PITCHWARS: SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I? by mentor, Michael Mammay
Jun15

PITCHWARS: SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I? by mentor, Michael Mammay

PITCHWARS: SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I? That’s the question, right? Should I, or shouldn’t I? Simple. Binary. Sometimes it’s easy. Like if the question is ‘Should I eat that last taco?’ Yes. Obviously. Do I want to go see the next movie that’s a reboot of a TV show with you? Absolutely not. But what about Pitch Wars? There it can get a little more complicated. Today I’m going to share a few of my thoughts that might help you work through your decision making period. I’m not going to spend time here telling you about all the great things Pitch Wars does. There are dozens of blog posts, tweets, book acknowledgements, and roving bands of barbarian writers who already lay out all the benefits. It’s good. Today I’m going to focus on if it’s right for YOU. Let’s start with the basics. Do you have a completed manuscript that you’ve edited and polished, and hopefully had a couple qualified people critique? Because that’s the prerequisite. Without that, you don’t need the rest of this post. But if you do, or if you can get there by the end of July, read on. Let me start by reading your mind. I’m going to take all the reasons you have in your head for not doing it, and talk through them. <cue eerie mind-reading music> 1. But my book isn’t good enough (I’m not good enough.) Do. Not. Self. Reject. If I could put that on repeat a dozen times, I would, but I feel like that would make for a boring post. Look…maybe your book *isn’t* good enough yet. But maybe it is. You are not a good judge of that. Here’s a conversation I had with a critique partner of mine last week. I had just sent her the sequel to my book that got me my agent. Nobody had read it yet but me. Her: This is great. Me: OMG! Her: What? You knew that when you sent it to me. Me: I really didn’t. I had no idea. Her: You’re an idiot. Okay. I’m paraphrasing. But the sentiment is real. And the thing is, we’re all idiots to some extent when it comes to our own writing. All. Of. Us. You can’t see the mistakes in your writing the way other people can. But you can’t see the magic, either. You’re too close. I felt so much relief when that reader (and a couple others) told me that it didn’t suck. Because I didn’t know. I was too close. Do. Not. Self. Reject. 2. It’s too embarrassing. I know you said don’t self reject, but if...

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Day 28 (Part 2) Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Kristin Bartley Lenz, Heather Smith Meloche & Jenny Lundquist
Jun15

Day 28 (Part 2) Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Kristin Bartley Lenz, Heather Smith Meloche & Jenny Lundquist

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 Kristin Bartley Lenz & Heather Smith Meloche  Website | Twitter Kristin Bartley Lenz is a writer and social worker from metro-Detroit who fell in love with the mountains when she moved to Georgia and California. Now she’s back in Detroit where she plots wilderness escapes and manages the Michigan Chapter blog for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Her debut young adult novel, The Art of Holding On and Letting Go, was a Junior Library Guild Fall 2016 Selection and was chosen for the Great Lakes Great Books 2017-2018 state-wide literature program. She is represented by Carrie Pestritto at Prospect Agency.    Website | Twitter  Heather Smith Meloche has had the honor of winning the Katherine Paterson Prize and the Writer’s Digest National Competition for her children’s/Young Adult writing. She studied video production and poetry at Michigan State University, and then got her Master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language at Bowling Green State University. She spends her days in her home in Michigan sampling a wide variety of chocolate, letting her dogs in and out constantly, and writing and reading as much as she can. Heather is the author of of RIPPLE, released Sept. 20, 2016 by Penguin Putnam and represented by Compass Talent Literary Agency.     Kristin and Heather’s Query Critique… I am looking for representation for my Women’s [Lower case “women’s”] fiction: [Use a comma here instead of a colon] FOUR WOMEN TALKING. [Choose all caps or italics, but not both, and keep it consistent throughout the letter] It is complete at 88,000 words. Monique Magloire, Haitian socialite wants her father to respect her even though she is not the son he had “demanded.” Monique has a few demands of her own. Cecilia Peterson of St Thomas longs for her mother’s love although she has the “misfortune” of looking like her Negro father....

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Day 28 (Part 1) Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Natalka Burian & Rebecca Schaeffer
Jun15

Day 28 (Part 1) Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Natalka Burian & Rebecca Schaeffer

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 Natalka Burian Website | Twitter Natalka Burian received an MA from Columbia University where she studied Eastern European literature with an emphasis on the work of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. She is the co-owner of two bars, ELSA and RAMONA, and CITY OF DAUGHTERS a line of specialty cocktail goods. She grew up on a farm in Maryland, and now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters. Welcome to the Slipstream is her first novel. She is represented by Kate Johnson at Wolf Literary Services.   Natalka’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Magical Realism, not exactly sure of this[I think your instincts are correct!] Dear Wonderful Agent: Fiddle playing teen [I’m wondering what her exact age is here–could be useful for an agent or editor, too, when considering submissions, etc.] Anastasia Samuels [I’d also suggest starting this paragraph off with her name. It’s a much stronger way to begin in that it immediately connects us to your protagonist–e.g. Anastasia Samuels, a 16yo musician introvert blames her albinism…] is an introvert who blames her albinism for her all insecurities. Moving over a thousand miles away rips her from her one and only friend, Clara, forcing her into a whole new world of miserable. The only bright spots in her dismal existence are her music, and meeting James, a hearing-impaired boy who is as much a curiosity at their performing arts school as she is. She falls hard for this cute redhead but can’t imagine him ever being interested in someone like her.[Consider omitting this last sentence for sharpness and efficiency.] A strange recurring dream about an old violin has haunted Ana since her parents first announced their decision to more. She is stunned to discover this same instrument in their attic.[is this the attic in her old or new house? Maybe move us in time at the beginning of the paragraph, condensing the two...

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