Gird Up Your Loins for Pitch Wars

It’s that time again, Scribes! Pitch Wars is upon us with all of its doe-eyed hopefulness and nerve-wracking angst. For those who don’t know, Pitch Wars is a contest where writers query mentors who read their manuscripts and offer suggestions on improving the work so it’s ready for an agent. 

Here’s the info about Pitch Wars if you’re curious:

This year, the mentee submission window opens at midnight EDT Sunday, Sept. 27 and closes 10 p.m. EDT Thursday, Oct. 1.   

I’ve been anxiously awaiting Pitch Wars, preparing my manuscript, rewriting my query letter and synopsis, and diligently reviewing the list of mentors like a general carefully drafting a strategy. I have a table with tiny tanks and planes and query letters and I position them accordingly, based on field reports and intel from Manuscript Wish List. 

I’ve narrowed down four potential mentors for my urban fantasy novel. These mentors could assist me in making my story the best it can be. They can see the flaws, offer suggestions and make those dull words shine. 

But it’s all a crapshoot. 

I understand this going in. Nothing is guaranteed in life, even success in Pitch Wars.

Especially success in Pitch Wars.

It all comes down to random happenstance, and whether a mentor connected with your words. Make a story intriguing, the protagonist relatable, and the stakes high, and you may just entice a mentor.

Fail at this and it’s back to the dingy scullery where you’ll peel potatoes and dream your writerly dreams. 

Or not. 

Maybe you’ll just revise the manuscript, tighten up that query letter, rewrite the synopsis and send it out to agents or publishers. I believe the novel I’ve spent two years writing and tweaking needs fresh eyes and a veteran author’s wise counsel. The mentor will lead me, like some wordsmithing Master Yoda, and teach the Ways of Forceful Writing. They will dissect my novel chapter by chapter and give me a manuscript bloodied with red ink. They will transform the way I see my story and characters.

That’s the hope, anyway. The only thing I can do before then is revise, submit and wait. 

I know it’s a long shot, but not participating isn’t an option. I’m not a fan of regretting something years later because I let fear get the best of me.  

I reread, revised, edited. I moved chunks of text and purged them in the garbage. Writing is rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. It’s taking a chance and welcoming constructive criticism. It’s not giving up when every single instinct in your frail writerly body tells you to. It’s stubbornly pushing onward because you have faith in your story.  

Gird up your loins, warrior scribes! Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of Pitch Wars!

Good luck to everyone pitching this year. 

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