Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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Pitch wars #askmentor Q&A





Hey guys! There was a spontaneous Q&A session with some of the mentors for #pitchwars (if you don’t know about it, find it here) I recorded all the questions and their answers here for easier viewing! There’s some good stuff. (Any other mentors that would like to throw in some answers just let me know, I can add to it)

 

Also, I’m also doing a couple mentor interviews here. I’ll start posting them shortly after the 26th when the official mentor post goes up, so keep a look out.




@Trombolii
How can authors stand out from among the masses (aka slush) for you?

 

            @ABoredAuthor

Strong voice and clever dialogue!

            @Michelleiswordy

Strong voice in the first few pages!

            @Michelleiswordy

Strong voice in the first few pages!

            @Shelley_Watters

Awesome hook. Great voice & pacing. Something that sucks me and and makes me want to keep turning the page.

            @Tina_Moss Great question. Short, snappy query and MS with strong voice, interesting characters and compelling story.

            @Tina_Moss

Me too. Short, short, short for query. Quick pitches are great practice.

 


 
What is your strength as a mentor?

            @S_M_Johnston

I've got lots of experience at critiquing MS via writing communities & Betas. Interning gives me industry insights.

            @Michelleiswordy

I'm killer at attention-grabbing queries. I'm also great at hooky pitches and spotting WIP areas that are weak.

            @DormRoomDreamer

1)      I'm a tough critic BUT I ALWAYS find a way to fix w.e. the issue is. 2) I enjoy query editing--and I'm good at it

            @Shelley_Watters

I'm a tough critic, but provide ideas for fixing the issues. I also can write a killer pitch in <140char
 
            @NazareaAndrews

big picture. I'm really really good at big picture--why something works, why it doesn't, and if it's too similar to something out

            @NazareaAndrews

I'm not bad at editing, but big picture is my strong suit. Why a scene doesn't work and how to fix it.

 


 

            @JessyMontgomery
To the ya mentors- what really catches your eye in a query?

 

            @S_M_Johnston

Non-generic descriptions. Get specific, give me details. Generic phrases are such a turn off. Include the why.

            ‏@DormRoomDreamer8m

I agree--BUT if you have a complicated plot--simplify. Give us the juicy bits.
 
            @Michelleiswordy

Plot that challenges MC on emotional level as well as outward level. Leave me asking "How'll they pull it off?"

            @DormRoomDreamer

I'm sick--I actually like editing queries--I need a first line that hooks me otherwise I'm bored right away.
 

 

 

            @drcydrke

Topic jump! What qualities do you admire most in other writers? Especially when giving feedback on their work.

 

            @Tina_Moss

Voice, voice, voice. Hardest to master, and almost impossible to teach. If a writer has it, I'm won over.

            @DormRoomDreamer

I agree-- I ADORE an amazing voice. Male or female 16 or 22. Give me a gr8 voice n I'll follow the character

            @Shelley_Watters

Taking criticism and turning it into something amazing, that neither had envisions when reading the original.

            @Michelleiswordy

Willingness to delete sections of work and try again. Shows objectivity and willingness to try new things.

 

 
 

            @PaulDeane3

Are #pitchwars genres strictly by age of MC (YA<18, NA 18-25, Adult>25)?

 

            @Shelley_Watters2m

For the most part those age cut-offs are pretty good, but sometimes there are exceptions (like always).
 
            @Michelleiswordy

Age of protagonist matters, most important is subject matter. Adult issues = adult book. YA issues = YA book, etc.

 

 


Would you be forgiving about some things that need work for a sub with potential?

 

            @Michelleiswordy

Yes, of course. Raw talent and potential always shines through, regardless of occasional pitfalls.

            @Heidi_Schulz

If you have a great concept, great writing, &/or great voice, we'll work on what needs strengthening

            @Tina_Moss

Absolutely. I've worked with writers at all levels and enjoy it very much. Polish MS, but don't stress

            @Heidi_Schulz3m

 If you have all three (and it's MG), I'll hurt someone to mentor you.

            @NazareaAndrews

Yes. I'd hope it wasn't a first draft, but if it had potential and I really like it? Of course.

            @deanabarnhart

I think that's what we're here for. If you're willing to put in some work, so are we.

            @brendadrake

Yes, I'd be forgiving, but I'm a tough critiquer, so I'm not for the faint of heart. I'm doing MG not Kid Gloves

 

 

 

Any tips on writing killer pitches?

 

            @Michelleiswordy

Focus on main problem/consequence. "Must steal artifact before 1st of Jan otherwise world ends."

            @Shelley_Watters

Fill in the blanks: When X happens MC must Y or Z will happen.

            @Tina_Moss

This is great format. I'd add, consider unique point about your character or plot.

            @S_M_Johnston

Give us a taste of your book, especially the voice. Show us the stakes - this is 1 of the most important things

            @Tina_Moss

Remember your query isn't about summarizing your story. It's about hooking the agent/editor to want to read more.

           @Tina_Moss

Read back cover copy. Does it make you want to read the book? If yes, use THAT as example for your query.

           @Tina_Moss

Last query note: K.I.S.S. = Keep it short and snappy!




3 comments:

  1. What a great idea! Thanks for putting this together. :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for posting these! I devoured the answers quickly. And thanks to all the mentors for posting answers and participating. :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for posting, the coversation was moving fast and hard to keep up with. Some great questions and answers from the mentors here.

    ReplyDelete

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