Where Did That Come From?

Where Did That Come From?

Almost two months ago, I entered an amazing contest that the equally amazing Brenda Drake puts on each year. #PitchWars has been an amazing opportunity, and I intended to spend more time detailing it on this blog. (If you want to know more about the basics of #pitchwars, visit my other post about it.)

You know what they say about good intentions, right? But I did want to join in with my fellow mentees and participate in today’s blog hop. We’re all talking about the inspiration for our novels, and what we’ve learned from #PitchWars.

My #PitchWars manuscript is called LEARNING SPACE, and it’s a middle grade scifi adventure. There are space pirates. And an intergalactic vacuum worm. Lots of aliens. And detention.

Where did I get the idea? Well, honestly, I’m not sure that the idea for this one came from any one place I can point at and tell you “that’s the inspiration, right there.” I had this idea that I wanted to write something exciting that took place in space. And then I was talking about one of my former summer jobs. I worked for six years as a residential dean for a gifted summer camp. We often commented that the students who attended were middle school aged kids who could pass the SATs with a perfect score and did math I didn’t even want to touch, but they couldn’t remember to look both ways before crossing the street sometimes. I think the idea came from there. What would it be like to have a bunch of nerds from all different alien species thrown together. Things went from there and just sort of spiraled out of control!

But, onto the more important part of the blog post – what I have learned while being a #PitchWars mentee.
Oh, so many things. Beyond the fact that Sarah Cannon is an amazing mentor, there are lots of things.
If you haven’t done #PitchWars before, I highly, highly recommend it. But don’t go into it thinking that it is only a contest. Because it isn’t. It’s a community, and it is fantastic. I wish I had taken better notice of this last year, and I am trying to make sure I’m taking more notice this year. The community of people is amazing and there are many people in it who are so willing to help each other out – even if you aren’t picked for the contest, you can still get so much out of it.

  1. Having someone else who believes your book is awesome is just…. I can’t even begin to describe to you how fabulous that is. I love this manuscript. But I have so many trunked manuscripts that I think were good, it is such a great affirmation when someone else wants to play with you baby and tells you how awesome it is as well.
  2. This contest was hard work. My mentor was kind and fed me information in small doses. I had homework assignments that made me examine my MC’s parents and their personalities and motivations, and then having done that, I was better able to go back and make some changes that really needed to happen.
  3. Watch out for tenses. I thought I’d gotten rid of places where my tense changed. Boy was I wrong. There were several places where I realized I’d dropped into present tense. There are also a list of problem words that I now know to look out for in future manuscripts. I think every writer has them. Two I knew of. A couple more appeared that I had no idea I used repeatedly.
  4. Whatever you do to the manuscript it is still yours. Your mentor is trying to help you make your story the best it can be. They are working for your best interest. Remember that. You can follow their suggestions, or not, but in the end, they are there to help you. They want your book to be the  best, so don’t get upset when you’re cutting and rewriting.
  5.  Have fun. I think this is the biggest thing. Writing is hard work, no matter what anyone says. Enjoy it, because if you aren’t enjoying it, then why are you writing. One of the best things about writers is their passion for what they do. They love it, and they want to share that love with the world.

Is there anything you want to know about PitchWars that I can answer? I’ll try to answer any questions posted to me in the comments section!

Be sure to check out the other blog posts in the #PitchWars mentee blog hop! Here are the participants:

2 Replies to “Where Did That Come From?”

  1. I love your inspiration story! One of my little brothers has always been very academically smart with zero real-world smarts, and it’s such a funny combination.

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