Pitch Wars Cometh–Are You Ready?

I’ve mentioned a few times this month that I’m planning to enter Pitch Wars this year. Well, we’re down to the final week before the submission window opens up so I am really neck deep in revisions and query letters and synopses! So…sorry about missing the Saturday post. It seems like some people really did come looking for it, which warms my heart. 🙂

I’m a little hopped up on caffeine so this might get a teensy bit rambly.

What is Pitch Wars?

Just go here. I can’t articulate it better than the person who runs it. It’s something I noticed about a month ago and said, “I can be ready in time for that.”

And…I have a week left but I’m starting to think I’ll never feel ready, I’ll just have to put my best foot forward.

Pitch Wars is really great because I’m not quite ready to query an agent (I think? I’ve never queried before) and I have missed having a mentor. If chosen, I am looking forward to working even harder than this last month’s work and making some amazing progress, connections, and friends.

If not chosen, at least I tried. Hopefully, I’ll be able to receive some feedback and can keep going on the track I had planned to take before I knew Pitch Wars was a thing. And, actually, thanks to this preparation, I’m definitely on schedule for Plan B, if Plan A doesn’t work out.

Plus, even if I’m not chosen, I have met so many cool people and seen sooooooooooo many amazing pitches and concepts and each mentor I plan to submit to has books I simply MUST READ RIGHT NOW but I can’t because I’m too busy prepping for PitchWars and my TBR stack is now three stacks and… *takes a deep breath* It’s awesome, either way, I am so glad to be able to participate.

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What does “preparation” entail?

It involves the cashier at Starbucks knowing your name and order in a week when you’ve never been to that location before. It involves eating fried rice because you don’t have time to cook real meals and not just side dishes.

It involves watching other people level up in Pokemon Go while you sit and write.

This is serious business, people.

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Lyrical writing, I choose you!

Oh, you mean what kind of writing preparation does it entail?

The initial submission calls for a query and first chapter but a synopsis might be requested and a completed manuscript is definitely a requirement. I have the manuscript. Still working on the query letter and synopsis.

Let’s just say it’s SO MUCH easier writing this 70,000ish word manuscript than it is writing a 1 page query or 3 page synopsis. Remind me to do the query letter and synopsis BEFORE writing the manuscript next time.

What are you submitting? 

My firstborn novel. My baby. My love. My pride and joy.

If selected, I will offer it up as tribute to be ripped apart and returned bleeding red ink, coffee stains, and adverbs as my mentor and I attempt to stitch it back together and electrify the writing, bringing it to life once more.

I did warn you about the caffeine thing. Just saying.

I am submitting a YA fantasy/light sci-fi based in a future version of Earth where the gods and technology coexist, but not amiably.

The new working title is INNATE. It’s not a perfect fit, but maybe a better one will come to me in the next week (or I’ll get my friend Kat to name it because she is AWESOME at naming things).

INNATE is, at its core, a story about two girls who find themselves to be pawns in a divine chess game. Their response? To become queens, but at a price.

[[[I just want to say, that is not my working pitch. My actual pitch is better than this. I promise. I made it up over Phoenix Comicon.]]]

I really hope my entry is awesome enough to be chosen in Pitch Wars because I cannot wait to share this story with everyone!

One thing I really want to explore with INNATE is the humanizing of the “bad guys.” My main antagonist is definitely rotten to the core, but he still has fears. He isn’t some automaton programmed to destroy the world–he has wants and anxieties that can be used against him. This kind of characterization can be difficult in 3rd limited because I never go into my antagonist’s POV, but I sort of wrote it into my story without really thinking about it. I just put the puzzle pieces together later. That happens rarely, but it can be really fun!

Part of humanizing the bad guys includes making death serious again. I’ve talked a couple times on here about how easily authors kill random guards or even the big boss at the end. It might not be easy for the character to do, but rarely is any time given to the loss in general. This especially irks me when the death is collateral damage: a guard or security officer or just someone who kind of got in the way.  In INNATE, the characters have to understand and deal with the fact that they may be chased by people who want to hurt them, but many of those people are just doing their jobs for a cause they don’t disagree with. Those people have families and loved ones. The collateral damage character isn’t there maliciously, like the antagonist. They aren’t Nazis, they’re uninformed foot soldiers that the antagonist uses as shields. In INNATE, collateral damage characters are usually victims themselves, who have been turned against our heroes by the villain through lies, trickery, or magic.

As the world seems to sink deeper and deeper into violence and chaos and hatred, I want each of my characters to take death very seriously–especially when they’re on the giving end and especially when its against an enemy.

That’s enough rambling from me for today, I have more writing to do. See you next time!

 

Author: JA Goodsell

I write YA fantasy, blog about it, and then take my dog out for therapy. My current manuscript is INNATE, a story of two sisters caught up in a war between the gods. Find me on Twitter at @JAGoodsell or Instagram at books_and_dogs

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