Pitch Wars 2016

Greetings, Pitch Warriors!

Welcome to my little nook of the web. Feel free to take a look around, but you’ll probably to notice one teensy thing: my post frequency majorly dropped about a year ago. And for good reason.

I’ve been writing other things. Long things. Things I’ve poured over for hours and days I couldn’t try to count. Things that I’ve prioritized over blogging.

Books. I’ve been writing books.

Or, rather, giant Word documents that I hope to someday see in book form.

But there’s the sticking point. Hope isn’t enough. Seeing any of my words published with a pretty cover takes work. Lots of it.

And as your mentee, I’d be up for it. For real. I can do this. And that’s not ego talking. It’s experience. Because, well, I’ve done it before.

Last year, by the one and only Kate Brauning mentored me and my contemporary YA manuscript, THE STAGGERING FORCE OF WANT. During the revision window, I gave characters more flaws. Increased tension. Made characters earn their consequences. Wrote a bunch of new scenes – including a whole new ending.

And I loved it. Seriously. Drafting is great and all, but I write to revise – to give my characters different ways to be their best selves.

I got a decent amount of requests during the agent round. I queried widely. I received positive feedback. But nobody has loved my manuscript enough to take it on.

So, I wrote another one.

And here I sit, humbly offering it – and me – to you for mentorship. But what’s in it for you, right? Well:

1) Resilience

I teach high school which, sure, means I hang out with teenagers more than the average adult, but it also means that I’m used to motivating myself when work gets tough. It also means that I make a lot of mistakes, and that hundreds of people don’t hesitate to call me on them. I’m used to being called out on things I can improve, and am constantly looking for ways to avoid screwing up in precisely the same way a second time.

2) Ambition

Last year’s experience was an adventure. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I squeed more than the average YA BFF every step of the way.

But Pitch Wars also made me want the dream to stop being a dream. Sure, my skin has become so thick over the last year that I’m waiting to turn into a lizard any day now, but underneath, I’m this quivering puppy, putting on her cute face, determined to convert as many people as I can into dog lovers.

I want to see my words in print, and I will keep working – keep jumping on every opportunity I can – until that happens.

3) Professionalism

Pitch Wars isn’t a whim for me. Writing isn’t a whim for me. They’re work. Work I love, sure, but work that requires dedication. Commitment. Respect and patience and tenacity. They’re the same characteristics that I bring to human interaction in general, whether I’m working with a mentor, talking to an agent, or giving a random tourist directions to the bus stop.

4) A fresh manuscript

This contemporary YA project has never been queried. It’s been polished and shown love, but I know it can be better. It’s character-driven and a little quiet. I need to make it noisier to compete in this market. I’m just not sure how to go about it.

The dual POV balance of hope and desperation is different than anything I’ve written before, and I’m eager to learn and do all the things to make it kick some serious ass.

5) Travel tips and dog pics

Teaching is my third career. I’ve previously worked in travel sales and copywriting, and provided bilingual (French/English) customer service and sales support for an orthopedics company.

But travel stuck with me a lot more than knees and ankles. Want to chat about the world? Tell stories of culture shock and foibles? Hear about how I’m planning my second trip to London in three years just so I can see the Harry Potter play? I’m your girl.

Or, want more pictures like this of a giant doofus named Peanut? I may have a couple. And there may be a character in my manuscript pretty similar to this blanket hound.
Peanut blanket look

All that to say that writing is my focus, but the human aspect of Pitch Wars is what makes it special. I’m here to work, but writing is such a solitary gig so much of the time, and Pitch Wars gives us the chance to have some fun while we’re at it.

So, I hope you enjoy my words, but, more than that, I hope you want to team up and go to battle with me. Because writing is a solitary deal. But publishing takes an army. And I want to be part of yours.

Twitter: @AshDMacKenzie