It’s a little more than a month for PitchWars submission window to open. That sounds like a lot of time, or only a little time, depending on where you stand.
Here are some tips of what you should be doing now.
- Polish your novel. You have one week or two at most to do any other big edits. There’s no more time to send it to CPs, so now you should be editing the last of things, just making sure it all fits in. Remember: it does not have to be perfect. A perfect novel has no place in PitchWars. You only need to polish it as long as you think you’re able.
- Polish your query. Your query should be as good as your first pages. Make sure it has stakes, make sure we know who the characters are. We need to know motivations and why they need to accomplish their goal, and what happens if they don’t accomplish that goal.
- Write a synopsis. Every mentor is going to ask for one. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to have a beggining, a middle, and an ending. Tell the ending! We need the spoilers just to make sure the story is making sense. Here’s a tip on how to write one from one of our PitchWars mentors. I cannot emphasize enough how many people in my own year went ‘omg I forgot the synopsis!’ after they’d gotten a request.
- Exchange your first chapter and query. A new reader might spot something that an old reader hasn’t. Be it stakes, pacing, or something else, a new pair of eyes never hurts. Plenty of people are looking for that on twitter.
- Know your difficulties in a novel. Why are you subbing to PitchWars? Do you want your characters or setting fleshed out? Are you having difficulty with the pacing? Do you think you need a bigger ending, or you are not sure which plot is working? Work out what you want, because mentors are going to ask, and you’ll need to be able to tell them your concerns.
- Make a list of all these things! Make sure you have all PitchWars dates. Our wishlists go live on the 18th, so you need to take time to read through all mentor’s posts and make sure you select which one is a good fit for your novel. If you have plenty of time, you’ll get organized and no need to fret over your submission.
So just checking again, things you need:
- Polished manuscript.
- Polished Query;
- A synopsis;
- An extra polished first chapter that’s attention grabbing!
- A list of Pitch Wars dates. You can find it in the calendar on Brenda’s website.
Make sure to keep checking twitter because a lot of mentors are giving away first chapter/query critiques (Me included!). This is great because you get expert wisdom from the mentors themselves to your query, and this can go a long way.
If you want to do big edits, there’s still time. Last year I figured out a plot I was missing and did a complete overhaul on only four days. It was insane, yes, but it was also worth it. I deleted about 35k of my story and rewrote many scenes from scratch. So don’t lose hope — there’s still time.
Just make sure you got a list to help you.