Day 39 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Julia Nobel & Veronica Bartles
Jun30

Day 39 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Julia Nobel & Veronica Bartles

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 Julia Nobel . . . Twitter | Website Julia is a writing coach and middle grade and young adult author. Her childhood obsession with The Babysitters Club turned into a lifelong passion for reading and writing children’s literature. She offers writing masterclasses and courses for writers in all genres, and is a 2017 Pitch Wars Mentor. Her 3-year-old daughter likes to help her write by throwing apple sauce at the keyboard and pressing the escape key. Find out about Julia’s writing coach services on her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaNobelBooks/ and check out her upcoming classes schedule here: http://julianobel.com/for-writers/. Julia’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Psychological Thriller Dear Agent, I am hoping you will consider my debut novel for representation. [You can delete this sentence, because the agent already knows you are hoping they will consider the novel, and you have such limited space to pitch your story.] No Colour in Black takes reader to a dark and troubled world but also one each of us can relate to directly or indirectly – otherwise known as life. Any of us could fall into a world, given hindsight – we would hide from. For my lead protagonist, her world became unrecognisable.  She asks us – who do you fear most – someone with nothing to lose or someone who has it all to lose? We sit deep in the dirt of her emotions; her current life intertwined by her abusive past. Grappling with her conscience and sanity. A burning need to protect her son – fuels her fight. [I really appreciate the emotions you are trying to evoke with this paragraph. I think it would be more successful if it was more specific and focused on the plot. Who is the protagonist? What is her specific situation? How did she get there? Start with the details.] Blinded by charm, hoodwinked by...

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Day 39 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Aimee Salter and Kelly Hopkins
Jun30

Day 39 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Aimee Salter and Kelly Hopkins

  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 Aimee Salter Aimee is the author of Every Ugly Word, (Alloy, 2014) a gripping and emotional story about a high school junior who can talk to her future self in the mirror, but is forced to deal with the devastating consequences of bullying; and Dark Touch (Alloy, 2016), an equally raw story about a young, abused woman whose feelings are communicated to anyone she touches—including the guy she’s falling in love with. Website: www.aimeelsalter.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/AimeeLSalter Twitter: www.twitter.com/AimeeLSalter Books: http://ow.ly/Yon9t Aimee’s recent book … Amazon Tully isn’t alone in her skin. Whenever she touches someone, they feel everything she feels. All her ugliness. All her darkness. All her pain. The only thing she wants is to be left alone–and to finally get out of her small Oregon town. But then she meets Chris. He’s everything she’s not. Light. Trusting. Innocent. And he wants Tully. Tully knows she should spare him the heartache of being with her. But when he touches her, she’s not sure she’ll have the strength to push him away–until he learns about her dark past, and what really goes on in her ever-decaying home. From the author of Every Ugly Word comes a poignant, emotionally raw story about the violence that plays out behind closed doors and the all-consuming passion of first love. Aimee’s Query Critique . . . Dear [agent], It’s been 25 years since the Nazis won the Second World War. [Excellent opening! Tells me exactly where and what we’re about to read (II World War alternate history)] The Jews have mostly disappeared. The Reich has expanded across three continents. And a single wrong word could get you killed. [Here’s the greater threat/antagonistic force right up front too. Well done.] It took two words to kill Markus Schneider’s father. Two words nine-year-old Markus said without thinking. Two words that...

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Guest Post: From Pitch Wars to Publication by May Bridges
Jun30

Guest Post: From Pitch Wars to Publication by May Bridges

From Pitch Wars to Publication by May Bridges It’s thrilling to see everyone gearing up for the 6th Pitch Wars! I remember all the buzz that built up the year I entered. It doesn’t seem like two years ago. So much has happened since then, from finding my agent, signing a book deal, and now publication. I can tell you that the two years since Pitch Wars didn’t go exactly as I might have planned. With expectations and excitement running at an all-time high all the way through the Pitch Wars contest, it’s hard to know what to expect when the dust settles. Does everyone that makes it get an agent? Is your writing career suddenly boost into overdrive and put on the fast track to publication? Well, maybe, but that isn’t how it goes for everyone, and I’d say it isn’t how it goes for most. Some end up agented almost before the contest ends. Some get tons of requests, some don’t. Of those that find an agent, their Pitch Wars book might be what gets them a book deal, and it might not. I’m sure some of you are scratching your heads, wondering if all of this is true, if it’s possible to go thought it and end up without an agent or a book deal, what is the big deal about Pitch Wars? The prize for many isn’t what you might think. The greatest benefit of Pitch Wars is the people. It’s the connections you make with other writers, and industry professionals. No matter how your journey goes post Pitch Wars, the people that went through that with you will be priceless. For my PW group, there were some that were agented almost before the contest ended and had book deals within weeks. But that wasn’t the end of PW for them. Our group is still a sounding board for them. We are critique partners for each other. We are a private group they can share new book ideas with, work through plot issues with, and test out new titles on. We talk to each other about our journeys with our agents and what being on submission is like. Each of us are in different places on our journey, we bring our own knowledge and experience to the group. It makes for a wealth of knowledge that you can tap into. It is a prize that is immeasurable in value. In my journey, I didn’t land my agent through Pitch Wars. I worked with my amazing Pitch Wars mentor, Jami Nord, to make sure my query letter was on point and I jumped into the slush...

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Day 38 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, N.K. Traver and Jessica Bayliss
Jun29

Day 38 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, N.K. Traver and Jessica Bayliss

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 N.K. Traver As a freshman at the University of Colorado, N.K. TRAVER decided to pursue Information Technology because classmates said “no one could make a living with an English degree.” It wasn’t too many years later Traver realized it didn’t matter what the job paid—nothing would ever be as fulfilling as writing. Programmer by day, writer by night, it was only a matter of time before the two overlapped. Traver’s debut, DUPLICITY, a cyberthriller pitched as Breaking Bad meets The Matrix for teens, was named one of the ALA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers in 2016. She is also a developmental editor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.   Author links: http://www.nktraver.com (website), https://twitter.com/nktraver (twitter), https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7501918.N_K_Traver (goodreads) N.K. recent release … Thomas Dunne Books | St. Martin’s Press | Macmillan A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both. Pitched as BREAKING BAD meets THE MATRIX for teens, DUPLICITY follows seventeen-year-old Brandon, a computer expert who hacks bank accounts in his free time, through a downward spiral of events after his mirror reflection starts moving on its own. View on Goodreads | Read the first 2 chapters Buy From: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Indiebound | Books-a-Million N.K.’s Query Critique… Dear Awesome Agent, I’m hoping to interest you in my YA novel, THE TIME BENDER, a 73,000 word sci-fi/fantasy adventure. [Short and to the point. Perfect! I’d also add one or two lines here about why you chose to query this particular agent.] Sixteen-year-old Selina can bend time, though she doesn’t realize it yet. She also has a rare disorder [which one?] which makes it next to impossible to socialize and find what she wants most: a boyfriend. Of course, there’s always super-loyal family-friend Alex, who’s been by her side like a seizure alert dog...

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Day 38 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, J.R. Yates, Kate Karyus Quinn, and Mindy McGinnis
Jun29

Day 38 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, J.R. Yates, Kate Karyus Quinn, and Mindy McGinnis

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 J.R. Yates Website | Twitter J. R. Yates is a word nerd through and through. When she isn’t writing or reading, she practices as a pediatric speech-language pathologist (SLP) and herds her three bilingual children. She often jokes that she spends all day at work trying to get kids to talk, and the rest of her time at home trying to get her kids to stop! Married to the love of her life, her favorite moments are quiet evenings with her husband sharing a nice glass of wine at their home in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Time alone, hiding out in a café, writing about sexy heroes that shred her heart is her bliss. She is represented by Stacey Donaghy with Donaghy Literary Group. J. R. is a member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre, the RWA and this year she will be a #Pitchwars Mentor. J.R.’s Query Critique… Learn to control the weather. Fall in love. Elude a serial killer. Ella’s going to need a lot more coffee. [I love the voice is in this opening line. To me, this is a great hook.] EYE OF THE STORM is an urban fantasy novel, with elements of romance, thriller, alternative history/mythology, and a healthy dose of humour. [Know your genre. Narrow it down. Is this an adult fantasy romance? If this is an urban fantasy, the thriller, mythology and humor aspects are commonplace and saying it has those elements can be redundant. Agents need to know that you know where this fits in the market. An “adult urban fantasy with romantic elements” would work here. Oh, and use conventional US spelling. Some people think the extra “u”s are spelling errors rather than a different spelling convention. And high five to a fellow Canuck ;)] Best of all, the heroine saves herself. At 86,000 words, it has multiple points of view, and is...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Alex Reda and her mentor, Marty Mayberry
Jun28

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Alex Reda and her mentor, Marty Mayberry

  Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests around here is hearing about successes. Today we celebrate Alex Reda and her Pitch Wars mentor Marty Mayberry! Alexrecently signed with Natascha Morris of BookEnds Literary Agency, and we’re so over-the-moon excited for her. So please join me in congratulating Alex and Marty as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story. Alex, what was it about Marty that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? 2016 wasn’t my first time in the Pitch Wars rodeo. I didn’t get in two years ago, but I’ve made some awesome friends along the way, and they all recommended Marty. Once I read her amazing bio (and stalked her on Twitter, like any good potential mentee), I knew we’d work great together. Her professionalism sang to me, and she had this very clear-cut way of saying what she expected from a mentee and what her strengths were (spoiler alert: she’s a super hero). I resonated with that, plus the fact that she seemed so passionate about writing and helping others. Subbing my manuscript to her was one of the best decisions of my life. Marty, what was it about Alex’s LOVE, LIES, AND THE OTHER TEAM DIES that hooked you? I was honored by how many authors trusted me with their words during the Pitch Wars sub window. Truly, I could’ve mentored any of them. I read through each entry, sorted them into folders, then stepped back and thought about all of them. Many had excellent hooks. Others had writing that pulled me into their stories from page one. It was a tough decision. Alex’s book is about a young woman who wins the chance to participate in a gaming competition with her best friends. Their biggest rival is a group of teens headed up by the boy she met and partly fell for at a conference. Add in a potentially haunted house venue, and I was in love. What great conflict! From chapter one, I was rooting not just for the main character to win the competition, but also wind up with the boy. When people say that this business is subjective, they’re right. There was something about Alex’s story I couldn’t let go of. I knew within a week that hers was the book I wanted to mentor. Alex, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Marty was super prompt and sent me an edit letter right away. When I read it and didn’t instantly want to shrivel up and cry, I knew we were on our way to success. Marty was always very patient with me, guided me through all the edits,...

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Day 37 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Shanna Rogers and Katherine Fleet
Jun28

Day 37 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Shanna Rogers and Katherine Fleet

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 Shanna Rogers … Twitter | Website When she wasn’t reading as a kid, Shanna was acting out something she read in a book: starting a babysitters’ club, spying, searching the house for a secret passage, and convincing a neighbor she had an identical twin (she doesn’t). She’s still twelve at heart, so writing middle grade was a natural choice. After receiving her B.A. in journalism, Shanna spent several years acting in Los Angeles before becoming a teacher. You can catch her in the background of dozens of shows, including as a dead body on The Closer (Kyra Sedgwick massaged her feet!) and sporting a spray tan on old episodes of The O.C. She once beat Woody Harrelson in a thumb war. Shanna is represented by Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. You can find Shanna on Twitter at @ShannaRogers29 and on her website…as soon as she stops writing long enough to make one. Shanna’s Query Critique . . . Dear (agent), I’m submitting to you because I enjoyed attending your class at (conference). [Include age for YA] Maddy’s a good girl [I’d find a more interesting way to describe her. If you want to keep the flow with the liar part that follows, you could replace “good girl” with something more specific. Star student? Great juggler?] , but she’s an even better lier [liar]. When she lies her way into the only interesting building in her small town, a Lab [don’t capitalize unless this is its official title], for a high school dare, things go sour [Vague. What specifically goes wrong?] and her almost-boyfriend’s dad, who works there, has to step in to stop her from accidentally stealing a new man-made virus. [How could she “accidentally” steal the virus?] The good news is Maddy doesn’t get in trouble. The bad news is her crushes [crush’s] dad gets...

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Day 37 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Sharon M. Johnston
Jun28

Day 37 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Sharon M. Johnston

  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 Sharon M. Johnston …   Sharon M. Johnston is an author from sunny Queensland, Australia. She writes YA and NA fiction across a range of genres. In her spare time, she makes bookmarks and jewelry, and enjoys time with her family and fur babies. Website/blog: http://sharonmjohnston.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/S_M_Johnston Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorsmjohnston/< Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sharonmjohnston/   Sharon’s recent release … An Open Heart Novel, Book 2 Healing a battered heart will risk her last link to humanity. Mishca needs to save her sisters, but only Ryder can save her. The truth about Mishca’s past shattered her heart. She deals with the pain by focusing on a new mission: saving her newfound family from their creator. With her sisters scheduled for termination, Mishca and her friends set out on a journey up the North Queensland Coast to save them before someone else dies. Ryder understands the need driving Mischa. It’s in her DNA. But he’s not giving up on the chance they can still be together. She’s the only one to have seen him levitate. The only one to watch the sparks dance across his skin. The only one he trusts enough to know what is in his heart. And now, he might be the only one who can stop Mishca from losing her humanity. Driven apart by secrets, will they come together in time? Don’t miss Book 1, DIVIDED, available now. Sharon’s First Page Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Contemporary ONE I can’t believe I packed my car charger. In the big suitcase. In the trunk. [I would prefer to see an opening line with a bit more oomph. Something that grabs me and pulls me into the story more.] What was I thinking? My phone blinks at me. Low battery. Connect to power. As if the message isn’t already clear, which trust me, it is, the backlight...

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Day 36 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, C.M. McCoy & Kate Foster
Jun27

Day 36 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, C.M. McCoy & Kate Foster

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 C.M. McCoy … Twitter | Website Author CM McCoy (aka Colleen Oefelein) has one pointed ear, an 90-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, a mom, an author, a blogger, and the PR manager and an associate agent for Inklings Literary Agency. 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 pre-published authors through workshops and contests and runs Totem Head’s Annual Free Writing Contest for Kids, now in its ninth year. Though she holds 2 Bachelor of Science degrees (Chemical Engineering and German — Penn State), she’s far happier writing near misses and awkward kisses. Some of her off-the-wall talents include speaking in 10-codes (which she learned working 911-dispatch for Alaska State Troopers), flying helicopters, and Irish dance. Her debut, EERIE, a teen paranormal adventure with romance, released in Dec 2015 by Simon & Schuster/Omnific. She has a memoir out on submission to production companies and a picture book out on submission to publishers. She’s represented by the magnificent Michelle Johnson.   Eerie by C.M. McCoy Amazon  |  B&N  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  | BAM | Google | Signed Copies | Goodreads Hailey Hartley has just enrolled in the world’s premier supernatural university. It’s a school she’s never heard of, located in a town called The Middle of Nowhere, and run by a creature that’s not supposed to exist. But at least she got a scholarship… Hailey’s dreams have always been, well…vivid. As in monsters from her nightmares follow her into her waking life...

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Day 36 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Rachel Griffin
Jun27

Day 36 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Rachel Griffin

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. Our only workshop this post … Pitch Wars Mentor Rachel Griffin … Twitter | Website Rachel Griffin graduated from Seattle University with a bachelor of science in diagnostic ultrasound, but could never outrun her love for words. She wrote her first novel in the evenings and weekends while working full-time, and eventually traded in her ultrasound transducer for a keyboard. Writing full-time has been an absolute dream come true. She lives with her very supportive husband and schnoodle outside of Seattle, where she reads, hikes, and drinks a lot of tea. She’s also a flutist and avid macaroni-and-cheese connoisseur. She sits on the board of Seattle Arts and Lectures, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing the literary arts, because words matter. Rachel is represented by Melissa Sarver White of Folio Literary Management.   Rachel’s First Page Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Fantasy Tonight marked the occasion Anzel had both dreaded and anticipated for the last two months; [This is a solid opening line. I’m already wondering what’s special about tonight, and it’s clear why you chose to start the story here.] on the one hand, his father would be the subject of every congratulations in the land, which meant pomp and ceremony and hours sitting on the throne smiling at the procession. On the other hand, Anzel would finally be able to escape to the top turret straight after the final banquet and spend an evening with Matei beneath the stars. [I’m a little confused here. Both of these sound like good things, so I’m unsure why Anzel is dreading one of them.] That thought sent spirals of tingles through Anzel’s stomach. He barely controlled the needle in his fingers, putting the finishing touches to the material on his lap. It was a luscious thing – light blue silk with golden edges, the colours of Dria, and in the centre, the design he’d...

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Writing the perfect Synopsis by Pintip Dunn … and release day plus giveaway for GIRL ON THE VERGE!
Jun27

Writing the perfect Synopsis by Pintip Dunn … and release day plus giveaway for GIRL ON THE VERGE!

  We’re so thrilled to have Pintip Dunn stop by today on her GIRL ON THE VERGE release day to talk about writing the perfect synopsis. She presented this at our Pitch Wars Roadshow at the RT Booklovers convention in Atlanta, and I begged her to do it for us before Pitch Wars 2017 submission window opened. But I wanted to talk a little bit about her book before we jump into the guest post. It’s an #ownvoices book and it is so good you guys. Grab your copy today! You will not be disappointed. And there’s more! Go to the end of this post for the release giveaway and to read an excerpt from GIRL OF THE VERGE. So here’s something about this fabulous book … GIRL ON THE VERGE Buy links Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo   iTunes   Book Depository   Books-A-Million Book Descrption From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths. In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own. When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how it much intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong… LINK TO WEBSITE’S BOOK PAGE: http://www.pintipdunn.com/gotv/   Writing the Perfect Synopsis by Pintip Dunn Show of (virtual) hands… Who loves writing synopses? Who hates them? Ha. Unfortunately, synopses are a necessary evil. You may need to provide one to Pitch Wars mentors, agents, and/or editors. In fact, I just had to write one last week, in order to pitch a new book to my editor. So, the sooner you become comfortable with them, the better. I hope you’ll find the following tips helpful in writing a synopsis. As always, take whatever advice resonates with you and throw out the rest. Remember, this is MY perspective on how to write a synopsis. You...

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Day 35 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Helene Dunbar, Beth Hull, & Heather Cashman
Jun26

Day 35 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Helene Dunbar, Beth Hull, & Heather Cashman

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 Co-Mentors Helene Dunbar and Beth Hull … Helene Dunbar is the author of THESE GENTLE WOUNDS (Flux, 2014), WHAT REMAINS (Flux, 2015) and BOOMERANG (coming from Sky Pony in 2018). Over the years, she’s worked as a drama critic, journalist, and marketing manager, and has written on topics as diverse as Irish music, court cases, theater, and Native American Indian tribes. She lives in Nashville with her husband and daughter and exists on a steady diet of readers’ tears. Represented by Lauren MacLeod at The Strothman Agency. Twitter | Website | Amazon Author Page In less than a second… … two of the things Cal Ryan cares most about–a promising baseball career and Lizzie, one of his best friends–are gone forever. In the hours that follow… …Cal’s damaged heart is replaced. But his life will never be the same. Everyone expects him to pick up the pieces and move on. But Lizzie is gone, and all that remains for Cal is an overwhelming sense that her death was his fault. And a voice in his head that just…won’t…stop. Cal thought he and his friends could overcome any obstacle. But grief might be the one exception. And that might take a lifetime to accept… GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | INDIEBOUND   Beth hull lives in northern California with her husband, two kids, and cat. She overuses parentheses and ampersands. She writes short stories and young adult novels. Twitter | Website         Helene and Beth’s Query Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Fantasy Amazing thatTthe first time I seeBrie saw New York, she wasn’t I am notamazed by the ciaos [chaos?] , but by the fact that she wasI am basically in at a buffet and I haved no desire to feed on anyone. [Just demonstrating, in this first sentence, the third person tone this should take throughout] We [who is “we?”] walked [switch...

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