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, Annie Sullivan …
Annie Sullivan is the author of A Touch of Gold (Blink/HarperCollins, August 2018), which is about the cursed daughter of King Midas. She grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and received her master’s degree in Creative Writing from Butler University. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling. Her wanderlust has taken her to every continent, where she’s walked on the Great Wall of China, found four-leaf clovers in Ireland, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, and cage dived with great white sharks in South Africa.
Annie’s upcoming book, TIGER QUEEN, releasing September 10, 2019 …
From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA fantasy adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess battling to save her kingdom. Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?”
In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.
But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.
Annie’s first page critique . . .
All Elinah Omondi wants to do is practice her witchcraft in peace, but magic is forbidden in [her] country [of] Umoja. [When one wrong move sparks a witch hunt in the village marketplace, Elinah’s mother goes up in flames—literally.][Elinah is an outcast teenage witch in Ndogo, a provincial village where magic is sacrilegious.] When Elinah slips and reveals her powers, her mother takes the blame. While the villagers burn Mama at the stake, Elinah flees to the capital city. [These past two sentences are the same as at the end of the first paragraph. Only have them once. I’d keep these two as I’ve done here by moving them up.] There, she attends a prestigious academy and tries to hide her magic, until she meets another witch [named Tamu.]. [He’s from the foreign land of Senta]. For the first time since she was a child, Elinah finds a friend in Tamu and his jubilant but mysterious sister Keri.
But the safety of the academy doesn’t last for long. Dark spirits descend [Descend or attack?] on the trio, and they seek shelter in a secret witch camp hidden in the woods. There they discover that one witch, Zoputan, is hunting down the rest. No one at the camp knows why, but they intend to take her down before she strikes again[—becasuse one of them might be next.] [Good, but I’d use some of the freed up space to add in why they’re being hunted so we know the stakes.]
I am a non-binary lesbian journalist who has studied at New York University’s Science, Health & Environmental Reporting Program. I have written about science and culture for Psychology Today, Audubon magazine, and Scienceline.
THE RUNAWAY WITCHES is an 84,000-word Queer YA Fantasy novel with asexual, lesbian, gay, polyamorous, non-binary, and bisexual characters. The book has series potential and will appeal to fans of Lirael and The Subtle Knife.
Thank you for your time and consideration.