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, Kelsey Rodkey …
Kelsey Rodkey is a burrito lover, banter enthusiast, and young adult writer, who strives to create the stories she lacked as a teenager. Before starting her job as a communications coordinator, she helped a British film crew make a documentary about a dog grooming expo and was an extra in a music video as a girl who couldn’t stop playing with her hair. She lives a few minutes from the capital of Pennsylvania, which a lot of people think is Philadelphia. She is represented by Bridget Smith.
Kelsey’s first page critique . . .
Young Adult: Fantasy
[First paragraphs of each chapter should not be indented, then everything proceeding should be.] My eyes broke away from the sheer-curtained doorway, but it was too late. We slammed into the thin frame and I almost chuckled at the irony of it all as we fell backwards to the ground. [Beside me,] Annette winced. [I like this introduction; it has a great character moment.]
“Are you okay?”
I grabbed her shoulders. [Move this to the same line as the question above, so we know the main character is talking.] She pushed me away and scrambled to her knees. [Move this to the line below so we know she’s speaking. It’s a good character moment, both that she pushes away the main character and that she’s scrambling about for her phone. Hashtag priorities.]
“Where’s my phone?”
Her black latex-gloved hands felt the ground, pulling back each time a shoe heel appeared. Her muffled voice shook with panic, as she warned me about viruses we could be exposed to down there, searching the ground on the busy street. [Intriguing.] I got up and pulled her up beside me. [I pulled her up beside me.] Taking deep breaths, she latched on to my arms. [She latched onto my arms and took deep breaths, trying to calm herself with eyes closed.]
I looked at my sister, [You can remove filters like this. We’re in the main character’s head, so if you describe someone else, the main character is obviously looking at the person.] her heart-shaped face, partially covered by the white mask over her nose and mouth. Her eyes darted back and forth between me and the infected, the name she labelled anyone outside the four corners of our home. [Her eyes darted between me and the infected, the name she labelled anyone outside the four corners of our home, and adjusted her white mask over her nose and mouth, making sure it was still doing its job.] Pedestrians paused as they would at a circus, to stare at [her:] the girl in the dark brown hoodie wearing an [her hoodie,] [her] anti-pollution respiratory mask and black latex gloves on a [despite the] humid July morning[,] and then walked on. Annette shrank inside her hoodie.
“Are you looking for this?”
[Hey! Intriguing start. I’d love to know what’s going on with Annette and why they ran into the door frame. When submitting your manuscript, make sure to format it in size 12, Times New Roman font, with only one space after periods unless you’re doing something intentionally with the formatting, and to indent the lines after the first paragraph of each chapter/chapter break! Good luck!