This year, for the first time, I entered Pitch Wars.
For those unfamiliar with this "contest", Pitch Wars is an opportunity for aspiring writers to submit to five mentors. Everyone submitted on Aug 17th. That's when the mentors—— published/agented authors, editors, or interns who generously volunteer their time—— start winnowing down the submissions to the single story (and author) they want to help for the next five weeks. On Nov. 3rd, the polished pieces (and pitches) will be presented to a panel of agents and, hopefully, representation will be offered.
This year there were 103 mentors. Unfortunately for me, most wanted to work on YA or MG manuscripts of varying genres. By stretching my imagination a little, I was able to winnow out 5 mentors who might be interested in an adult, traditional mystery.
The bad news is that I lost. On the more positive side, once Pitch Wars begins, a frenzy of Tweets ensues. Both mentors and mentees post (See #Pitchwars and # Menteemates on Twitter) advice, suggestions for distractions, crazy cartoons and videos, encouragement, and offers for critique partners and beta readers.
When they come up for air, most mentors will be sending short (or long) critiques to those they didn't choose. Another plus.
I came away with renewed determination and the knowledge that I'm not alone in my struggles. And I'll be checking my Twitter feed to see if anyone wants to critique or read Chill Well before Killing!
Everytime you put yourself out there, dip your toe out of your comfort zone, you get stronger. Repeat three times and get back to writing.