Pitch Wars Mentor Wishlist Bio 2017

Pitch Wars Logo

 

Welcome to Pitch Wars!!!!

I am so excited to be participating in Pitch Wars again! I’m a seasoned Pitch Wars alum, having spent time as a mentee and a mentor. In 2013, I decided to throw my finished manuscript into the PW fray and hold my breath, not expecting much to happen. Lo and behold, my manuscript was chosen. Whoa!  Seriously, life changing! In 2016, I returned as a mentor! I had a wonderful mentee last year. Although, we didn’t win Pitch Wars, my mentee worked incredibly hard and had a beautiful story and a polished manuscript as a result of all of her hard work.

If you choose me as your mentor, I will take the publishing knowledge I’ve gained in the last four years and pass it along to you. Pitch Wars (and publishing in general) isn’t for the faint of heart. If your desire is to be a published author, to share your stories with others, then be prepared to work hard, make sacrifices, be open minded and ready to learn. I want to help you take the files on your computer and hopefully start them on the path toward a bookstore shelf!

All About Me…

Marie Meyer Author Photo

All of the Pitch Wars mentors are FANTASTIC, but I hope this mini bio will lead you to choose ME!!!

As you read above, I’m a Pitch Wars alum. I’ve been where you are. I know what you’re feeling right now: excited, nervous, scared, OMG-what-am-I-getting-myself-into. No worries, I’ve got your back, we’ll get through this together!

Besides my Pitch Wars experience, I’ve published five new adult contemporary romance novels with Grand Central Publishing’s Forever Yours imprint. I’m familiar with the extensive editing process that is required to prepare a manuscript for publication.

Along with my writing career, I am a middle school science and Spanish teacher, and have a degree in teaching language arts and music. This fall, I will begin my seventeenth year of teaching (Holy cow, where did the time go?!). I enjoy teaching, I love the kids! I love reading out loud to my students, sharing great stories, and fostering a lifelong passion for books!

Outside of school and publishing, I’m a wife and mother. I have two beautiful daughters (fourteen and ten years old). Teen Darling is a gold medal winning Special Olympics gymnast and Lil Darling is a fierce middle defender on her select soccer team. My family keeps me hopping! In my free time (Yeah, right! What’s that?), I love to read, play my piano to destress, have an incurable addiction to Starbucks and chocolate, binge-watch Arrow, Grey’s Anatomy, Buffy, and Supernatural (can’t get enough of those Winchester boys 😍) and occasionally, I may sleep…but not often!

So, that’s me, in a nutshell. If you have other questions, you can find me on social media, or leave a comment on this post. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, it’s my job to help you!

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 What I’m looking for in a YA or NA manuscript…

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My grabby hands will be all over CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE. It’s my favorite genre! I want a love story that makes my heart skip a beat, gives me that wonderful pinchy feeling in my chest, and extra points if you bring me to tears.

Some specific tropes I’d love to see are:

  • May/December Romance
  • Enemies to Lovers Romance

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Bring on the sexual tension, well developed characters and plots, and sex (although, I’ll pass on erotica and BDSM)!

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Some of my favorite CRs are:

YA: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski, Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

NA: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, Faking It by Cora Carmack, Written on My Heart by Cole Gibsen, Rule by Jay Crownover, Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

FANTASY. I love a good fantasy! Whisk me away to your well developed world, send me on an epic quest, mix it all up with a heart-thumping romance, and I’m yours! Although, I will pass on high fantasy manuscripts, think Tolkien or George R.R. Martin.

My fav YA fantasies:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Fire by Kristin Cashore, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, Cinder by Marissa Meyer

PARANORMALI am dying to get my hands on a good, spine-tingling, creepy ghost story! And extra kudos if you have worked a in a romantic subplot (I’m a sucker for the romance). If you have a manuscript with a unique twist on a ghost story, PLEEEEEASE choose me! Haunt me, baby!

Above all else, I’m looking for a manuscript that gives me ALL THE FEELS! Contemporary, fantasy,  paranormal, they’re all great. Make me fall in love with your characters and your world!

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The only genres that will get a hard pass from me are sci-fi and horror. There are so many fantastic sci-fi and horror mentors, but I am not one.

Do you have a manuscript that will give me all the feels? I WANT IT!!! What are you waiting for? Sub to me, now!

What I Expect from a Mentee…

My mentee MUST be prepared to kill darlings, flip scenes, and rewrite. Basically, you will need to take an ax to your work and chip away at the rock in order to reveal the diamond inside. Be prepared for constructive criticism, it’s the only way your story will improve. If you aren’t comfortable with constructive criticism, then this contest isn’t for you.  Be sure the manuscript you’re subbing is complete and polished to the best of your ability. Remember, I’m a teacher, there are differences between their, there, and they’re.  😉

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What I will do for my Mentee…

Having been through Pitch Wars, I know how grueling the process can be, but it’s so rewarding! I will help you with big-picture issues, typos and grammar problems, we’ll make sure your dialogue flows, your voice is strong, characters are believable, and your story is well paced. We’re a team and we’ll get your story whipped into shape for the agent round, Oliver Queen style (one rung on the salmon ladder at a time)!

I could watch this all day long!

 

I believe YOU and I will make a great team!!!

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My Pitch Wars Wishlist & Bio

Pitch Wars Logo

 

Welcome to Pitch Wars!!!!

I am so excited to be participating in Pitch Wars again, this time as a mentor! In 2013, I decided to throw my finished manuscript into the PW fray and hold my breath, not expecting much to happen. Lo and behold, my manuscript was chosen. Whoa!  Seriously, life changing! I worked hard, listened to what my amazing mentor (Lady Lioness) had to teach me, and I entered the agent round with a polished, beautiful story that caught the eye of Louise Fury, who is now my agent!

That is my hope for you! If you choose me as your mentor, I will take the publishing knowledge I’ve gained in the last three years and pass it along to you. Pitch Wars (and publishing in general) isn’t for the faint of heart. If your desire is to be a published author, to share your stories with others, then be prepared to work hard, make sacrifices, be open minded and ready to learn. I want to help you take the files on your computer and hopefully start them on the path toward a bookstore shelf!

All About Me…

Marie Meyer Author Photo

All of the Pitch Wars mentors are FANTASTIC, but I hope this mini bio will lead you to choose ME!!!

As you read above, I’m a Pitch Wars alum. I’ve been where you are. I know what you’re feeling right now: excited, nervous, scared, OMG-what-am-I-getting-myself-into. No worries, I’ve got your back, we’ll get through this together!

Besides my Pitch Wars experience, I’ve published three new adult contemporary romance novels with Grand Central Publishing’s Forever Yours imprint and have two more in the works. I’m familiar with the extensive editing process that is required to prepare a manuscript for publication.

Along with my writing career, I am a middle school science and Spanish teacher, and have a degree in teaching language arts and music. This fall, I will begin my sixteenth year of teaching (Holy cow, where did the time go?!). I enjoy teaching, I love the kids! I love reading out loud to my students, sharing great stories, and fostering a lifelong passion for books!

Outside of school and publishing, I’m a wife and mother. I have two beautiful daughters (thirteen and nine years old). Teen Darling is a gold medal winning Special Olympics gymnast and Lil Darling is a fierce middle defender on her select soccer team. My family keeps me hopping! In my free time (Yeah, right! What’s that?), I love to read, play my piano to destress, have an incurable addiction to Starbucks and chocolate, catch Pokémon when they swoop into my house, binge-watch OutlanderArrow, and The Walking Dead, and occasionally, I may sleep…but not often!

So, that’s me, in a nutshell. If you have other questions, you can find me on social media, or leave a comment on this post.

Twitter
Facebook
Tumblr

 What I’m looking for in a YA or NA manuscript…

giphy (4)

My grabby hands will be all over CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE. It’s my favorite genre! I want a love story that makes my heart skip a beat, gives me that wonderful pinchy feeling in my chest, and extra points if you bring me to tears.

giphy (5)

Bring on the sexual tension, well developed characters and plots, and sex (although, I’ll pass on erotica and BDSM)!

giphy (6)

Some of my favorite CRs are:

YA: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski, Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

NA: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, Faking It by Cora Carmack, Written on My Heart by Cole Gibsen, Rule by Jay Crownover, Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

FANTASY. I love a good fantasy! Whisk me away to your well developed world, send me on an epic quest, mix it all up with a heart-thumping romance, and I’m yours! Although, I will pass on high fantasy manuscripts, think Tolkien or George R.R. Martin.

My fav YA fantasies:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Fire by Kristin Cashore, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Above all else, I’m looking for a manuscript that gives me ALL THE FEELS! Contemporary, fantasy, historical, paranormal, magical realism, they’re all great. Make me fall in love with your characters and your world!

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The only genres that will get a hard pass from me are sci-fi and horror. There are so many fantastic sci-fi and horror mentors, but I am not one.

Do you have a manuscript that will give me all the feels? I WANT IT!!! What are you waiting for? Sub to me, now!

What I Expect from a Mentee…

My mentee MUST be prepared to kill darlings, flip scenes, and rewrite. Basically, you will need to take an ax to your work and chip away at the rock in order to reveal the diamond inside. Be prepared for constructive criticism, it’s the only way your story will improve. If you aren’t comfortable with constructive criticism, then this contest isn’t for you.  Be sure the manuscript you’re subbing is complete and polished to the best of your ability. Remember, I’m a teacher, there are differences between their, there, and they’re.  😉

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What I will do for my Mentee…

Having been through Pitch Wars, I know how grueling the process can be, but it’s so rewarding! I will help you with big-picture issues, typos and grammar problems, we’ll make sure your dialogue flows, your voice is strong, characters are believable, and your story is well paced. We’re a team and we’ll get your story whipped into shape for the agent round, Oliver Queen style!

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This gif is highly distracting! 🙂 ❤

Well, that about sums everything up. I’m the mentor for you, right?! I’m so excited to see what kinds of awesome flood my inbox on August 3rd! Good luck, Pitch Wars Hopefuls, and don’t forget to jot down the scavenger hunt letter below (I think you can figure out my special letter *wink wink*)!

You and  i1  will make a great team!

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Say hello to the other amazing Pitch Wars mentors!

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Heather L. Reid’s PRETTY DARK SACRIFICE Blog Tour

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Heather L. Reid’s newest novel, PRETTY DARK SACRIFICE, follow-up to PRETTY DARK SACRIFICE, hits the shelves tomorrow! I was lucky enough to get to interview the lovely Heather about her upcoming release! And keep reading beyond the interview for more information on PRETTY DARK SACRIFICE, Heather L. Reid, and a giveaway!!

 

  1. For you, what is the hardest part of the writing process? 

 

Since I’m a panster, I’d have to say drafting is the hardest part of the process for me. I LOVE revising. Seriously, I could re-arrange paragraphs, ponder word choices, and strengthen tension and character motivations all day long. Getting new words on the page though, that’s the challenge.

 

  1. Do you have a writing ritual? Things that must be done before your muse will come out to play? 

 

Tea! Okay, more than tea. Seriously though, I write best in my writing chair in my office. I always have my essential oil diffuser on beside me, though the oils I choose are different depending on my mood. I make tea and do some yoga stretches, and then I sit down at my laptop, start my playlist on Spotify, and beg my muse to at least meet me half way. Sometimes I have to bribe her with Dove chocolate and another cup of tea.

 

  1. Pantser or plotter? 

Panster. I wish I could be more of a hybrid, but plotting gives me hives.

 

  1. What is your favorite line, passage, chapter from PRETTY DARK SACRIFICE? 

Oh, that’s a tough question! I loved writing the scenes that explore the mythology behind the demons and reveal more of the backstory of Aaron/Kaemon and their connection to Quinn. I also love writing the scenes with Marcus. He adds just the right amount of humor to lighten the mood.

 

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring writers who hope to see their book published one day?

Read everything you can. Read inside your genre and outside your genre, fiction and non-fiction. Then start writing. Experiment with different styles and point of views until you find your own voice. It takes time to develop your unique voice, and the only way to get there is by writing, no matter how bad it is at first. And if you’re passionate about writing, don’t give up. Look for mentors, ask questions, and learn what you can about the craft and about the business.

 

  1. What is your favorite dessert? 

Ice cream! I’m not too picky on the flavor, as long as it’s gluten/wheat free. Before I was diagnosed as celiac, I loved cookies and cream, but now, I usually go for salted caramel or chocolate or mint chocolate chip. I also recently had dark chocolate pomegranate ice-cream. So yummy! A lot of it depends on my mood.

 

Thanks Heather!

 

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ABOUT PRETTY DARK SACRIFICE:

Title: Pretty Dark Sacrifice (Pretty Dark Nothing #2)

Publication date: July 28, 2015

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Author: Heather L. Reid

Purchase Links:

BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Add PRETTY DARK SACRIFICE to Goodreads

It’s been five weeks, two days, and eight hours since the demons forced Quinn to throw herself into the raging river, since Aaron sacrificed himself to save her, since his body disappeared without a trace.

Everyone wants Quinn to move on, but she can’t, not after a spirit appears to her at Aaron’s memorial, convincing her he’s still alive.

When a mysterious box materializes on the very spot Aaron disappeared, Quinn finds she’s at the center of an ancient prophesy of betrayal, revenge, and sacrifice that takes her to the depths of the underworld to face Lilith—Adam’s first wife.

If Quinn can stop Lilith from unleashing the demon horde Eve, trapped inside the box during the Battle of Eden millennia ago, she will save the human realm and free Aaron from an eternity in torment.

All it will cost is her blood.

 

Giveaway Time!

Giveaway Information: Contest ends August 21, 2015

· Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Pretty Dark Sacrifice (Pretty Dark Nothing #2) by Heather L. Reid (INT)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e391/

Heather L. Reid  ABOUT HEATHER L. REID:

Heather L. Reid is both American and British and has called six different cities in three different countries, home. Her strong sense of wanderlust and craving for a new adventure mean you might find her wandering the moors of her beloved Scotland, exploring haunted castles, or hiking through a magical forest in search of fairies and sprites. When she’s not venturing into the unknown in her real life, she loves getting lost in the worlds of video games or curling up by the fire with good story. For now, this native Texan is back in the Lone Star State, settling down with her Scottish husband and writing new tales of fantasy and horror.

 

Connect with Heather: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Pinterest | Instagram

ChapterxChapter

An Interview with Author Ara Grigorian (GAME OF LOVE)

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That’s right, I got to interview the rock star debut author, Ara Grigorian! If you haven’t read his new book, GAME OF LOVE, you are missing out! I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of GAME OF LOVE and was honored to review Ara’s outstanding novel. If you missed my review, I’m serving it up here: MARIE’S REVIEW OF GoL

 

 

Okay, now for Ara’s deep, dark GAME OF LOVE secrets…

 

1. Gemma and Andre are your main characters, who happen to have fabulous names, by the way! How do you choose names for your characters? 
For Andre, I knew I wanted him to be of Spanish decent. When I lived in Barcelona, one of my closest friends there was Andres. He was always kind and went out of his way to help me because I couldn’t speak the language, We were eight, but I never forgot his generosity. Also, my favorite tennis player is Andre Agassi — a misunderstood tennis great. So I linked those two together and now I had my hero’s name.
When it came to Gemma, it started with her eyes. I wanted a name that would reflect her eyes which I thought of as gems. I was at work, preparing a cup of coffee, thinking abut her name when I noticed the movie poster for Prince of Persia. The actress’s eyes caught my attention. Beautiful and powerful. I found her name, Gemma Aterton. Gem. Gemma. Beautiful eyes. I looked up the name Gemma. It means gem in Italian. Serendipity at work. I was done.
2. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
 
Letting the story come to me. Sometimes I force the story. I start before the story has really developed in my head. I get excited about the idea and jump in when the water isn’t quite ready yet. I figure if I start the rest will come together and those usually end badly. You see, I don’t really choose the story I write — the story finds me. It is an organic process. I could be in the middle of anything, listening to a random song, overhearing a conversation, and boom! A phrase, an expression catches my eye and the machine takes over. That’s how it was for Game of Love. I had been forcing a mystery novel when I met a tennis pro at a hotel in Paris during the French Open. When I saw a young man staring at her, I started wondering if he’ll approach her and if he did, what would she do? Can a celebrity trust just anyone? The idea grabbed my hair, threw me down on the floor and said, “Write me!” So I did!
3. Do you have a writing ritual? Things that must be done before your muse will come out and play?

Yes! A heaping tablespoon of Nutella, followed by a double shot of espresso. Noise canceling headphones and the playlist for the novel seeping into my brain. No open apps in the background — only Scrivener. But in order for me to hit the ground running, I have done a re-read of the previous night’s work during lunch (not to edit but to put me back into the story world). This way, by the time I’m ready, I have dozens of ideas ready to jump out. My daily goal is 2,500 words but average closer to 4,000 when I’m writing a new story. I have had a handful of 10,000+ days.

4. Are you more of a pantser or plotter?
I’m a plotting pantser 🙂 I have developed a story beats sheet based on Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! methodology and James Scott Bell’s Super Structure framework (and some others). I write high level ideas for the key story beats. Most of the time I have a good idea through the midpoint. I never know for sure how the story will end although I have an idea. I definitely nail now the characters before I start writing the story. Because once the characters are real to me, then all the situations become natural — they are consistent with the characters I have grown to love.
5. Now that GAME OF LOVE has gone through several drafts and is finally published, you’ve really gotten to know the story and its characters, do you have a favorite line, passage, or chapter from GAME OF LOVE? 
Although I have a lot of favorites, one of my favorite parts has to be when Andre and Gemma spend time on the flight to Los Angeles. I loved writing their banter and how she discovers his gifts. This is where they realize the attraction they’re feeling is more than physical – they both have similar stories and challenges. They are kindred spirits and for the first time reader sees that they need each other to survive their crazy lives
6. What advice would you give to aspiring writers who hope to see their book published one day? 

It’s not easy. It’s hard. Real hard. At times you’ll wander why even bother? You’ll blame the agents. The publishers. Your sixth grade English teacher. But none of that should stop you. Because the desire to be a writer is a hunger. It is an insatiable need to tell stories. You should write because you can’t stop the need. Feed the beast and put aside all the negativity (self imposed and external). Plant your ass in the seat, close the door, and WRITE! Write and rewrite then rewrite that and then edit it again. Make every scene you write the best you can possibly write. Do the work. Put in the hours. It is the most gratifying thing when what you’ve written is loved and appreciated by complete strangers from the other side of the globe. Just write. There is no substitute for hard work, persistence, perseverance, and passion!

7. I know of your love of Nutella, out of curiosity, what is your favorite Nutella dessert creation? 

I wonder why I have built this reputation 😉 Just because it’s my primary food and I even received permission by Ferro USA to use the Nutella brand in my book and any promotional activity for the book, does not make me a fanatic. Okay, it actually does 😉 My favorite recipe is nice and simple — fresh raspberries, you inject a bit of Nutella in the opening (use the tip of your knife to squeeze some in) then pop it in your mouth. Sweet and perfect and good for you! (Note: This statement has not been verified by the FDA or anyone else as far as I know).

Thanks for having me!

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Well, there you have it, folks! Ara Grigorian, serving up stupendous stories and writing wisdom with a side of Nutella infused raspberries. I don’t know the FDA’s opinion on Nutella and raspberries (although, I will be trying this recipe, regardless), but I do know that GAME OF LOVE is good for you and you need to read it!

Thank you for stopping by, Ara! It was an honor to host you on my blog!

 

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Visit Ara Grigorian on Social Media: 

Website

Twitter

Facebook

 

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Order GAME OF LOVE:

Amazon: Kindle Edition Paperback Edition

Barnes and Noble

Writers for Hope Auction

Writers for Hope Auction

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Last year, I had the pleasure of being a part of the Writers for Hope Auction and I’m honored to return this year! A huge THANK YOU to Kelly Johnson for organizing this event!! 

100% of the proceeds from the auction go to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network), an organization dedicated to helping individuals who’ve suffered from sexual abuse. Click here to learn more about RAINN. 

I am pleased to join the company of so many amazing and inspiring publishing professionals and offer a first chapter and query letter critique. I’m also donating a signed copy of my debut new adult contemporary romance, ACROSS THE DISTANCE, when it releases on May 5th!

There are 61 different items up for grabs on Kelly Johnson’s blog and each item starts at $10.00! To get a peek at all the autographed books, writing critiques, and combo packages click here: My Countless Lives 2nd Annual Writers for Hope Auction Items.  

If you would like to bid on my donations, click on the links below:

Signed copy of ACROSS THE DISTANCE

Query & First Chapter Critique

 

You only have one day to bid on ALL THE THINGS and help support RAINN, so don’t delay!! Thank you for your donation to RAINN! 

It’s Getting Drafty in Here–Is Your First Draft Leaving You Cold?

Is it drafty in here, or is it just me? Did someone leave a window open? Am I sitting near an air vent?

No, it’s not an open window or air vent that’s leaving me cold, it’s the first draft of my current project.

For the last four months, I’ve been hard at work on the companion novel to THROUGH THE STORM (which is currently on submission). Where THROUGH THE STORM is told from my female protagonist, Jillian’s POV, my newest project, RAGING STORM, allows Griffin (her best friend) to tell his side of the story.

From the beginning, RAGING STORM has been daunting. Let me tell you why…

It’s the First Draft!

The first draft of any project will always be the worst. For me, drafting is my least favorite part of writing. Weird, right? It’s a necessity if there is to be a book in the end. But still, I’m not a fan.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE telling stories! LOVE IT!! But for me, spitting out the first draft of my novel is scary. Everything that transfers from my brain, through my fingers, and onto the computer screen is just…yuck! Every word, every phrase…I hate it all. I am my own worst critique (aren’t we all, though?). It’s a battle to turn off that mean internal voice, telling me how awful my story really is.

Night after night, I plow through my WIP, all the while digesting a steady diet of “you suck sandwiches”.

And night after night, I come back for more.

But, as I near “The End”, I get a flutter in my heart, knowing what’s coming…THE SECOND DRAFT–which is guaranteed to be better than the first.

Once my terrible first draft is complete, I get to begin my favorite part of the whole writing process, EDITING.

I love editing. I trade in those “you suck sandwiches” for “you’re awesome appetizers”. For me, editing is when the true storytelling begins. With each edit, each change I make to my original manuscript, my story grows and my characters truly start to feel alive. Where the first draft is cold and impersonal, the second, third, and fourth drafts are warm and real.

As I write that “drafty” 1st draft, my mantra is on repeat in my head, “Write a crappy story.” Over and over again, I keep telling myself this. Eventually, I know I get to fix all the things that left me feeling cold and withdrawn from the characters that I love.

For those of you who are currently working on a 1st draft, KEEP GOING! Don’t give up! Getting to “The End” is the hardest part. And on the flip side, don’t EVER query your first draft, it’s bound to give the agent reading it a terrible cold, and your writing career will be frozen before it even beings. It’s worth repeating…DON’T EVER QUERY A FIRST DRAFT! Don’t be left in the cold.

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RAGING STORM is well underway. Each day, I write more and more. Do I always like what I write? NO WAY! But, it can be fixed!! My friend, Heather Brewer, told me, “You can’t edit a blank page.” She’s so right. So, write away! Keep going! Write that terrible first draft, so it can be transformed into a beautiful story and shared with the world!

       My Anatomy of Storytelling: 

1st Draft- The skeleton of the story.

2nd Draft- Through editing, add muscle to the story.

3rd Draft- Strengthen those muscles and begin to flesh out the characters and plot.

4th Draft- Continue strengthening those muscles. Characters and plots are real, flesh and bone now. Time to accessorize with sub plots and small details.

5th Draft and more- Personalize and beautify each character and plot until the story is a living, breathing wonderful creation!

What a Year!

Every writer says that the road to publication is a long one. And indeed it is! But it’s certainly not a journey I’d want to end any time soon!!

One year ago today, I parked myself at the kitchen table and started writing my first solo project. Over the next four months, my fingers raced over the keyboard, putting the story in my head onto the page. After the words were out, I took a short detour and distanced myself from the story for a few of months.

While I left my story behind, I gave a lot of critiques and did some editing for other writers (something I love to do)! In turn, I also gave my story over to some writer friends for some honest feedback. All of the comments and constructive criticism I received was invaluable, which paved my road for Pitch Wars.

By November, my Twitter feed was blowing up with talk about Pitch Wars (you can read about my Pitch Wars experience here). I decided to throw my manuscript into the fray. What did I have to lose? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!

December and January went by in a Pitch Wars induced blur! I was rewriting and editing like a mad woman! I am positive my family would agree.

With January coming to a close, my fast-paced journey began to slow down. I had a beautiful manuscript and a solid query letter, so I started sending them out (and even found time to take down the Christmas tree).

So, February became the month of waiting. In keeping with my “road” metaphor, I equate February as being stuck in query traffic: stop and go, stop and go! I sent out a handful of queries and waited. On the morning of February 14th, I woke up and thought about how an offer of representation would be the BEST Valentine’s Day present. That night, I got what I wished for!!! Louise Fury of The Bent Agency emailed, saying she wanted to talk. AHHHH!! I was soooo excited!! At the beginning of March, I was officially an agented writer and a member of #TeamFury!

Now that I’ve pulled off of query road and onto publication highway, my manuscript, THROUGH THE STORM, has come full circle. It is now in Louise’s competent hands, and I couldn’t be more pleased! Her enthusiasm and vision for THROUGH THE STORM is a dream come true.

And today, I’m back at my kitchen table, beginning a new journey as I tell my next story. I’m so excited to see what the next year brings!

No matter where you are in your writing adventure, don’t give up! Enjoy the ride!

writing poem

Pitch Wars Wrap-Up

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!!

NaNoWriMo Whato?

Yeah, you heard me right. NaNoWriMo! What is NaNoWriMo you ask? Well, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, writers from all over the world vow to neglect reality for thirty days and live with the imaginary characters in their heads. From November 1st to November 30th a writer must complete the daily challenge of writing 1,667 words to reach the finish line with a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month! If you’re interested in participating in NaNoWriMo 2013, here’s the link to get started: www.nanowrimo.org. It’s not too late to start!

This is the first November I have taken up the challenge! I began writing my NaNoWriMo novel last night (November 1st) and I plan to work hard until the very last day (November 30th). Some days the words will flow onto the page like a torrential downpour and other days I may feel like I’ve walked miles in Death Valley with not a drop of water to spare. But, I’m dedicated to writing the novel in my head. My main character is already real to me and I owe it to him to write my 1,667 words each day. He wants to tell his story and I’m the vessel to do that! Griffin, I’m ready. Talk to me, baby!

Once upon a time I was a cheerleader and I’m still one at heart. I love to offer encouragement and cheer people on to victory! Go! Start your Nano, now! Write your story! It needs to be told! I believe in you! Even if you don’t end November with 50,000 words, you’ve already done more than someone who didn’t even try!

What are you still doing here? Go! Write! Wait a minute…what am I still doing here? I’ve got a novel to write too! Griffin’s waiting for me and those 1,667 words aren’t going to write themselves!

See you in the NaNoWriMo forums! Good luck and happy Nano-ing!

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