The top 10 things I learned from Pitch Wars:
10. Twitter friends are great. Twitter is a great place to meet like-minded people. I’ve met so many awesome writers through Pitch Wars and Twitter and I wish them all the luck in the world.
9. Refresh…refresh…refresh… ad nauseam! Sometimes, the refresh button isn’t your friend. Not only was Pitch Wars an intensive writing boot camp, it also provided a lesson on patience. From waiting to find out if my manuscript was chosen for Pitch Wars, to waiting for agents to leave a comment on my entry, to waiting to hear back from the queries I sent out, I could develop an OCD of refreshing my Twitter/Brenda Drake’s Blog/email. But, a better idea would be to use my time wisely. I’m going to get started on my next manuscript while I wait. After all, patience is a virtue. Thank you, Pitch Wars, for making me more virtuous!
8. Save the melodrama for your mama (but, then again, she may not even want to hear it)! Keep things real.
7. Alliteration Affection- Or was it more of an infection? I learned that alliteration doesn’t always work, and more often than not, I wasn’t even aware I was alliterating. Under Lioness’s careful scrutiny, I was made aware of my affinity for alliteration. Now, I’m hyper sensitive to this device and find myself cringing when I come across alliterated words. My thesaurus is my new best friend!
6. You’re not alone! Even though writing is a very solitary endeavor, Pitch Wars turned that notion on its head. With my mentor and my teammates, I knew I had people behind me, cheering me on the whole way through. The talented ladies of The Pride are Sarah L. Blair and Anna Rains.
5. Follow your instincts. Over the course of my Pitch Wars revision journey, I learned to listen to my characters and follow my instincts as a writer. It’s still a developing skill, and I will only continue to get better with time!
4. Constructive criticism is your friend. Personally, I LOVE constructive criticism! I thrive on it. It lights my writing fire! Pitch Wars was a godsend for me. I’ve always wanted someone to pick apart my story—tell me what works, but better yet…tell me what NEEDS work! I WANT to improve my storytelling craft, so I’m not scared when someone tells me a scene or a character isn’t working. Bring on the constructive criticism, I want to learn and improve!
3. Slice ‘n dice, then reattach! I am not afraid to take my story apart and put it back together again, if that’s what it takes to make it shine. One of my characters didn’t make it through Pitch Wars. After my mentor advised me to cut him out, I willingly complied, leaving my manuscript with gaping holes that needed to be filled. I could have let that intimidate me, but it didn’t. I knew my story would be better in the long run. I listened, cut him out, reduced my word count by approximately 12,000 words, and have a far superior story as a result!
2. Listen to the professionals. All the amazing mentors of Pitch Wars 2013 are publishing professionals. They have found success in the industry, and they know what they’re talking about. I went into Pitch Wars with this mentality. I wanted to learn from my mentor, heed her advice, and with her guidance, revise my story to greatness. I am so grateful for all the help Lady Lioness gave to me, and I will continue to use her advice to grow as a writer. Along those same lines, listen to the agents. It still confounds me that aspiring authors don’t follow an agent’s specific querying guidelines. For the love of all that is holy, LISTEN TO THEM!! Professionals only want to work with those who are professionals as well.
1. Hard work=accomplished dreams. Writing is difficult. But, I know that being a full time author is what I want to be. Late nights, writer’s block, frustrating scenes/characters, endings that aren’t working, the whole novel-writing process is daunting and hard. But, it is something I truly love, and I’m willing to listen to the professionals, listen to my characters, and put in the time and effort that’s needed to produce a compelling story. One day, my hard will pay off, and I will see my stories on a bookstore shelf.
I want to thank Brenda Drake for her hard work and dedication to Pitch Wars. She’s beyond amazing. A big thank you goes out to all the mentors who so generously gave their time to helping aspiring authors realize their dreams. I especially want to thank my mentor, Lady Lioness! She’s wonderful and there aren’t enough “thank yous” in the world I could offer to express my gratitude. Thank you to all the agents who participated in Pitch Wars, and I hope you find some awesome stories (and writers) to represent.
Good luck to the Pitch Wars Class of 2013, may you all find the agent of your dreams! I can’t wait to see your books on the shelves! It’s an honor to be categorized with such an uber talented bunch of up-and-coming authors!!