Pitch Wars Interview with Zoje Stage and her mentor, Margarita Montimore
Oct20

Pitch Wars Interview with Zoje Stage and her mentor, Margarita Montimore

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have . . .  Zoje Stage – Mentee Twitter | Website Margarita Montimore – Mentor Twitter | Website   Zoje: Why did you choose Margarita: Margarita had by far the best variety of apropos words in her bio and wish list, things like: upmarket, weirdos, black sheep, crazy geniuses, and dark and disturbed. It was a no-brainer. And on top of having compatible interests in books, TV, and film, she made a point of saying she didn’t use beat sheets—for which my pantser-self was grateful. I couldn’t be happier with her as mentor—she brings so much experience and wisdom and our dark and disturbed souls clicked immediately. Margarita: Why did you choose Zoje’s manuscript? I was immediately intrigued by the query, which promised a psychologically dark tale of a mother and young daughter. And the pages didn’t disappoint. I was blown away by Zoje’s evocative prose, by the way she captured the troubled mind of this seven-year-old as well as the desperation and vulnerability of her mother. While I read the entire novel before deciding. I knew from the opening pages this was The One. Zoje: Summarize your book in three words. Mommy’s little psychopath Margarita: Summarize Zoje’s book in three words. Evil childish things Zoje: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique: I have a deep background in film and theatre—as a writer, and in many other capacities. I think that has really enhanced my storytelling sensibilities, because I know how to approach a character from an acting perspective, and how to stage a scene, and the importance of visuals and mood. I’ve also written poetry for most of my life and I love the challenge of using a few carefully chosen words to create an evocative image or idea. While my manuscript fits into the “bad seed” trope it goes deeper into the psychology because the seven-year-old is a key POV character. She is also mute, which made for finding interesting non-verbal ways for her to express herself. Her overwhelmed mother is the other POV character, and I made dual antagonists of my dual protagonists: they are each the hero of their own story, and the “villain” of their counterpart’s story. This is also the first thing I’ve ever written that taps into my own experience with Crohn’s Disease, and the mother’s history...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Marcos S. Gonsalez and his mentor, Jenny Ferguson
Oct20

Pitch Wars Interview with Marcos S. Gonsalez and his mentor, Jenny Ferguson

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have #TeamTelenovela . . .  Marcos S. Gonsalez – Mentee Twitter Jenny Ferguson – Mentor Twitter | Website Marcos: Why did you choose Jen? It all began not so long ago, in an internet galaxy not that far away, when I stumbled upon Jen’s response to the question of her editing style: “I’m blunt. Super blunt. Really super blunt.” Knowing myself, knowing how directly and clearly I needed it handed to me in order to do better, in order to make the baby that is my novel something to be proud of, I knew I needed Jen in my life. The brutal bluntness I desired and needed was sure given to me when she sent the edit letter. Upon first reading and then re-reading, I was overcome with emotions. Anger, to be honest, was probably the first. [Jen: I wasn’t lying. I’m like so blunt it hurts.] I kept thinking “Why did she pick me if she just wanted to give me this many edits? She is butchering everything I worked for! She doesn’t get me!” After about an hour or so sulking in such thoughts, I truly contemplated what Jen was telling me. Quickly, the other reasons I chose Jen started appearing. Each of her edits were attentive and aware to the “literariness” of my novel. What “literariness” means is obviously vague, subjective, and not all that telling. For me, though, it was the idea that my novel was more than a novel: it was a political statement; an ode to my heritage, to the people who made me a writer; it was a piece of art about topics, subjects, and people never considered worthy of being art. This “literariness” was important to me, and I knew it was important to her. She was conscious of what I was trying to do, how I was doing it, and why I was doing it which made so many of her edits, upon further inspection, so much more appealing and exciting to do. Another major reason for choosing Jen, to be honest, was that she’s a Doctor of English (woot-woot!) [Jen: You know nothing, Jon Snow], which I knew gives her such a rich understanding of the kind of work I’m doing. Not to mention I am currently a doctoral student in English and she is a beacon of hope...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Kimberly Gabriel and her mentor, Dawn Ius
Oct20

Pitch Wars Interview with Kimberly Gabriel and her mentor, Dawn Ius

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have . . .  Kimberly Gabriel – Mentee Twitter | Website Dawn Ius – Mentor Twitter | Website   Kimberly: Why did you choose Dawn? I had a hard time choosing which mentors to sub to—except for Dawn Ius. I read her bio and immediately put her at the top of my list. She was the equivalent of that dream agent—the one you query knowing he or she will probably reject you, but you have to give it a shot anyway. From her self-professed fascination with Adam Levine to her promise to be tough but encouraging, everything she wrote felt like a perfect match for me. Then after I submitted to her, I read her book Anne & Henry, and that’s when I turned into a bit of a Dawn Ius fangirl. She’s a brilliant writer. She writes the way I want to, and I feel so incredibly lucky that I have the chance to learn from her. Dawn: Why did you choose Kimberly’s manuscript? As a first time mentor, I was blown away by the talent in my in-box, but Kimberley’s story stuck with me. I couldn’t get it out of my head—the characters, the suspense, the setting (it takes place in Chicago, which just this year became my favorite city). Not to mention, the raw talent oozing from the pages. A couple of email conversations later and I knew Kim and I would be a perfect match. (We share a love of wine, comfy PJs and Adam Levine…how could it not be perfect?) I’m thrilled to be working with Kim, but even more than that, I am desperate for the world to read her book. Seriously. It’s THAT good. Kimberly: Summarize your book in three words. Conspiracy, vigilante, relentless Dawn: Summarize Kimberly’s book in three words. Suspenseful, edgy, CHICAGO! Kimberly:  Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? For the past twelve years, I’ve lived in Chicago or its suburbs where I teach middle school literacy. I absolutely love the city so writing a book based there was a no brainer. In 2011, after I had my first of three children, Flash Mob attacks were all over the news in Chicago. I read story after story where dozens of teenage kids would appear out of nowhere to mug and attack mostly tourists. The stories...

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