine Character
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Donated $10 and sent a link to this page to friends.

    Thanks for making this open to everyone, and even more for helping those in need.

  22. Heather
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    /just donated $20.00, wonderful idea I hope it works well!

    • Posted May 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      The fundraiser has topped $3,000, Heather. Thank you for helping!

  23. Susan Weber
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    This is reason #23,923 why I love writing for children – heart and generosity of fellow writers.

    [$30 donated.]

    • Posted May 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      We are blessed to be in the middle of such a wonderful community. Thank you!

  24. Sarah Gentry
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    $100 donation for Carrie Cox/wonderwegain

  25. Sherrye Craig
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Great idea! We have friends in the Joplin area, and just a month before Joplin was ravaged, you may have seen the devastation in Vilonia, AR which is about 12-15 miles from where we live. Many people we know were affected by that tornado as well. This is a great way to encourage the donations for the Red Cross–they have done a great job in assisting the storm victims. My daughter is the writer in the family; I completed the donation transaction but it is for her credit for the drawing. Her name is Laura Craig. I donated $260.00. Thanks for doing this!

    • Posted May 31, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing what you know, and for the very generous donation. You are a super-mom!

  26. Cherie Curtis
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Just sent in 100.00 today. I don’t have a manuscript and forgot to click make a trubute but this is the least that I could do. Thanks for visiting my middle school in Omaha last fall. The kids are eagerly awaiting your next historical thriller.

    • Posted May 31, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much, Cherie!! I still think fondly on the time I enjoyed in Omaha.

  27. Erin F.
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Just donated $30. Thanks for doing this. Such a great way to help those who have lost so much.

  28. Janine
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I just donated $10. I think this is a fantastic idea, and a great way to get people to help. Thank you!

  29. Stephanie
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I donated $20. Thank you for running this!

  30. Posted May 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Hi Laurie,

    I donated $20 to the American Red Cross and posted about your contest on my blog.

    Thanks for organizing this.


  31. Angela
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Just donated $200-please put all my entries in for my little sis Carrie Cox/wonderwegian. And thank you Laurie-you are an inspiration in so very many ways!!

  32. Melody Davis
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I donated $50 to the Red Cross. We drive through Joplin on the way to visit my sister in Dallas. My heart goes out to the people who live there.

    This is such a wonderful project. Thanks for doing this!

    Melody Davis

  33. Ann de Forest
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    For Laurie Halse Anderson and Writers for Joplin,

    forgot to put how much I donated on e-card. $50

    Good luck!

    Ann de Forest

  34. Jennifer
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    What a great idea! Thank you for the opportunity. I donated $10.

  35. Theresa
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Found this tonight; thank you so much for the donations and the contest.

    My grandparent’s house was damaged and will need work, but is livable. That’s much more than I can say for so many of the houses around, and several of my friends lost everything, at least one including his life.

    Thank you for everyone’s support, prayers and/or thoughts, whether you donate or not.

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