Welcome to the Pitch Wars Workshops with some of our amazing past and 2019 mentors. From a lottery drawing, we selected writers to receive a query or first page critique from one of our mentors. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or first page from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting some of the critiques leading up to the submission window. Our hope is that these samples will help you all get an idea on how to shine up your query and first page.
We appreciate our mentors for giving their time to do the critiques. If you have something encouraging to add, feel free to comment below. Please keep all comments tasteful. Our comments are set to moderate, and we will delete any inappropriate or hurtful ones before approving them.
Next up we have …
Pitch Wars Mentor, Marty Mayberry …
Marty writes cocky beta heroes and kick-ass heroines. When she’s not researching ways to take down killers with everyday household items, she works as an RN/Clinical Documentation Specialist. She lives in New England with her retired Seabee Chief husband, three grown children, not enough cats, and a spunky Yorkie pup who makes her laugh. She writes YA mystery & sci-fi, as well as adult romance-contemporary & romantic suspense. A member of YARWA and a PRO member of RWA, she’s a double ’18 Golden Heart® finalist in short contemporary and romantic suspense.
Marty’s upcoming release…
I survived Orientation at Crystal Wing Academy–barely–and now it’s time to learn how to control my power.
After destroying a power-sucking slake before he killed my friends, I’m feeling stronger and more confident than ever.
Donovan and I are together, I’m pulling in more threads than before, and I have new abilities I’m excited to master… So, I might be flunking Magical Creatures & How to Tame Them. Not everything comes easy, right?
When I stumble over a dead girl–one of eight Outlings at the Academy–and she’s marked with an O and a #7, it’s clear someone’s copycatting the Outling murders that took place one-hundred years ago.
With the clock ticking down and more Outlings turning up dead, I’ll soon be next. Last time, every Outling at the Academy was murdered.
But the killer is about to learn this Outling wizard won’t go down without a fight.
An exciting new world for Potter fans, filled with magic, suspense, a badass heroine, and flirty romance.
Dragonsworn is the second book in the young adult Crystal Wing Academy series. Book three will be released later this year.
Marty’s first page critique . . .
Young Adult: Contemporary
There are two breeds of seventeen-year-olds in this world. The ones who can’t wait to be eighteen and take off in their grandfather’s rusty old truck without one last glance at the life and home they’re leaving behind. Then, (Or instead of Then?) the ones who crave staying home under the care and financial security of their parents for the rest of their lives. Dad wishes I were the latter, but the first description fits me. (I like how you show us she doesn’t want to be tied down/contained by her family life; she wants to hit the road and see where it takes her; well done)
Or would fit me. If I had a grandfather who owned a rusty old truck. (LOL; she has a wry sense of humor that’s addictive)
I don’t have either―a grandfather or a rusty old truck. (<I think you can cut this line because it essentially repeats above other than mentioning she doesn’t have a grandfather. If the lack of grandfather is important, you could rework the sentence above to include that detail or leave it out to insert later) I don’t even know how to drive. Not allowed to even learn. Dad says it’s too dangerous for me.
He’s too much sometimes.
“How was your session?” Dad asks as I slide into the passenger seat of our black Volvo. The car is as old as me, virtually ancient in car years. (love this comparison between herself and the vehicle, how she feels older than her years)
“Fine.” I strap on my seatbelt and press my lips firmly together as I stare out the window at the small, red-bricked building I departed from. I stare at the giant white letters hanging above the spotless glass doors. (consider reworking this last sentence to cut a repeat of ‘I stare out’ and ‘I stare at’; maybe show it, like we’re her: Giant white letters on the sign hanging above the spotless glass doors read,) FRESH START. Until today, it had been years since I stepped foot into that cold, furnished office. I’m not necessarily happy my father forced me to go this Monday morning.
Dad sighs like he expected this but still hoped for a different reaction. I can feel (consider cutting the filter word: feel/hear/see, because it filters what the reader experiences through the MC, reminding us we’re the reader, not the MC. Be direct: The weight of his blue eyes fall on me, but I…) his blue eyes peering over, but I refuse to glance his way.
I say nothing. (Could you use her silence to show deeper emotion? Like: I tighten my lips, refusing to speak or Rather than say things I can’t take back, I crimp my lips together.)
“You woke up screaming in the middle of the night, Honey. What was I supposed to do?” Dad sounds about as frustrated as I feel.
You’ve got a great start here. I hope my suggestions help! All the best. Marty