Day 18 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Claribel Ortega, Kat Cho, & Kate Foster
Jun01

Day 18 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Claribel Ortega, Kat Cho, & 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 Claribel Ortega and Kat Cho . . . Claribel Ortega got her start editing student’s often times hilarious ads and ramblings on the back page of SUNY Purchase’s Independent Newspaper. From there, she became a small town reporter, where she enjoyed going to board of education meetings and texting the town mayors about the line at Starbucks. Today she’s busy turning her obsession with eighties pop culture, magic and video games into books. She lives in New York with her motorcycle-riding poet boyfriend & her suspiciously intelligent yorkie, Pancho Villa. She is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary. You can find her at claribelortega.com & as @claribel_ortega on Twitter. Kat Cho used to hide books under the bathroom sink and then sneak in there to read after bedtime. Her parents pretended not to know. This helped when she decided to write a dinosaur time-travel novel at the tender age of nine. Sadly, that book was not published. She loves anything that encourages nerding out, including reading, blogging, K-dramas, K-pop and anime. Currently, Kat writes YA sci-fi and fantasy and is represented by Beth Phelan at the Bent Agency. You can find her at katchowrites.com & as @KatCho on Twitter. Claribel and Kat’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Contemporary Mystery Dear, I read that you’re searching for a young adult mystery with diverse characters, so I hope you’ll enjoy my 80,000 word YA Contemporary GIFTS TO THE RIVER. [ CO: I would move this to the last graf and open with something more engaging. KC: Since we’ve heard advice both ways on where to place this information. We’d recommend paying attention to anything specific an agent says in their query preferences. Otherwise, format it to your preference.] When bodies keep appearing in the local river,[ Instead of “bodies keep appearing,” I would just...

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Day 18 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with Brenda Drake and mentor, Micheal Mammy
Jun01

Day 18 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with Brenda Drake and mentor, Micheal Mammy

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 Brenda Drake . . . Brenda’s Query  Critique . . . Age Category: Adult Genre: Romance Dear Agent, [One personalized sentence] [So I’d like to say that this is an amazing query already. You’ve done such a good job at clearly setting up your world and characters. Really well done! So everything I’m going to say is a bonus. Nitpicking here.] Helen, an aspiring philanthropist who recently acquired magic from a shaman ceremony, casts a spell to stop the epic dating fails and make the universe manifest her soul mate—but her choice unleashes occult forces that could break her heart or strike her dead. Brian, a mega-famous English rocker, makes a mixed first impression on Helen. [This switch to Brian makes me think your book is in dual POV. If it is, great! But mention that in the TITLE paragraph. If it’s not, keep it in Helen’s POV. For example: When Helen meets a mega-famous English rocker, Brian, he makes a mixed first impression.] He’s arrogant and his pick-up lines are spawns from hell, but his insights on fame and music intrigue her. Brian wins Helen over, but the problems don’t end. A dangerous secret makes him distrust all things occult, so he withdraws when he learns of her mystical abilities. When a spell to save her faltering philanthropy organization nearly turns deadly and the lovers’ troubled pasts threaten a delicate bond, Helen must figure out how to contain the menacing energies she’s unwittingly summoned—and decide whether her and Brian’s love is worth fighting for. [Your stakes here are good. Can you connect them back to the first paragraph? Or possibly leave “break her heart” in the first paragraph and then amp up the stakes here with “strike her dead.” She has to decide whether her and Brian’s love is worth fighting for or what? We know she’ll...

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