I wrote a book. I edited it, printed it a few times, shared with family as “beta” readers and had chapters critiqued by CPs. I was ready to become a published author. I queried a few agents. I got a few rejections, heard a few crickets. I stopped querying.
I knew my story wasn’t right, but I was working in a vacuum. I didn’t have a big enough community and I was floundering. So I put the manuscript to the side for a break and some perspective.
On August 3 when Pitch Wars opened for submissions I saw a tweet about it. An opportunity to work with a mentor sounded like exactly what I needed. I was excited and terrified all at once, and scrambled to write a synopsis and updated query letter. I submitted and waited with baited breath.
And mentor Rebecca Petruck chose me.
She chose me. You guys I fell to the floor and started weeping. Which sounds dramatic, but when you have a dream and no idea how to achieve it, finding someone who believes in you even a teeny tiny bit is a lifeline. And Rebecca is the loveliest teacher and cheerleader to have in your corner.
She immediately had me do a new outline for the book, with several major character changes. Already I could see a new story taking shape. It was my old story, but darker and more exciting. And then it was time to work.
I had no idea what I was capable of. I wrote 40,000 new words in four weeks. And while they weren’t my best words, they were good ones. Rebecca provided feedback on my total revision and then it was time to do more work. I read, edited, rewrote, edited more. I read aloud and then on my Kindle. And then Rebecca started line edits for me and I dug back in. Again. Wash, rinse, repeat.
This has been an exhilarating, exhausting, and completely worthwhile experience. In just a few days, my pitch and first page will be posted for agents to review. And if it resonates with any of them, I will send them this brand new book I’ve written and edited in just over two months. But if it doesn’t, I’m still coming out of this a better writer with a better story. I’ve learned so much about the mechanics of story, about my personal tics and (sometimes bad) habits. I’ve met other fabulous writers who are chasing this same dream. I’ve been given a community to go to when I need advice, commiseration or celebration and a mentor that continues to provide me insight and support.
So this is my Pitch Wars story. It doesn’t have an ending because really, Pitch Wars is just the beginning. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.