Special Guest Crit: Jodi Meadows #4 and #5

Jodi Meadows, person of so much awesome I don’t know how folks in real life can even look upon her greatness ;), is offering two 5000 word critiques via RANDOM DRAWING of a young adult (any) or adult science fiction/fantasy MS.


Please do not donate for it! Okayz?

*I just remembered that EST and EDT are different. (Japan doesn’t have Daylight Savings Time.) I am relieved that no one has gotten confused this before. 0_0

Image by Housden Photography, and it is teh awesomer.

About Jodi: Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. Her debut novel, Incarnate, will be published by HarperCollins’ Katherine Tegen Books in 2012.

*A Kippy is a cat.


  1. Go to the mycharitywater Crits for Water campaign page.
  2. Donate $20. WHEN YOU DONATE, in the comments section, write two things:
    • Jodi Meadows Drawing
    • A way to contact you–email, blog, twitter, whatevs
  3. Donate more if you like, but it won’t get you any more entries. It may, however, get more Kippy pictures if we beg.
  4. CAUTION: If you have not donated via mycharitywater before, they will ask you to become a member. This DOES NOT mean that your donation didn’t go through. If in doubt, check your email/bank account FIRST before attempting to donate again. CAUTION
  5. If you don’t feel comfortable putting your email on the mycharitywater page, comment on THIS blog post once you donate. Your email won’t show up to anyone but me.
  6. Wait for the entry period to end. I will go to random.org, choose two winners, and announce them on the blog AND email them.
  7. If you don’t win and you want a Kat-Crit anyway, pop me an email at katharine_brauer @ yahoo.com. (Er, remove the spaces, yeah?)
  8. If you won any of Jodi’s auctions, you are not eligible to win this drawing. Sorry!

Questions? Stick ‘em in the comments, contact me on twitter, or send me an e-mail (katharine_brauer @ yahoo.com).

Read Jodi’s spectacular interview about crits and critiquing after the jump. For another WONDERFUL critiquerly interview, check out this one at Not an Editor.

How has critting helped you grow as an author?

Critiquing others has helped me learn what does and doesn’t work for me in stories. It’s made me more able to see what’s going on in my own stories, and able to articulate what is and isn’t working.

What’s the best thing you learned from a critter or critting?

There are so many things, it’s impossible to choose the *best*, but one of my favorites is this:

“Start with a change.”

Many people will say start with action, or start with description, or whatever. And while it is important to immediately ground the reader and get things moving, I think a lot of writers misinterpret “action” for “car chase” or “sword fight”. I like action as much as the next girl, but action I don’t care about…is action I don’t care about.

But change, to me, implies movement, and if you start as close to that as possible, you have a better chance of hooking the reader. Think about music. You’re listening to a tone. It’s very long. Nothing is happening. You kind of want to gouge out your ears from boredom and a headache. But if the note has a change — maybe in volume — that’s a little more interesting. And if the note changes into another note… Hey, it sounds like music.

Listeners are waiting for the change.

So are readers.

And the worst advice you’ve ever received?

“Kill your main character.” And not because it would be appropriate for the story! I think they honestly did not like the character and wanted to see her dead. (This was a random critique. For some reason, we did not pursue a crit partnership…)

Which word do you use more often: edit or crit?

I don’t think they’re interchangeable, so I use whichever is appropriate for the situation. If I’m exchanging manuscripts with a friend for comments, I generally think of that as critique. We’re offering criticism. But neither of us are editors. I’m not telling my friend, “fix all these things before we proceed to the next step.” I’m telling her, “I noticed these things that might be something you want to take a look at before you proceed to the next step.” But that next step won’t be with me; I’m not the editor, just someone making comments that may or may not be useful.

I use edit when my agent or editor sends me comments for things to fix. Or when I am fixing my manuscript on my own, based on critiques from other writers. At that point, I’ve chosen what I will fix.

Everyone may not have the same distinction about the words, but there you go.

Have a funny slogan for your crits in the Crits for Water Campaign?

None that don’t involve inappropriate drowning/mayhem.

Last chance for a spectacular crit by Jodi! ROCK ON, KIDS.