Announcing the 2016 Pitch Wars Mentors!
May17

Announcing the 2016 Pitch Wars Mentors!

We’re getting excited behind the scenes for our fifth Pitch Wars! For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine. The mentor also critiques his/her writer’s pitch to get it ready for the agent round. To do this, the mentors read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for two months to get them ready for the agent round. Writers can pick up to four (4) mentors to submit to. Last year we had about fifty mentees sign with agents and some of those resulted in book deals. That’s not counting all the successes from Pitch Wars 2012, 2013 and 2014. We hope to have many more successes this year! The August 3, 2016 submission window is fast approaching. We have our mentors all signed up and ready to go. This year I’ve added more mentors and increased the number for the middle grade and adult categories. There will be a longer agent showcase starting November 3 and ending on the 9th to give our agents more time to go through all the pitches. Each category will have their own showcase day. Here’s the agent showcase schedule for 2016 … November 3 – 9: Agent Showcase November 3: Adult and New Adult entries go up on my blog November 4: MG entries go up on my blog November 5: YA entries go up on my blog November 9: Last day of Agent Showcase I know there are a lot of names on this list, but I wanted as many writers as possible to have a chance to be mentored. To us the most important part of the contest is the mentoring phase. The agent showcase is the prize at the end. The wonderful Heather Cashman has separated the mentors by the categories they’ll be mentoring. Click on their names for the links to follow them on Twitter. There will be some valuable information being shared by the mentors on our hashtag #PitchWars. Come back for our Mentor Blog Hop to view our mentors’ bios and their wishlists starting July 20 through August 3. And now, here are your 2016 mentors … Adult Mentors … Carrie Callaghan Dan Koboldt and Michael Mammay, co-mentors Dan Malossi Emily Wheeler Hayley Stone Holly Faur J.C. Nelson Jennie Nash Jenny Ferguson Karma Brown and Susan Crispell, co-mentors Kellye Garrett and Sarah Henning, co-mentors Kristen Lepionka Margarita Montimore Michelle Hauck Scarlett Cole Adult/New Adult Mentors … Brighton Walsh Caitlin Sinead Diana Gardin Heather Van Fleet J.R. Yates...

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Day 12 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Kate Karyus Quinn
May17

Day 12 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Kate Karyus Quinn

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 Kate Karyus Quinn Website  |  Twitter  |  Blog Kate Karyus Quinn is an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict. She has lived in California and Tennessee, but recently made the move back to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, with her husband and two children in tow. She promised them wonderful people, amazing food, and weather that would… build character. She is represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary and is the author of ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE, (DON’T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME, and DOWN WITH THE SHINE all from HarperTeen. Kate also offers paid critiques for authors looking to further polish their work.   Kate’s 500 Word Critique . . . YA Mystery, LGBT As of today I am a co-conspirator. Wow. This is a great first line. I’d actually let this sit on its own line instead of connecting it to the rest of the paragraph. I don’t know if you can count being the student representative for the first years a position of power but if it is I am using it to further my nefarious purposes. Oh no. You lost me. Where did the co-conspirator stuff go? What does being a student representative have to do with it? And what exactly are her nefarious purposes? You are throwing out lots of enticing tidbits but I can’t see how any of it connects, so it’s hard to be fully drawn in. Well, that’s how I imagine my parent would see it. I’m sure the school would. The school started all of this with my parents. Started all of what? Did something here get accidentally deleted? They forced my hand. Besides, if there is a better way to raise a liar than having my parents I’d like to hear it This sentence reads awkwardly. You’re trying to say that being raised by her parents made her a liar… but why? You keep mentioning the parents,...

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Pitch Wars Success Interview with Michella Domenici and Mentors Kes Trester and Jennifer Hawkins
May17

Pitch Wars Success Interview with Michella Domenici and Mentors Kes Trester and Jennifer Hawkins

The best part of the contests for us around here is when we hear about successes. Today we celebrate Michella Domenici and her Pitch Wars mentors Kes Trester and Jennifer Hawkins! Mic recently signed with Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency, and we couldn’t be more thrilled for her. So without further ado, please meet Michella, Kes, and Jennifer as they recap their awesome Pitch Wars success story. Michella, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Jen and Kes? Mic: I had a lapse in judgment and did not submit to Kes and Jen. How could I not, because clearly we are masters of 3 letter nicknames! I’m so happy and grateful for whoever passed my entry to them.  Jen and Kes, what about Michella’s application made you choose her? Jen: We received so many incredible entries. Truly, there was so much talent in our inbox. But when another mentor passed us the entry for Lady Hamlet (with great enthusiasm, I might add), we both fell in love. The voice was off the charts—Alice grabbed us from the very first line and didn’t let go. We saw things that could use some work, but it was the voice that sold us. We believed Alice had a story to tell, and we wanted to help her tell it. Kes: Alice jumped off the page with such warmth, humor, and energy that Jen and I kept texting back and forth with excitement. Voice is probably the most difficult aspect of the craft to master, and Michella nailed it. Michella, tell us about the revision period for Pitch Wars? Mic: I got an introduction into the Save the Cat beat sheet, an 8 page edit letter, and two fantastic cheerleaders and guides. The notes I got from Kes and Jen made me think a lot about my characters and push me to flesh out their motivations so it was as clear on the page as it was in my head. They also totally helped me cut this horrible subplot that I knew needed to die, but didn’t know how to fix. They read my manuscript multiple times, and were so dedicated to it. Jen and Kes, tell us about your experience with mentoring Michella. Jen: Michella was a joy to mentor. She entered the contest with the intention of working hard. I think the level of work mentors expect surprises some mentees, but Michella wasn’t surprised or resistant at all. She rolled up her sleeves and polished her gem of a manuscript. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a better mentee. She was the ideal. Kes: Michella made us up our game. She incorporated our...

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Day 12 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Naomi Hughes
May17

Day 12 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Naomi Hughes

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 Naomi Hughes Website  |  Twitter Bio: Naomi Hughes is an assistant editor at Entangled Publishing, and she also offers freelance editing services at naomiedits.com. She’s served as a mentor/judge in many writing contests (including Pitch Madness, Query Kombat, and the infamous Pitch Wars) over the past few years. She’s also a writer herself—if you want to find out more about her quirky young adult and middle-grade stories, you can check out her author page at naomihughes.net.   Naomi’s 500 Word Critique . . . YA Contemporary I stood in front of the Video Gamers Club sweating. The gamers were not my first choice of audience, but the bigger problem was plain old heat. The Digital Media Lab held so many computers it never cooled off. The sweat pouring off me that afternoon was unseemly. Good thing the lights were off. A lot of the sentences so far feel very similar in structure (short, single-clause), and that’s something that can make your voice feel drab and monotone. Luckily, this is a pretty easy fix! Varying up your sentence length and construction can easily make your voice and writing style feel more distinctive and easier to read. No one could see the dark spots I imagined forming under my arms or the way my cheeks burned. I worked on the ten minute animated film that played on the screen next to me three days a week after school, plus all the weekend time I could fit around studies for my junior year at the Moran Upper School, where I was constantly being reminded that as one of the best and brightest I should be studying. I was proud. This doesn’t quite feel like it fits. Single-sentences paragraphs can be a very powerful technique for introducing an emotion or thought that you want to have a big impact on readers, but generally that emotion/thought needs to be...

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