#PitchWars 2015 Mentee Bio

(Is my hair straight? Have I got anything in my teeth? Is this thing on? It’s on. Crap.)

Hello, Pitch Wars crew! All you amazing, lovely people making this contest possible. I’m a little terrified to be here but also ecstatic to try for a slot.

A Little About Me…

I am an introvert who forces herself to do extroverted things. I would love to stay home, read, bake, and nap, but life insists I do something to sustain myself, which requires interacting with other human beings. I run two writing groups, because writers make the best friends and I believe in giving back to the community.

I studied at Eugene Lang, the New School for Liberal Arts because they had a writing program and I just fell in love with the place. For my troubles I got a degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Creative Writing, specifically fiction. I also got to study religion and digital media, so that was cool. I decided not to pursue an MFA because it felt redundant. I needed to get out in the world for a while, live a little. Also, Great Recession.

I was basically raised on Monty Python, so silliness is in my blood. Hello, fellow Pythonites! Can I get you a herring? There are tennis-playing blancmanges over by the comfy chair.

happy

You sons of a silly person!

Random factoids:

  • I grew up in New Jersey but I was born in South Africa. I’m a naturalized citizen.
  • If I don’t sing on a regular basis, I get depressed.
  • Likewise if I don’t read.
  • In a few months I plan to adopt m’self some guinea pigs. Because GUINEA PIGS.

You rang?

  • I have celiac and I’m allergic to a bunch of foods, including eggs. I cook.
  • I make the most excellent marshmallow krispie treats out of Chex cereal.
  • I have much love for elephants, Alphonse Mucha, and shiny jewelry.
  • I am still waiting for Melanie Rawn to finish THE CAPTAL’S TOWER. It’s been 18 years. No one is allowed to complain about waiting for the next book in GoT, okay!?
  • Also, my day job’s editorial style guide has invaded my brain. (Every bullet item SHALL have a period at the end!)

What I Do

By day I’m a web and graphic designer, which means I get to make the pretties.

sky

Shiny…

What I Read & Write

I read a lot of YA, and I’m trying to get into NA. My preferences revolve around fantasy, historical, and strong women. I tend to write in the same genres.

Except for this, the novel I’m submitting, which has taken over my life. UNCHURCHED is contemporary YA, though still with a kickass antiheroine. I never thought I’d wind up writing contemporary, but here I am with a novel and a wider universe of ideas. (All these years I could’ve sworn I would follow in the steps of Tamora Pierce.)

This lady, right here. First book that I ever felt, "YES, THIS IS WHAT I WANTED!"

This lady, right here. First book that I ever felt, “YES, THIS IS WHAT I WANT!”

What I’d Like From Pitch Wars

I am SO READY to WORK on this book!! I’ve already put it through the wringer, but I know it needs that little something more to make it really shine. I miss weekly workshopping.

I’m hoping for a mentor who I can bounce ideas off of as I address their notes. Normally I am very timid about squeaking up, but this book means a lot to me and I want to get it right. I’ve already done what I call committing manuscript surgery several times, and I’m willing to do it all again to get to a better end product. I’ve never been much of a phone person (see: introvert) but I’ll suck it up. If you’re into email and text messaging we’ll get along fabulously. Most of all, I want open communication. I want to feel comfortable reaching out to ask a question. I won’t, like, text you at 3am, that would be rude. You would totally have permission to sic squeaking guinea pigs on me.

No, wait, that’s wrong. MOST of all, I want someone to thrash the crap out of my manuscript. Scrawl all over it in red pixels. Make it cry. Then remind me I am capable of fixing it.

No, Seriously

This contest is amazing. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to apply. It’s says so much about the writing community that those who have gone before are willing to volunteer so much of their time and talent.

And if nothing else, y’all got me to perfect my query letter, and that’s worth a whole bundle. So thank you.

Hey, other mentees!

It occurred to me that part of this process is us making connections with one another. I’m looking for critique partners. So I wrote a profile just for that. Swing by, and if you think we’d mesh, drop me an email!

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A draft, a draft!

I have, technically, finished my first draft. It runs all the way from the beginning to the end, minus some [square bracketed] missing scenes. The story still known as Statutory State (because I have yet to come up with something better) stands at about 72k. That leaves plenty of room for adding in those missing scenes.

What got me to this point? Sheer doggedness and NaNoWriMo. I got about halfway through by the end of October and spent the first 16 days of November still on Stat.

But now what do I do? It’s over. I skipped those other scenes for good reason–they were taking too long to write. Many of them require research. They must be crafted with thought and care. This is not the NaNo way.

So instead I’m diving into another novel in the Cranbrook universe: Rewind. This book takes place a few years before Stat, when the kids are in eighth grade.  Rashid Khan and Aditi Hariharan are the primary focus, and I’m writing Khan’s sections. Vijay will write Adi (and he’s champing at the bit to get started, but he has another project to finish first).

I’m enjoying writing from Khan’s POV, and about his crazy, wonderful family. It’s a nice two week vacation from The Big That Took Forever, a.k.a. Stat.

In December I’ll return to Stat. The process will begin with a complete read-through and note-taking. Then I’ll start doing surgery. It’s going to be a lot of work. All that preparation and I’m still making major decisions about what to include and what to leave out.