Pitch Slam – Feedback Giveaway

by Diana Sousa

For those who don’t know what Pitch Slam is, it’s a contest organized by L. L. McKinney where writers hoping to gain the attention of agents can receive feedback on their work, and then revise and resubmit their entries before the final round. I’ve been a slush reader for the past contests, and this time I was also a Head Girl.

This year we got 336 entries, almost two times the submissions from last year! That’s amazing! But since each team has a limited number of entries they can choose, that means a lot of people didn’t make it to the agent round. This doesn’t mean their work wasn’t good, but unfortunately we couldn’t choose everyone.

So, in order to try and help more people, me and some amazing people involved with Pitch Slam (Angela Cappillo, Brandi Lynch, Kimberly Ito, and Rebecca Waddell) will each be reviewing 5 pitches + first 250 words. That means 25 lucky winners will get another chance at getting feedback!

The rules are very simple:

– You must have submitted to at least one round of Pitch Slam;

– You can’t be part of any of the teams;

– Only 1 entry per person;

Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#PitMad Pitch Critique

by Diana Sousa

#PitMad is quickly approaching (December 4), and since this year I won’t be participating I thought I could help instead – by critiquing your pitches!

#PitMad is a pitch party created by Brenda Drake where writers can tweet a 140 character pitch for their completed manuscripts. You should have different variations of your pitch so you can show different aspects of your book, and make it more interesting. And remember, don’t spam the feed! Once every hour should be enough for agents to read it.

Please remember that although I have some experience with contests of this sort and I’m a literary intern, I’m not actually a professional editor. A lot of great people can help you for a small fee if you want a professional critique, you can find many of them on the Twitter feed for the contest.

Here are two great posts about twitter pitches: one by Diana Urban, another by agent Carly Watters. Those and Brenda Drake’s page should give you an idea of what you should be aiming towards. Your pitch should have your age category and genre, plus the hashtag, all of it counts towards the 140 characters.

And now here’s the giveaway: I’ll be using Rafflecopter so it’s easier to organize everything, and I’ll be giving away 5 critiques (I might offer more if there’s a lot of requests)! This will run until the 30th of November, and then I’ll contact you and help you with your pitches.

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An Unexpected Journey

by Diana Sousa
Books, by Zhen Yang

It was almost a year ago that I started to actually dedicate myself to trying to publish a book. Since then I have read so many articles on writing, queried so many great agents, met so many excellent people… I discovered a great community, gotten amazing feedback and support. Two years ago I would never have guessed any of this.

I finished writing and revising a book, started another one, decided to take a break on that one, and I’m now researching for a completely new one. If it wasn’t for college I’d probably have done more in this area. But it’s my last year, and in a bit more than six months I’ll be free and part of the statistic of unemployment… so, yay? (I’m actually looking forward to this one, I need time to focus on some of my own projects.)

I started working on Edwardian Promenade in January, on Lytherus in August, and started my internship with Pooja Menon of Kimberley Cameron & Associates in September. I’ve read so many amaaazing manuscripts because of this last one, learned so much while editing, reading queries, what works, what doesn’t… And yet I still wonder why anyone would want my opinion on any of this.

(I’ve also learned how hard it is to say no sometimes, because even though there might not be anything wrong with the book, it just isn’t the right one. It has given me a new perspective on the query responses I’ve gotten.)

I have read less books than I wanted, less comics and graphic novels, I haven’t drawn near as much I’d like to, but I have still procrastinated and wasted time when I should be working. But that’s the same as it has always been.

Overall it’s been a good year. I need to remind myself of that sometimes. I don’t want to be soppy (I need to maintain my image of evil, after all), but it’s true. Let’s hope 2014 is even bigger and better. It’s going to be different, I know that. And scarier. But doesn’t that make it more interesting?

(At least I hope so. I’m overly optimistic today, must be the lack of sleep.)

Maybe I should go back to work now. Yes, stop this silly procrastination nonsense. Yes… *goes back to playing video games*

P.S.: One of the things that’s going to happen in January are the results of PitchWars! I was chosen to be part of Team Michelle (or Team Mostly Harmless, how great is that?), but I’ll do a more in-depth post about that then. Wish me luck!

The Writer’s Voice Entry

by Diana Sousa

Hello everyone!

This is my entry for The Writer’s Voice contest, which is hosted by Cupid of Cupid’s Literary Connection, Krista Van Dolzer of Mother. Write. (Repeat.), Monica B. W. of Love YA, and Brenda Drake of Brenda Drake Writes. I would like to thank them for hosting this contest, and also so many other contests in the past.

Withour further ado here is my query and the first 250 words of my manuscript.


The Query

The twentieth century is but a few years old. Helen Hawke thinks that it is about time Detective Wilson Adkins starts to take her seriously and accepts her as his young assistant. Staying behind a desk is not something she can endure much longer.

But before she even gets to celebrate her first successful case, a mysterious letter arrives addressed to detective Adkins, and its contents could not be more intriguing. A stranger invites the detective not for a tea party or a conversation over dinner, but to watch him turn a small English village into chaos. Perhaps even kill people. It’s a game, this stranger says, and warns him that he will not be able to stop him. He’s welcome to try, nevertheless.

Mr Adkins claims he has no idea why this person would choose a small-time detective like himself. Yet Helen suspects that might not be the whole truth. As Helen is thrown into a world of almost constant worry and danger, she starts to find that the person she trusts the most might not be exactly who he says he is.

The time to prove herself has arrived, as she wished for so long. But will she regret it?

SINCERELY YOURS, THE VILLAIN, an YA Historical Mystery, is 54,000 words long.

250 Words – Sincerely Yours, the Villain

The cold welcomed me with open arms as soon as I opened the doors. I buried my face deeper in my scarf. I did not want to be ungrateful, but I had just woken up and traces of my warm bed still lingered on me. Only then, with a deep breath to gather my courage, did I throw myself into the awakening streets.

I did not even like getting up so soon, but it was becoming more and more common, now that I spent my days with the detective. I used to tell him I was still young, and therefore I had to take advantage of the reputation that I spent all morning in bed and the whole afternoon doing nothing. He then would answer that he was old enough to spend his days comfortable in an armchair, smoking a pipe and reading a classic novel. However, he did not. Everyone had to compromise.

Given that I had to walk to his house, instead of taking a carriage, it meant I would arrive already awake and ready to work. The cold would take care of that even if I did not want to. It also meant I would have the opportunity to observe people in their natural habitat, as he was always telling me to do. Not that I had the chance to do that spending the whole day closed in his office, but he still believed I was not ready to go help him with his work cases. (…)

Thank you for reading!