Crits for Water is fundraiser headed by Kat Brauer in which writers can donate money in exchange for manuscript-critiques. Several LTWF ladies have donated critiques–in fact, this week you could win a crit from our very own Vahini Naidoo!
Kat, who is both the coordinator and primary critiquer, currently lives in Japan, teaches schoolchildren English, and writes amazing (we can vouch for the amazing!) YA novels. We were lucky enough to snag a few minutes of her very valuable time to pester her with a few questions about this whole shebang.
So Awesome Kat, why don’t you tell us what exactly Crits for Water is…
It’s a fundraiser for charity: water. The general idea is that in return for donations that provide folks in developing nations clean water, writers get their work critiqued by published/agented authors, agents, or editors. Kat-Crits (er, crits by yours truly) are available at any time throughout the campaigns duration–where $1 = 250 words.
What inspired you to set up this enormous (but amazing!) fundraiser?
Two things. First, I love charity: water. An estimated one billion people don’t have access to clean, safe water. Many people actually walk hours upon hours each day to get water that will give them hepatitis, e-coli, and other water-borne diseases. That’s ridiculous and really flabbergasting to me, when my (safe!) water source is about ten feet from me at all times.
charity: water is committed to providing that water. They also look at the water issue as a whole. They provide sanitation classes, create community boards that must include women to help teach those classes and maintain the clean-water projects. And all public donations, 100 percent, go straight to the field. They’re very transparent about costs, and that pleases me immensely.
Second, I want to help writers. It’s an opportunity to improve one’s writing and network while saving lives. Also, I really wanted to make these opportunities available to writers whose pockets aren’t so deep as a lot of the auctions for charities often go–which is why I’m doing “random drawings” as well.
You are the primary “critter” in this fundraiser. What’s your critique style?
Generally speaking, I read for characterization and pacing issues first, as those are what pop out in smaller, chapter-like excerpts. As I’m reading, I tend to do pretty intense line-edits if I feel that’s necessary. Sometimes I’ll read excerpts twice. Once for more broad, plot, characterization, pacing type issues, and another time for line edits.
Once I do the readings, I set the excerpts aside for about an hour and ponder whether my initial comments were justified. Then I sit down and type up notes. If there are specific, broader issues, I try to come up with ways to fix it. Even if my ideas won’t work for the writer’s vision of the book, I figure it’ll help them brainstorm other ideas to address the issues.
Finally, I’m all about BALANCE. One of my most common addendums to my comments is “Don’t go crazy with this!” Yes, we should try to avoid passive voice, adverbs, and filter words where necessary, but that doesn’t mean avoiding them completely! Working too hard to avoid such writerly pitfalls will probably make your work more awkward than including them sparingly.
What industry professionals are contributing critiques?
Well, you can view the whole list on my blog. But aside from the fabulous group of YA/MG and romance authors, so far nine agents and two editors are also contributing critiques (sometimes more than one!). They’re all rockstars. Folks like Jim McCarthy, Joanna Volpe, Laurie McLean, Sara Megibow, Chris Richman, and Editorial Anonymous. Many of them are also providing random drawings for their crits in addition to auctions, which I’m very happy with.
The list is constantly growing, too, which just astounds me. People are so generous with their time, and I’m honored that such a large group of people have agreed to help with this project.
Now, these “Super Sekrit” giveaways…can you give us a hint as to what kind of swag they include?
A hint? But the point is that they’re SEKRIT. But okay. The current one running has a Japanese theme–I live in Japan, and I know a lot of us have Japan on our thoughts at the moment. Part of it is also CUSTOMIZABLE, which I think is rocking.
I’ll also do some of books and like writerly things, and one will be water-related. All are awesome, and all are worth $50+. There will be four giveaways total.
Finally, any last words or Sage Writerly Advice to impart?
Is it corny to end with a quote? Well, I’m gonna anyway.
One of my favorite authors, Natsume Soseki, wrote in his fab book Kokoro (The Heart of Things), “Words are not meant to stir the air only. They are capable of moving greater things.”Authors are artists. Our work is commentary on the human condition, what humanity implies, even if we don’t mean it that way. I love the way that the online writing community has come together time and time again to prove that our words can move greater things–be it Brenda Novak’s charity auction, Write Hope, or the romance community’s Operation Auction. I’m deeply humbled that so many people have reached out to help me with this effort–though I think I’ll give most of the credit to charity: water for being fantabulous. 😄
So yeah. You guys are great. That’s all.
So there you have it! What are you waiting for? Get thee to the Crits for Water page and start donating–surely you can spare a single dollar, right? 🙂 And be on the look out for guest critiques from our members: Sarah J. Maas, Kat Zhang, Susan Dennard, and Vahini Naidoo!