Back in August I submitted Robber Barrons, a space opera manuscript, to Pitch Wars. For those unfamiliar, it’s a pitch contest during which you work with a specific mentor to revise your ms. There is an agent round in February, in which agents can request to read more, just like with regular querying. And hopefully, you’ll get an offer of representation! If not, that’s okay, because you’ll have a shiny new ms ready for querying. (For more on how the contest works, check out the website.) Last year I submitted a different ms to Pitch Wars to no success. Not even one request from any of the mentors I chose. I picked myself up and readjusted my focus to Robber Barrons.
I have been working on this book for a very long time; in fact, it was the first novel I ever wrote, back in 2012. The version I’m revising now is completely different, however. I rewrote the entire story back in 2016, with a new plot, new characters, and new worldbuilding. Only the title and the main crew remained the same. Since 2016 I’ve been working on this book on and off, and started revising in earnest earlier this year, thanks to wonderful feedback from my editor, Alli Martin. (Hire her if you need freelance editing services. She’s great.) I finished revising over the summer, as Pitch Wars was coming up, and decided to try submitting again. I’m so glad I did, because I got one request…and I got in! Selections were announced on October 11, which was my husband’s birthday, so I like to think we both got a present that day.
For the past two months, I’ve been working with my mentor, Paris Wynters, on getting Robber Barrons into shape for the agent round. Let me just say that Pitch Wars is not for the faint of heart. Every day I’m either working on homework or revising, in addition to going to my day job. I’ve learned how to make a scene breakdown spreadsheet, filled out 11 character background sheets, read countless books/handouts on craft, learned about Deep POV and Active Setting, and watched videos on how to create emotional depth. I did my first editing pass in about three weeks, and added around 20k overall to the novel. All the hard work has been worth it, though. Paris had wonderful ideas for the structure of the ms and helped me really get into the meat of my characterization. I have learned so much about myself as a writer, and about the writing process in general. I’m so glad I got to participate in Pitch Wars after I’ve been writing and querying for a few years. Coming into Pitch Wars, I felt ready to elevate my career to the next level, and to synthesize all the advice and homework into a process that will help me be a better writer and editor.
There’s still two months left until the agent round, which is good because I still have another edit pass to do, but bad because the stress is real and I just want to take a nap. (Which will happen on my upcoming vacation. I will return recharged and ready to conquer.) I can’t wait to report back about the final two months of the process, and hopefully good news on the agent round!