Special Guest Crit: Jessica Lei #3

Jessica Lei, author and agent intern, offered one, final critique of your first chapter via RANDOM DRAWING of a young adult manuscript.


She never sleeps. It is how she is so productive.

About Jessica: Jessica is a 22-year-old intern for the amazing agent Elana Roth at the Johnson Literary Agency and writer of YA fantasy looking for a miracle (aka an agent).


  1. Go to the mycharitywater Crits for Water campaign page.
  2. Donate $5. WHEN YOU DONATE, in the comments section, write two things:
    • Jessica Lei Crit #3
    • 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, save the Universe from random implosion. You never know.
    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.
  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 the winner, and announce the name on the blog AND email him/her.
  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?)

Any questions or love can go in the comments, to my email same as above, or to twitter.

Learn about her super rocking self after the jump. And/or check out this excellent interview on Not an Editor here.

Describe your critting style.

My critting style is all about “what works” versus “what doesn’t work.” I try to suggest another way to phrase a sentence if it’s not working for me, or perhaps just another word. I spend time wondering if the scene or chapter could be tweaked in a small or big way in order to really touch on the best way to world build, characterize, and drive the plot forward.

How has critting helped you grow as an author?

I don’t think I’d be a writer if it wasn’t for critiques. I started writing early, but the best part was always receiving feedback–good or bad. I feel like everytime I critique, I gain a new skill or a new perspective on my own writing 🙂

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

I’ve learned a lot from what doesn’t work in other people’s manuscripts to help inform what might work in my own manuscript, and other people’s writing. If I couldn’t identify what wasn’t working, or if I didn’t have such great critters who were honest about what works and doesn’t work for them, then I’d never have a finished book.

And the worst advice you’ve ever received?

The worst advice I’ve ever received was probably to write in short and choppy sentences. At the time, I had a penchant for purple prose, but the solution wasn’t to chop my sentences down to 5- or 6-word sentences! Description is integral to writing a book that lives and breathes! The solution was to just cut down and intentionally pick what to describe.

Does the word “crit” ever make you giggle?

Only because I know you so well.

This is your last chance for a critique by Jess! I cannot emphasize her fabulous eye for plotting, pacing, and also brainstorming. Plus she’s funny. Enter today!