Tag Archives: Brenda Drake

How to get writing help – and maybe an agent while you’re at it! With Brenda Drake

Hey guys!

I met the lovely Brenda Drake YEARS ago while working on the first page of a book that I was polishing for submission. At the time, she was running an online group through her site where people gave feedback to each others first pages. It was great!

Now Brenda is hosting something new, and this looks like an awesome opportunity for those interested in honing their craft.

So here’s Brenda to tall us all about PITCH WARS


Online contests can be a great way to display your work and to meet other writers. The first Pitch Wars contest was in 2012. After running several contests in the past, I discovered something disappointing. Agents who had made requests on entries in my contests would find while reading their requests that the writing and/or plot would fall apart after the first few chapters. Then one fated day, I was watching Cupcake Wars, a competition between bakers to make the best cupcakes. Each baker had an assistant to help them create beautiful and tasty cupcakes for judges. So I thought that’s what we need. We need mentors to help writers who are almost there, but keep getting rejections, to help them work out what is failing in their manuscripts. And that’s how the idea for Pitch Wars came about.

What is Pitch Wars?

It’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and guide the writer in revising it for our agent showcase. The mentors also help with their mentee’s pitch. Writers send applications (query and first chapter of manuscript) to the four mentors that best fit their work. The mentors then read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for the next two months. Mentors point out the weaknesses in their mentee’s manuscript and help him or her fix those issues. In publishing, authors must meet tough deadlines all the time. The rigorous two months of revision teaches our mentees how to work on a deadline.

Then we hold an agent showcase with over fifty of the top agents in the industry making requests. We’ve had so many successes in the contests with writers finding agents and book deals. Since its debut year, Pitch Wars has garnered over two hundred successes. The 2016 contest ended three months ago and we’re already at twenty-nine successes.

One of the best parts of the contest is the community it builds. Writers hang out mostly on the Twitter hashtag, #PitchWars, and in Facebook groups. There are many amazing and giving people in our online community of writers surrounding the contests. Many have met long lasting critique partners through participating in them.

17669243I’ve met my critique partners in the community. They were there in the first drafts of Thief of Lies and all my other manuscripts. The community has cheered me on when I got my agent, when I got my book deal, and when I had to make difficult decisions, they supported me. This community is welcoming, they show empathy for others, and they support each other. With all that said, the contest isn’t for everyone and some haven’t had as great an experience as most, but we can’t please everyone. I’m truly blessed to have this opportunity.

If you’re a writer seeking an agent, I hope you’ll join us for Pitch Wars 2017 coming this August.


About Brenda Drake

Brenda Drake, the youngest of three children, grew up an Air Force brat and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When Brenda’s not writing or doing the social media thing, she’s haunting libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops or reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

http://www.brenda-drake.com/


 

About Guardian of Secrets

Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. 29939285No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

Purchase Links:

Google PlayBAM – B&NKobo TBD – iBooks – AmazonChaptersIndies


“Can you hit a perfect pitch?” Writer’s Contest

Yay!  I love contests, especially when they mean MAJOR EXPOSURE.  Here’s a great one, sponsored by Brenda Drake.

Here’s the scoop (Copied from Brenda Drake’s website.)

Here’s how the contest is going down …

On January 15th post a two sentence pitch (no more than 35 words) along with the first 150 words (if it falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of that sentence) of your finished Young Adult or Middle Grade manuscript to your blogs. From January 15th-16th hop around each others’ blogs and critique or praise them. Revise your entries, if you want, and post them by 8:00am (EST) January 17th to the official entry post. DO NOT POST THEM TO THIS POST. If you want, you may skip the blogfest/critique portion of this contest and just enter the contest. I will have the official post up, along with details on how to format your entries, on January 15th so that you can start posting when you’re ready. To participate, sign up on the linky below. (Go to Brenda’s site to jump on the linky)

You want to know the prizes? The prize (or prizes) is a request to read more from agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette. I’m crossing my fingers for all of you. Have I told you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this agent? Okay, well, I can’t say it enough! I totally ❤ her!

What are you waiting for? Sign up now!

Here is my entry.  Please help me decide on Pitch #1 (My original pitch) or #2 (One I came up with tonight)

Please feel free to comment and/or make suggestions.

Title: HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT
Genre: YA Science Fantasy
Word Count: 110,000

Pitch #1:

A common boy unknowingly imprinted with the dangerous powers of the Goddess, must find a way to change his fate and the fate of the galaxy, before a jealous prince manipulated by Darkness murders him.

Pitch#2

A young boy, cursed with a power he cannot control, must save the Goddess before she is smothered by Darkness.  It would be easy, if he could only remember who he really is.

First 150 words:

“I’m not going to sit here locked in a closet all day.” Magellan pulled away from his mother, leaving his whimpering brothers and sisters clinging to her skirts.

“Magellan, come back here.”

“No. I wanna hear Dad’s speech.” He pressed his cheek against a large crack in the door and closed one eye.  Sconces lit the long stone hallway that lead to the auditorium. “I wish I could see something.”

“Get back mine scum!” A guard threw something against the door, slamming the wood against his face.

“Ouch,” Magellan rubbed his cheek. “Jerk.”

Footsteps clomped away, and his mother exhaled. “Magellan, your father said…”

“I know what he said.” Magellan furled his eyebrows.  “Right before they locked us in here.”  He flicked a bug from the damp stone wall beside him. “I’m not a baby anymore. I want to help.”

He ran his fingers across the locking plate, and jumped as flames flashed across the metal, spinning and swirling around it

Thanks for looking!

Brenda Drake Contest Entry: Can we guess your character’s age?

Brenda Drake’s blog is hosting a contest on your manuscript’s first 250 words.  The contest is open to all genres.  All you need to do is post your first 250 words on your Blog on December 8th so everyone can read and comment.  You cannot tell the title or genre.  Your work needs to stand on its own.

After you get feedback from your followers and other contestants, make any changes you think are necessary, and when you are ready, email your final entry to Brenda by midnight December 10th.

Finalists will be chosen by Brenda and her gang of word lovers, and the three winners will be chosen by Gabriela Lessa, a professional editor and literary agent assistant

The winners get free editing.  Not too shabby.

Without further ado… here’s the beginning of my novel.

Can you guess my characters age?  If you already know how old he is, does it sound right?

*****************************************************************

“I’m not gonna sit here locked in a closet all day.” Magellan pulled away from his mother, leaving his whimpering brothers and sisters clinging to her skirts.

“Magellan, come back here.”

“No. I wanna hear Dad’s speech.” He pressed his cheek against a large crack in the door and closed one eye.  Sconces lit the long stone hallway that lead to the auditorium. “I wish I could see something.”

“Get back mine scum!” A guard threw something against the door, slamming the wood against his face.

“Ouch,” Magellan rubbed his cheek. “Jerk.”

Footsteps clomped away, and his mother exhaled. “Magellan, your father said…”

“I know what he said.” Magellan furled his eyebrows.  “Right before they locked us in here.”  He flicked a bug from the damp stone wall beside him. “I’m not a baby anymore. I want to help.”

He ran his fingers across the locking plate, and jumped as flames flashed across the metal, spinning and swirling around it.  What was that?  Nothing in the room could have made that reflection.  He wrinkled his nose and reached for the lock again, but it fell right into his hand before he could even touch it.

“What the…” The door swung open by itself.  Magellan gasped.  “What’s going on?”

He leaned out, and carefully considered the three guards arguing at the far end of the hallway.

The Goddess must be with me today! he thought.

He placed his hand on the doorframe, and his mother stood.  “Magellan Talbot, don’t you dare!”