Day 16 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Jessica Vitalis
May23

Day 16 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Jessica Vitalis

  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 Jessica Vitalis Website  |  Twitter I started writing stories in third grade. By middle school, I’d moved on to poems. One, written in sixth grade (and submitted for an English assignment because why waste a good thing?), was read years later by my homeroom teacher during a high school commencement speech. When I was asked to write an essay for the Harbrace College Handbook my senior year of college, I toyed with the idea of writing full-time. Somehow, life got in the way (as it often does) and I instead embarked on a business career that culminated in obtaining an MBA at Columbia Business School. While at CBS, I took a class called “Creativity and Personal Mastery” and was assigned the task of identifying my ideal career. The result? Writing, of course! Armed with this knowledge, I eagerly traded my business card for a library card. I now live in Atlanta, Georgia with my husband, two precocious daughters, two black cats, one adorable dog, and write stories for middle grade readers. Jessica’s 500 Word Critique . . . MG Contemporary Science Fiction Daisy Kincaid knew nothing of time travel. Or of stolen artifacts, secret societies, ancient tombs, or a vial that held the secret to eternal life. She was just a regular girl, leading a not terribly interesting life in Manhattan, trying her very best just to survive the 7th grade. Although it’s often suggested that we open by dropping the reader into action rather than summary, I actually think this opening paragraph is effective. The voice is great––it establishes tension right off the bat, gives us a taste of what’s to come, and at the same time grounds us in the life of an ordinary girl (added bonus that you worked in her age). Nicely done. But one day in May, two things happened that were a bit out of the ordinary. This...

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Day 16 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Addie Thorley
May23

Day 16 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Addie Thorley

  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 Addie Thorley Website  |  Twitter Addie Thorley writes Young Adult historical fiction and fantasy. She has a passion for multicultural stories with exotic locales and anything with magic and KISSING! She works as a professional equestrian and does everything from riding award-winning show horses to training wild mustangs. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and wolf dog, and when she’s not writing or riding, you can find her gallivanting in the woods, walking her dog, and eating cookies. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.         Addie’s 500 Word Critique . . . MG Mystery An Elvis, a Marilyn Monroe and a mini-me Elvis walk into a crowded middle school cafeteria. (I would remove the articles before the names, as it sounds kind of clunky with them.) Sounds like the set-up for a great joke, right? There was nothing funny about it. I was sitting on a bench, peeling back a rubbery taco shell to see what squished inside, when the giggling started. My best friend Owen said, “Uh-oh. Incoming.” (Push Owen’s dialogue and reaction harder. “Incoming” makes it sound like Trew’s parents show up in costume all the time. Since Owen is her best friend, he clearly knows that Trew’s parents have an act and it’s not out of the ordinary for them to be dressed up. However, I doubt they show up at school dressed like this, so I would still expect a bigger response. This would be a great opportunity to reveal a bit of Owen’s character/ how he feels about Trew’s wacky parents and also set the scene and ratchet up the tension.) I turned around to see what was causing all the commotion and saw them walking into the cavernous room. (This sentence kind of flat and anticlimactic. This is the big entrance, and it would be much livelier if...

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CIRCLE OF JINN by Lori Goldstein . . . What Makes A Great Sequel, Book Release, and Giveaway!
May20

CIRCLE OF JINN by Lori Goldstein . . . What Makes A Great Sequel, Book Release, and Giveaway!

TITLE: Circle of Jinn AUTHOR: Lori Goldstein PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan PUBLICATION DATE: May 17, 2016 About the Book . . . Being Jinn is Azra’s new reality. As she grants wishes under the watchful eye of the Afrit council, she remains torn between her two worlds—human and Jinn. Soon, secrets spill. Zars are broken. Humans become pawns. And rumors of an uprising become real as the Afrit’s reach extends beyond the underground world of Janna. Straddling the line becomes impossible. Aware of her unique abilities, Azra must not just face but embrace her destiny. But when the role she must play and those she must protect expand to include a circle of Jinn greater than her own, Azra will be forced to risk everything. A risk that means there’s everything to lose, and at the same time, everything to gain—for herself and her entire Jinn race. In this dramatic sequel to Becoming Jinn, Azra’s story comes to a heartfelt and thrilling conclusion. What Makes a Great Sequel? Readers and moviegoers love sequels. Returning to characters we know and stories we love is like burrowing under a fuzzy blanket on a cold, snowy night. There’s great comfort in getting to visit old friends and follow them on a new adventure. And yet we settle in with expectations and hopes built from our experience with the first in the series. So inevitably the question is asked: But is it as good as the original? Sequels have a lot to live up to. The first time you are exposed to something, it’s all shiny and new. Be it the first time you wear a swanky new dress or eat at just opened restaurant, the simple fact that you have never done this before—whatever this is—is exciting. In the world of storytelling, the first glimpse of Diagon Alley or the Millennium Falcon can never be replicated. The unknown holds something special—there are no expectations. When you have no idea what to expect, it’s easier to be wowed. This is why so many sequels never *quite* live up to the originals. The characters, the story, the journey may be just as good or even better but it’s the lens through which we view this sequel—a lens that lacks the bonus points that “new” brings—that causes us to believe the sequel doesn’t quite measure up. And yet, there are exceptions. There are sequels that take what we love about the first installment and build on it, giving us something that blows us away in spite of the bias we bring. They respect the world that’s familiar to us, but infuse the sequel with new energy, with deeper...

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Day 15 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Pintip Dunn
May20

Day 15 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Pintip Dunn

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 Pintip Dunn Website  |  Twitter When my first-grade teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I replied, “An author.” Although I have pursued other interests over the years, this dream has never wavered. I graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. I received my J.D. at Yale Law School, where I was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. I published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,” and received the Barry S. Kaplan Prize for best paper in Law and Literature. I am represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. I’m a 2012 Golden Heart® finalist and a 2014 double-finalist. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network. I live with my husband and children in Maryland. Pintip’s 500 Word Critique . . . MG Contemporary Fantasy Hi! This was a great submission! I think you have a good voice, and it is very fitting for middle grade. You made me laugh and smile, so bonus points for that! Best of luck with this novel, and thanks for giving me the chance to read your first page! Mom promised to be home by six and it’s almost six-thirty. [I would go with a more interesting first line. I like the “jack-in-the-box” reference a lot — perhaps use that line or even replace with something simple like, “Mom’s late. Again.” It gets across the gist of your first sentence in a more direct way.] I sit on the stairs and look out the front door, doing my jack-in-the-box imitation. I hear a car, I jump up. It’s not her, I sit down. [Great.] My mind fills with what-ifs. [I would delete this sentence. It states the obvious.] What if her car broke down? What if she forgot it’s sixth grade Earth Day Night? [I know what you’re saying,...

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Day 14 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor J.C. Davis
May19

Day 14 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor J.C. Davis

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 J.C. Davis Website  |  Twitter As a child, J.C. Davis spent her days inventing secret worlds and finding forgotten places. Busy reading her way through the local library, she never imagined writing books of her own until one day, all grown up, she fell in love with a children’s book and decided to rediscover a few of those secret worlds she’d invented. Ms. Davis’s first book is locked in a drawer guarded by attack trolls. Her second, however, is out on sub and hoping to find a home soon. A programmer by day, Ms. Davis lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband, two kids and a pair of hedgehogs with nerdy names. Ms. Davis is an amateur photographer, runs a Harry Potter meet-up group, and is an unrepentant book addict. Ms. Davis is represented by Mandy Hubbard of the Emerald City Literary Agency. J.C.’s 500 Word Critique . . . MG Contemporary A chorus of greetings met me as I walked down the hall toward Mr. Schipko’s writing class: You’re first sentence is so important – it’s your first chance to invite the reader into your world, your first promise. A good first sentence should do any of the following (sometimes more than one): establish voice, introduce scene, set a mood, establish character, create a question, show the reader the unusual. Right now I don’t feel like you’re first sentence is doing any of those things. It’s pretty standard and could be from any novel. Can you make it stand out so this sentence could only ever be your novel? I suggest starting with the fact that Liza is a twin and resents not having her own identity (which you establish a few paragraphs down) as that is what sets her apart. Also, it’s hard to tell from just the first 500 words – but what is the inciting incident? Can you begin...

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Day 14 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Sonia Hartl
May19

Day 14 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Sonia Hartl

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 Sonia Hartl Website  |  Twitter I’m an author of young adult contemporary stories and a reader of anything I can get my hands on (books, cereal boxes, bumper stickers). Like most writers, I got my start making up stories as a kid. Mostly about penguins and the North Pole. As a teenager I moved on to bad, angsty poetry before creating longer works of fiction. My first manuscript was an impressive 180,000 words, after which I spent a few years writing short fiction to learn how to say more by saying less. My work has appeared in the The Writers Post Journal, Boston Literary Magazine, and the anthology Bearing North. I’m a member of SCBWI and represented by Rebecca Podos of Rees Literary Agency.   Sonia’s 500 Word Critique . . . YA Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling In the early twilight hours, before the sun chased away the evening shadows, I heard [Adding in filters such as ‘I heard, I saw, I felt’ keeps your reader at a distance from your character. Since this is first person, you want to get as close as possible, and this sentence works better without the filter] a haunting voice that hypnotized me. The voice was distant, and beautiful, and like a snake slithering towards its prey, the voice swept in, and filled my room.  When it found me, the voice entered my thoughts and took control. I’d never heard this voice before, but I knew it belonged to her. [The voice repeats a lot in this small paragraph. I’m also not getting a sense of your MC yet, I feel like I’m getting a better sense of this voice, and your MC is just a passive witness. Maybe open with your MC active in her story before getting into this voice, or have your MC doing something when the voice enters their mind.] In the last few years,...

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Day 13 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Michelle Hauck
May18

Day 13 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Michelle Hauck

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 Michelle Hauck Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two college kids. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. She is a co-host of the yearly query contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, New Agent, Picture Book Party, and Sun versus Snow. Her Birth of Saints trilogy from Harper Voyager starts with GRUDGING and FAITHFUL on November 15, 2016. She has another epic fantasy entitled KINDAR’S CURE.       Michelle’s 500 Word Critique . . . NA Urban Fantasy “How many of those CDs do you have at home?” Nomi asks when we proceed on. (I’m going to assume this is the opening scene for this critique. I have to give a warning that opening with dialogue is usually considered a bad idea. Also I’m not sure what the characters are doing or talking about for several paragraphs and that’s rather a turn off, at least for me. There’s really no need to be mysterious about the setting or their conversation. Save the mystery for more important matters. A brief set-up so we know what’s happening would be helpful. Maybe a quick description of the sun on the water and sand spilling onto the boardwalk. Plus, “proceed” is an odd choice as we don’t know what they are proceeding with. Cards? Drinking? My guess was walking and it turned out to be correct. Maybe change to something like: Nomi asks as we walk arm in arm. The sun cast sparkling reflections on the ocean and the salty breeze tickles my nose. Something to give us an idea of what’s happening.) “What do you mean? As of this one, I have this one.” (I’d try and reword so you don’t repeat the word “one.” Using fresh words makes writing more...

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Day 13 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Sharon Johnston
May18

Day 13 (Part 1) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Sharon Johnston

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 Sharon Johnston Website  |  Twitter After growing up listening to my father reading fables, folklore and, it’s no surprise I love stories. As soon as I could read, my nose was firmly in a book. I love reading, listening to audio books and writing. I write weird fiction and soulful contemporaries.  My NA SFF, DIVIDED, is out with City Owl Press. I have short stories in anthologies: WORDS WITH HEART, NEVER BE YOUNGER, THE BASICS OF LIFE and THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHESTER LEWIS. My short story Karma was also runner-up in The Australian Literary Review’s short story competition. I regularly co-host Pitch Madness and am also a regular Pitch Wars mentor. As well as blogging here, I also blog with YAtopia and Aussie Owned & Read, where I contribute to discussions on the love of literature and the publishing industry in general. I have a gorgeous husband, aka the hottie hubby, and two wonderful boys. Well known for my fantastic taste in shoes, I’ve actually been stalked by women wanting to know where I got my high heels from. I also have a love of fur-babies – cats and guinea pigs specifically. Sharon’s 500 Word Critique . . . YA Science Fiction The smell of icebergs, of eternal winter, crept up my nose. Not many people have been in a location where they are icebergs, so starting with that description is hindering the audience from connecting with the imagery you want to create. But most people know the smell of winter, that crisp smell that is almost a shock to the system. So I would start with: The smell of eternal winter crept up my nose. And if you wanted to keep the icebergs in there you could add: as the wind danced around the icebergs.  The sea beyond sparkled beneath a crust of dying snowflakes, bedazzled like our blinking metropolis. Nice voice in this description....

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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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