Pitch Wars Success Story with Adalyn Grace and her mentor, Brian Palmer
Jun12

Pitch Wars Success Story with Adalyn Grace and her mentor, Brian Palmer

  When our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal, it’s one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Adalyn Grace and her mentor, Brian Palmer. Adalyn signed with Hillary Jacobson of ICM Partners after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her. Please, help me in congratulating Adalyn and Brian on their Pitch Wars Success! Adalyn, what was it about Brian that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? First of all, Brian is just so stinkin’ nice. I could tell how enthusiastic he was to be mentor, and how much he truly wanted to help whoever he ended up picking. I stalked the heck out of his twitter, and we actually talked back-and-forth several times (mostly going over questions) before he thankfully chose me! I could tell he was super serious about finding a story he enjoyed and thought he could really help, which is obviously what every mentee wants. While he didn’t necessarily mention wanting something that screamed, “Hey! That’s my book!” I loved his bio and many of the “favorite books” he had listed. Something in my gut said that I needed to take the risk and sub to him. I would have been honored to work with any mentors, but my instincts told me that, if I were to be chosen, it’d be by Brian. And I sure lucked out! Brian, what was it about Adalyn’s DONOR that hooked you? Adalyn’s novel proved to me that the unexpected can grab your attention because, as she noted, there wasn’t an obvious connection between her story and many of the elements I had said I was looking for in my wish list (though it was worth noting there was nothing in DONOR that made it onto my auto-disqualification list either). I really was drawn in by the sinister premise (growing humans in a facility specifically for the purpose of harvesting their organs for those in the outside world who needed them because they lived in a society that did not have to be held accountable for their actions and life choices? Holy cow!), but even more than this I was intrigued by the subtle yet profound social commentary that was woven throughout the story and how it shone an uncomfortably plausible light on where we as a society might be headed in the coming decades if we aren’t careful. Add to this the fact that these “humans” were viewed by the world as mindless drones, only to have one of DONOR’s POV’s be from one of the donors themselves, and to see how just how wrong the outside world...

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Day 25 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Sonia Hartl, Annette Christie, & Carrie Callaghan
Jun12

Day 25 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Sonia Hartl, Annette Christie, & Carrie Callaghan

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, Sonia Hartl & Annette Christie …   Website | Twitter Sonia Hartl is a YA writer rep’d by Rebecca Podos of Rees Literary Agency and has been published in The Writers Post Journal, Boston Literary Magazine, and the anthology Bearing North.          Website | Twitter Annette Christie has worked as a playwright, actor, and grant writer for various theatre companies in Canada and the U.S. Most recently, she’s contributed articles to various online publications. She is currently working on her debut YA novel and is represented by Jess Dallow of Brower Literary Management.      Sonia and Annette’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Science Fiction Dear <AGENT>, Seventeen-year-old Kali Ravelin wants to be a soldier like her late father, the nation’s hero [Sonia: opening with a strong sense of what the character wants is great, but I’m wondering if you can touch on why she wants this? Does she want the glory or does she feel obligated to follow in her father’s footsteps or is she trying to honor him? Why she wants this will help add a personal connection to character]. She wants to protect the defenseless from the dyfarniad—venomous, mutated beaststhat terrorize the rural villages and technologically-advanced metropolises of Redioss [Annette: great description!]. The dyfarniad left Kali orphaned, and the only thing stopping her from claiming revenge is three years of cadet training and the looming shadow her glorified father left behind. [Annette: can you clarify why these two things are stopping her from going after the dyfarniad? Is it because she isn’t strong/skilled enough? She feels guilty?] Refusing to ride the coattails of her father’s fame, Kali forges a new persona [Sonia: what is her new persona? More specific here would help characterize her a bit more] and ships off to basic training [Annette: ooooh! I love this aspect of your...

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Day 25 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Fiona McLaren, Jenna Lehne & Tara Creel
Jun12

Day 25 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Fiona McLaren, Jenna Lehne & Tara Creel

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, Fiona McLaren … Website | Twitter Fiona lives on the sun-soaked island of Cyprus, and is a full-time scriptwriter for an independent animation company. Their first production is due to release soon. She also works as an editor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, and edits on a selective freelance basis. Her experience as an intern at two separate literary agencies, and selling articles and web content, means that if something has words, she’ll try it. She is represented by Maura Kye-Casella at Don Congdon Associates for her Young Adult works.   Fiona’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: NA GENRE: Urban Fantasy Evryn would do anything to protect her best friend and college roommate [From what?], from accompanying her to a freakish Goth club downtown to employing not-so-deadly ninja skills on a Slim Shady wannabe vampire [While this sets the tone of your novel nicely, it feels a little stilted. I would consider rewording. I’m also left wondering about why Evryn’s best friend can’t protect herself? Is she naïve to the dangers around them? Reckless? Or is there something about Evryn that makes her more able to protect someone than anyone else?] So when her friend goes missing once again [The “once again” is great. I’d consider moving this right to the top of your query letter. It also has some great humor in it], Evryn laces up her combat boots and sets off for a little harmless breaking and entering. First stop: the Austen-esque manor of a suspicious yet sexy musician whose guitar case holds a charm from her friend’s bracelet. [Nice to see a mystery!] Dalamar, a 200-year-old vampire and bass guitarist, can’t consume human blood. His aging body rejects it, forcing him to hunt witches as a source of magical blood instead. As the local coven shrinks, Dalamar is running out of time to...

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