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, Laura Brown …
Laura Brown lives in Massachusetts with her quirky family, consisting of her husband, young son, and two cats. Hearing loss is a big part of who she is, from her own Hard of Hearing ears, to the characters she creates. She has two books out with Avon, Signs of Attraction and Friend (With Benefits) Zone. Her upcoming books include A PERFECT MISTAKE by Lakewater Press coming in 2019 and MATZAH BALL SURPRISE by Entangled available in 2020. She’s been a Pitch Wars mentor since 2016 and loves giving back to the writing community.
Also from Laura…
Laura offers author services, from queries and synopsis help, to developmental edits and sensitivity reads.
Laura’s query critique . . .
New Adult: Romantic Comedy
Dear [editor’s or agent’s name],
When Lauren and Conner meet, sparks fly, but Lauren won’t fall for a professional flirt again, and Conner isn’t interested in an uptight know-it-all who’s still hung up on her ex. [You’ve got a lot in this first line, but it doesn’t serve well to hook. I’d recommend coming up with a first line that hooks the reader: how do they meet, what type of sparks fly, etc. And I’d be careful of putting both MCs negative traits right there, give us a chance to connect to at least one before throwing the other under the bus.] However, when Lauren finds her dream study abroad to Australia, dating Conner seems like her golden ticket: Conner’s the perfect fake boyfriend to convince Lauren’s mother, who controls the money that would make the trip possible but wants her married ASAP, that she’s taking her love life seriously. [I’m sorry to say, I’m confused here. What about their first meeting leads to a second? How does Conner help her with a study abroad? Can you introduce the characters a bit more so this dynamic becomes clear?]
Lauren’s plan to fake-date Conner works like a dream—until she falls for Conner for real. [How are they fake dating if she’s studying abroad? Is Conner there as well?] Telling him the truth about their relationship seems like a sure way to lose him, but Lauren’s not the only one with a secret, and Conner has his own missteps to keep buried. [What missteps? Be clear] When both of their mistakes [What are these mistakes] come to light, Lauren and Conner have to decide what’s real, what’s fake, and what’s worth fighting for. [This is okay ending, but it lacks a punch because I haven’t felt their relationship develop, and I don’t know the obstacles they each face that will push them apart.]
[You’ve got a great voice, and I’d definitely be interested in learning more about your story. But all I’m getting here is that this a fake date abroad story. I don’t know really anything about Lauren, Conner, or what makes their story. Why should I read about them? What are their stakes? What sets them apart from any other similar story? I’d suggest you put in some of their story notes, that first meeting, why they clash. You indicate Conner is a professional flirt but never mention it again, or Lauren’s ex (which I admit I missed the first read through) I’d love to know more about that, more about why I’d want to see him end up with Lauren (and vice versa). How do they end up fake dating, what is that like, put some of that in here. I need to walk away from a query with a taste of what I’m going to find in the book itself and I’m not getting that at this point.]
TITLE is a new adult [NA is a very hard sell right now, your comps suggest this could easily be made into YA, but Lauren’s mother pushing for marriage suggests otherwise. I’d give some serious consideration to where this would sit on the shelves in a store. Is it with the YA or A? Because NA doesn’t really have a shelf.] romantic comedy for fans of Sandhya Menon’s WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI and Jenny Han’s TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE and is complete at 66,000 words. This would be my debut novel, [No need to mention this, jump right to the award] and it won Honorable Mention in the 2017 Utah Original Writing Competition. I have workshopped the manuscript at six sessions [Not sure the six is needed, don’t want this to look over done] of the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference and at three literary agent workshops. I hold a BA in English and creative writing.
Thank you for your consideration.