Please, PitchWars, be kind.

Okay… So, I’ve submitted to PitchWars and now wait anxiously for the results, along with all the other hopefuls. My non-writer followers out there will likely be wondering what PitchWars is. (Some of my writer-type followers might be wondering the same.) Well, PitchWars is a writing contest run by Brenda Drake.  However, it’s a contest where successful candidates (called mentees) are mentored by an established author through an intensive editing cycle, polishing your manuscript to the nth-degree, getting it ready for the agent rounds come November.

Well… I really don’t know how to feel about this. Last year when I submitted to PitchWars, I found myself religiously checking my email everyday. However, when the announcements came out and I wasn’t among the successful mentees, I wasn’t upset. As I had mentioned in a post back then, I was already a winner.

Last year, during the lead up to PitchWars, I met Ann Bell Feinstein. She and I have become very close friends, on video chat most days and helping each other through more than just the ups and downs of writing. There is no doubt about it: even though I wasn’t selected, PitchWars 2015 changed my life.

PitchWars 2016 will be no different. But if I’m truthful to myself, unlike last year, this year I’m actually terrified.

My fear is entirely focused on the word counts of my manuscript. I’ll admit that for a debut author, the number is considered too high by many, even though it sits dab-smack in the middle of the range that my dream publisher, Tor, says they are willing to accept for fantasy.

But here’s the thing… Many will see it as too high and I’m consciously aware of that. I will likely need to bring that word count down even further, but bugger me if I can figure out how. Trust me, I’ve tried. I’ve removed characters. I’ve deleted whole scenes. I’ve removed entirely subplots and reworked the entire ending, all in the effort of dealing with the word counts. I’ve had a developmental editor look at my manuscript too — it was with her help that I reworked the ending of my manuscript — and as far as she’s concerned, my manuscript is submission ready.

But that word count is still high. I know many agents will balk at that number, even if it’s not outrageously high. That is why I’ve submitted to PitchWars. Perhaps one of the mentors will see something that I (and the editor I hired) could not.

It is this that terrifies me the most. I struggle to fathom what possible changes a PitchWars mentor could suggest, but I will consider all ideas. There are a few subplots and characters that I would be incredibly resistant to touch though — little Gracy is just one of them and if you have read my manuscript, you’d instantly know why.

I want to be published so badly that I can taste it. I know I could self-publish, but then I would be cheating myself of the real dream. There is a reason I chose the traditional publication road and those reasons haven’t changed.

I want this.  I’m ready for this.

Regardless whether I’m selected or not, I will continue to push for my manuscript to be published traditionally. It’s the path I want and this is my year!

P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

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