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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pitch Wars

While working full-steam ahead on my fantastic new project about a guy haunted by his ex-girlfriend, I had another book idea pop into my head. I shouldn't use the word pop. It didn’t pop—it exploded! The idea hit me with so much force that I had to begin right away. And I did. That day, I outlined the book and wrote and first chapter and the last chapter. The date was May 31, 2017.

And the book was fun to write. I loved the characters and the story—and the twists. This was the type of book I’d been looking to read, so the words flowed and the story got better and better.

Then I remembered a contest I had entered last year. Pitch Wars. In the contest, you submit a query letter and the first chapter of your manuscript to four mentors who then pick a lucky winner from all their submissions and help get that manuscript shiny and magnificent. I didn’t get in to the contest last year. (Between you and me, not getting in motivated me like crazy. I started writing a new story the day after the winners were announced and then rewrote the manuscript I entered in the months following the contest. The re-write is awesome and I’m certain it’ll draw interest once I start querying it.)

Now I’m rambling. So I remembered this contest and I didn’t want to enter the same novel as last year. I thought, perhaps, that I might get this book done in time to enter. And that’s what I did. I wrote non-stop to get the first draft done and managed to get a couple rounds of edits complete before the submission date arrived for the contest. Yay. At least I had an entry.

After failing last year, I learned how subjective contests can be, so I didn’t have high expectations for this book. While I loved the story, I wasn’t sure how other people would react. The book was dark at times, and twisted, and also contemporary. I had never written a Contemporary YA before. Would I pull of an authentic voice? Would people think I needed therapy? Would people scream at my title and ban me from the contest? These were real questions stirring in my mind as I researched authors participating in the contest as mentors.

I eventually made my choices and submitted my book, I KILLED BRENDA MORRIS, to Pitch Wars.

Fast forward to today.

Yes, I made it into the contest and I couldn't be happier. Destiny Cole took a chance on me and accepted me as her mentee. To say that I was shocked to get chosen is a huge understatement. I get emotional thinking about it. This contest was what I needed and it’s making me better every day. Destiny is a fantastic mentor and I’m lucky to have her cheering me on and helping mold this book into something that will surprise and delight a lot of readers. 

Pitch Wars is wonderful. If you entered and didn’t make it in to the contest, keep writing. Keep imagining. Keep entering. If you are a mentor, thank you for giving up your time to help people like me get better. If you are a mentee, hello again. I love our community of support.

Writing is an art, a skill that can be developed. We’re all improving and learning, and putting our dreams onto pages together. And that’s what I love about it.


Jamie