Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Crits for Water Interview with YA Author Brigid Kemmerer

(Or, Taking Things by STORM)

A charity water fact: 300 children die per hour from water-related diseases.

Which is why author Brigid Kemmerer is spending the release day of her novel STORM doing something charitable. She’s donated a 20-page critique to the 2012 Crits for Water campaign. I won her critique last year, and let me tell you—she’s awesome!

Meet Brigid.

Brigid Kemmerer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over
the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland,
Ohio, and several stops in between. Brigid started writing in high school, and her first real “novel
was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in the suburbs. Those four brothers are the
same boys living in the pages of
The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage
boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years. (Though sometimes that just makes
her sound nuts.) Check out her
blog and find her on Twitter.


NAE: What is your favorite thing about writing a critique?

Brigid: I'm not great at writing an overall critique. One of my crit partners (hi, Bobbie!) is exceptional at qualifying what works in a scene on many levels, and can send me paragraphs outlining my characters' motivations. I'm honestly convinced she knows my characters better than I do. I prefer to go through a manuscript and make comments as I go -- and there will be several.

NAE: What is your favorite thing about receiving a critique back?

Brigid: I love receiving critiques on my work! I'm a perfectionist, and I love hearing what's not working -- so I can fix it. I used to get the knee-jerk reaction of, "Don't criticize my work!" just like everyone does when they're first starting out, but once I learned that people are genuinely trying to help me improve, I stopped feeling that way. Now I look at every criticism as an opportunity. I'm also secure enough in my own work to reject a change if I don't feel it's working -- as well as to admit I'm wrong if something is genuinely crap.

NAE: Why is critiquing important?

Brigid: Critiquing work for others is the best way to develop your own editorial eye. While writing workshops are great places to hone your craft, they can be expensive. I could never afford to do one, so I critiqued as many manuscripts as I could. It's a quick (and FREE) way to learn what works, and what doesn't.

NAE: Your critique style is like which of the following: Red Pen Editor, Overall Commenter, Supportive Critic, You’ll Know It If I Catch It?

Brigid: I'm a combination of the Red Pen Editor and the Supportive Critic. I'm going to mark obvious errors, but I'm also going to put reasoning behind my bigger picture changes and explain why I think a change is necessary. I also try to look for places where something is working WELL, because I think it's easy for writers to fall into the habit of only looking for the bad.

NAE: Name one of your favorite 2012 books (coming out or already released), and why.

Brigid: So far I've loved UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi and I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER by Sophie Kinsella.


Crits for Water Quickfires – And, Go.

1. Oxford comma?   Absolutely.

2. Should "I like him too" have a comma before "too"?   Yes. And if it shouldn't, my copy editor will catch it. :-)

3. Italicize or underline?   Italicize!

4. How do you separate scenes: #, ***, line break?   I use three pound signs: ###

5. What's your favorite verb?   I have no idea. I like the word "saturnine," but that's an adjective.

Because this is her second year participating in Crits for Water, you can check out her previous thoughts about critiques here: Critique Until it’s Automatic.


If you want to see if your writing has the elements of a great work-in-progress, take a look at Brigid’s 2,500-word critique here. In the meantime, check out her debut release, STORM.

Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys-- the ones she doesn't want. Ever since her
ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her.Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the
school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water--just like his brothers
 can control fire, wind, and earth. They're powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death. And now
that she knows the truth, so is Becca. Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake. When
Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place
at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris,
and Becca wonders who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all. The storm is coming. . .


Thanks, Brigid, and happy release day!

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