Day 14 of the June Setting Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor McKelle George
Jun20

Day 14 of the June Setting Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor McKelle George

Welcome to June’s Setting Workshop! From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected over thirty writers to participate. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a 500 word sample chosen by the writers from a place he or she felt needed help with setting. We hope that not only you’ll learn a little bit about setting that you can apply to your own writing, but that you’ll also be able to get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors and their editing styles. 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. And now we have … Pitch Wars Mentor McKelle George   Twitter | Website McKelle George is a senior editor at Jolly Fish Press, author of young adult novels, repped by Katie Grimm of Don Congdon Associates, and member of SCWBI. She has a B.S. in English/Creative Writing from Brigham Young University and an A.A. in Illustration from Snow College. She is a traveler and nomad, an exclusively self-pleasing artist, lover of quiet adventures, and banned book and library advocate. The 500 Word Critique . . . New Adult Horror/Post Apocalyptic Ivy laughed. The smile on Aiden’s face as he recounted his venture outside Quarantine Zone Five momentarily distracted her. He had a way of transforming his nightmarish undertakings into PG adventures. Ivy glanced out from under the weathered tent flap at the other Caretakers. They bustled from one triage tent to another, focused and somber. And here she was flirting with a cute guy. Well, he was the one flirting. She returned her attention to the cut above Aiden’s thick eyebrow and carefully cleaned his forehead so she could examine the wound. “You almost need stitches this time,” Ivy said. He glanced over his shoulder toward the four new arrivals heading to the holding area. That was his job – going into the city, finding survivors, and bringing them back – and he was good at it, the best. Most Runners came back empty handed or with one or two people. “Was worth it.” His dark brown gaze lifted to Ivy from where he sat on the examination cot. Pride filled his eyes. Any shock or trauma he experienced from the horrors he witnessed in the city, he kept hidden. “Suppose it was.” Ivy grabbed the antibiotic and smeared a dab across the wound. Four survivors were great. It really was, but the one person Ivy was searching for wasn’t among them. Aiden’s thumb tugged down her chin. Her bottom lip popped out from between her...

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Day 13 (Part 2) of June Setting Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Carrie Callaghan
Jun17

Day 13 (Part 2) of June Setting Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor Carrie Callaghan

Welcome to June’s Setting Workshop! From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected over thirty writers to participate. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a 500 word sample chosen by the writers from a place he or she felt needed help with setting. We hope that not only you’ll learn a little bit about setting that you can apply to your own writing, but that you’ll also be able to get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors and their editing styles. 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. And now we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Carrie Callaghan Twitter | Website Carrie Callaghan lives in Maryland with her family. She loves seasons of all kinds, history, and tea. Her fiction has appeared in Silk Road, The MacGuffin, Mulberry Fork Review, and elsewhere. Carrie is also a senior editor with the Washington Independent Review of books, and is represented by Shannon Hassan of Marsal Lyon. She’d love to hear from you at www.carriecallaghan.com or on Twitter @carriecallaghan. The 500 Word Critique . . . Adult Contemporary Romance [Thank you for sharing your writing with me!] The first time I met Cooper Tucker, I wanted nothing more than to punch him in the face. For starters, he had the most pretentious name. [This is an interesting voice, but it gives us little concrete information to grab onto. We can’t see the narrator, Cooper, the place, or the time.] Also, he walked around through [I thought he was walking outside the house, around it] our house like he owned the place [What kind of house? Cape Cod? Farmhouse? Suburban? The use of one specific word will start to ground us instantly. Even better, finish this sentence with a physical description: “with his Nirvana t-shirt tossed over one bare shoulder as he ran his fingers through his just-showered hair”], and usually in a very limited wardrobe[This is arch, so contributes to the voice, but does nothing to show us the scene. Don’t make your reader guess what a very limited wardrobe looks like]. Really, I shouldn’t complain about that, but his sexy body made him creep into my dreams more than I wanted. Not to mention, my first wet dream? Him. Cooper. [Wet dream made me think the narrator was a man. Since this is the first piece of personal information we have about the narrator as a body, not just a voice with emotions, I’d suggest choosing something more concrete and less ambiguous.] It pissed...

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Day 13 of June Setting Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor J.R. Yates
Jun17

Day 13 of June Setting Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor J.R. Yates

Welcome to June’s Setting Workshop! From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected over thirty writers to participate. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a 500 word sample chosen by the writers from a place he or she felt needed help with setting. We hope that not only you’ll learn a little bit about setting that you can apply to your own writing, but that you’ll also be able to get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors and their editing styles. 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. And now we have … Pitch Wars Mentor J.R. Yates Twitter | Website 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.   The 500 Word Critique . . . Adult Memoir I slip into the cramped room. This would be much stronger if you show us that it’s cramped, rather than tell. You could do something like: I slip into the postage stamp sized room, overflowing with… Also, is it a church? A community hall? I don’t have a sense of this until they pull their Bibles out later. Small groups of women sit in foldable chairs around rectangular tables. This is another nice opportunity to show how cramped it is. Are their knees touching? Tables bookended? When showing the setting, choose descriptors that add to what you’re trying to show us; in this case that the room is cramped. Their voices blend together into a murmur of unintelligible words. I take a seat [when your character is interacting with the setting, these are your best opportunities to show the setting. e.g., I pull out a rickety metal chair, the legs uneven…] at an adjoining table and pull a Bible from my bag [messenger bag? Purse? Again, while your character is interacting with the environment, add texture and other small details to fill in...

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Help support Pitch Wars … donate and receive extra entries into the contest!
Jun16

Help support Pitch Wars … donate and receive extra entries into the contest!

Donate today! (You don’t need a Paypal account to donate. Just go to the bottom and you can use a credit card.) Over the past five years, Pitch Wars has changed many lives. Countless authors have been matched with agents and even gone on to book deals and successful careers. But most importantly, Pitch Wars has grown the writing community to connect author with author, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie as we go through all stages of revision and publishing. Behind the scenes, it takes a lot of work to coordinate the event each year. And as it continues to grow, so do the responsibilities required to make Pitch Wars possible. Like last year,  we will be accepting donations to go toward the administrative costs associated with running Pitch Wars. Everyone who enters Pitch Wars can submit four (4) free applications to the mentors of their choice. Those who donate $20 or more will receive two additional applications.* To claim your extra mentor applications, please keep your emailed receipt from Paypal as proof when uploading your entry during the submission window on August 3. All amounts are greatly appreciated. If you’re not entering Pitch Wars this year and the contest has benefited you in the past, please consider donating. *Please note: Pitch Wars is a contest where mentors choose mentees based on the entrants’ skills and is not based on chance. As Pitch Wars continues to grow and evolve, so will our processes each year to make sure the contest runs as smoothly as possible for all of you–because that is what Pitch Wars is all about. We are here to support our fellow authors at every stage of the process through mentoring, workshops, and community. Thank you for your continued support and involvement in Pitch Wars. We look forward to another successful season this year and for many more to come. That’s not all! Those who don’t make it into Pitch Wars this year, will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of many editing packages that include query, chapters, pages, and synopsis edits. Look for another post with details of what you can win next week. No donation (purchase) necessary. Right now here are the editors offering up services for the prizes …   (You don’t need a Paypal account to donate. Just go to the bottom and you can use a credit card.) Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save...

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Sell Your Story in a Single Sentence; Advice from the Frontlines of Hollywood by Lane Shefter Bishop
Jun09

Sell Your Story in a Single Sentence; Advice from the Frontlines of Hollywood by Lane Shefter Bishop

Website | Twitter The Art of the Single Sentence By Lane Shefter Bishop Everyone in the entertainment industry has heard of the quick-sell, the logline, the elevator pitch, and they also know the necessity of creating that selling sentence, since most network and studio execs barely have time to eat lunch these days. But the struggle arises when it’s time to actually put down on paper that all-important marketing device. Then the question looms large – how can you possibly condense your story into only a single sentence? It’s not easy to do but once created, that logline is invaluable for highlighting what’s special about your work and for ultimately helping to make the sale. My new book Sell Your Story in a Single Sentence; Advice from the Frontlines of Hollywood (available on Amazon) goes into much more detail about how to cultivate a top-notch logline. However, below are the broad strokes in order to get you started, which I’ve developed over years of teaching the craft at writer’s conferences both across the country and around the world. First of all, think long and hard about what is most unique about your content because this is truly the heart of your logline. Additionally, understand that the answer to that query always involves you being as specific as possible. Why is that? Because it is the details of your tale that make your material different from everyone else’s. When you describe your story with generalities like “a woman trying to save the world” or “ a man determined to fall in love” your masterpiece sounds terribly generic – one of many in the same arena – which is never a good thing when you are trying to sell. But by being as specific as possible you immediately bring front and center what’s wonderfully different about your work. Using the same two examples as above, see how being specific changes everything: “a woman determined to free sex slaves through an underground sting” or “a heterosexual man who suddenly falls in love with his gay best friend”. Immediately, these two stories become more exciting because by concentrating on the specifics, we are starting to discover what makes them special. Next, bring your attention to the top three essentials of every great story – Who is the protagonist? What do they want? (an actual want, not an emotional one) and what is at stake if they don’t achieve that goal? These fundamentals make up the meat of your logline so it’s imperative to always define them first. Once you have those tenets in place, you are ready to begin the process known in...

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DARKNESS SHIFTING by Sarah L. Blair … cover reveal and excerpt!
Jun03

DARKNESS SHIFTING by Sarah L. Blair … cover reveal and excerpt!

Pre-order the Kindle version of Darkness Shifting here! Goodreads Blurb: Darkness Shifting is the first book in the Tides of Darkness Series. Paranormal Investigator, Sidney Lake doesn’t jump at shadows. The weird stuff is her jurisdiction. When the mangled body of a supposedly extinct creature turns up in New York City’s subway system, she’s number one on the Medical Examiner’s speed dial. But this case hits too close to home when clues point her toward the truth about her parents’ brutal murder twelve years ago. Her boss Mitchell Harris, questions whether she should continue to investigate. However, Sidney insists on facing her greatest fears and putting her parents’ memory to rest once and for all. What she uncovers sheds a light on secrets that reach further into the darkness than she ever wanted to go… and leads her to a future she never imagined. Excerpt: A door at the back of the room next to the fireplace opened before Mitch could answer. The man who emerged wasn’t quite as tall as Mitch, but as soon as he stepped through the door, his presence seemed to expand to fill the enormous space. Sidney didn’t need to be introduced. It was very clear who this man was. At first glance, his shoulder length hair was jet black, but when he stepped into the light it picked up gold and orange tones from the fire and she saw that it was actually a very dark brown. It reminded her of pure chocolate falling in loose waves around his square face, ending in stark contrast with the edge of his pristine, white collar. His eyes were the same dark liquid brown as his hair. She could tell the second she met his gaze that this man didn’t feel the need to impress anyone. His deep set eyes were soft, holding a hint of amusement, as if he didn’t have to think about what she might do or say because he already knew. “I apologize for the wait. Mitchell, it’s good to see you again.” The voice that came out of his mouth was unexpected and familiar at the same time. It sounded British, but it was more rugged than the Queen’s English. In all her years at boarding school in the UK, she hadn’t heard anything like it. It held lilting notes of Welsh, but there were gruff hints of a Highland brogue in there as well. She recalled hearing it at one point in the hospital, but she didn’t remember actually meeting him. The men shook hands as if they’d been pals in grade school. Sidney stayed behind Mitch, not wanting to...

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Announcing the 2016 Pitch Wars Mentors!
May17

Announcing the 2016 Pitch Wars Mentors!

We’re getting excited behind the scenes for our fifth Pitch Wars! For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine. The mentor also critiques his/her writer’s pitch to get it ready for the agent round. To do this, the mentors read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for two months to get them ready for the agent round. Writers can pick up to four (4) mentors to submit to. Last year we had about fifty mentees sign with agents and some of those resulted in book deals. That’s not counting all the successes from Pitch Wars 2012, 2013 and 2014. We hope to have many more successes this year! The August 3, 2016 submission window is fast approaching. We have our mentors all signed up and ready to go. This year I’ve added more mentors and increased the number for the middle grade and adult categories. There will be a longer agent showcase starting November 3 and ending on the 9th to give our agents more time to go through all the pitches. Each category will have their own showcase day. Here’s the agent showcase schedule for 2016 … November 3 – 9: Agent Showcase November 3: Adult and New Adult entries go up on my blog November 4: MG entries go up on my blog November 5: YA entries go up on my blog November 9: Last day of Agent Showcase I know there are a lot of names on this list, but I wanted as many writers as possible to have a chance to be mentored. To us the most important part of the contest is the mentoring phase. The agent showcase is the prize at the end. The wonderful Heather Cashman has separated the mentors by the categories they’ll be mentoring. Click on their names for the links to follow them on Twitter. There will be some valuable information being shared by the mentors on our hashtag #PitchWars. Come back for our Mentor Blog Hop to view our mentors’ bios and their wishlists starting July 20 through August 3. And now, here are your 2016 mentors … Adult Mentors … Carrie Callaghan Dan Koboldt and Michael Mammay, co-mentors Dan Malossi Emily Wheeler Hayley Stone Holly Faur J.C. Nelson Jennie Nash Jenny Ferguson Karma Brown and Susan Crispell, co-mentors Kellye Garrett and Sarah Henning, co-mentors Kristen Lepionka Margarita Montimore Michelle Hauck Scarlett Cole Adult/New Adult Mentors … Brighton Walsh Caitlin Sinead Diana Gardin Heather Van Fleet J.R. Yates...

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Pitch Wars: The 35-word and Twitter Pitch … simplified
May12

Pitch Wars: The 35-word and Twitter Pitch … simplified

Is your 35-word pitch (aka logline) ready? Got a Twitter pitch? Many contests require a 35-word pitch to enter. If you make it into Pitch Wars, your mentor will help you come up with a short pitch, but having something ready will make the process easier.  Also, #PitMad is coming June 9 from 8AM to 8PM EDT. Don’t know what #PitMad is? Go here for the details.  So I thought I’d give you some formulas I use  to come up with my short pitches. It’s great to have memorized when attending conferences, so if you’re asked what your manuscript is about, you have a coherent pitch to rattle off. You don’t want to lose an agent’s attention by giving them a huge exposé of every detail in your story.  Here’s some simplified formulas. I hope it helps you to come up with a pitch that hooks. The 35-word pitch or logline for your story must be exciting and pull your reader in. One to two catchy sentences that grab your reader’s attention. Use generalities, don’t use name of things that the agents won’t understand. Don’t use rhetorical questions. Make sure the stakes are clear. What does your character stand to lose if he doesn’t accomplish his goal(s)? Don’t be vague. You don’t want to confuse the agents or for it to sound vanilla. Don’t keep secrets. Avoid saying things like your character has special skills or a hidden agenda. Clearly state in the pitch the special skill or hidden agenda.   The “take action” pitch … [Protagonist] in [a situation] must [take action] to solve [the problem]. Example: Yanked into a gateway book that links the world’s great libraries, Gia finds that she’s a long lost knight and must now stop a scorned wizard hell-bent on creating an apocalypse. The “when” pitch … When [protagonist] discovers/learns/other similar word [catalyst], he/she must [overcome x] before a deadline or ticking clock, or else [stakes]. Example: When sixteen-year-old Gia Kearns accidentally jumps into a book linking the world’s libraries, she finds she’s a long lost knight and must stop an evil wizard from releasing an apocalyptic being that can destroy both the Mystik and human realms.   Add what is unique about your story to your pitch. That something cool that makes an agent/editor sit up and notice the pitch. Example: Yanked into a gateway book that links the world’s great libraries, Gia finds that she’s a long lost knight and must now stop a scorned wizard hell-bent on creating an apocalypse.   Twitter pitches … Twitter pitching on hashtags such as #PitMad have yielded many successes. Finding the perfect Twitter pitch...

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Pitch Wars: The Query … simplified
May11

Pitch Wars: The Query … simplified

Are you query ready for Pitch Wars? The first impression of your book comes from the query. It should be short and hooky. But how do you get everything about your book in your query? You don’t. It’s a teaser. You only need just enough information to hook an agent or editor. So I thought I’d share with you how I do my queries. Here’s a simplified formula. I hope it helps you to come up with a query that hooks. 1st Paragraph – The hook. This should be a few sentences that hooks the agent/publisher to read on. What’s unique about your story? Get it in your hook. I usually start with my inciting incident for the hook like in the example below, “Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library.” It’s the part where after something life-changing happens to your character, they are propelled on their journey. There’s no turning back. No going back to life as normal. 2nd Paragraph – The book. This is a mini-synopsis of the story. The main plot. What is the character’s goal? What obstacles are in the way of her goals? What will happen if she doesn’t accomplish her goals? Get the conflict and stakes in this mini-synopsis. 3rd Paragraph – Your bio. Publishing credits and blogs or sites you contribute to that have to do with writing only. Don’t add family, pets, or events that don’t pertain to publishing. Don’t say your mother read it and loves it. If you don’t have a bio like I hadn’t when I was querying, no worries, just leave it out. 4th (or 3rd) Paragraph – The closing. Note: Keep your query to around 250 words. Do personalize your query to an agent. Add voice and stir. Sample: Dear Ms. Agent, (Hook) Gia Kearns would rather spar with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather-clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he’d abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound. (Mini-synopsis) Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting forbidden love or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French vixen obsessed with Arik and a flirtation with a young wizard,...

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Pitch Wars: The Synopsis … simplified
May10

Pitch Wars: The Synopsis … simplified

Will you need a synopsis for Pitch Wars? I’m not going to lie. You may need one. Many mentors might ask for one to make that final mentee decision. I get it.  I hate writing synopses. But, unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil. Agents and editors may ask you for one. Get yours ready right after you finish your manuscript. Some writers do one before they even write the book. I can’t do that because I never follow an outline. So I thought I’d share with you how I do my synopses. Here’s a simplified formula. I hope it helps you tackle that dreaded synopsis. 1st Part (1 paragraph) – The hook. What makes your story unique? Find that special something that sets your story apart from all the other stories out there with similar premises. Your manuscript about the bonds of friendship isn’t special enough. But put the friends in a moon station or on a deserted island where they have to trust each other to survive and you have something unique. 2nd Part (1 paragraph) – Act I. The slice of life. It’s simply your character’s life before a door closes forever on the main character and life as they knew it changes. 3rd Part (1 to 2 paragraphs) – Act II. Inciting incident. No going back. Start with your Inciting incident. How do you find the inciting Incident? The inciting incident takes the character from Act 1 of the story into Act 2. Your inciting incident should follow the “slice of life.” It’s the point of no return. Your character hasn’t a choice to go back to his or her normal life. She has no choice but to move forward. 4th Part (1 to 2 paragraphs) – Act III. All seems lost. The climax. Make sure to define the stakes in the story and add the road map to the climax. Keep it clean and on the main plot. 5th Part (1 paragraph) – Closing. Wrap it up and give the ending. Yes, you give the ending of the story. You can also add that it’s a standalone with series potential if you want. Add what is unique about your story. That something cool that makes an agent/editor want to make an offer. Don’t be vague. No teasers. The agent/editor must know everything important in the story. Don’t add backstory or subplots. Do add your voice. Your synopsis should always be written in third-person, present tense no matter the tense or POV of your novel. Keep your synopsis to around 500 -1000 words. A one-page synopsis is single-spaced with breaks between paragraphs. Two-pages or more should be...

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THE RULE BOOK by Jennifer Blackwood Release Day … with excerpt and giveaway!
May09

THE RULE BOOK by Jennifer Blackwood Release Day … with excerpt and giveaway!

Cover Design: LJ Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations Release Day: May 9, 2016 Synopsis Starr Media Second-Assistant Survival Guide 1. Don’t call your hot boss the antichrist to his face 2. Don’t stare at hot boss’s, um, package or his full sleeve of tattoos. (No. Really. Stop!) 3. Don’t get on the malicious first assistant’s bad side. 4. Don’t forget to memorize the 300-page employee manual. 5. If you value your cashmere, steer clear of boss’s dog. 6. Boss’s dimples are lust-inducing. Do. Not. Give. In. 7. “The elevator ate your clothes” is not a valid excuse for showing up to important meetings half dressed. 8. Don’t break seven of the rules within the first week of employment if you, ya know, are in dire need of money to support your sick mom. 9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the boss. See rule eight about sick mom. 10. Never forget the rules.   Goodreads Purchase Link Amazon : http://amzn.to/1T4yGLU   Giveaway   Signed paperbacks of Unethical & Foolproof   a Rafflecopter giveaway   Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0cba4250233/?     Excerpt I sat down at the table and unwrapped the Panini and frowned. Breadsticks would have hit the spot. Although, no amount of breadsticks was worth giving up a steady income, not even Luigi’s. Still, I gave a spiteful glare to my sandwich. Just in time to take me out of my garlic grieving, someone walked into the break room. The first thing I noticed was his hair. You could tell a lot about someone based off the length and style. And the clean-cut, lightly-styled golden brown hair that the guy in the plain black tee sported spoke volumes. It said “I look like I’m not trying too hard, but I carefully crafted this look of perfection for at least fifteen minutes this morning.” The second thing I noticed was this guy should be reamed for violating the dress code policy. Not that I was complaining—because, really, those tatted biceps deserved to be on full display at all times. I mentally catalogued everyone I’d spotted during Jackson’s drive-by office tour. He most definitely wasn’t part of that whirlwind of name-drops, because I’d remember those high cheekbones. And those tattoos. His arms were covered from each wrist with intricate markings, disappearing under the sleeve of his T-shirt. Some were words, some were pictures I couldn’t quite piece together without creepily staring at him. Decidedly, all were hot as hell. He smiled at me and walked over to the water cooler. He procured a teabag from his pocket, plopped it into his black coffee mug, and filled it with water. The glug glug...

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Day 1 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars mentor Cat Scully
May02

Day 1 (Part 2) of May’s Voice Workshop with Pitch Wars mentor Cat Scully

Welcome to May’s Voice Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected over thirty writers to participate in the workshop. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a 500 word sample that the writer chose from his or her manuscript where he or she felt they needed help with their voice. Our hope that these samples will help you with your work 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. And now we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Cat Scully Cat is an illustrator, writer, motion design student, and freelance editor. As illustrator, she’s worked on concept art for film, world maps and chapter headings for books, and storyboards for broadcast. You might have seen her world map designs in Winterspell by Claire Legrand, or Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova. She’s also working on a map for the Seven Forges series by James A. Moore. When she’s not illustrating, she writes horror, SFF, and a bit of WTF for kids, teens, and adults. Because of an internship with Cartoon Network LA in college, she got bit by the broadcast bug, and now she’s studying motion design at the ANVEL in Atlanta, GA, where she’s lucky enough to work with a fabulous crew of people. She also loves to work with authors to develop their MG or YA books at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy and is a PitchWars mentor every year. She’s represented by Lane Heymont of the Seymour Agency. Website: https://catherinescully.com/ Tweets at @CatMScully Tumblr at CatMScully Instagram at CatMScully Cat’s 500 Word Critique . . . Young Adult Contemporary I park Calli in (Is Callie a car? Or a person? “I park Calli in” could instead read as “I park Calli and jump out” but it still isn’t saying enough. Does she have trouble with the buckle? Does she have a jammed door? Almost forget her keys? We need more character shone through these things), jump out of the car, and start walking (Again, just walking isn’t enough. If she jumps out of a car, she’s already sprinting). But walking isn’t enough to (I can’t) outpace (outrun) the memories that nip at my heels (This is a cliché – would be better to say “I can’t outrun the image of Micah’s blue-tinged lips, his gray face, his still chest.” It carries more weight to just say what she can’t outrun or it is too vague), so I jog and then full-out sprint. (Make this more active –...

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