Hope all my fellow Americans had a wonderful Thanksgiving and the rest of you awesome people are looking forward to a great weekend! I’ve been so lucky to have such loyal and friendly readers of this blog over the past three years. It has been such a pleasure enjoying the writing community with you all
This summer I wrote a new young adult story that I am currently editing and having beta’s weigh in on. It’s a male pov (lukewarm) scifi and I am enjoying the process very much! I’m also working on an R&R for my former wip, a YA Alt History. On top of that, I’m brainstorming a brand new wip idea that’s sort of a fairytale retelling smashed together with a revenge western lol Writing spec fic allows for a great variety of stories, as you can tell!
Outside of the writing world, I have had a very exciting and busy year at work. As of the new year, I’ll be adding more hours and working full-time! I couldn’t be more thrilled! While this is great news for my marketing career and my wallet, it’s not so great news for my blog. The free time that I have now primarily goes to my stories, but since I’ve had Friday’s off, I’ve been able to continue to blog and stay involved with this platform. However, in the new year, I must devote all my free time to writing and as such, my blog will not be updated as frequently.
As I said before, I have been delighted to share my thoughts on writing whenever I can with you all. I’ve also loved hearing your responses and opinions about the writing process, self-publishing, agents, querying, having mental breakdowns– the whole bunch has been much fun. And I’ll continue post when I have a thought or review I must share. So fear not, I won’t disappear completely. Stick with me and I’ll read you around
If you’re entering a new MS in PitchWars, I have a special guest blogger today to share her wisdom from last year with you. Thanks so much for Sharon Johnston for stopping by. Here’s her wonderful advice:
Last year I was fortunate enough to be a mentor on Pitch Wars. There were so many amazing entries, so here’s some advice to help you stand out in the slush to the Pitch Wars mentees:
1) Be professional: Your email should mimic what you would send to an agent. While the mentors are not agents, they are going to be presenting your work to agents. Agents what writers who behave professionally, so the mentors will be looking for that.
2) Make your email personal: You’re only able to pitch to four (4) mentors. Mentors want to see that you have researched them to make sure your manuscript is a match for them. Adding a personal touch will show them you’ve done more than just read the Pitch Wars wish list post when considering your top three.
3) Abide by the rules and requirements of the competition: There are hundreds of entries that come through Pitch Wars and mentors can receive in excess of 50 emails directly to them. An easy way to cull is to dismiss the entries that haven’t supplied the correct information.
4) Get it right the first time (Pertains to above): With so many entries coming in, rework for the mentors comes across as unprofessional.
5) Workshop your entry: There’s lots of critique forums out there. Hone your entry to make sure it pops. You need it to be perfect.
6) Use comparisons: I described my mentee’s manuscript as Jane Eyre meets Supernatural and Crystal received a truckload of agent requests.
7) Make sure your work is ready: Don’t enter a first draft. Don’t enter a second draft. You should have gone through your manuscript multiple times with beta editors/critique partners. If there’s a mistake in your sample work, it won’t bode well for you.
8) Make sure your manuscript is REALLY ready: So many manuscripts are passed over in pitch contests because the word count doesn’t match the category/genre. If you have a YA contemporary with a word count in excess of 100K then the mentors may baulk, and I, personally, would question if you’ve edited your manuscript properly. Look at your manuscript and see how it compares to industry expectations. There will always be some that break the rules, but pitch contests are usually not the best place to test that.
So there’s some helpful (hopefully) information to help you with the upcoming pitch wars.
Sharon Johnston is a writer, publish relations executive and former publishing marketing director. She is also blogs with YAtopia and Aussie Owned & Read, as well as a regular host for the international agent query contest Pitch Madness. Her debut novel, SLEEPER, is out in December. Other women regularly stalk Sharon for her great taste in shoes.
Hello readers! It’s the TADA time of the month again! My latest post over at the fantasy blog is about the decision faced by every writer– should my main character be male or female? It’s not specific to fantasy, but I feel like it can be a more difficult choice for a fantasy writer so check it out to read up on my thoughts.
If you have any helpful tips or a thought to share, feel free to leave a comment
My amazing CP Ashley Turcotte has invited me to take part in this fun little blog hop. It’s fairly simple, just four questions about my writing process, and then I’ll name someone at the end to hopefully keep this going. Here it goes!
1. What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on editing up a YA SciFi story I’ve titled IF SKYSCRAPERS HAD SECRETS (ISHS). I settled on the title recently and I hope it sticks. I struggle with titles the most, so having this one come to me early is a good sign. Basically, I wrote this over the summer, reread it several times and I’m now passing it through beta groups. After each beta group, I work to hone issues down until I feel like (and hear from new readers) that the problem is no longer showing its ugly head. Having just started this process, I’m going through line-edits from the aforementioned Miss Turcotte. They’re kicking my butt a bit, but the story is so much better for it!
2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?
ISHS is a scifi, but it doesn’t have a lot of the hallmark plot points that clog the genre. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of classic scifi stories that focus a ton on aliens, or space opera or crazy new inventions. That’s just not ISHS. I would say that it relies a lot more on a realistic look at the near future of Earth and how our world will be effected by the choices current generations are making.
3. Why do you write what you do?
Much like Ashley, since I was very young I’ve been telling stories and none of them ever involved what was going on in my real (contemporary) life. They were always grandiose tales of other worlds, or exaggerations from the world around me. It was the easiest way for me to escape my real world problems and forget my troubles for even a little while. As such, speculative fiction has always been my go-to for writing. Fantasy, scifi, alternate history, historical fantasy, you name it–I write it!
4. How does your writing process work?
More or less, I come up with the general concept first. My last story, HOWEVER IMPROBABLE is an alternate history based off the idea of what might have happened if the American revolutionaries lost the war to the British and the world that would come from that.
ISHS started out as the idea of a boy living in a world where cities are organized in vertical levels to accommodate the surplus population. Generally I don’t get the actual pitch style 1-sentence concept of the story down until I’m done, but simply start off an idea.
Then, I let the idea simmer inside me until I collect all sorts of thoughts about plot, character, twists and themes that speak to me. At that point, I begin to string the plot together through an outline. I don’t like to actually begin writing until I know all the details of the story and can hear my MC’s voice speak to me. I like to call myself a plotting pantser because I plot all I can until I let myself go and just write whatever feels right-whether that goes along with my outline or not.
And then it’s a few read-throughs to make it decent and off to betas!
I know it’s unusual, but it works for me Now I’m supposed to tag someone else in this blog hop. Since everyone I can think of is probably as busy as me, I’ve picked two people. One- my oldest CP buddy, Margaret Alexander. And Two- the infamous Summer Heacock. Have fun, ladies!