A Pitch Wars Success Story with Kara McDowell and her mentors, Brenda Drake and Heather Cashman
Mar09

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Kara McDowell and her mentors, Brenda Drake and Heather Cashman

  Brenda and I have extra cause to celebrate this success story! Kara McDowell was our very own mentee! And we love her bunches and bunches. Kara signed with Kristy Hunter of The Knight Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help Brenda and I to celebrate Kara’s Pitch Wars Success! Kara, what was it about Brenda and Heather that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? Because I was the scavenger hunt winner, I didn’t get to choose my mentors. That said, I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. I consider myself so lucky to be mentored by the people who make Pitch Wars possible. Brenda is so sweet and supportive, and Heather’s edits were amazing. Brenda and Heather (yep, that’s me), what was it about Kara’s NOT HER STORY that hooked you? She won the scavenger hunt drawing! And we are so happy she did. Kara, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? I never told Brenda this, but when I first read her edit letter, I cried. I’d never received an edit letter before, so it was a very new experience for me. I’d also been hearing stories about mentors sending 15 page letters with instructions to cut characters or rewrite entire sections of the manuscript. Brenda’s letter was not like that, and it threw me for a loop. She focused a lot on the characters, and suggested that I find ways to help them connect better with each other and the reader. At first, I thought her minimal changes meant that my book was beyond saving. Over time, I realized that she was letting me take ownership of my revisions so I could keep my story and my voice intact. We planned that I would spend the month of September working on those big picture revisions, and October would be dedicated to line edits. I finished my first round of edits a few days early, and sent my final pages to Heather with a note telling her I was going to try to give birth to my baby that weekend. That kind of thing rarely goes according to plan, but my baby did end up coming that Friday! I took a week or so off while Heather worked on line edits, and then jumped back in as soon as she got the pages to me. (I’m honesty not sure how I did this. I was so tired the entire month of October.) Line edits were a lot more work than I was expecting, but it was so encouraging to see my manuscript transforming before my eyes. I...

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