A Pitch Wars Success Interview with Eric Bell, His Mentor Joy McCullough-Carranza, and Agent Brent Taylor!
May02

A Pitch Wars Success Interview with Eric Bell, His Mentor Joy McCullough-Carranza, and Agent Brent Taylor!

  The best part of the contests for us around here is when we hear about successes. Today we celebrate Eric Bell, his Pitch Wars mentor, Joy McCullough-Carranza, and the agent he recently signed with, the lovely and amazing Brent Taylor of Triada US! We couldn’t be more thrilled for them. So without further ado, please meet Eric, Joy, and Brent as they recap their epic Pitch Wars success story.   Eric, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Joy? I was just wrapping up the first draft of my new manuscript when I learned about Pitch Wars. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity to get some great, intensive feedback, improve my skills, and potentially—gasp—put my work in front of agents! Joy seemed like she would be a great fit as a mentor; her critiquing style really appealed to me. And my book fit, like, four categories of things she said she was looking for, so that was nice!     Joy, what about Eric’s application made you choose him? The voice in Eric’s pages LEAPT off the pages immediately. It was the best voice I’d ever seen in a Pitchwars entry and I laughed out loud multiple times on the first page alone. I was also pulled in by the subject matter – MG readers need to see more LGBTQ characters on the page, and I love that Eric’s story offers that so directly.   Eric, tell us about the revision period for Pitch Wars. First, Joy sent me an editorial letter with broad changes she thought would be good for me to implement. Every primary character but two—the main character and his goofy, scene-stealing friend—had notes. Joy felt like the plot structure was in decent shape, so she only had a few smaller fixes for that. After I got those revisions to her, Joy sent me line edits, which went into detail about some of the micro-level problems with the manuscript (so many “just”s! So many ellipses!), as well as some of her issues from before that she felt I didn’t address thoroughly enough. Additionally, Joy worked with other PW mentors—Rebecca Wells and Jessica Vitalis—to find beta readers to address the cultural issues in my book. Overall the experience was intense, but in the best possible way. Joy and I worked well together. She taught me so much, not just about writing, but about publishing as a whole and even learning to be kind to myself.     Joy, tell us about your experience with mentoring Eric. How was mentoring your other team members? Eric was great to work with. We had a lot...

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Day 1 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars mentor Cat Scully
May02

Day 1 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars mentor Cat Scully

Welcome to May’s Voice Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected over thirty writers to participate in the workshop. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a 500 word sample that the writer chose from his or her manuscript where he or she felt they needed help with their voice. Our hope that these samples will help you with your work and that you’ll get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors.We appreciate our mentors for giving up their time to do the critiques.  If you have something encouraging to add, feel free to comment below. Please keep all comments tasteful. We will delete any inappropriate or hurtful ones. And now we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Cat Scully Cat is an illustrator, writer, motion design student, and freelance editor. As illustrator, she’s worked on concept art for film, world maps and chapter headings for books, and storyboards for broadcast. You might have seen her world map designs in Winterspell by Claire Legrand, or Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova. She’s also working on a map for the Seven Forges series by James A. Moore. When she’s not illustrating, she writes horror, SFF, and a bit of WTF for kids, teens, and adults. Because of an internship with Cartoon Network LA in college, she got bit by the broadcast bug, and now she’s studying motion design at the ANVEL in Atlanta, GA, where she’s lucky enough to work with a fabulous crew of people. She also loves to work with authors to develop their MG or YA books at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy and is a PitchWars mentor every year. She’s represented by Lane Heymont of the Seymour Agency. Website: https://catherinescully.com/ Tweets at @CatMScully Tumblr at CatMScully Instagram at CatMScully Cat’s 500 Word Critique . . . Young Adult Contemporary I park Calli in (Is Callie a car? Or a person? “I park Calli in” could instead read as “I park Calli and jump out” but it still isn’t saying enough. Does she have trouble with the buckle? Does she have a jammed door? Almost forget her keys? We need more character shone through these things), jump out of the car, and start walking (Again, just walking isn’t enough. If she jumps out of a car, she’s already sprinting). But walking isn’t enough to (I can’t) outpace (outrun) the memories that nip at my heels (This is a cliché – would be better to say “I can’t outrun the image of Micah’s blue-tinged lips, his gray face, his still chest.” It carries more weight to just say what she can’t outrun or it is too vague), so I jog and then full-out sprint. (Make this more active –...

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Day 1 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars mentor K.T. Hanna
May02

Day 1 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars mentor K.T. Hanna

Welcome to May’s Voice Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected over thirty writers to participate in the workshop. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a 500 word sample that the writer chose from his or her manuscript where he or she felt they needed help with their voice. Our hope that these samples will help you with your work and that you’ll get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors.We appreciate our mentors for giving up their time to do the critiques.  If you have something encouraging to add, feel free to comment below. Please keep all comments tasteful. We will delete any inappropriate or hurtful ones. And now we have … Pitch Wars Mentor K.T. Hanna Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Wattpad Tumblr | Instagram | Google+ KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds. Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you. When she’s not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, plays computer games, and chases her daughter, husband, corgi, and cat. No, she doesn’t sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky. Note: Still searching for her Tardis K.T.’s 500 Word Critique . . . Young Adult Horror Kate sat on the back porch reading her tablet. Peachy scented Yankee Candles illuminated a stack of decorating magazines beside her. “Have fun?” She sipped from a glass, the ice clinking when she set it down. “I thought you were going out.” “He cancelled, had to work late.” It seemed this boyfriend worked late a lot, but I didn’t say anything. “I’m going to shower. Carnival dust, ya know? And Bree’s coming over.” “Mmm mm.” She was reading again. [Nothing here is resonating with me yet. The voice is jumbled. While the beginning gives us a very sparse mood with the scented candles and back porch, I would suggest fleshing this out just a bit more to ground the reader in characters they do not yet know. Establish your setting, feed in the creepiness in little things. Show us some of your MC’s personality in the way she moves and reacts. CAVEAT: Any suggestions I make are only that – an offering of one way you could choose to adjust this. It’s not my story – but as I’m trying to assist in showing voice, some of my own for this idea will leak in. Please don’t take what I’m putting down as what must be, but only as an example...

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