Writing Contests

#TeamWordsOnFire Pitch Wars 2018 Wish List


Hi there, potential Pitch Wars mentees, how’s it going?

First of all, congratulations on finishing that manuscript! You’ve taken that all-important first step that so many people dream about and you should be proud of yourself. As former PitchWars mentees, we’ve both been in your shoes. It’s terrifying. It’s exhilarating. It’s kinda confusing at times (which mentor do I pick? is my MS ready?), but we’ll do our very best to guide you through it.

We’re going to be there for our mentee since the moment we first send that edit letter, through to line edits (however many we may need), wrangling that query into submission, and making the whole synopsis-writing as enjoyable as humanly possible.

If you’re wondering what Pitch Wars even means, because you somehow just fell into this blog post, and the image below represents you…

…don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

Unofficial and probably unhelpful explanation:

Since we (co-mentors Alex and Renée) met on the #PitchWars Twitter feed years ago (as you can see from the tweet bellow – go here to read the complete story), we say Pitch Wars is the greatest writing mentoring program ever.

Official and much more helpful explanation:

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to mentor. Mentors read the entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for the agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents. Mentors can participate solo or pair up and co-mentor. (To learn more, click here)

This year, we’ve been chosen as co-mentors and we’re SO excited to be a part of this community and find the person who will join us on this amazing ride. Don’t worry, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

At this point, you might be asking, Who are you, exactly?

You can find out more about us, our mentoring style, our skills, and random stuff over at Renée’s post on Who We Are. And trust us, you want to check that out and see if we would be a good fit for you and your MS. 

What we want

We’ll be mentoring YA and we’re open to NA* this year.

*Fair warning when it comes to NA: we’ll probably ask you to age it down to YA. That might require substantial revisions or it might mean only adapting small things, depending on the manuscript.

Give us your:

  • Diverse Fantasy: that includes high fantasy, urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy, fantasy romance and retellings

When it comes to Fantasy in general, we want beautiful writing, rich world building, vivid characters and a story that flips a trope on its head.

For retellings, we should say we’re OBSESSED with Beauty and the Beast, but we’d like to see less explored fairy tales, too. And we’d love to see something inspired in tales from different cultures.

Some of the recent YA and NA Fantasy books we loved are:

  1.    SIX OF CROWS, by Leigh Bardugo
  2.   A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, by Sarah J. Maas
  3.   JADE CITY, by Fonda Lee
  4.   THE WRATH & THE DAWN, by Renée Ahdieh
  5.   FLAME IN THE MIST, by Renée Ahdieh
  6.   AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, by SabaA Tahir
  7.   THE FORBIDDEN WISH, by Jessica Khoury
  8. SKY IN THE DEEP, by Adrienne Young
  9.   TO KILL A KINGDOM, by Alexandra Christo
  10.  ETIQUETTE AND ESPIONAGE, by Gail Carriger
  • Twisty Psychological Thriller/ Mystery/ Thriller

Renée has a problem: she tends to guess the big twist early on, so to keep her interested, the story needs to (a) have a bunch of mini twists that are just as good as the big one; (b) have characters that are so interesting, she won’t mind knowing what will happen because she wants to follow them; or (c) prove her wrong.

Here are some examples of books we read and liked:

  1.    GONE GIRL, by Gillian Flynn
  2.   THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, by Stieg Larsson
  3.   ONE OF US IS LYING, by Karen M McManus
  4.   SOMETIMES I LIE, by Alice Feeney
  • Cute Contemporary Romance.

We want to SWOON, but it’d also be nice to read about a new culture, or maybe learn about an activity/hobby not a lot of people know about, or watch the amazing dynamic of an interesting and fun family. We’re especially interested in cute and diverse romances.

These are some of the books we thought were extremely cute:

  1.    FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE, by Sandhya Menon
  2.   ADORKABLE, by Cookie O’Gorman
  3.   OVER THE FENCE, by Kasie West
  • ·  Distinctive Paranormal Romance.

Yes, that means we’ll consider Fae and Vampires, but we’re looking for originality. While we tend to prefer our supernatural creatures if they are on the dark and dangerous side (and still manage not to be complete jerks), we would love to see a nerdy vampire. Maybe even both combined. That’d be a dream.

  • Light or Dark Contemporary

Here, we want all types of narratives. We’re open to issue-based stories, but we would also LOVE to find something funny and light. Engaging family dynamics and/or beautiful and complex friendships will also be a plus.

Some YA Contemporaries we liked:

  1.    THE HATE U GIVE, by Angie Thomas
  2.    AMERICAN PANDA, by Gloria Chao
  3.    THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER, by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  4.   UNDER ROSE-TAINTED SKIES, by Louise Gornall

Here are some of the things and themes that will make us cry tears of joy, so send them our way:

  • VOICE! Not the singing competition, but your character’s voice should be distinctive, engaging and it should make us want to keep reading right from the start.
  • Diversity. By that, we mean diverse authors and/or characters. Diverse worlds. Diversity in all forms. All we ask of authors is that they make sure the diversity in their stories is respectfully represented.
  • Feminist books
  • Strong female characters
  • Smart main and side characters
  • Underrepresented characters in familiar tropes. P.S.: We’re not the biggest fan of the Chosen One trope, unless it’s super unique.
  • Romance (or at least great tension)
  • Slow burn
  • Enemies to lovers
  • If you can compare your heroes to Kaz and Rhysand, we want it. Desperately. If you have a YA version of Jericho Barrons, then Renée wants it, even if Alex hasn’t been officially introduced to him, yet.
  • Ensemble cast. We want interesting characters with different personalities coming together to get stuff done. We want tension between them, too. We tend to get bored if everyone gets along fine the ENTIRE time.
  • Complex and/or adorable friend dynamics
  • Serial killers/psychopaths. Give us the YA Dexter or Gone Girl, please.
  • Family drama and coming of age stories
  • STEM
  • Humor
  • Great relationships with grandmas and grandpas. Bonus if it makes us cry or laugh really hard
  • Please don’t make the love interest an asshole/abusive/inconsiderate. It’s not sexy/cute
  • We’re open to both to character-driven and action-driven stories
  • Something weird. This one is hard to explain. But if you think you mixed themes well and it looks a little weird, but reads like a lot of fun, then we want to see it.

Here are some of the things and themes that will make us cry tears of sadness, so please DON’T them our way:

  • Sexual assault
  • Animal abuse
  • Cheating
  • Insta-love
  • Slut-shaming/girls hating on other girls for no reason
  • Shifters
  • Special snowflakes
  • Portal Fantasy

We think that’s it.

We’re looking forward to Pitch Wars 2018. We can’t wait to see all your amazing stories in our inboxes and we hope you’ll consider us as mentors. If you have any question, please leave a comment on this post or contact us on Twitter (our DM’s are open). Even if you don’t, come say hi! We’re friendly and we love meeting new people.

Now that you’ve read our WishList and think your MS might be a good fit, be sure to check out more info about us over at  Renée’s beautiful blog (if you haven’t already), to see if we might be a good fit personality-wise. 

You can find us on Twitter here: @ReneeAPrice and @Alex__Reda (and it’s the same handle on Instagram, too)

Thank you for stopping by and come join #TeamWordsOnFire!

2018 Pitch Wars Young Adult Mentors

















































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My Successful Query

I learned how to write a query by reading successful ones (and the Query Shark archives). I’ve also found some of my favorite books by reading the authors’ queries, so they are the gift that keeps on giving.

Since Renee and I are going to be #PitchWars co-mentors this year and everyone is sharing their successful queries, I’m thrilled to show you the query that got me my fabulous agent, Natascha Morris.

Are there things I would change about this query, a year and a half later? Yes. Was it still successful despite the snafus I’m seeing right now? Yes.

A warning before we jump in. My agent uses a query system (I believe it’s Query Manager?), so I don’t have the personalized version of it, but these are the bare bones I used for my contemporary YA novel.

Dear Ms. Morris,

Seventeen-year-old Masha Herrera meets Ethan, the perfect guy: geeky, into her favorite video game—and captain of her online enemy team and bane of her digital existence. And their rivalry’s about to bleed into the real world since both of their teams will compete in the same gaming tournament.

They might be reluctant offline rivals, but they’re competing for the same prize—thousands of dollars and an internship at Masha’s dream tech company. For a girl with small pockets and big goals, that’s the opportunity of a lifetime. So Masha avoids Ethan like the virtual plague-infected vermin she’s so fond of killing. But the tournament takes place in a tiny, reportedly haunted hotel, and everywhere Masha turns, she finds Ethan, tinkering with his camera or making intense eye-contact. With one too many mandatory ‘fun’ activities pushing them together and into the same creepy rooms, ignoring him becomes harder than navigating digital wastelands. The fact that he’s set on apologizing for past online mistakes isn’t helping her resolve. At all.

As players get disqualified for trumped- up reasons, Masha’s teammates warn her Ethan’s probably trying to distract her from winning. With her dream career on the line, she has to decide if Ethan really is a threat or if there’s more to their connection than a simple game.

LOVE, LIES, AND THE OTHER TEAM DIES is a YA contemporary novel, complete at 83,000 words. This manuscript was mentored during PitchWars 2016.



publishing, ramblings, writing


Spoiler alert: it’s not as romantic as one might think.


Last week, I shared a post on tips for writing in another language. This week I’m tackling why *I* chose to make the switch from my beloved Romanian to English.

I’m an idealist at heart, but my ambition’s molded me into a realist. The switch to writing in another language isn’t easy, instant, or certain, but I don’t regret my decision for a second. It’s also not something everyone will agree with or think is worth pursuing. To each their own.

So why do I write in English?


I’m a fan

Back when I was young, I sucked at almost everything. Couldn’t play sports. Didn’t have money. Grandma used to dress me up like a doll. Had a lisp. Super prissy. I was super badass, you guys. I also had the shitty tendency of correcting people and…you get the picture.

The one thing I was good at? Speaking English. I’d learned it through watching cartoons and people started paying compliments, for the first time ever. It stuck. It stuck so much that although I was practically catatonic in class during college, too scared to raise my hand, once I got to my master’s classes, taught in English, people had a hard time shutting me up.

So there’s an emotional connection with this language. When I’m tense or feel uncomfortable in social situations, I notice I drop some English words mid-conversation. My cool factor hasn’t increased since kindergarten, in case you were wondering.

Speaking in English is almost like a safety blanket at this point. I saw people responded to it, so I did my best to learn it proficiently. And you bet your ass I bust out those four syllable words in an argument.


Publishing’s not exactly dead in my country, but…

It’s in a slump. The recession hit us hard, guys. The book market is down 40% from 2007 and only worth about 60 million Euros, according to the latest stats. The bulk of that market is taken up by coloring books and tearjerker novels. I write neither. Compare that to the 24 billion market in the US, and you get a (not so) pretty picture.

There’s also a very complex problem relating to distribution, retailers, and Romanians’ spending habits, which I won’t get into. Suffice it to say I did my research when I decided I wanted a writing career and found the national possibilities lacking for my particular goals.

Not to mention the fact that a large part of the novels written here aren’t my style. They veer a bit too close to the literary genre for me, and I knew I’d have a hard time selling my fun, upbeat novels on the Romanian market. The revenues are also abysmal.

Why am I sharing all these facts? Because if you, like me, want a writing career and you’re not from the US, you need to do your research, too. Don’t make a rash decision based on overseas success stories and the glitz and glamour of overnight bestsellers. Know your own market before even considering a new one.


My genres work best in a US market

Know thy writing style. Mine doesn’t have a literary bend, for example. I write fun and creepy YA contemporary, and have an obsession with fantasy, which I feel are more commercial genres. At least the way I write them. I decided early on which market would be best for my preferences. Not that the US market is only made up of commercial books, but it is more forgiving than the market in my own country.

I know some of my friends and professors will stick up their noses at my genres, but I really, really don’t care. I save all of my pretentiousness for my films, and even then I try to tone it down. The idea that only highbrow art is worthwhile and valuable is something that I’ve fought against my entire life and will continue to do so even when I lose all my teeth and get that lisp back. A film or a book can make you think and change your paradigm while also being entertaining. End of discussion (for now, I feel a blog post on this coming in the near future).


That’s the short version of it, anyway. There are a TON of other facts that went into this decision, but, ultimately, I had to figure out early on what would work for me and my career goals. Like I said, it’s not for everyone. But if you’re like me and want to make the leap into writing in English, I’m always here to answer any questions.



As some of you may (most likely may not) know, English isn’t my first language. If we’re getting technical, and go by order of learning it in school, it’s not even my second. And yet I’ve chosen to not only write in this language, but to make a career out of it.

Why, yes, I am a fan of taking risks. Why do you ask?

These tips are more suited for beginners, but every writer taking a linguistic gamble can benefit from them.

Now, a small caveat is needed here. My language (Romanian, ftw) is Latin; more specifically, based on vulgar Latin, the dialect used by Roman soldiers who came here and didn’t want to leave. We also have some Dacian (the other half of our culture) and Slavic influences, but all in all, it’s a pretty standard European language. Same as English. So it’s not that big of a leap to write in English, which 1. also has a Latin alphabet, 2. has many Latin words, and 3. is basically Internet speech. The transition from Romanian to English isn’t as big as, say, from Romanian to Japanese, which uses a different alphabet.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the tips that have helped me write my way through 5+ manuscripts. And counting.

  1. You kinda need to be fluent in the language of your choice

Now, this goes without saying, but I’ve CPed enough manuscripts in my life to know that not everyone follows this rule. I’m not talking about a basic grasp here. You need to dig deep. To know the difference subbing ‘slash’ for ‘cut’ can have on your sentence. And let me tell you, Word synonyms is not a tool you should constantly rely on (though I encourage you to use it sometimes, especially when stuck). The problem is that if you’re writing with only a handful of words, your paragraphs get real repetitive, real fast. So branch out. Pick up a dictionary. Take some free online courses. Pay attention to nuances. It can do wonders.

  1. Know the dialect

This is something all writers should research, to be honest. If you’re writing contemporary YA, you need to know how teenagers talk. Again, the Internet will be your best friend. And catch up on those American/country of choice shows, they’re a goldmine.

If you’re writing historical, pick up books from that time period. Oh, you’re more of a medieval fan? Great, other writers are as well, and they’ve written books. Know your category and read, see what words they used, where, and, most importantly, why.

  1. Read

As much as you can, as diversely as you can. Don’t just stick to one genre, or you’ll be biased in your own use of the language. Coming back to English novels, there’s (usually) a pretty big difference between a gritty Adult thriller and a fun, upbeat YA contemporary. Branch out.

  1. Use the tools at your disposal

What did people do before the Internet? There are so many sites you can access, you won’t have time to discover them all. I sometimes think of a word in English, but know it’s not right. Try as I might, I can’t find the perfect one. Or, worse, I think of an antonym. So what do I do? I use my trusty online Thesaurus. Type in the word and surf through the almost endless options. You’ll find your word, trust me.

And if you don’t find it on your first try, you should have a pretty strong grasp of the language to know which one of those imperfect words has the perfect synonym for you.

  1. Make a list of words

And bust it out when the inspiration strikes.

This is more of a tip for when you’re starting out. If you write a genre/scene specific word you know you’re going to use again, write it down in a separate .doc. If you’re writing an action-packed YA, and you have fighting scenes galore, there’s only so many times you can use the word ‘kick’.

Don’t just write down any old word that comes to mind. Focus on the ones which induce a certain state of mind, highly specific, that immediately create a mental image, and offer characterization when possible. The difference between ‘walking’ and ‘limping’ should come to mind when you’re deciding which words should go on this list.

  1. Don’t translate

And I’m not just talking about using Google translate or some other app that’s never been programmed to detect, let alone utilize, the nuances inherent to every language. Never, ever think this is a good idea. You can, of course, use these apps for specific words, much like in the case of synonyms. Don’t know how to say ‘banister’? No problem, there’s some program out there which does. But when it comes to entire sentences, you’re much better off.

However, it’s harder to resist the urge of writing an entire manuscript in your own language and then translating it. I get it. I wrote half of my first novel this way. Huge mistake. For starters, your language probably has a very different sentence structure than the one you’re translating into. Why is this important? Because you can translate the words, but still accidentally keep the structure, which can result in things like “Ana has eyes beautiful”. This is a simplistic example, but if you’re the kind of writer who uses long, flowing sentences, the likelihood of this happening is even bigger.

I suggest writing in your language of choice from the get-go. Your brain will slowly be trained to think in that language and your phrases will flow naturally. It takes time. It takes practice. But you’ll get there.

  1. Write

As often as you can, for as long as you can. Experiment with dialects. Internalize the sentence structure and it’ll become second nature soon enough.

Is it easy? Nope. Is it worth it? You tell me, you clicked on this post for a reason.

Even after years of writing in English, I still mess things up. It happens. Prepositions are my constant tormentors, the bastards. But I’m learning as I go, same as I have since starting this journey.

I’ll share a post about why *I* chose to write in English. It might not be the best decision for everyone, but I think it’s one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. Coming to your screens next week.

publishing, ramblings, writing


A shame-free zone.

  1. Enemies to lovers.

Excuse me, is there anything hotter? You’ve got tension right off the bat, it makes for ah-mazing chemistry, and you’ve got an emotional arc from the premise alone.

Best. Trope. Ever.

The downside is when you read a book and the hero is a jackass, while the heroine simply forgives him, ’cause he has a heart of gold tucked somewhere deep inside. No, thank you.

PS: the novel that got me my fabulous agent has this premise. Just sayin’.

  1. Badass women getting stuff done.

And getting the the love interest along the way. Because, yes, you can have everything.

  1. Nerd turning into hero/love interest.

Suck a sucker for this premise. I love it either way, nerd hero/heroine, both of them nerds, whatever. I root for the underdog (as long as said underdog isn’t a Mary Sue/ Gary Stu in disguise).

  1. The whole Hades-Persephone thing, which even Freud would’ve frowned upon.

Guilty pleasure, along with anything resembling Beauty and the Beast. Enough said. Hoping for a genderbent one someday.

  1. Star-crossed lovers/ Forbidden love.

As long as it doesn’t resemble Romeo and Juliet. Not a fan, sorry. But two people from different social classes struggling past social hurdles to find each other? Yes, please. Anytime.

  1. A bargain/some sort of deal (fake engagement, etc) turning into a love story.

Again, as long as the protagonists aren’t completely clueless about their developing feelings. It’s a really tough trope to pull off, which is why I always read it, but haven’t attempted to write it. But maybe in the future? *cackles*

  1. Guardian/ward dynamic (prince/princess and their general, etc.)

Sucker for power play if, and only if, both of the parties have some type of control. If one of them is completely helpless while the other rules the world, I’m not interested.

  1. Opposites attract.

Can go hand in hand with the ‘enemies to lovers’ premise, but not always. Packed with chemistry and tension. Loooove it.

9. Revenge.

The pay-off’s always good. Tension galore, plus a healthy dose of feels thrown in. Sherry Thomas incorporates this trope into her writing, but she gives it a very, very special spin. Did I mention I love her books?

10. Virgin

Yes, show me the tentative steps one takes when starting to explore their sexuality. Don’t make them an idiot, though. Inexperienced is one thing, naive (to the point of stupidity) is another.

What’s your favorite trope?

Writing Contests


(Originally posted in 2015)

A long time ago, a creative genius decided to start the #PitMad contest. If you’re not sure what that is, check out this link – http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/.

Short version – Twitter pitch contest for aspiring writers.

Confession time. After the amazing time I had with #PitchSlam, I have become a writing contest enthusiast, and I just had to enter #PitMad. Great decision.

First of all, I think it’s the largest pitching event on Twitter (don’t quote me on that). Someone actually said 31.4k tweets invaded the feed in a 12-hour period. 31.4k. To put things into perspective, San Marino has a population of about 33k. A small European country’s population rivaled the number of tweets in a feed. That is all.

I got 4 favorites (plus one from a spam account that wanted to know if I wished to be well-hung and offered a very financially reasonable solution, but that’s a different story). And the professionals who actually thought my small pitch was worth a second look are some of the most appreciated in the business. Talk about a confidence booster right there.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut….it also showed me that I have a long way to go before I start thinking like an agent. I had a total of 5 different pitches prepared in advance and I thought one of them was the sure winner. To me, it had everything – stakes, character, flavor. I was sure that one was the show stopper right there.

It didn’t get a single favorite for it. Nada. Zilch.  Not even a re-tweet from my fellow hopefuls lurking on the feed alongside me.

The most popular pitch was actually the first one I had written – and wasn’t in love with. I didn’t think it would go very far. And yet, it was the only one who managed to grab the agents’ attention. Talk about an underdog.

Looking back, I saw why. I put my advertising student cap on and analyzed it as objectively as I could. It managed to condense my 90k novel into 139 characters. My quiet baby turned into the prom queen and I couldn’t be prouder.

And yes, agents know best.

Checking out other popular pitches, seeing how agents think, cheering for your fellow writers. It’s a fun experience, where you can learn so much about your strengths and weaknesses as an author. Y’all shouldn’t miss it.

Be sure to get your manuscript ready for the next #PitMad. Trust me, it’s something you’ll want to be part of.

ramblings, writing, Writing Contests


(Originally posted in 2015)

Note: Spoiler alert, I didn’t get in that year. 

So. Whether or not I get a mentor (though we all know what I’m crossing my fingers for, right?), I decided to make a little #PitchWars daily diary.

I. Thank the Twitter gods I remembered when this contest is being held. With everything going on in my life right now, losing the deadline was a very real probability. Buuuut I even managed to remember the contest before the mentors’ bios went up. Yey me, all adulting and stuff.

And the best part of it is that I managed to find an awesome CP. I have someone to critique my work AND go through the #PitchWars jitters with me.

Also, I got a bit of fabulous advice that I should change my NA into an A submission. I’ve been seeing a lot of tweets that also give me pause. What to do, what to do, and what ice cream to eat while deciding.

II. The mentors. My God, the mentors. So many to choose from. I think I have a list of about 20, but it largely depends on whether I submit my MS as A or NA. Some of my favorites accept both genres, but three of them don’t. And I thought writing the damn novel was the hard part.

III. Tweeting like mad on the #PitchWars thread. Got to talk with some amazing mentors and I even found out a potential mentee is visiting my country. So if anyone has any doubts about this contest being about community first and foremost, I’m the perfect example right here.

IV. I think I might have overtweeted my share and I’m starting to annoy some of the mentors I like. Time to scale it down and relax. Breathe.

On the plus side, my wonderful CP has sent me her notes on my query and first chapter. I can’t believe how many things I overlooked the first time. I’m still waiting to hear from my beta on the full MS (second round and all), but I don’t think the feedback will arrive in time.

I also participated in the #WWWriting live twitter chat. I’m going with A. Hope I’m not making a huge mistake.

And editing is kicking my butt. I now realize that the first edits I did were superficial at best. I guess I always knew, in the back of my mind, but being confronted with that reality is kind of hard to swallow. However, even if I don’t get picked, my MS is going to be stronger. That’s the point of the whole thing, isn’t it?

Also found out what a beat is. I’ve been using them for years but had no freaking idea what people were talking about. Hey, I’m already learning some new stuff.

V. Finally have my short list. So many amazing mentors had to be cut simply because my MS didn’t fit their wishlist. Once again, hope I’m not making a huge mistake. They all seem like amazing people to work with, but if they don’t want romantic suspense, well, they don’t want it. I hope I get to interact with some of them after the competition’s over.

VI. Starting to doubt my decision.

I don’t know if I should enter or not. I’ve been seeing a lot of #PitchWars games, like #firstline, #lastline, the song that embodies your MS. For the life of me, I can’t think of ONE song that’ll fit. I have about five that I keep using while editing, but none of them capture the entire feel of the MS. Does this mean mine’s fragmented? That it’s not cohesive enough? That I have this huge glaring problem that I just can’t see and that my CP is too kind to point out?


I’m also starting to doubt my voice. I checked my MS. None of my first and last lines seem strong enough. I know I have a few good turns of phrase here and there, but I don’t think it’s enough.

With that being said, I added a few new pages to my MS. Needed to hash out some things and I think they work.

VII. Reading other potential mentees’ first lines and realizing mine sucks.  Golly gee, ain’t I the smartest pea in the original pod?

VIII. Is it okay to freak out that I’m gonna miss the 12-hour submission window because I might miscalculate the time zone differences? No? Just me? Alrighty then.

IX. One of the scenes between my MCs is giving me a headache. I’ve edited it 5 times. I don’t know what’s not working. And for a romantic suspense, this is problematic.

X. Holy crap. The window opened earlier. That’s the best news an anxious writer can ever receive. I’ll wait a day and then buh-bye MS.

XI. Sent.

Time to start eating shitloads of chocolate and brainstorm the next WIP.

XII. Requests!!!!!!!!!!!!!

XIII. Okay. I kinda wanna interact with the mentors, but I’m afraid they’ll think I want to suck up or something. Decisions, decisions.

XIV. Interacted with some great writers. Possible CPs. Life’s good.

XV. Okay. Some of these teasers from potential mentors are so freaking far away from my MS that….I don’t think I’m getting in. But it’s fine. It was fun.

Got to meet some great people. Found some awesome books, films, and gifs.

XVI. *Sigh*

Next year it is.

publishing, writing


Okay, I went for the snazzy title, and yes, a specific Shark will make an appearance in this post, but it’s not about the ocean’s most deadly killer (apart from those jellyfish, I hear they’re vicious).




This post is about a topic that’s sensitive, but shouldn’t be.


Letting people see and critique your query.


For those of you still with me after that revelation, I think some writers (2010-me included), might be a tad reticent to have their work, the words they’ve slaved over for weeks, months, years (?), ripped to shreds by strangers.


But it’s what pushes you forward. Unless you’re Kafka and have a very nosy friend who finds your brilliant work and pesters you into publishing it (according to urban legend, at least), you need to get yourself out there.


It hurts. It’s more brutal than not.


But if you want an agent, you gotta have a killer query. And, thanks to the Internet, now we have countless sites, blog posts and Tweets dedicated to this very topic.


I learned how to write queries by having them critiqued. And the best critiquer out there is Query Shark. (Though I haven’t been fortunate enough to have my query reviewed on there)


Yes, the dreaded site where queries either go to die or rise like Fawkes. Trust me on this one. Go through the archives, see what worked for other people–and what didn’t–and make changes accordingly.


Submit your own.


Go forth and swim until your fins drop and every word shines.


You can also check out some of Kristin Nelson’s successful queries (and read her amazing blog, PubRants). I also recommend Kyra M. Nelson’s site, as well as the Absolute Write forum.


Oh, yeah. And all these resources are 100% free.

ramblings, writing


Current mood:

annoyed-dogSource: barkpost.com/shiba-proves-whining-everything-life


If you’re in the writing community–or got dragged into a conversation about Puşkin–you’ve probably heard of the dreaded “real writers”.

The elusive expression that leaves writers in silent tears and online bullies with a sense of purpose in their lackluster lives.

Well, I got dragged into such a conversation by accident. Video games led to films inspired by video games (anybody else excited for the Warcraft film?) which inevitably led to books. Right around this moment in our impromptu online discussion, a gent proudly exclaimed that one can consider himself a “real writer” if, and only if, they reach the NYC* list.

First place.

At least two weeks in a row.

*And yes, he actually thought it was NYC, not NYT. In which case, maybe I misunderstood the whole ten minute monologue?

Now, when I meet ignorant people on the interwebs, my strategy is to either ignore the dormant troll in them, or to push back. I was getting ready for the second option when said gent mentioned he was actually writing a book (“or maybe memoir, je ne sais pas”) about his life–love life, I might add–and that he’d reach that list in the next five years.

Well, my good man, I wish you all the best. I do. That’s a kind of ambition I’m scared to encourage in myself.

But I realized that some writers have a very grave misunderstanding of what a writer is. I only have two rules, which seem to be echoed around the writing community.


  • Write
  • Strive to get better at it

That’s it. If you only write for writing’s sake and you think you’re mankind’s gift to the ignorant masses, that’s a problem that needs to be taken down a peg or two. If you only want to get better without, you know, actually doing the work, that’s a problem you, and you alone, need to deal with.

If you manage to follow those two rules, you’re golden. You’re a writer. Can’t wait to read your work.

And please, please don’t let your worth be dictated by arbitrary goals. As a nifty Google search will tell you, the NYT bestseller list isn’t the most reliable. And never, ever forget that a lot of amazing books don’t get agented/published/millions of copies.

And just like I thought the gent’s opinion was pretentious crap, you’re free to view my take on this topic in the exact same way.


Where Are You?

For some unknown reason, some of my earlier posts have vanished.


Source: elcomercio.com/afull/origen-gif-johntravolta-confundido-pulpfiction.html


Now I don’t know if I did something wrong (most likely), my cat really is a super villain and hacked into my blog (he’s been too quiet lately to NOT be suspicious), or something’s gone wrong in the WordPress world.


Luckily, I still have most of them stashed away somewhere on my computer and I’ll be posting them again *sigh* in the following days (weeks?).