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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Day 16: Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with mentors, Clarissa Goenawan & Lindsey Frydman
May30

Day 16: Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with mentors, Clarissa Goenawan & Lindsey Frydman

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 Clarissa Goenawan Twitter Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. She studied novel-writing with Curtis Brown Creative and was formerly a mentee on the WoMentoring Project. Her first novel, Rainbirds, won the 2015 Bath Novel Award for best unpublished novelists across the globe and since then has been acquired by 10 international publishers. She loves rainy days, pretty books and hot green tea. Look for RAINBIRDS releasing March, 2018 from Soho Press. Clarissa’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Fantasy / Romance Superhuman strength and healing aside, Rackan Snow’s skill lies in avoiding personal conversations while navigating the whims of the power hungry King [Grammatically speaking, it should be ‘king’. Titles of people are only capitalized when they are followed by someone’s name.] whose emotions he inhabits. [The sentence reads a little clunky because of the length. Do we need all the information to be out in the first sentence? ‘whose emotions he inhabits’ also doesn’t sound smooth—consider rephrasing?] It’s a lonely life of pain and regret. Although maybe there’s not as much regret as there should be. [The two sentences that follow come across as too much telling. The reader should be able to deduce it after they learn about the circumstances of the MC] Rack inherited his more unusual talents from the only soldier the government managed to modify before the asteroid hit four hundred years ago. Rack [He?] is rich, strong, handy [skilled?] with a sword and mentally bonded to the King he was designed to protect. He’s also busy because some days there are more people trying to kill his King [Can we say ‘trying to kill him’ instead? Raise the stake!] than there are women banging on the door. [cheeky 😉 ] There’s no point in meeting a girl who matters because he’ll never let her become a higher priority than...

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Day 11 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Laura Heffernan and Tracey E. Wood
May23

Day 11 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Laura Heffernan and Tracey E. Wood

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. Next up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Laura Heffernan  Website | Twitter Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off: AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR, the first book in the REALITY STAR series, is coming from Kensington’s Lyrical Press in March 2017. When not watching total strangers participate in arranged marriages, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.  Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, and reality TV. Follow her @LH_Writes. Laura is represented by Michelle Richter at Fuse Literary. Laura’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Contemporary Fantasy Dear [Agent]: Hazel Blackmore knows everything there is to know about magic: from what essences are needed to enchant her way to the perfect cup of coffee, to solving complex potioning equations. [Enchanted coffee? You’ve got my attention already.] The only thing stopping heoiyor from being the most competent practitioner the world has ever seen is her complete lack of magical ability, without with she can’t even begin to pull magic through the Veil. [I’d recommend breaking this into two sentences. It’s a bit long.] The best she can do is to work her ass off at her aunt Enid’s Essence Distillery to prove herself. [I’d delete the last 3 words. Also, from the opening paragraph, Hazel sounds young, which makes me wonder if this is YA. Are there details you can add to show she’s an adult?] When Enid disappears and several of the essence brews start unraveling, Hazel has to rely on her own wits to find the solution to her problems. [To find the solution?...

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Day 11 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors C.B. Catalano and Kelly Siskind
May23

Day 11 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors C.B. Catalano and Kelly Siskind

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. Next up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor C.B. Catalano  Website | Twitter After C. B. Catalano realized she spent more time daydreaming than living in the real world she decided to finally write those dreams down, and is now ready to share them with everyone. C.B. writes MG and YA and is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media. She can be found wandering around the Pacific Northwest with her 3 kids, husband, and beastly muppet puppies. After moving 21 times over the span of 7 states and 18 years she thinks she may have finally found a place to call home (for now) and aims to explore all that Washington has to offer.   C.B.’s Query Critique… CURSE OF SILVER LAKE is a YA contemporary fantasy, complete at about 70,000 words. A mix of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES and CITY OF BONES, it’s perfect for fans of fairy tale retellings. [I love retellings so you already have my undivided attention! But I wonder, if it’s a retelling, perhaps comping the og fairy tale meets x might work better?] 16-year-old Maggie Hernandez comes from a long line of witches–but her mom never told her the family secret, hoping the magic would pass her by. [I think your first sentence could pack more of a punch than it does now. Especially when I read on to the second sentence. It raises more questions than answers. Like, does her mom ever actually tell Maggie she’s a witch after their apartment burns down? Or does she send Maggie to her grandmother’s home clueless? Also, if her mom doesn’t clue her in, does Maggie’s witchy grandmother once she’s there?] When Maggie’s uncontrolled powers burn their apartment to ashes, her mom sends her to live with her estranged, witchy grandmother to learn control of her magic. .[ ← I almost prefer this sentence as a starting point.] ...

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Day 8 (PART 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Jenn Brisendine and J.R. Yates
May18

Day 8 (PART 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Jenn Brisendine and J.R. Yates

  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. Next up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Jenn Brisendine Website | Twitter Jenn Brisendine, a secondary English/Language Arts teacher, writes middle grade and is repped by Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media. She currently enjoys writing historicals with magical realism, but loves reading a variety of genres in middle grade. She was a Pitchwars ’15 mentee and can be found at @jennbrisendine on Twitter and @jennbrisendinewrites on Instagram. She’s happy to have recently joined the ranks at From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors – http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/2017/03/umbrella-raining-overarching-conflict-mg/ . Check out her site https://jennbrisendine.com/ for free teacher printables on great MG novels and for reviews of great books on writing.   Jenn’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: 7-9 years old GENRE: young middle grade contemporary fiction [Dear (agent’s name):] [I’d put the basics right up front: “After reading of your interest in (genre, age category, style, or comps) on (agent website , article, interview), I’m eager to share my 10K-word early middle grade contemporary, DAISY DIXON, WEATHER GIRL with you.” ] [Love your title!] I’d like to introduce you to Daisy Dixon. Daisy is in third grade and has already decided on her career path: chief meteorologist for a major TV station. [Save words. Start with “Third-grader Daisy Dixon…” and use the opening pitch to show stronger voice– “…has her career path all figured out: chief meteorologist for a major TV station.”] In fact, everyone in her class calls her Daisy Dixon, Weather Girl, because her aunt is a real chief meteorologist at the highest rated news station in Colorado. [Are there other reasons she’s known as Weather Girl—like she’s gone to work with her aunt, gets special tours, shares facts about meteorology with friends?] But then her aunt comes over for dinner and announces that she’s getting married and leaving the TV station [Is there a more decisive reason for leaving (moving...

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A Pitch Madness Success Story with Debbie Schrack
Apr21

A Pitch Madness Success Story with Debbie Schrack

Pitch Madness 2017 Candyland Edition!! We are so thrilled to announce a success story by way of Pitch Madness. Debbie Schrack has signed with Tina P. Schwartz with The Purcell Agency! Go Team Candy Castle!   Debbie, what made you decide to enter Pitch Madness? I have been working on my novel SAVING SOPHIE for four years. At one point, I rewrote it totally from scratch. I had a fair amount of interest from agents but nothing ever came of it. Last October I attended an SCBWI conference and had a critique of my first ten pages by an editor. She didn’t like my opening. I came home very discouraged but I rewrote the opening, then put the novel aside for a while. One of my critique partners e-mailed and said I should do the Pitch Madness contest. She had entered before and had gotten a lot of good feedback on her work. I entered and fortunately made it into the bonus round. And then I was blown away when I got six agent requests. Maybe it was good timing or maybe my new opening was the key, but I’m so happy that I entered Pitch Madness! Samantha & Mary Ann, what about Debbie’s pitch and first pages made you choose them? Mary Ann: Debbie’s first page had so much voice it caught my attention immediately. For some reason, I read the pitch after I’d read the 250, so I was extra intrigued by the character’s motivation. When I then read the pitch, it was like a punch to the heartstrings. Both Samantha and I fell hard. Samantha: Definitely the voice grabbed me first. I read the pitch, but I didn’t click with it right away because the twist of the story was buried a bit. But I kept coming back to the voice in the first 250, and once I realized where the pitch was going, I was hooked. And we also knew how to give the pitch the little bit of punch in needed to hopefully grab a lucky agent’s attention (and it worked!) Debbie, tell us about your Pitch Madness revisions/experience? My mentors Samantha and Mary Ann helped me tweak my pitch so that it was more dramatic. They didn’t want me to change anything for the first 250 words, but when I sent them my final submission we realized it was actually 261 words so I had to take out 11, which is harder than it sounds! One of my Team Candy Castle teammates set up an e-mail chain so we could critique each other’s query letters and read pages. Everyone was very helpful and supportive. I hope they all...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Tobey Forney and her mentor Laura Heffernan
Apr14

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Tobey Forney and her mentor Laura Heffernan

  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 Tobey Forney and her mentor, Laura Heffernan. Tobey signed with Liz Parker of Inkwell Management Literary Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Tobey and Laura on their Pitch Wars Success! Tobey, what was it about Laura that made you choose to send her a Pitch Wars application? I knew I wanted to submit to Laura immediately when I read her bio. Her energy and enthusiasm for writing, editing, and the Oxford comma jumped off the page. When I Twitter-stalked her, I found that she was very open, funny, and loves chocolate, so I knew we’d get along. We both love women’s fiction and time-travel books, and we’re fellow Mensans. It was meant to be. Laura, what was it about Tobey’s 101 NORTH that hooked you? The writing is so haunting and beautiful. I couldn’t stop reading. The entry actually came in fairly early in the submissions period, and I kept saying, “Well, I really want to pick something light and funny to work with… I’ll just read a few more pages.” Finally, I had to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to pay any attention to my other submissions until I finished 101 NORTH, and I devoured the manuscript in a couple of hours. Tobey, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? I was a Ninja-mentee, not officially announced until late October. Laura was incredibly supportive and helpful, and sent a long list of edits that I was eager to get to work on. I worked under the radar, trying to follow the same schedule as the other mentees. I kept up the pace for a while, but inevitably life intervened, and I wasn’t where I wanted to be when I got word that I would be participating in the agent round – excitement and panic set in simultaneously. I sent Laura my manuscript in chunks, working around the clock to incorporate her comments as I went along. I was changing tense and POV in one of the rounds, as well as story edits, so it was a huge challenge to get it all done without going cross-eyed. Laura was fantastic, always so quick to respond to my questions and giving me great advice on polishing my prose and my pitch. I thought I was the world’s biggest pedant, but Laura taught me a thing or two. She opened my eyes to things in my manuscript I knew were bad but...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Rebecca Schaeffer and her mentors Stacey Trombley and Rebecca Sky
Mar29

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Rebecca Schaeffer and her mentors Stacey Trombley and Rebecca Sky

  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 Rebecca Schaeffer and her mentors, Stacey Tombley and Rebecca Sky. Rebecca signed with Suzie Townsend with New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Rebecca, Stacey, and Rebecca Sky on their Pitch Wars Success! Rebecca, what was it about Rebecca Sky and Stacey Trombley that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? Pretty much everything. They were looking for dark, morally ambiguous anti-hero protagonists, which I most definitely had. Their list of favorite books was full of books I loved, so I knew we had similar tastes. And their strengths and the way they edited seemed like a really good fit for me, and covered all the things I wanted. Basically, they were perfect. Rebecca & Stacey, what was it about Mentee Rebecca Schaeffer’s Not Even Bones (formerly Queen of Parts) that hooked you? Rebecca Sky: Right away I was intrigued by the concept and I was hoping the pages held up. Which they did, actually they were better than I’d hoped. Rebecca has a killer dark atmospheric voice. During Pitch Wars, Stacey and I would message each other as new submissions came in and we’d talk about if we loved or liked it, and which folder to put it in (Not for us, Maybe, Strong, and LOVE). We messaged each other right away and were like, “Have you read the new entry? It’s amazing.” So we kinda both had that, this is the one feeling. Stacey: the concept of her book drew us in first—with a tad bit of hesitancy, Ha! I remember when Rebecca first messaged me about this new submission and if I was okay with a bit of gore. I was like, uuuhhh, I don’t know. But, no, guys I was. I was okay with gore with the right story. We both love the out there creepiness, the anti-hero aspect and it’s done so well we just couldn’t say no! Rebecca, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? I got my edit letter shortly after my selection was announced. It was six pages long, mostly full of structural changes. The comments were spot on. There was a section in the second act climax that had been seriously bugging me, and I couldn’t put my finger on it, and they nailed it. I ended up expanding the second act climax about 5k, moving a twist to a little later in the story, and shifting and...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Tamara Girardi and her mentor Molly Lee
Mar10

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Tamara Girardi and her mentor Molly Lee

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 Tamara Girardi  and her mentor, Molly Lee. Tamara signed with Melissa Nasson with Rubin Pfeffer Content after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Tamara and Molly on their Pitch Wars Success! Tamara, what was it about Molly that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? Molly’s Wish List attracted me right away. It read, “I love to see instances where a girl/woman is in a profession/situation that is tailored toward men and she’s hacking it right there with the boys.” My YA contemporary GRIDIRON GIRL is about a girl who competes against her boyfriend to be the starting quarterback of the football team, so the whole story is about her trying to hack it with the guys. Also, I want to say that I took the advice to ask questions of the mentors seriously when picking my six. Molly didn’t specifically mention sports, so I tweeted her to be sure she has an interest in them. Fortunately for me, she did! My next step was to read some of my potential mentors’ works (because narrowing down to six was HARD), and one chapter of Molly’s EDGE OF CHAOS had me in love. She made me feel instantly. Molly, what was it about Tamara’s GRIDIRON GIRL that hooked you? The pitch for GRIDIRON GIRL was solid. It showed the stakes, voice, and had a great hook all in one. A girl has to go up against her boyfriend for the starting quarterback position? Forget about it! Sign me up! Tamara, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? It was fantastic. Molly sent me comments immediately. Her feedback was impressive and exciting; it sparked so many ideas, and I added several scenes to the manuscript that made it much stronger! And with Molly’s skills of writing romance, the book definitely got steamier, which I kind of loved! Most importantly, though, Molly was open to my ideas of how to fix the problems she noted in the manuscript. I agreed with one of the problems she identified, but not necessarily the solution she suggested. I took some time to mull it over and proposed an alternative solution to her. She read the revised pages and loved them. That taught me a lot about working with an agent and editor in the future – how to trust good feedback but also be true to the story you want to tell.  And I appreciated her respect for my work...

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