Day 9 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Marty Mayberry
May12

Day 9 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Marty Mayberry

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 Marty Mayberry Website  |  Twitter Marty Mayberry writes adult and young adult fiction. When she’s not dreaming up ways to mess with her character’s lives, she works as an RN/Clinical Documentation Specialist. She has a BA in International Affairs in German and an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. She lives in New England with her husband, children, and three neurotic cats. She’s a member of SCBWI, YARWA, and a PRO member of RWA. Her young adult sci-fi thriller, PHOENIX RISING, won the 2015 YARWA’s Rosemary Award for speculative fiction. She’s represented by Jessica Watterson of the Sandra Dijkstra Agency.   Marty’s 500 Word Critique . . . YA Urban Fantasy A wave was coming to destroy the Isle of Man. Eoin Wade stood waiting (to tighten, this could be ‘waited’; stand is implied) on the ramparts of the Tower of Refuge. It was a small, neatly bricked fortress that glowed red and green under artificial spotlights (Consider rephrasing this to make it more active: The small, neatly bricked fortress glowed red and green under artificial spotlights.). It sat on a tiny patch of stone and sand some four hundred yards from the coast of Douglas. Even from this distance Eoin knew the wave would loom over the little tower, making it useless as a place of sanctuary. (this would be a great place to up his pov; a wave is coming but he’s standing here calmly. Why? Is he frightened? Complacent? If so, why? We’re with him, we want to know what he’s thinking.) Black hair trailed from his oilskin hood. Heavy metal screeched from the earbuds hanging from his shirt collar. Seagulls drifted above the wave, then backed off with shrieks of alarm. He couldn’t decide what unnerved him more; the size of the wave, or its silence. Sometimes the ocean flails and screams like a drunk gone blind. (great line and voice here!) There was...

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Pitch Wars: The 35-word and Twitter Pitch … simplified
May12

Pitch Wars: The 35-word and Twitter Pitch … simplified

Is your 35-word pitch (aka logline) ready? Got a Twitter pitch? Many contests require a 35-word pitch to enter. If you make it into Pitch Wars, your mentor will help you come up with a short pitch, but having something ready will make the process easier.  Also, #PitMad is coming June 9 from 8AM to 8PM EDT. Don’t know what #PitMad is? Go here for the details.  So I thought I’d give you some formulas I use  to come up with my short pitches. It’s great to have memorized when attending conferences, so if you’re asked what your manuscript is about, you have a coherent pitch to rattle off. You don’t want to lose an agent’s attention by giving them a huge exposé of every detail in your story.  Here’s some simplified formulas. I hope it helps you to come up with a pitch that hooks. The 35-word pitch or logline for your story must be exciting and pull your reader in. One to two catchy sentences that grab your reader’s attention. Use generalities, don’t use name of things that the agents won’t understand. Don’t use rhetorical questions. Make sure the stakes are clear. What does your character stand to lose if he doesn’t accomplish his goal(s)? Don’t be vague. You don’t want to confuse the agents or for it to sound vanilla. Don’t keep secrets. Avoid saying things like your character has special skills or a hidden agenda. Clearly state in the pitch the special skill or hidden agenda.   The “take action” pitch … [Protagonist] in [a situation] must [take action] to solve [the problem]. Example: Yanked into a gateway book that links the world’s great libraries, Gia finds that she’s a long lost knight and must now stop a scorned wizard hell-bent on creating an apocalypse. The “when” pitch … When [protagonist] discovers/learns/other similar word [catalyst], he/she must [overcome x] before a deadline or ticking clock, or else [stakes]. Example: When sixteen-year-old Gia Kearns accidentally jumps into a book linking the world’s libraries, she finds she’s a long lost knight and must stop an evil wizard from releasing an apocalyptic being that can destroy both the Mystik and human realms.   Add what is unique about your story to your pitch. That something cool that makes an agent/editor sit up and notice the pitch. Example: Yanked into a gateway book that links the world’s great libraries, Gia finds that she’s a long lost knight and must now stop a scorned wizard hell-bent on creating an apocalypse.   Twitter pitches … Twitter pitching on hashtags such as #PitMad have yielded many successes. Finding the perfect Twitter pitch...

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Day 9 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Kristin B. Wright
May12

Day 9 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Kristin B. Wright

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 Kristin B. Wright Kristin Wright is a contemporary YA and occasional adult WF author. She’s a transplanted Detroiter now living with her family, two beagles, two 4-H sheep, and a stray calf far out in the Virginia countryside. She was a participant in PitchWars 2014 and a mentor in 2015. This year she’s excited to mentor YA. She eats Cheezits, watches shows with kilts and/or corsets, and has worked as a living historian in a hoop skirt. She is represented by the lovely Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. Website  |  Twitter       Kristin’s 500 Word Critique . . . YA Contemporary A car horn sounds. They’re here. [I’d like to see you amp up this first line. You only get one chance snag readers immediately out of the gate. Try for something punchier, more memorable.] I rush to the driveway forgetting for a moment this will be different. No cacophony of Cassidy. [I like the alliteration!] No burst of confetti and escaping balloons. Only a few weeks ago, I’d stood right here delighting in her chaotic arrival. On that day, Cassidy’d rushed toward me, falling in her haste. Sprawled on the ground, legs splayed wide, she grabbed at the balloons tangled around her legs. A bag of confetti split open and brightly colored bits scattered all along the sidewalk. “I was going to sprinkle these all over you,” she cried, her face filled with the mock- tragedy. One hand scooped up a pile of confetti, but one of the balloons slipped from her other hand. “Oh,” she howled in real dismay. “My beautiful entrance. All spoiled!” [I’m getting a sense that Cassidy has a big personality and is very important to the MC, but the concern I have is that I’m getting mixed messages about how old she is. The falling down, the balloons, the confetti, make me...

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