Special Guest Crit: Kat Zhang

The superfab Kat Zhang is offering a 5000 word crit.


This is Kat! Snaps for sharing a rocking name.

About Kat*: Kat Zhang spent most of her childhood traipsing through a world weaved from her favorite stories and games. When she and her best friend weren’t riding magic horses or talking to trees, they were writing adaptations of plays for their stuffed animals (what would The Wizard of Oz have been like if the Cowardly Lion were replaced by a Loquacious Lamb?). This may or may not explain many of Kat’s quirks today.

Kat is represented by Emmanuelle Morgen of Judith Ehrlich Literary Management. Her book HYBRID–about a girl with two souls–has been recently sold to Harper Children’s in a 3-book deal! She also writes for her college newspaper, performs as a Spoken Word poet, and contributes to Let The Words Flow, a site for aspiring writers to learn about storytelling craft and the publishing process.


  1. Comment on THIS BLOG POST with your bid. Bidding starts at US$1.
  2. You may, of course, bid more than once.
  3. Once the auction closes, if you are the highest bidder, I will contact you to donate.
  4. Please DO NOT donate unless I email you! SERIOUSLY.
  5. Donate your winning bid to the mycharitywater campaign page by June 9.
  6. If the bid is not donated by then, I’ll contact the second highest bidder to donate, and so-on.
  7. Once the donation is made, email me the file.

More about Kat’s critiquing style after the jump, and/or read about her thoughts on critting at Not an Editor.

Describe your critting style.
I’m very much a detail orientated person, and especially with something as short as a 2500-5000 word critique, I’ll practically go into line edit mode. I’m a grammar nazi, so I can definitely take care of any and all grammar woes. I’m a creative writing major and I intern for a literary agent (reading queries and manuscripts) AND I’ve spent hours upon hours revising my own book, as well as being a critique partner, so I practically bleed red ink by now! I can cover everything from plot to character development to the YA voice. Anything at all, really.

How has critting helped you grow as an author?
There’s so much that you realize is wrong with your own manuscript because the ms you’re critting shows some of the same issues. Just learning to get into that critting mind set helps a lot, too. You learn to look at a ms analytically, something that’s much easier to do with other people’s work than with your own, at first. Eventually, you get the hang of it well enough to see your own work the same way. Revising gets much easier after that! And of course, having critique partners point out all the deficiencies in your book helps SO much. A good critique partner is GOLD. (two or three are even better!)

What’s the best thing you learned from a critter or critting?
Yikes, I don’t even know! Hmm…Voice is the most important thing I’ve learning from critting, I believe. Voice is so incredibly important. When I’m reading stuff for my internship, it’s what draws me in and makes me fall in love. Also, true immersion. There are some mss you read where you feel like someone is recounting a scene to you. Then there are others where you feel like you’re actually living the scene. Over the years, I’ve learned to pick out what makes a mss read one way or another.

And the worst advice you’ve ever received?
“You’ve got sentence fragments. Those are grammatically incorrect.” Um, yes, except I was using those for stylistic reasons 😛

Which do you use more often: edit or crit?
I tend to use “crit” if I’m going to take a more big picture look at the mss. Meaning I won’t go into line-by-line grammar mistakes and such. I’d cover just big things like plot structure or character development over the course of the book. When I use “edit,” I tend to mean I’m going to be going more in-depth. In addition to the big picture things, I tackle the little stuff as well. In other words, when I “crit” a ms, I’ll turn in about a page of notes. If I “edit” it, I’ll turn the original ms back in with track changes and comment tags everywhere! But really, sometimes I interchange the two…

Got a question? Stick it in the comments, pop me an email (kat @ katbrauer.com), or follow me on twitter.

*Kat Zhang and Kat Brauer share the same rocktastic name. You may call me K@ if you get confused. (Get it?)