Day 26 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, J.C. Nelson & Jenni L. Walsh
Jun13

Day 26 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, J.C. Nelson & Jenni L. Walsh

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.C. Nelson … Website | Twitter Hey, I’m a 40-something author living in the rainy Pacific Northwest, with an ark’s worth of animals and four kids I love.   The Reburialists by J.C. Nelson Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes Burying the dead is easy. Keeping them down is difficult. At the Bureau of Special Investigations, agents encounter all sorts of paranormal evils. So for Agent Brynner Carson, driving a stake through a rampaging three-week-old corpse is par for the course. Except this cadaver is different. It’s talking—and it has a message about his father, Heinrich. The reanimated stiff delivers an ultimatum written in bloody hieroglyphics, and BSI Senior Analyst Grace Roberts is called in to translate. It seems that Heinrich Carson stole the heart of Ra-Ame, the long-dead god of the Re-Animus. She wants it back. The only problem is Heinrich took the secret of its location to his grave. With the arrival of Ra-Ame looming and her undead army wreaking havoc, Brynner and Grace must race to find the key to stopping her. It’s a race they can’t afford to lose, but then again, it’s just another day on the job . . .   J.C. Nelson’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: New Adult GENRE: Thriller Dear Ms. Agent, Lucia, a small town girl dreaming of how to escape her mundane life, is at her job as a gas station clerk when a car crashes through the storefront, narrowly missing her but mowing over her patrons. As the dust settles and emergency crews arrive, she realizes her former high school sweetheart and drug-addicted ex-boyfriend is dead in the driver’s seat. It’s up to Lucia and her lover Reece, a locally assigned state trooper, to bring the killers to justice and release their small town from a deadly web of vicious enemies. Trading her...

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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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Day 24 (Part 3): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Kes Trester, Jessica Vitalis & Julie Artz
Jun09

Day 24 (Part 3): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Kes Trester, Jessica Vitalis & Julie Artz

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 Kes Trester  Website | Twitter A native of Los Angeles, Kes Trester’s first job out of college was on a film set, though the movie’s title will remain nameless because it was a really bad film. Really. As a feature film development executive, she worked on a variety of independent films, from gritty dramas (guns and hotties) to steamy vampire love stories (fangs and hotties) to teens-in-peril genre movies (blood and hotties). Kes produced a couple of independent films, both award-winners on the festival circuit, before seguing into television commercials. As head of production for a Hollywood-based film company, she supervised the budgeting and production of nationally broadcast commercials (celebrities, aliens, talking animals!) and award-winning music videos for artists such as Radiohead, Coldplay, and OKGO (more celebrities, aliens, and talking animals!). In an attempt to raise kids who could actually pick their mom out of a line up, Kes turned to writing fulltime. Her contemporary novels for young adults are cinematic, fast-paced, and above all, fun. Add an understanding husband and pack of rescue dogs to the mix, and that’s also an apt description of life in the busy Trester household. Kes is the YA author of A DANGEROUS YEAR coming out in September 26, 2017. She is represented by Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary. Kes’ Query Critique… Dear Agents Name, I’m seeking representation for my project, WINGS OF FLESH AND BONES, which I’d like you to consider [I would cut “which I’d like you to consider” – feels a little clunky]. It’s a YA/Paranormal story with elements of romance and [is complete at] 74,000 words. [it seems obvious, but agents like to know it’s a finished ms and it’s easy to slip it in here] Outer realmies suck, as any gatekeeper worth their salt will tell you [nice voice!]. Welcome to Rogan’s life, a sixteen-year-old...

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Day 24 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Jenna Lehne, Tara Creel, Kate Karyus Quinn & Mindy McGinnis
Jun09

Day 24 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Jenna Lehne, Tara Creel, Kate Karyus Quinn & 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 Mentors Jenna Lehne & Tara Creel  Website | Twitter Jenna Lehne writes spooky MG/YA words and blogs for @Mdnight_Society. She is represented by Gina Panettieri with Talcott Notch Literary.        Website | Twitter Tara Creel write books for children. Particularly picture books and middle grade.  She also offers editorial services for writers.   She review books for The Deseret News. She is also an editor for Month9Books, Tantrum Division. All of that means that she gets to read and write for work and for fun.       Jenna and Tara’s Query Critique… Age category: 10 and up Genre: Middle Grade Dear Brenda Drake, I’d like to offer my MG novel ‘ARMORED’ for your consideration. The Dark Ages look even gloomier from outer space. [We like this opening line, but it’s a bit clunky. How about taking out the word ‘even’?] Thirteen-orbits-old Odd is an armored, war-loving royal from a dismal part of the Universe where the stars don’t shine. The only problem is he’s never actually tasted war and his Overlord father won’t let him forget it. [We love this idea but it’s confusing like this. What about rearranging it into something like:  At thirteen orbits old, Odd is an armored, war-loving royal from a dismal part of the Universe where stars don’t shine. Too bad he’s never actually tasted war and his Overlord Father won’t let him forget it. ((We don’t like saying the only problem because it limits the stakes and also this way has more voice. )] When his dad loses patience with him and threatens to send him away, Odd sneaks off to conquer a world single-handedly to prove his worth. [ We don’t think you need that much info re: his dad] Crash landing on Earth however, and losing his armor to a human girl were never part of the plan… [To incorporate a bit more...

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Day 24 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Juliana Brandt, Allison Ziegler & Nina Laurin
Jun09

Day 24 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Juliana Brandt, Allison Ziegler & Nina Laurin

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 Juliana Brandt & Allison Ziegler Website | Twitter Juliana is a Middle Grade and Young Adult writer and has mentored in PitchWars for the past two years. She’s a dog lover, outdoor enthusiast, kindergarten teacher, and loves novel-shaped things and is represented by Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Literary Agency.          Website | Twitter Allison Ziegler is an occasional occupant of the real world, frequent resident of writer town, and constant consumer of diet coke. She’s represented by Emmanuelle Morgen at Stonesong Literary Agency, and a #PitchWars Mentors.       Juliana and Allison’s Query Critique… Dear **, Today I’m presenting SWEET PEA a 25,000-word animal fantasy story. [Do you have comparison books? Those are important to include. They show agents that you’ve done your research 🙂 ] It’s about two dwarf-lop rabbits, Sweet Pea and Dasher, and a community of animals they befriend on a farm in the Australian countryside. Will Pirate, the farmer’s dog and an ever-present threat, ever come to accept their existence? [Essentially, you’re “telling” in these two sentences. In queries, your words are particularly precious, so cut these and use those words to “show” what happens in the story in the next two paragraphs! Also, try to avoid rhetorical questions as much as possible–usually, rhetorical questions weaken writing; they also risk the agent not wanting to find the answer to the question. It’s best not to ask them to search out the answer, but rather to simply tell them what happens.] When the truck transporting Sweet Pea and Dasher from the breeding shed to a pet shop crashes, can they survive when lost in the Australian bush? The ever-confident Dasher believes they can and convinces Sweet Pea to become adventurous. [Can you show us more of what happens in the story? I would suggest using a two paragraph format to describe what happens in your book. Paragraph 1 would be dedicated...

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Day 23 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Layla Reyne, Victoria De La O & E.B. Wheeler
Jun08

Day 23 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Layla Reyne, Victoria De La O & E.B. Wheeler

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 Layla Reyne & Victoria De La O Website | Twitter 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist, Layla Reyne, was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs. Layla is a member of Romance Writers of America and its San Francisco, Kiss of Death, and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. She is represented by Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency.     Website | Twitter Victoria De La O is the 2017 RITA®-nominated author of the Tell Me romance trilogy, including Tell Me How This Ends. A California native, she spends time hanging out with her family, arguing about films, and practicing Wonder Woman spins.But mostly, she enjoys making her readers cry. Victoria belongs to the Silicon Valley Romance Writers of America chapter and is represented by Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency.   Layla and Victoria’s Query Critique… [INSERT: Brett Fontaine doesn’t go out after dark.] Brett Fontaine’s goals are simple—keep growing her image consultancy business in trendy Miami, make sure her stalker stays in prison, and convince her friends she has a handle on her post-kidnapping panic attacks. [Consider this revision to the above paragraph, which provides a stronger, punchier opening. Also, her goals aren’t simple, so let’s not sell her short.]: Instead, she focuses on growing her image consultancy business in trendy Miami, ensuring her stalkers stays in prison, and convincing her friends she has a handle on her post-kidnapping panic attacks.] Even if she hasn’t been out after dark in over a year, much less opened her little black book dating app. [Remove this sentence...

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Day 23 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with mentors Kelly deVos and Jessica Bayliss
Jun08

Day 23 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with mentors Kelly deVos 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 Kelly deVos Website | Twitter A third generation native Arizonan, Kelly deVos can tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cactus, cattle and climate. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. Her debut novel, FAT GIRL ON A PLANE, will be published in 2018 by Harlequin Teen and her work has been featured in Normal Noise and 202 Magazine.     Kelly’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Thriller PASTE QUERY (here in the body of the email): A sinister killer stole her and held her captive for three days…  and she was one of the lucky ones. [KD: I think it’s a great idea to open with this kind of hook BUT use of the world “stole” tripped me up and the term Beacon Hill Strangler is way more interesting than “sinister killer”] Fifteen years later, still tortured by the memories of that lost time, Simone Chase is asked to investigate a recent murder.  A recent murder that holds some disturbing similarities to those events of her past. [KD: This is a really intriguing concept. But why would Simone specifically be asked to investigate? We’re not given much to go on in terms of figuring out wat makes this character unique. How old is she? What’s her occupation? Where does she live?] Her abductor is safely locked away, but someone is picking up where he left off, and as more victims emerge, it appears Simone is firmly in the killer’s crosshairs.  Desperate to uncover the truth, she is pulled headlong into a decade long cover up that may just turn her whole world upside down. [KD: I don’t think this is nearly enough information about the plot of the book. I think you need to work the information in the synopsis below and combine the two things as...

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It’s Twitter Pitch Party day!
Jun08

It’s Twitter Pitch Party day!

  FOR ALL THE RULES: See the official #PitMad page. There’s a twitter pitch party on the Twitter hashtag #PitMad today, June 8th, from 8AM to 8PM EST. Get your twitter pitches ready and make sure to include all the appropriate hashtags, especially #PitMad, in your 140 character tweet-pitch. If you need help creating the perfect pitch, there’s a post about it here: The 35-word Twitter Pitch . . . Simplified THE RULES . . . Be polite and don’t say anything mean about a writer’s pitch. Please, don’t “like” any pitches. That’s only for agents. If you want to show support, reply with a comment or re-tweet the pitch. You can quote the tweet with your support or praise, or just re-tweet without quoting. Any genre can be pitched. Pitch up to three times per day, per manuscript. It helps to pitch when you see an agent on the hashtag (throughout the day for a better response). Add #YA, #MG, #NA, #A, or #PB in your pitch to help the agents find the ones they represent. For more detail with your hashtags, see all of the hashtags here! If your tweet is “liked” (or hearted) by an agent, please confirm they are a legitimate agent, search the agent’s feed, and see what the agent would like #PitMad participants to send them. Then send the requested materials. QUESTIONS? Tweet or DM @brendadrake or @HeatherCashman For added fun, get some popcorn and scroll through the #fakepitmad pitches. ALL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS ARE WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS...

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Day 21 (Part 3): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Natasha Neagle, Kelli Newby, & Mary Ann Marlowe
Jun07

Day 21 (Part 3): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Natasha Neagle, Kelli Newby, & Mary Ann Marlowe

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, Natasha Neagle … Website | Twitter Natasha Neagle is the YA author of the upcoming YA Fantasy, THE BODY PARADOX (’18 Entangled Teen) who runs on Starbucks and believes the best way to hear music is live. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, two kids, and zoo of animals.       Natasha’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Paranormal Ziva Kritikos wants to grow up. [Interesting, but how old is she? Letting the reader know your main character’s age will help solidify your novel as YA. Knowing this will help us figure out her voice.] Her best friends, Sophie and Abigail already have goals in mind for their lives. [The way you say Ziva doesn’t want to grow up makes me think of her as a younger kid/middle schooler. Why does it matter what Sophie and Abigail want to do?] Kyle, a boy hooked on messing with her is headed towards his dreams while Ziva doesn’t even have any. [In the first paragraph, you’ve named four characters instead of hooking the reader on Ziva. The information you’ve shared about Ziva is minimal compared to the others.] She doesn’t want to be left behind, [okay, this is interesting – why would she be left behind? Where are they going?] and her library’s books won’t help her find a path. [Does she always have her nose in a book and that’s why you mentioned this? How does this relate to the the hook and inciting incident?] Desperate for a change, Ziva relies on a shooting star. [Why would she rely on a shooting star? Wouldn’t she just desperately just cast a wish on one? Be sure to include an introduction to the world, the main character (who they are and what they want), and inciting incident. Convey the voice of your main character so...

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Day 21 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Caitlin Sinead and McKelle George
Jun07

Day 21 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Caitlin Sinead and McKelle George

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, Caitlin Sinead … Website | Twitter | Editing Services From Caitlin: I have been writing since the second grade when I drafted a riveting piece about witches who turned out to be friendly. My novels, HEARTSICK and RED BLOODED, have received positive reviews from Library Journal, RT Book Reviews, and USA TODAY.  My writing has also earned accolades from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Glimmer Train, and Writers & Artists, and my stories have appeared in multiple publications, including The Alarmist, The Binnacle, Crunchable, Jersey Devil Press, and Northern Virginia Magazine. I earned a master’s degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University and have also studied writing at the College of William and Mary and Yale University. I am represented by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger, Inc. In my writing, I enjoy mashing the fluffy aspects of life right up against the not-so-fluffy aspects, while sneaking in fun words I wished more people used (e.g., nincompoop, ragamuffin, and peccadillo, to name a few). I live with my husband and two cats in Alexandria, Virginia. Click on Caitlin’s books below to find out more . . . Caitlin’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Women’s Fiction It starts with a confession. “I killed your father.” [This is nice, but I think it takes away from the bigger revelation that her mother killed her father. Removing it would allow the next paragraph to pack more of a punch. Additionally, the real story is Blythe searching for the truth, so you don’t want to spend more time than you need on the setup.] During an afternoon visit [This could be a nice opportunity to briefly set up some ambiance. Are they having tea, are they on a walk in the woods, are they watching the Price is Right? With just one or two details you can help us understand their relationship...

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