Day 13 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Michael Mammy, Léonie Kelsall, & Marty Mayberry
May25

Day 13 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Michael Mammy, Léonie Kelsall, & Marty Mayberry

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page 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. First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Michael Mammy. . . Twitter | Website Michael Mammy writes Science Fiction, and sometimes fantasy, usually revolving around military characters. A lot of the ideas that go into those books come from having served in the Army for quite some time. There will also probably be explosions. On the page, not necessarily in real life. He’s represented by Lisa Rodgers of JABberwocky Literary Agency. Michael’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Psychological Suspense Like every other actress in Chicago, Kira Rascher is well aware of the rumors about Malcolm Mercer. But for the career-making chance to be the leading lady in his theater company’s next world premiere, she’s willing to put up with pretty much anything, including Mal’s bullshit. This is a great opening paragraph. It defines the character and really sets us into where the story starts. Love the voice in it, too. Kira figures she can handle the guy; after all, she’s worked with more than her fair share of creeps and tyrants over the years. Once rehearsals get underway, though, she realizes that nothing could have prepared her for Mal. There’s no mind game he won’t play to provoke the performance he wants, and whenever Kira thinks she’s winning, he changes the rules. He’s manipulative, mercurial, infuriating—and also the most thrilling scene partner she’s ever shared a stage with. Another great paragraph. It describes the conflict and tension between the two characters, and it really does a great job of showing us where the story is at. You could potentially add a line at the end that gives us a set-up – But when xxxx happens, she realizes yyyyy. It could go either way. The paragraph is good without it, but it might help further define the story. The closer they get to opening night, the more the lines start to...

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Day 12 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Niki Lenz and Emily Colin
May24

Day 12 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Niki Lenz and Emily Colin

  Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page 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.   First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Niki Lenz . . . Twitter | Website Niki Lenz lives in Kansas City with her police officer husband and two elementary aged children. She attended Southwest Baptist University and has worked as a teacher, a wedding planner, and a stay at home mom.  In her spare time she enjoys reading, travel and renovating campers.  She writes wacky MG and is represented by Kate Testerman at KT Literary.   Niki’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Middle Grade GENRE: Fantasy Reformed pirates, a sassy parrot, bewitched children, and a dragon come together in The Abode to reverse a spell that’s turned a valley of dragons into a house of captive children. [I think this hook is a bit long.  You want it to be short and snappy.  The part about the valley of dragons being turned into a house of captive children is the heart of it, so I’d suggest reworking that for a first line.] The Abode is a cold, unwelcoming place surrounded by mists, where Molly and other children spend their days cutting up fish. [Perfectly dreary!] As deeply as Molly wishes for a different life, this rule of the Abode stops her: Do Not Step Into the Mists Alone. You Will Die. [I’d cut ‘You Will Die’ as it is strongly implied] Molly’s friend Fel, defeated by a long punishment, plunges into the mists one day and vanishes. Molly grieves for her friend. [I’d also cut ‘Molly grieves for her friend, as it is also implied.] The first crack in Molly’s world appears when Fel walks back out of the mists, alive. The mists have not harmed Fel. Instead they’ve carried her to the wide world and helped her return to rescue Molly [Maybe combine the last two sentences so it reads “The mists have carried Fel to the wide...

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Pitch Wars Webinars: Rejection Correction–Why am I getting rejected? with Mentor CM McCoy
May24

Pitch Wars Webinars: Rejection Correction–Why am I getting rejected? with Mentor CM McCoy

WEBINARS Pitch Wars Webinars Presents… The second of two special small group educational series…. Rejection Correction: Why am I getting rejected? Rejection Correction is a week-long, online workshop held inside a secret Facebook group and led by author and Literary Agency PR Manager/Associate Agent, Colleen Oefelein (author CM McCoy). Participants will focus on the first page and the routine pitfalls that make an agent stop reading. Colleen will discuss the common reasons agents and editors reject, and then examine the way forward after rejection, whether it’s tweaking the project or seeking alternate agents to query. She will discuss how rejection language translates into real-life, optional manuscript tweaks to address the rejection feedback. This workshop will help you to identify feedback you can use to improve your MS as opposed to feedback that is too vague to be of use, or rejection language that simply suggests the author should seek an alternate champion for their project. Colleen may also cover cliches, telling vs showing, deep point of view, naming emotions, filtering, engine-cranking, cart-before-the-horse, logic, and the basic elements of a “magnetic” first page. Participants have an opportunity to share their query plus first page and receive personal feedback from Colleen and the other participants.   **Note — This workshop is a critique, not an evaluation of the author’s work, and the author’s work will not be considered for representation through this workshop.**   The Details . . . When: The program will be self-paced during the week of June 10-17 and is expected to take about five hours. What: Participants should bring their query, first page, and their rejections (if they have any), both the vague and the concrete. Cost: $50 Please note: Registration is limited to the first FIFTEEN (15) participants. This webinar is now putting names on a wait-list until all the current registrants have paid. Please, fill out the form to be put on the waiting list but DO NOT PAY until you are contacted via email. About Colleen Oefelein.. . . Colleen Oefelein (author CM McCoy) has one pointed ear, a 70-pound puppy from Hell, and a very active imagination. She’s well aware nobody can say or spell her real last name, hence the pen name. You can call her Colleen. She’s a retired Air Force officer, an author, a blogger, and the PR manager for Inklings Literary Agency, where she’s also an agent assistant. When she’s not chatting with her imaginary friends, she’s either stuck in a book or interviewing with PEOPLE Magazine, ABC’s 20/20, the local morning news show, or INSIDE EDITION, where she promotes writing for mental and emotional health. She also mentors...

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Day 12 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Kit Grant and Laura Brown
May24

Day 12 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Kit Grant and Laura Brown

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page 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.   First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Kit Grant … Kester Grant is a British-Mauritian writer of color, and debut author of A Court of Miracles (Fall 2018, Knopf, Random House), a Young Adult fantasy reimagining of the Jungle Book and Les Miserables, and the first of a trilogy. She was born in London, grew up between the UK, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the tropical island paradise of Mauritius.  As a wanton nomad she and her husband are unsure which country they currently reside in but they can generally be found surrounded by their fiendish pack of cats and dogs. Kes lurks with intent on Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Instagram and her blog. Kit’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Contemporary Dear ______, I’m _MyName_, an American living in the UK, [your bio information ; your name/country of residence/nationality and previous interactions with this agent would be better reserved for a paragraph after your book ‘pitch’.] and seeking representation for my novel, THE TALENT, a contemporary YA book of about 50,000 words [The wordcount can come later, use your first paragraph to grab interest,] . I’ve written to you and two other agents in my early attempts to find representation. [unless this agent specifically asked you to revise and resubmit, or asked to see any of your future work, I’d advise against saying this, also its not important that you queried two other agents, the main focus of a query letter should be your book and what it is about, everything else is fluff. Remember agents are reading a TON of queries daily.] You were __insert specifics to this agent__ [I am assuming this paragraph is personalisation? I’ve talked about that a bit below]. I’m aiming at just my first choices because I know the agent-writer relationship is one that is unique and requires mutual affinity (read that as “I like you already and I hope you...

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Day 11 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Laura Heffernan and Tracey E. Wood
May23

Day 11 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Laura Heffernan and Tracey E. Wood

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page 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. Next up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Laura Heffernan  Website | Twitter Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off: AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR, the first book in the REALITY STAR series, is coming from Kensington’s Lyrical Press in March 2017. When not watching total strangers participate in arranged marriages, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.  Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, and reality TV. Follow her @LH_Writes. Laura is represented by Michelle Richter at Fuse Literary. Laura’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Contemporary Fantasy Dear [Agent]: Hazel Blackmore knows everything there is to know about magic: from what essences are needed to enchant her way to the perfect cup of coffee, to solving complex potioning equations. [Enchanted coffee? You’ve got my attention already.] The only thing stopping heoiyor from being the most competent practitioner the world has ever seen is her complete lack of magical ability, without with she can’t even begin to pull magic through the Veil. [I’d recommend breaking this into two sentences. It’s a bit long.] The best she can do is to work her ass off at her aunt Enid’s Essence Distillery to prove herself. [I’d delete the last 3 words. Also, from the opening paragraph, Hazel sounds young, which makes me wonder if this is YA. Are there details you can add to show she’s an adult?] When Enid disappears and several of the essence brews start unraveling, Hazel has to rely on her own wits to find the solution to her problems. [To find the solution?...

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Day 11 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors C.B. Catalano and Kelly Siskind
May23

Day 11 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors C.B. Catalano and Kelly Siskind

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page 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. Next up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor C.B. Catalano  Website | Twitter After C. B. Catalano realized she spent more time daydreaming than living in the real world she decided to finally write those dreams down, and is now ready to share them with everyone. C.B. writes MG and YA and is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media. She can be found wandering around the Pacific Northwest with her 3 kids, husband, and beastly muppet puppies. After moving 21 times over the span of 7 states and 18 years she thinks she may have finally found a place to call home (for now) and aims to explore all that Washington has to offer.   C.B.’s Query Critique… CURSE OF SILVER LAKE is a YA contemporary fantasy, complete at about 70,000 words. A mix of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES and CITY OF BONES, it’s perfect for fans of fairy tale retellings. [I love retellings so you already have my undivided attention! But I wonder, if it’s a retelling, perhaps comping the og fairy tale meets x might work better?] 16-year-old Maggie Hernandez comes from a long line of witches–but her mom never told her the family secret, hoping the magic would pass her by. [I think your first sentence could pack more of a punch than it does now. Especially when I read on to the second sentence. It raises more questions than answers. Like, does her mom ever actually tell Maggie she’s a witch after their apartment burns down? Or does she send Maggie to her grandmother’s home clueless? Also, if her mom doesn’t clue her in, does Maggie’s witchy grandmother once she’s there?] When Maggie’s uncontrolled powers burn their apartment to ashes, her mom sends her to live with her estranged, witchy grandmother to learn control of her magic. .[ ← I almost prefer this sentence as a starting point.] ...

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Day 10 (Part 2) of the Pitch Wars 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Jeanmarie Anaya and Rachel Lynn Solomon
May22

Day 10 (Part 2) of the Pitch Wars 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Jeanmarie Anaya and Rachel Lynn Solomon

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page 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. First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Jeanmarie Anaya Twitter | Website Jeanmarie is a YA Contemporary writer represented by Jessica Sinsheimer of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. She’s a University of Michigan grad (Go Blue!) who somehow missed receiving her Hogwarts letter and has never gotten over the disappointment. You can find her on a beach in NYC, with a book in hand, wishing she could surf as well as her daughters. Jeanmarie’s Query Critique . . . Dear ____, I am seeking representation for a young adult novel called Power Surge. [Title should be in ALL CAPS.]  <Insert personalized line based on agents bio or wish list > [Your introductory sentence isn’t technically a problem, but I think you could save some space by jumping straight into the personalized second sentence (based on the agent’s wishlist). That first sentence sounds like filler. I think you’d grab the agent’s attention faster by saying something like, “Hey, I saw your MSWL tweet about XYZ and thought you’d enjoy my manuscript, POWER SURGE.”] Erin comes from a long line of hunter-elf hybrids, but when she is diagnosed with ADHD, her family decides to hide their true nature from her. As she grows older, developing depression and a cutting addiction, some family members question their decision while others become more convinced she is too disabled to hunt. [You lay out the main character and her initial internal conflict very well in this first paragraph. I wonder, though, if you could inject more voice into it? Right now it reads a bit like a synopsis and is missing the feel you’d get from a query that comes alive with the main character’s voice. I think the query would benefit from a different spin on the opening. Something that’s a bit more enticing. Try to rewrite the opening from Erin’s perspective. Really let loose so your writing...

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Day 10 (PART 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Sandi Ward and Julia Nobel
May22

Day 10 (PART 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Sandi Ward and Julia Nobel

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page 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. First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Sandi Ward Twitter | Website Sandi Ward grew up in Manchester-by-the-sea, Massachusetts. She went to Tufts University, and then received her MA in Creative Writing at New York University. She is an advertising copywriter and lives on the Jersey Shore with her husband, teenagers, dog and a big black cat named Winnie. Sandi is represented by Stacy Testa of Writers House.   Sandi’s upcoming release …   THE ASTONISHING THING, the story of a broken family seen through the eyes of their cat, will be available from Kensington Books on October 31, 2017. Add it to Goodreads Pre-order on Amazon     Sandi’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: New Adult GENRE: Paranormal Romance I noticed you’re seeking supernatural and paranormal fiction, so I’m happy to submit DEFINING LOVE, a 67,000-word [New Adult] Paranormal Romance with crossover appeal [Crossover to which audience? Young Adult readers, or adult readers?], which should interest readers of Patricia Briggs and Richelle Mead. This is a strong stand-alone but has series potential. [Very good use of comp authors. Word count is on target. I like that it is stand-alone but with series potential.] Rejection made her stronger. [You used the word “strong” 2 sentences in a row. Maybe replace one?] Loss kept him isolated. If they can overcome their deepest regrets, together they can save the future of the Blood Moone pack. [This is a little vague. I think your 2nd paragraph below is more powerful and more specific. When Lucinda Raven, a twenty-three-year-old wolf shifter, seeks refuge in the Blood Moone territory, she puts the Alpha and his entire pack in jeopardy when her controlling and psychotic ex-lover finds her there. [Great one-sentence hook with crisp details! I might start with this paragraph. It gives me an immediate sense of the MC, and the urgent stakes involved.] Hunted by her ex-lover who plans to claim...

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THE MELODY OF US by Julia Bade … new cover!
May22

THE MELODY OF US by Julia Bade … new cover!

Amazon About the book … Lexy would never tread on the bonds of brotherhood. At least, not intentionally. Lexy was a promising musician forced to let go of her dreams, find a job, and survive on her own. Now, she is just hoping to survive the love triangle she stumbled into with two brothers… Simon and Max Hyatt. Simon was Lexy’s world. He had tapped into her very soul, kept her secrets, and loved her deeply. After pledging his love and promising to marry her, his parents died in a horrific accident and Simon had disappeared. And now he’s back, but even in the vaguely familiar, they’ve become strangers. Max, Simon’s charming and well-meaning older brother, decides to play cupid. He just wants his brother to find the happiness he deserves. Big Mistake. As Max spends more time with Lexy, they get closer. She helps him through his demons and breaks down his walls. But the harder Max pushes Lexy onto Simon, where he believes she belongs, the stronger their own chemistry builds against the boundaries Max has reluctantly set. But Lexy is no one’s fool. She knows exactly what she wants in life, and it doesn’t include a love triangle between brothers, only Lexy can’t deny everything wonderful she had with Simon, and she also can’t ignore everything she’s creating with Max. And then comes the announcement that Max is to be deployed, setting off a series of life-changing events. Time is running out. Lexy’s heart has reluctantly chosen one, but she could never tread on the bonds of brotherhood. At least not intentionally. About the author …  Website | Twitter Julia Bade loves LOVE! She is a busy wife and mom in Texas whose guilty pleasure is writing romance stories during her alone time at three in the morning! A mom of a kindergartner, 3-year-old twins, a 17 and 20 year-old, she loves going a hundred miles an hour. She had no idea that her time as a college cheerleader was really training for her life that was to come! Julia loves to write about people in love and the challenges that make it all worth the fight. Her husband is her soul mate and best friend, and she is indebted to him for all the nights he’s had to sleep with the glow of her laptop screen blasting him in the face just so they could be near each other. Julia is a member of Savvy Authors, a freelance journalist, an English professor, and a former newspaper journalist....

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Day 9 (PART 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with Mentors MK England, Jamie Pacton, and Aimee Salter
May19

Day 9 (PART 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with Mentors MK England, Jamie Pacton, and Aimee Salter

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page 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. First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentors MK England and Jamie Pacton Megan K. England is an author and YA librarian living in the mountainy parts of Virginia. When she’s not writing or librarianing, Megan can be found drowning in fandom, rolling dice at the gaming table, going to conventions, or climbing on things in the woods. She loves Star Wars with a desperate, heedless passion. It’s best if you never speak of Sherlock Holmes in her presence. You’ll regret it. Her debut YA space opera, THE DISASTERS, will be out in Fall 2018 from HarperCollins Children’s. Twitter | Website | The Disasters on Goodreads   Jamie Pacton writes dark and twisty feminist YA novels and funny Middle Grade books. For her day jobs, she teaches college-level writing online and homeschools her kids. Meaning her days are full of legos, playing outside, and trips to the library while her nights are consumed by grading student work and drafting new books. She’s an occasional blogger for parents.com (with a focus on autism acceptance) and when she gets a moment alone, you’ll find her drinking coffee, reading, or walking by Lake Michigan. www.jamiepacton.com @jamiepacton.   MK and Jamie’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Mystery As a reporter for the school paper, all senior Pierce Padgett wants is the truth. [Can you make this a stronger statement? Can she demand the truth? Relentlessly pursue it? Or perhaps bring the central conflict up earlier. Something like, “Pierce Padgett is determined to find out why her school administration is covering up sexual assaults”] But ever since the day football player Kade Bigsby showed up [Use more concise language whenever possible: “But when football player Kade Bigsby shows up…”] at school with his face smashed to a pulp, the truth has been playing hard to get. [Use cliches/puns sparingly or eliminate all together in a query letter.]...

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Day 9 (PART 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with Mentors, Isabel Ibañez Davis and Ashley Martin
May19

Day 9 (PART 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with Mentors, Isabel Ibañez Davis and Ashley Martin

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page 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. Next up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Isabel Ibañez Davis   Isabel studied Creative Writing and History at UCF, finished in 2006 and thought that was the end of pencils, books and teacher’s dirty looks. Not so. She rejoined the academic world some five years later and picked up graphic design in order to become a children’s book writer + illustrator. Except somewhere in the beginning of her scholastic pursuit, she bumped into the letterpress world and hasn’t left yet. Now she gets to come up with cute + charming greeting cards, wedding invitation suites and many other things she’s been secretly dreaming about. All of this has been a sweet surprise and she’s loved every minute of it. She’s thankful to be lucky enough to do what she loves—writing books and designing greeting cards. If you’d like to learn a little bit more about her company, 9th Letter Press, visit here. Website | Twitter Isabel’s Query Critique… Dear Agent, “Where are you from?” It’s the one question Katja Wickham dreads answering [this might be a personal preference but in general, starting off with a question reads weaker. Your first sentence should hook the agent and compel them to keep reading. I’d try an active, succinct sentence: Katja Wickham didn’t have a place to call home.] Moving to a different country every two years with her archaeologist father has left her no place to call home [Your sentences, though informative, run long. In a query, shorter, punchier sentences stand out. I’d rework the sentence so it reads more evocative/active. Like: Every two years, she packs her bags and follows her archaeologist dad around the globe.]She’s bilingual and well-travelled [I LOVE the bilingual aspect, and because it’s so cool, try and have fun here! Show that she’s bilingual in her own voice. Maybe something like: She wants to belong somewhere but the students...

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Day 8 (PART 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Jenn Brisendine and J.R. Yates
May18

Day 8 (PART 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Jenn Brisendine and J.R. Yates

  Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page 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. Next up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Jenn Brisendine Website | Twitter Jenn Brisendine, a secondary English/Language Arts teacher, writes middle grade and is repped by Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media. She currently enjoys writing historicals with magical realism, but loves reading a variety of genres in middle grade. She was a Pitchwars ’15 mentee and can be found at @jennbrisendine on Twitter and @jennbrisendinewrites on Instagram. She’s happy to have recently joined the ranks at From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors – http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/2017/03/umbrella-raining-overarching-conflict-mg/ . Check out her site https://jennbrisendine.com/ for free teacher printables on great MG novels and for reviews of great books on writing.   Jenn’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: 7-9 years old GENRE: young middle grade contemporary fiction [Dear (agent’s name):] [I’d put the basics right up front: “After reading of your interest in (genre, age category, style, or comps) on (agent website , article, interview), I’m eager to share my 10K-word early middle grade contemporary, DAISY DIXON, WEATHER GIRL with you.” ] [Love your title!] I’d like to introduce you to Daisy Dixon. Daisy is in third grade and has already decided on her career path: chief meteorologist for a major TV station. [Save words. Start with “Third-grader Daisy Dixon…” and use the opening pitch to show stronger voice– “…has her career path all figured out: chief meteorologist for a major TV station.”] In fact, everyone in her class calls her Daisy Dixon, Weather Girl, because her aunt is a real chief meteorologist at the highest rated news station in Colorado. [Are there other reasons she’s known as Weather Girl—like she’s gone to work with her aunt, gets special tours, shares facts about meteorology with friends?] But then her aunt comes over for dinner and announces that she’s getting married and leaving the TV station [Is there a more decisive reason for leaving (moving...

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