#PitchWars Post-Game

Did you see this tweet a couple days back?


I got picked by Stephanie Scott in PitchWars!!! In preparation for not winning, I had written a short blog post about patience. I talked about the authors’ need for validation, for someone to love them–I mean, love their book. At the same time, I dimly understood that the mentors were looking for books they loved, certainly, but also books that might succeed in the market. Maybe my manuscript had elements that would keep it from succeeding. Maybe the genre wasn’t right for this year.

Winning a writing contest is a powerful boost to the writer’s immune system. A win will keep you warm and cozy for a long time, long enough to push you through your current WIP, long enough to come up with a brilliant new story idea. So if you’re just starting with querying and contests, keep at it! One really complimentary critique or even a few lines of praise erases at least a hundred rejections. I did the math.

And about Stephanie Scott, and what really makes me happy about PitchWars, is that while I was all, I hope someone likes me–I mean, my book–she was looking at pitching and marketing her submissions. I assume all the mentors were doing this. Right here you begin to see the brilliant design of Brenda Drake’s contest. Finding someone who both likes your work AND who wants to find the perfect pitch so you can sell it? It’s genius.

I am so lucky today! I hope that in a few years, I can pay it forward and be a mentor, too. Cheers to the other winners of PitchWars and for the ones practicing patience, may your next contest be the one!

#Pitchwars Bio

Ahem. I’m feeling a little left out. And someone demanding these bios is a prospective mentor, so I am hereby COMPLYING.

A Brief Bio of Me:

Category: Places I have lived.
East coast (Delaware!), West coast (California, Oregon), the Midwest (Ohio, West Virginia).

Category: Hobbies, skills.
Words. Doing things left-handed, but never a circular saw. Unicycle riding (yes, indeed, I was that weird kid) Killer sudoku. DIY art and craft. Scrabble. Film photography. Cooking cicadas–well once, since you have to wait 17 years to make the recipe again. Comic-making.

Category: Jobs I have had.
Golf pro shop clerk, gherkin packer at a Vlasic plant, telemarketer selling some bullshit scammy “product”, many miserable office positions, temping, microfilming, singing waitress (bad idea, job giver of yore) paper-pushing.
Job I have now: small business owner. Pros: you are the boss. Cons: you are the boss.

Category: Writing.
Member of: SCBWI (DE/MD/WV), WV Writers Association, one awesome RL critique group, Scribophile.
How I write: in a super-stripped-down freeware program called Rough Draft. Don’t even think about curly quotes or color-coding shit.
When: 6:00-7:30 a.m. weekdays, plus Saturdays.
What: my current manuscript & pitchwars sub is about my fifth or sixth completed novel. I started on NaNoWriMo in 2004, and man, was there a lot to learn about how to write a novel. I’m almost there.
The current MS is the second with this main character; the first book I wrote was flawed but probably funnier. I am in the early stage of another novel with Penny, aka Queasy, the existentially nauseated teen who only wants to know what’s really going on. I wrote a pretty lame query; the novel is serious and somewhat complex, running on the themes of family pathologies, loss, big mysteries, first love, how bad people can sometimes be good, and a number of other things. Plus a lot of things, both literal and figurative, are lost or disappear during the story.

Category: Music.
Music I listen to now: Alison Moorer, Gillian Welch, Devotchka, Rasputina, Wilco, The Mountain Goats, The Drive-By Truckers. I know, I can’t keep up. These kids with their new music.

Category: Reading.
Favorite books. All of them, Katie.
Book I hated. None.
Influential writers (for my writing): Raymond Carver, Grace Paley, Kurt Vonnegut, Tillie Olsen. I spent decades reading short stories. Not that it always shows.
Mysteriously compelling ones: Michael Kohlhaus (Kleist), Left Hand of Darkness (LeGuin), The Edible Woman (Atwood), Jane Eyre, Berton Roeche essays. Honestly, I’d have to write an book about what I love about these works and authors.

And that’s it. My blog goes back many years, to my mommyblog days. You can read it. I ported it from blogger a couple years back and some posts and all the pictures are lost.