pimpmybio · PitchWars



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How ya doin? Whether this is your first time, 5th time, or generally perusing for nothing but entertainment, welcome to this corner of fluff at the edge of the internet.

THERE WILL BE GIFS. Apologies to your internet.

I’ve written a total of 5 books, including this one. My first love was adult fantasy, but I was a mentee in 2017 with my YA fantasy. I’ve since moved back to Adult with this new coastal, historical, whimsical fantasy novel that I’m excited to share with you.

I hope you have fun reading the bio! It took many dedicated hours of procrastination ūüôā


“The one day residents of Ashtide feared was the day the lights stopped working.”

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the night circus x moulin rouge x stranger things

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Slowly succumbing to the malevolent ‘Hollow’, singer Castra‚Äôs 1st worldwide tour is in jeopardy.

As she falls for the new fire juggler whose folk magic could stop her decline, Castra must face the darkness threatening to consume her, or be the end of everything she’s fighting to save.

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a 22 year old guarded dreamer with an affinity for singing and hitting you in the Feels.
has lots of history with Ashtide, her coastal town, where she’s performed for the last 10 years in order to rebuild it because of a mistake she made that ended up destroying half of it

she’s kept herself to herself, not letting many people in, until…..


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a 22 year old fire-master and “wizenfolk”, from a small farming town miles away from anywhere.
why yes, he’s adorable. and yes, he has le magique
he talks to plants, sees the best in people, and generally has people’s best interests at heart.
he bonds easily with Castra, since everyone seems to say she’s an outsider and lo… so’s he!



this 23 year old astronomer believes in science and the art of being honest.
she’s often seen with a scroll or two under her arms, wears am-A-zing suits, and is the only true friend Castra has.
smartest person in the room
continues the work her father started until he was killed 10 years ago, the same Night Castra made her mistake
but they’d have been fine if it wasn’t for….


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the 25 year old head of¬† Ashtide’s security in the biggest case of irony since alanis morrissette
he’s a somber, impulsive jobsworth who, like Castra, has a lot of guilt over the big disaster 10 years ago
mainly cause it was really his fault
but he’s never admitted it

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a 40-something genius who makes questionable choices
if you thought Polari was honest, here’s this sharp, unrepentant truth speaker.
researching the Hollow that’s plagued Ashtide
knows how to play a Long Game
actually misunderstood, but hey… aint they all

And then we have¬†THE HOLLOW¬† –¬†an entity nobody but Castra’s ever seen – a residual stamp of dark magic that comes to feast when Night falls every 12 years, lasting a whole week.tenor (9)

Everyone in Ashtisde before Night Falls:

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And, since I know people (and I) love this stuff:

Castra: Slytherdor, October Scorpio
Joel: Hufflepuff, March Pisces
Polari: Ravenclaw, August Leo/Virgo cusp
Godfrey: Gryffindor, January Capricorn
Heston: Slytherclaw,  May Taurus

So if you’re a fan of:

  • MAGIC!


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AND SOMETIMESRelated image

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(MOST DEFINITELY…)Image result for reading gif

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WHILE VISITING A COASTAL TOWN OF ETERNAL LIGHTImage result for illuminations gif

PUTTING ON THE BEST FRICKIN SHOWS YOU COULD ASK FORImage result for theatre showman gif

ABOUT A GIFTED SINGER WRACKED WITH GUILTImage result for daisy ridley rey cry gif

AND A CINNAMON-ROLL, ROMANTIC FIRE JUGGLERImage result for moulin rouge gifDOING HIS BEST WITH MAGIC TO HEAL HERImage result for fire dancer gif


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AND GENERALLY NOT FUCK UPImage result for messed up gif

ENJOY “THE ILLUMINATION OF CASTRA BYRNE”!Image result for moulin rouge yay gif


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About the Author:
I’m a 30-something Brit composed mostly of tea and gin. When I’m not writing, I’m reading tarot cards, collecting crystals, doing something witchy or looking up any spooky stories the internet can throw at me. Raised in the theater (not literally, a wasted opportunity from the parents imo) I’ve drawn from my experience behind the curtain and living in a variety-show focused, coastal town to make “Castra” as grounded in truth as it can be.


PitchWars · Writing Advice

So. You wanna enter PitchWars, do ya?

(title is best imagined as me with one of those candy sticks as a fake cigarette in my mouth and a Columbo-esque brogue)

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PitchWars is one of the biggest writing contests on Twitter. I first read about it in 2015, since there were so many excited tweets, and I was lucky enough to be a mentee last year, but the contest is only a middle step for many of the writers picked to be mentees–and for those who aren’t.

For those of you gearing up to enter PitchWars 2018 this post will hopefully give you a glimpse into the whole kit and kaboodle and prepare you for what is to come, whether you’re picked or not.


In 2015 I applied with the Adult Fantasy I’d written and finally completed after 10 years. I didn’t get in (and rightfully so).

2016, I applied with my YA sci-fi. I was picked as an unofficial mentee by M.K. England (her book is coming out in December!) and Jamie Pacton. Their advice was absolutely amazing, and while I got some agent interest with the MS I nevertheless didn’t get an offer. I took their advice on board when writing my next book.

2017, I applied with my third completed MS, a YA fantasy. I WAS PICKED! I was an official mentee, mentored by the wonderful Cat Scully. I was part of a grand community of talented and kind mentees, all going through the same thing. After intense revisions, I entered the agent round full of hope. I got 2 requests, but when querying it turned into rejections. I revised again, and sent out more queries, but it still wasn’t to be.

2018 – I’ve written my 4th MS – a YA speculative – and I’ve noticed how much easier it’s been to tackle this book with the knowledge I gained from the contest and, yes, the rejections I received. I am not planning on entering PitchWars this year (though don’t hold me to that, because it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of it) but I am getting involved with #PWPoePrompts and engaging on the feeds again!

With the recent shake up in the PW community I’ve watched / discussed the new format¬† which I LOVE. Yes, the contest might have fewer mentors this year, but it will not provide any less knowledge or gravitas when it comes to drawing in writers who want that mentorship. The #menteeshelpingmentees contest drew in over 700 entries — holy crap — for 200 critique places.

When you see it from that scale, the odds may seem stacked against you. But to be honest – that’s publishing. The key to rising out of the slush and getting an agent is hard work, and PitchWars will teach you the merits of that and more. But first–you want to get into the competition, right?


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The key to surviving the PitchWars experience (not to mention your entire writing career) is the community¬† you build. One of my dearest CP’s and I met during PW about 2 years ago, and she’s one of my best friends now. Even when I didn’t get in to PW those first few tries, I still managed to find and enjoy talking to a whole bunch of authors who connected on a very spiritual level (read: crying over words).

You MUST reach out to connect with other writers if you want to stay balanced on this journey. As the mentor bloghop comes around, then the windows open, and then the agonising wait happens, and THEN the mentees are picked – it can be exhausting on top of every other emotion you feel.

Writing is an isolating business before, and sometimes even after, you’re agented so it’s always best to get fellow potential PW contestants on the same path to talk to in order to survive the sheer volume of this competition!


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Until recently I didn’t think I could write a query to save my life. I could edit one, the same as I could edit others’ stories, but my own novels were not able to be put in query format. All the “How to write a perfect query” posts I read didn’t seem to make sense until last month, when I sat down, wrote out the heart of my story, and had it critiqued by an incredibly-supportive agent who had only one note to give me (not gonna lie I almost fainted).

All of the research I’d done culminated in that one query, so it might have taken a while to sink in but researching WORKS. As I critique queries myself, I notice there’s always a few who omit their bios or word counts (both are important but word counts are essential), or just talk about the themes of the book rather than what it’s actually about or go into so much detail the truth of the story gets lost.

On average, agents can get over 300 queries every week. 300 people, per WEEK, asking an agent to love their book. You need it to be concise, effective and true to you and your story.

Query Shark is a notable source of querying nuggets, CPs should be able to tell you what works, you have various sites and YouTube videos giving tips on how to create an amazing query.


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Revise those open pages, darlings.

Your writing is the best way to snare both mentor and agent alike–they want to sip at the glorious cup of your carefully crafted words and enjoy the story you’re about to tell. The first chapter should be the insight into your book–character, tone, hints of themes, plot, motivation, and worldbuilding all have to be in some sort of evidence in that first chapter, if not even the first page.

I would say the first line, but that’s sometimes too much like a mountain to climb, so we’ll go safe with the first page.

If you can set the tone for the rest of your novel in that first page, and draw the reader in to want to stay there, you have it. But as before, first chapters can be tough. Share them with CPs, read them aloud to yourself (seriously!) or get a thing like naturalreaders.com to test how it sounds out loud.


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PitchWars is VERY PUBLIC. If you’re entering and you have Twitter, don’t be one of the hopefuls who complain or moan about how long it takes, or that you haven’t had requests–or, come to think of it, boasting that you HAVE. That shit is to discuss in private with your writer friends, who will understand what you’re going through and support you along the way.

Airing out your dirty laundry on social media isn’t a good look. Help those who need help, show support, be humble, stay calm, and be sure to take breaks to help keep your head in this experience.

You might think you have better writing than someone who you swapped chapters with–fine! Maybe they’re not at the same level as you. That doesn’t give you a reason to gloat about it or feed your ego.

You might think the contest is too unfairly stacked against you, since you must be the only one without requests: I promise you, you’re not, and it’s nothing personal against you. Do what you need to get your head sorted, walk away, and return with more experience when you feel ready.

Ever hear about being nice to people on the way up just in case you meet them on the way down? Yeah. That.

Be kind to yourself and to others. It’ll take you a LONG way.


WITH ALL THAT BEING SAID – Still want to enter? You should!!! It’s an intense time but it gets you out there, connecting, excited about writing and engaging in a community full of heart.

The full list of mentors is live HERE!

If you want to know more about PitchWars, their website with full deets is here – but if you have any questions about my experience, leave them below! I’ll be happy to answer them.

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Preparing your query or just have an MS you need editing? I can help! I have spots open all summer for developmental edits, query critiques and proofreading. Email me – jadewritesbooks@gmail.com – or visit Cover to Cover Edits for more information on how to reserve your place!



PitchWars · Writing Advice

#PitchWars Homework & Resources


I’m not going to lie, being a part of PitchWars 2017 is a freaking amazing experience so far. The camaraderie, the unison, the fact it’s a dedicated hub of writers on the same stage as you… it’s incredible for resourcing, vibing off others, and generally making invaluable friends.

PitchWars is definitely *not* just about making a book shiny before you go in front of agents.

PitchWars is about learning another side to writing – refining your craft and increasing your discipline so you can cope with whatever future editors (or agents) throw at you in a short space of time. It hones your skills of timekeeping, organising, and yes – even stressing.

There are plenty of hints and tips passed around the writing community but it all depends on what works for you – here’s a list of things which could be a good start to search for if you’re struggling with revisions, either in or out of PitchWars;

SAVE THE CAT beat sheet (plus various others)

This is a basic layout of story structure – according to your word count, it advises what beats are hit at numerous points the story and an approximate idea of when to time them. The structure of it is detailed and fits many stories out there, but it’s a great start to see how many stages your MS meets and within what context – whether it’s all in the first 25% (bit bad) or whether you leave it all til the last 10% (also bad)


This is a good resource to use if you’re wondering the benefits of showing vs telling and also want some handy examples from literary greats along the way. It poses the opinion that we, as readers, will not care about the characters or feel emotional about them if emotion isn’t evoked during pauses and other devices explained here. Good read!

TIP! – Read the beginning pages of cross-genre category novels

Something I’m doing as part of my homework is to read the first few pages of YA novels, cross-genre so not just Fantasy. See what parts work for me, which ones don’t grab me, and analyse why. It doesn’t have to be fancy but definitely put some thought behind it.

OUTLINE SPREADSHEETS – word counts, chapter-by-chapter, plot points

There’s plenty of resources out there for spreadsheets, and in the mentree group we’re sharing around our own to be of use to various stages. The first stage I’d recommend doing is a play-by-play outline of your novel. You can do it in excel or other, but this is a good tip I found worked for me.

First column, put in your chapter number.

Next column, sum up each chapter in a sentence or two, no need to go into detail.

In the next column write in which POV your chapter is in.

In the next column, write in your word count for that chapter.

This is optional, but effective if you’re using the Save the Cat sheet which calculates your hit-points based on words and chapter. In a fifth column, make a sum (eg =SUM(D5;E4) ) which will total up your word count from all previous chapters.

Here’s an example below!


These are just a very few, basic things to consider if you’re going through your own revisions and need some guidance to help. I’ll be updating more about PitchWars the more the edits go on!



Yay! I’m a #PitchWars mentee!

For those of you who remember my PimpMyBio post from a few months ago, I have good news – I’M A PITCHWARS MENTEE!

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The incredible Cat Scully is my mentor and will be guiding this book to the be the best it can be. She has shown so much support and love for my story I can’t wait to get started and get things moving!

I know there were a LOT of talented writers who didn’t get picked this year. It’s sad there can’t be a mentee place for everyone (something like 2,600 applied?!) but I hope those who may be disappointed don’t give up! This is one way to get there, not the ONLY way. Keep going! ‚̧

Before I get my edit letter, my homework will be to re-read ADSOM and Six of Crows as well as other voice-tastic novels to see how voice drives the story as well as create a beat-sheet with every chapter. Which is fine, cause I’m a total Hermione about these things and I love that I have my work to do! No time for hanging around, basking in the glow of excitement and / or fear of the editing gods.

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The secret Facebook mentee group is wonderful, it’s so nice to connect with others who are going through the same experience. So far it’s a lot of pictures, squeeing, getting to know each other and our stories, finding our fellow peeps… just amazing!

But what is the PitchWars contest about really?¬†Getting an agent, a publishing deal, a BIG WAD OF CASH? <– ( please. no. don’t set your hopes this high.)

As far as I can tell for me and many others, it’s about creating a damn good book. Something you’re proud of, that people want to read. It’s about working hard, getting conditioned to the environment you’ll be thrown into once you get into the real publishing world. PitchWars is like a training ground of deadlines, editing, taking criticism, rejection, being prepared for loss AND good news. All in the space of a few teeny months rather than the course of a year, too.

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You have to get used to waiting and working hard, and PitchWars definitely combines both. But after trying for three years – third time lucky! – to get into this, I’m ready for this experience.

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pimpmybio · PitchWars

Pitch Wars 2017 – #Pimpmybio Time!

OMG IT’S PITCH WARS. IT’S PIMPMYBIO. GATHER ROUND! Pull up a pew, grab some cake, settle in.

I’m so excited to be entering Pitch Wars again this year. It’ll be my 3rd time (third time lucky?) and with a new MS!

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This time it’s YA fantasy of the epic kind. ¬†Fantasy has always been a great love of mine, and I started this story after I subbed to PW last year. I needed a distraction and this was the perfect fit to be taken away from science fiction.

It’s an absolute pleasure to introduce





All wrapped up in an epic YA fantasy.

um… did I mention kickass women?

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… I think I’m addicted to women weilding swords, NGL.


When Prince Anzel’s magic is needed to avoid war, he risks losing his throne – and his life – to save another’s.

Prince Anzel, his ‘kidnapper’ Shanna and Drew, his steward, join their magic to remove a tyrant threatening war across their kingdoms and beyond – but it’s not the war-mongerer they should be worried about.

A bigger threat threads through the lands, taking over piece by piece, and it knows exactly what sort of powerful legacy the teens carry. It will stop at nothing to claim them for itself and re-take a throne where magic once reigned.

Following 3 POV’s it’s GRISHA meets ACOWAR & TEARLING.

Far off places

Daring sword fights

Magic spells

A prince in disguise!

Basically – Belle’s favourite book


When you want to give words of support yet can't...Thank you, Ma & Pa Yelchin for raising a beautiful person. Thank you, Anton, for everything‚̧ԳŹ:

maybe the assassin will kill tori and this is Eoin mourning her? or maybe the Assassin will kill Eoin's father, the Haffinian king? granted, i'm not sure who Eoin's father is yet..

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17, Dria, Prince
– In love with his aide, Matei, which his mother highly disapproves of.
– Has the ability to foresee individuals’ future when he’s asleep, he calls these episodes ‚Äėinklings‚Äô.
– Total diplomat, Prince of the People, treats nature fairly. Has a knack with animals.
– Looks like a cinnamon roll. Actual cinnamon roll.
HOGWARTS HOUSE: A very sneaky Gryffindor


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17, Zamar, Dancer
– Struck a deal with a troupe to ‚Äėborrow‚Äô Anzel, so he could tell Councillors the fate of her people. In return they‚Äôd help her get rid of the tyrant ruling Zamar.
– Suffers from Endometriosis.
– Has the ability to control others, though she uses it sparingly or not at all.
– Grew up far too fast but has a sweet / sarcastic sense of humour and is fierce in love.
– Looks like she could kill you. Could actually kill you.
HOGWARTS HOUSE: Complete Slytherin


His peace comes with knowing the battle was not in vain, for his purpose came from love:

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18, Gull, Bargeman & Steward
РRunning from his past in Gull, he owes a huge debt to ferryman and former keeper Gropsinger, who wants his head.
РSought asylum in Dria,  honoured for inside information and saving Drian lives by being appointed a steward to Anzel.
– Brave in the face of adversity, loyal to an absolute fault and quick thinking.
– Looks like he could kill you. Actual cinnamon roll.
HOGWARTS HOUSE: Hufflepuff (though some CP’s swear Gryffindor, so Huffledor)

Celestial by Ajgiel on DeviantArt

13, Aguasi, does odd-jobs at her aunt’s place
– Lives with her aunt, who runs a safe haven in a neutral territory for people with magic
– Street-savvy and incredibly observant – probably the smartest of the lot.
– Mostly on this trip for shits n giggles
– Older than her years yet still idealistic, and loves to ride fast
– Looks like a cinnamon roll. Could actually kill you.


I quote LOTR a lot – Bake cakes – Proud Cat Mum – Shipper of Many Ships

Oh yeah, me.

I’m Jade. I’m 29, living in the middle of England. I’m a tarot reader, a witchy pagan, and I volunteer writing a newsletter & publicity for the Cats’ Protection charity. I’m also an academic note taker for students with disabilities at a local University.

Last year I was an unofficial mentee with my YA sci fi.¬†This is my third completed MS, I have another two (YA fantasy) I’m finishing off hopefully within the next year, and while my previous Sci FI YA had a few full and partial requests from agents through the months, I’m still waiting for ‘the one’.

I believe (from CP feedback) I’m best at dialogue, characterization, action scenes and – to my surprise – romance.

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My lists! In no particular order….


Neil Gaiman – Leigh Bardugo – Jane Austen – Susan Dennard – V.E Schwab – Peter Jackson – Rainbow Rowell –¬†Laini Taylor – Ashley Poston – Maggie Stiefvater –¬†Emma Thompson – Joanna Lumley – Sarah J Maas –¬†Becky Chambers – ¬†J.R.R Tolkien –¬†J.J Abrams


Six of Crows – Sense & Sensibility – The Raven Cycle¬†– Neverwhere – Vicious – ACOMAF – American Gods – Cracked –¬†Geekerella – Order of the Phoenix – This Savage Song – Queen of the Tearling – Lord of the Rings –¬†Brokeback Mountain –¬†Fangirl – One Of Us Is Lying –¬†A Gathering of Shadows


Lord of the Rings –¬†Donnie Darko – Moulin Rouge! – Back To The Future – Wonder Woman ¬†– Some Like It Hot – Kingsman – ¬†Sense & Sensibility –¬†Beauty & The Beast (original) – Rocky Horror Picture Show – Captain America: First Avenger – Life of Brian – Practical Magic –¬†District 9 –¬†Addams Family¬†


Doctor Who – Supernatural – Prison Break – OINTB – Twelve Monkeys – Sherlock (1&2) – Jessica Jones – Dexter – The Blacklist – Firefly – Buffy TVS – Stranger Things – Person of Interest –¬†The Killing (Danish version)

I’m dedicated, hard working, enthusiastic. Sure, I get crisis of confidence sometimes, I don’t know any writer who doesn’t, but ¬†I usually crash through it to the other side with optimism, ready to write more words or kill my darlings.

I welcome – no NEED – edits, comments, and suggestions. The only way you can make your baby shine is by listening.

THANKS FOR READING! Look at the other gorgeous #PIMPMYBIO posts ¬†at Lana Patinson’s hub¬†HERE



PitchWars · Uncategorized

#PitchWars Advice

I ended up copying and pasting my tweet feed here! For all of you entering PitchWars this year, GOOD LUCK but also take a moment to review information on self care, and taking a step back when you need to –


Ok so I kinda wanna tweet advice for #PitchWars since I’ve entered twice now, and this year will be my third

AND last year I was lucky enough to be an unofficial mentee with the lovely @mkengland and @jamiepacton #PitchWars

Since it’s almost time for the blog hops and the competitions and the sheer joy of it, I wanted to point out something

A major thing about #PitchWars is that it can overtake your life. NGL. It’s very easy to obsess about the PW milestones / events

In my case, I’d stay up til the early hours watching the mentor talks which were SUPER helpful #PitchWars

I’d watch the feed all the time, engage with the community (I love you, PW community) and anxiously prepare my MS

BUT – and this is a big but (heh) – *anxiously* slipped over into actual anxiety for me. Because #PitchWars meant so much

Now my advice is to SELF CARE at every opportunity. #PitchWars is an incredible asset, it’s true, but it’s not the end OR beginning of your writing journey.

It can seem that way for some people. Especially if you’re passionate about writing and getting your work out there, PW can seem like a life line

But you will not enjoy #PitchWars if particular aspects of your health are exasperated by what’s supposed to be a wonderful & unifying experience.

Be sure to take time out and see this for what it is – an opportunity, on the long road to publication, to give you a helping hand.

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#PitchWars is a competition, yes. But I doubt ANYONE in the community would want you to burn yourself out just to be a part of it.

If you feel like you’re too nervous, take a step back. Engage with your writer friends, privately if you like, and voice concerns.

Nobody will judge you, nobody will think you’re not up to it. It’s perfectly natural to worry about your writing cause let’s face it

Even bestselling authors still wonder about their ability and have crisis of confidence. It’s not wrong to experience that.

But don’t compare yourself to the other hopefuls. Especially if #pimpmybio comes back, don’t compare yours to others. It’s just graphics.

Some people can pitch better than others, what matters is that you’re a) writing something you love and b) not an asshole

I guess my ultimate advice is – be excited, be happy, be engaging in #PitchWars but draw the line if you start feeling overwhelmed.

#PitchWars is ultimately a place of love, encouragement and help. Get to know other writers, bond with CPs. That could be your focus ūüôā

Alright, I think I’m done. That was waaaay longer than I intended! GROUP HUG!

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Book Things · Friends · PitchWars · Random Musings · Writing Advice

On Community & Writer Friends

Let me begin by saying we should all have friends outside of our writing group. It’s healthy to have people from different walks of life and people who know¬†nothing¬†about the struggle you went through when deciding what to call your main character.

But it helps – dear Lord it helps – to have someone on your side who knows precisely what it takes to sit your butt in that chair for hours on end, screaming with joy or rage (sometimes¬†both)¬†at the computer screen, loving and despairing of¬†your work in progress. That the times you are not writing, you’re still working. You’re still thinking about what scene goes where, the progression of your characters, and whether you should put a comma there after all.

Continue reading “On Community & Writer Friends”

Competitions · PitchWars

Pitchy PitchWars

My eyes are currently crossing and my head is filled with nothing but character dialogue.

Why? Well, I’ll be entering the ‚Ä™#‚ÄéPitchWars‚Ĩ competition this year!

It’s where writers can query 5 professional mentors with their novel. Then the mentors choose which one they want to work with, dedicate 2 months of their time for free helping the writers edit, refine and develop a polished manuscript and prepare for the Agent round in November.

I’m in the process of whittling down an extensive list of mentors to 5 I’d like to work with and (hopefully) would like to work with me. It’s tricky so far, but on a personal level I’m heartened by the amount of Trekkie and Supernatural references I’m seeing from the mentor bios.

A lot of editing, polishing and checking is being done between now and the 17th so be fully prepared to see banging-head pictures here in the mean time!