Summer has arrived, which means it’s time for the beach, long, sunny days, and Pitch Wars!
If you don’t know what Pitch Wars is, it’s a writing contest started by the amazing Brenda Drake! Seriously, she is awesome. I got lucky enough to be on her #PitchMadness team with an older MS earlier this year. Go check out the rules on her site.
Confession time, this is not the first Pitch Wars I’ve entered, it’s not even my second. Back in 2015 I entered with my first manuscript. Though I’d been writing for a long time, I was new to the publishing world and really didn’t know any of the rules. That manuscript was a complete mess. It didn’t have a true genre and the pacing was horrible, not to mention I didn’t know the difference between show and tell.
But through Pitch Wars, I began to meet other YA writers and met some of my fabulous Critique Partners.
By the time #PitchWars 2016 came around, I had another manuscript, one I’d begun to query and had agent interest. This one was a Twelfth Night retelling that took place in a fantasy world where two countries were at war over magic: Just named her clan’s sailor, Val disguises herself as a boy and joins an enemy ship in search of her kidnapped brother. I didn’t get a mentor out of PitchWars, but I was very confident in this manuscript. I finished edits and queried it. Over a year of querying, the manuscript generated 17 agents requests and one offer of representation! However, I did not think the agent was the right agent for me, and I passed. That manuscript got into #PitchMadness. (Shout out to #TeamIceCreamSeas.) I unfortunately didn’t receive any other offers, but I knew I was close.
While I was writing my Twelfth Night retelling, I came up with an idea for a Young Adult Contemporary. Since I didn’t know much about YA Contemporary, I set the idea aside and worked on my other manuscripts. But it kept tugging at the back of my mind. So, in January of 2017, I began reading YA Contemporaries. By the end of March, I was ready to draft. The first draft took me just over a month and in May, I sent it to my CPs. I’ve now begun to get their feedback and am beginning to go through a set of edits before the submission for #Pitchwars.
So, what is this contemporary? DRUM ROLL PLEASE…..
A FEMALE VERSION OF AMERICAN PIE!!
But AMERICAN PIE had a lot of anti-feminism plot points. It did. I absolutely loved the raunchiness of the movie, but I was very aware of some of the problems in it. Then one day I asked myself, why isn’t there a story where it’s the girls who decide that they want sex?
So, I wrote DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS: A YA Contemporary about four senior girls who create an anonymous blog about the positive aspects of sex. Only, they need to have sex in order to write about it. It’s got the awkward, raunchy, funny parts of AMERICAN PIE, plus an amazing female friendship, a body-positive message, and a f/f relationship.
It’s written in 4 Points of View:
Andi: A girl who not only plays boy’s lacrosse on multiple teams, but has a scholarship to play at Duke. She’s crass and tough but loves comic books and is afraid that boy’s will think she’s too manly.
Charlie: Senior class president, National Scholar, and Model U.N. participant. She’s the youngest of seven and because she’s dyslexic, she has forgone a social life in order to get good grades.
Savannah: The theater star who doesn’t know if she’s going to college in the fall or just moving to New York to pursue her dream of being a Broadway star. Her girlfriend is hesitant about moving their relationship to the next stage, even though Savannah is ready.
Vivian: A graphic designer and artist who loves Star Wars and is a true nerd at heart. Her boyfriend junior year told the whole school that they slept together, naming her the school slut and destroying her trust in boys. Despite that, she’s bubbly and enthusiastic.
I’m so excited about this manuscript and see it’s potential. I’m hoping I can find a mentor who loves the idea and can help me shape it into the amazing manuscript I know it can be. I am ready to work hard and put my heart and soul into this manuscript.
About me: I’m an environmental scientist. I spent the last year teaching high school and right now I’m spending the summer doing research. I’m not sure where I’ll be in the fall, but I always make time for my writing. I can’t function if I don’t have time to write.
I love the editing process. Drafting is all right, but taking that hunk of clay and whittling it down into a story is what I love to do. If I become your mentee, I promise to work my hardest. I’m not afraid of changing my manuscript, because I know those changes are for the best.
I am ready to bring my girls into battle, are you??
Go check out others entering #PitchWars at #Pimpmybio