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Thread: Pitch Wars 2017

  1. #301
    practical experience, FTW BreeC's Avatar
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    PitchWars Hopefuls:


    We all know that this competition is insanely competitive, and that sometimes a manuscript might not get selected because it’s just one of several that really wowed a mentor. Sometimes a manuscript doesn’t get selected even though it’s totally deserving of getting selected. See this Tweet in which a mentor discusses (before the submission window is closed) how they already have three MSs that they’d love to mentor.


    We got our manuscripts ready, we polished them to (subjective) perfection, we wrote our queries and synopses, and we entered PitchWars. Good for us. We go, Glen Coco!


    Now, we might not find a mentor. So, what the heck are we supposed to do if we’re not on that shiny winning Pitch Mentee list? I suggest we persevere together. Let’s set a deadline and encourage each other to stick to it.


    I’m going to be getting my current MS whipped into shape to start querying in 2018. I’m going to work with critique partners and betas (if you’re interested, PM me!) to get this thing into the best shape it can be in, and then I’m setting it free.


    If you want to join me, please do. Let’s keep each other on track.


    We can be each other’s mentors.
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  2. #302
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    ​This. I'm not doing PitchWars this summer, but the feedback I received the last couple of times helped refine the mms and the query. Plus, meeting so many cool people!

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  3. #303
    practical experience, FTW Shoeless's Avatar
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    It's important to not think of Pitch Wars as the be all, end all for either your literary career, or this particular novel you've written. There could be any number of reasons why a novel you've submitted does not ultimately get picked by a mentor, even if it is publishable. A mentor may simply feel that another novel is closer in line with what they're familiar with, or they may even think that they can't help your novel in the way it deserves to be helped. Or maybe even that you don't need that much help because you're more ready than you think.

    The novel I submitted for Pitch Wars last year ultimately got rejected by mentors, even though they'd requested it. It stung a little, but I did't give up on it and think "Maybe it, or me, just sucks." This year I'm not entering Pitch Wars because that same novel got me offered representation by a literary agent, just a few weeks ago. So don't lose hope, and don't write off your work because it didn't get selected. It might not have been right for the people you submitted to for Pitch Wars, but it might still be right for a literary agent.

  4. #304
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Or you might decide, after much consideration and experience, that the hunt for an agent is no longer worth the continued effort, which might be better spent writing and/or prepping for self-publishing.

    I'm still a champion for the 'aim high' approach. Having competent agent representation can unlock doors closed to all but a few slushpile discoveries. But realistically, if you've polished the mms as much as you can, and already queried several hundred agents over multiple manuscripts, and still only 'come close' or not at all...it might be time to rethink publishing goals.

    At least one Hugo nominee stopped looking for an agent and went her own way. https://amidtheimaginary.wordpress.c...ecky-chambers/

    The PitchWars mentors are usually an amazingly talented and giving bunch, and they do what they can for the mms and authors they pick. But that isn't the only way forward. Or even the best way, if your mms isn't one of those suited to pitch treatment.
    Last edited by Filigree; 08-14-2017 at 12:34 AM.

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  5. #305
    practical experience, FTW CJSimone's Avatar
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    Good ideas, BreeC! Thanks for the encouragement all!

    Shoeless, congrats on getting an agent; that's big!

    To chime in with encouragement: I've seen at least three mentors saying they won't choose a sub if it's ready to be submitted to agents as it is, leaving them nothing to fix. And they won't always tell you this. One of the reasons I'm still in the running with the mentor who requested my full (along with several others) is that, halfway through, she sees some things she could help me with (Yay for flaws! ). If you have a nearly flawless MS, you won't be selected.

  6. #306
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Not be a total downer: even if a mentor judges a pitch or mms query-ready, that doesn't mean the actual agents will bite. It just means your mms is better than the ones the mentors think they can help. *If* you can get a respected mentor to say as much, openly, it might be a quick sales point in your query.

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  7. #307
    What to my wondering eyes... AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    That is true, but there's something to be said about not wasting two months making changes on a novel that are not going to make a difference in your agent search and the mentor not giving their time to a novel that they won't make a significant difference to versus one that they can make a significant difference.

    I'm saying this as someone who wasted two months in Pitch To Publication over changes made to a couple of later scenes in a novel that wasn't marketable to agents (although the freelance editors liked it) in the first place.
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  8. #308
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I worry a little that when mentors ask you what you think the strengths and weaknesses on your MS are, that being able to identify weaknesses might make the mentor not pick you because you seem to already know at least SOME things you can fix. And yet not listing all the weaknesses you can think of seems disingenuous. Thoughts?

    Also I completely agree with those saying PW isn't the be all end all. Wasn't there a NYT bestselling author on twitter who said she didn't get into PW? Mentors can only pick one MS. They'll pick the one they resonate with best. Maybe they happen to really jive with a sci fi set on Pluto featuring space vampires. If so, that doesn't mean your epic Snow White rebelling isn't great.

  9. #309
    practical experience, FTW BreeC's Avatar
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    Such great thoughts, everyone. PW is a great avenue, but not the only avenue.

    Does anyone have any tips for revision? I know that there isn't any one linear editing technique for everyone, so I'd love to hear what works for all of you.
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  10. #310
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    I'm not in PitchWars this year, but I love reading all the tweets though!

  11. #311
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BreeC View Post
    Such great thoughts, everyone. PW is a great avenue, but not the only avenue.

    Does anyone have any tips for revision? I know that there isn't any one linear editing technique for everyone, so I'd love to hear what works for all of you.
    Heck if I know. I just rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Until my CPs stop rolling their eyes so hard they go blind and my beta readers stop ditching me at ch1 ;-) at that point (to paraphrase Gene Wolfe) you then have a working first draft.
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  12. #312
    practical experience, FTW BreeC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harlequin View Post
    Heck if I know. I just rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Until my CPs stop rolling their eyes so hard they go blind and my beta readers stop ditching me at ch1 ;-) at that point (to paraphrase Gene Wolfe) you then have a working first draft.
    HA! Nice.
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  13. #313
    Making Einstein cry since 1994 Maggie Maxwell's Avatar
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    Step 1) Find a nice, sturdy wall.
    Step B: bang head against wall until you get beta readers who don't hate you.
    Part 3 - Do what the beta readers tell you and maybe fix some other stuff that jumps out at you.
    The insane who believe they are sane are crazy. The sane who know they are insane are writers.

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  14. #314
    practical experience, FTW CJSimone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helios View Post
    I worry a little that when mentors ask you what you think the strengths and weaknesses on your MS are, that being able to identify weaknesses might make the mentor not pick you because you seem to already know at least SOME things you can fix. And yet not listing all the weaknesses you can think of seems disingenuous. Thoughts?

    Also I completely agree with those saying PW isn't the be all end all. Wasn't there a NYT bestselling author on twitter who said she didn't get into PW? Mentors can only pick one MS. They'll pick the one they resonate with best. Maybe they happen to really jive with a sci fi set on Pluto featuring space vampires. If so, that doesn't mean your epic Snow White rebelling isn't great.
    I think if you can identify weaknesses in such a way that lets them know they can help with those weaknesses, then they'd still be interested in being your mentor. So for example, I might say, I think one of my biggest weaknesses is transitions, and I could really benefit from someone noting and helping with any transitions that are too abrupt.

    Yep, in addition to that bestselling author, some of the current mentors have mentioned that they didn't get picked in past PitchWars, and they went on to get an agent and get published.

    Quote Originally Posted by BreeC View Post
    Such great thoughts, everyone. PW is a great avenue, but not the only avenue.

    Does anyone have any tips for revision? I know that there isn't any one linear editing technique for everyone, so I'd love to hear what works for all of you.
    My only tip for revision is to get other eyes on it and revise accordingly. Otherwise you can keep revising something that was never going to work. The feedback from others can turn it all around and get you revising in a meaningful way.

  15. #315
    practical experience, FTW CJSimone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie Maxwell View Post
    Step 1) Find a nice, sturdy wall.
    Step B: bang head against wall until you get beta readers who don't hate you.
    Part 3 - Do what the beta readers tell you and maybe fix some other stuff that jumps out at you.

  16. #316
    practical experience, FTW BreeC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSimone View Post
    My only tip for revision is to get other eyes on it and revise accordingly. Otherwise you can keep revising something that was never going to work. The feedback from others can turn it all around and get you revising in a meaningful way.
    That's a great tip! I think some people are terrified to try the CP thing, in case they get negative (or constructive) feedback. I know several people who'd rather query with no CP feedback and let the silent void tell them the MS isn't ready.
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  17. #317
    practical experience, FTW Dmbeucler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BreeC View Post
    Such great thoughts, everyone. PW is a great avenue, but not the only avenue.

    Does anyone have any tips for revision? I know that there isn't any one linear editing technique for everyone, so I'd love to hear what works for all of you.
    I'm a big fan of searching for filtering words. (ZOMG I had so many in a previous draft). Also for reading the whole manuscript out loud (and editing as you go).

  18. #318
    Making Einstein cry since 1994 Maggie Maxwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dmbeucler View Post
    I'm a big fan of searching for filtering words. (ZOMG I had so many in a previous draft). Also for reading the whole manuscript out loud (and editing as you go).
    Oh yeah, filtering words, and searching for overused words. There are websites where you can pop your novel and it'll tell you the most frequently used words. Like, I'd used "Back" over 300 times in mine. At least a third of them were cut-able.
    The insane who believe they are sane are crazy. The sane who know they are insane are writers.

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  19. #319
    practical experience, FTW BreeC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dmbeucler View Post
    I'm a big fan of searching for filtering words. (ZOMG I had so many in a previous draft). Also for reading the whole manuscript out loud (and editing as you go).
    I find reading out loud SO HELPFUL. Also, I'm an adverbs searching kinda person now (thanks to my CP). You would not believe the number of unnecessary adverbs in a manuscript.
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  20. #320
    Cat wrangler Jeneral's Avatar
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    I just wanted to poke my head in and wish y'all luck who entered! I was picked to be a mentee last year, and it was a fantastic, if exhausting, experience.

    I wanted to echo what CJSimone said above. I think identifying weaknesses helps tell the mentor what you feel the manuscript needs help on, and they can further determine if they're qualified to help you. For example, I let the mentors who asked know that agent feedback so far had said they'd had trouble connecting with my FMC, so what could I do to fix that?

    And this is absolutely not the only path to getting an agent or publication. I made a lot of writing friends in the run-up to PW last year, and some of those who didn't get in have agents and book deals by now. And this year is even bigger than last year. It's down to what MS a mentor falls in love with and really thinks they can help make better. I know a lot are already agonizing that they can only pick one. So not getting picked says NOTHING about the quality of your work.

    Good luck, everyone, and stay sane!
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  21. #321
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin LuckyStar's Avatar
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    If anyone is interested:



  22. #322
    practical experience, FTW CJSimone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeneral View Post
    Good luck, everyone, and stay sane!
    Thank you, Jeneral!

  23. #323
    the possibilities are endless noranne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    Or you might decide, after much consideration and experience, that the hunt for an agent is no longer worth the continued effort, which might be better spent writing and/or prepping for self-publishing.

    I'm still a champion for the 'aim high' approach. Having competent agent representation can unlock doors closed to all but a few slushpile discoveries. But realistically, if you've polished the mms as much as you can, and already queried several hundred agents over multiple manuscripts, and still only 'come close' or not at all...it might be time to rethink publishing goals.
    This is exactly where I'm at. I just don't know if I'm ready to give up on The Dream, you know? Gah, this industry. 'Twill be the death of me!
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    MS6: A SF, 90k, editing, again
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  24. #324
    practical experience, FTW sockycat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie Maxwell View Post
    Oh yeah, filtering words, and searching for overused words. There are websites where you can pop your novel and it'll tell you the most frequently used words. Like, I'd used "Back" over 300 times in mine. At least a third of them were cut-able.
    ....can I steal a link to one of those websites. I already know I need it.
    Visit my website and send me a neat pun.

  25. #325
    Making Einstein cry since 1994 Maggie Maxwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sockycat View Post
    ....can I steal a link to one of those websites. I already know I need it.
    Yeah, no problem. https://wordcounter.com/ lets you pick how many words you want displayed (top 25, 50, 100, or 200) and whether or not to include smaller words like "the". You can find more by searching "word frequency counter" or "common word counter" or something of that variant.
    The insane who believe they are sane are crazy. The sane who know they are insane are writers.

    My 2017 Flash Fiction Challenge Countdown to 2018 thread
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