For the past few months, I’ve been furiously editing a manuscript I love just as much as the day I started writing it mid-2016. Said manuscript has had its ups and downs. It’s been out on submission, read by a number of agents, gone through a couple Twitter contests, a partial has even been edited by a paid professional, and the whole manuscript has been hauled through more revisions and rewrites than I’ve ever done.
Despite all this, I’m still sad when I read the last line and have to part with this story. I love all my characters. Yes, even those from my early books, which will never see the light of day. But the two MCs (main characters, for those not familiar with the term) from my latest manuscript, are my favourites. They hold a very special place in my heart, and I truly hope they will one day sit on a book shelf.
For this reason, I entered PitchWars for the first. Time. Ever!
I only learnt about it earlier this year and debated entering or not. The odds are pretty slim, with some serious talent in the mix. I admit, I feel rather inadequate, but if by some beautiful miracle I manage to win over one of the mentors, the prize is worth it—two months revising your manuscript with a mentor. And then there’s the agent round at the end, which is very exciting, but I’m mostly eager about the prospect of a talented mentor digging into my manuscript to make it shine!
What could be better?
Besides the absolute trove of knowledge the mentors have to offer, I see #PitchWars as a safe practice round for aspiring novelists looking to break into the industry. As an amateur, one of my biggest worries is (again, if by some miracle) I land an agent, or a book deal, and am asked to make certain changes and rewrites… and then I don’t know how to go about it. The idea of stumbling at that point, agented with a potential book deal, terrifies me beyond belief.
#PitchWars is the perfect opportunity to test this, and I would be thrilled to see my beloved manuscript chosen. Of course, there are lots of other benefits, such as meeting new writing buddies and finding critique partners. Mentors have been parting with all sorts of wonderful advice, answering questions, and I’m sure this will continue through the contest. But for me, personally, landing a spot as a mentee would be icing on the cake—no, that’s a cliché!
Today I entered, so the three-week-wait has begun. It’s all very exciting, and part of me wishes I was a mentor just so I could see what’s going on behind the scenes. There’s a reason I’m a writer—you get to know everything! I fully expect to be somewhat glued to the hashtag until announcement day 25 August.
One mentor, said the literary industry is all about “hurry up and wait”. I’m definitely embracing this as my new motto in my writing life.
*For more information, visit Brenda Drake’s website to learn all about #PitchWars.