PitchWars · Writing Advice

#PitchWars Homework & Resources

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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)

THE EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION by Donald Maas

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!

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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!

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PitchWars

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

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A CAPTURED PRINCE. A GIRL OUT FOR REVENGE. A BARGEMAN WITH A SECRET.

SWORDS. MAGIC. ROMANCE. KICKASS WOMEN.

A HORSE CALLED ‘MOTHER’.

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.

WHAT IS IT?!

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

WHO’S WHO?

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❤️:

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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ANZEL
17, Dria, Prince
GAY
– 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 ‘inklings’.
– 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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artist?
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SHANNA
17, Zamar, Dancer
PAN
– Struck a deal with a troupe to ‘borrow’ Anzel, so he could tell Councillors the fate of her people. In return they’d 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

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

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DREW
18, Gull, Bargeman & Steward
BI
– Running from his past in Gull, he owes a huge debt to ferryman and former keeper Gropsinger, who wants his head.
– Sought 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

ODÁLI
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.
HOGWARTS HOUSE: Gryffindor

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SLYTHERIN INFPSHE/HER
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….

FAVOURITE AUTHORS / CREATORS

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

FAVOURITE BOOKS

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

FAVOURITE FILMS

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 

FAVOURITE TV

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 –

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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 🙂

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”