So, that contest I was gabbing on about, Pitch Wars? Well, my young adult novel, THE ACCIDENTS, was one of 126 novels chosen out of 1,600 entries. This caused lots of squealing, jumping up and down, chocolate eating, wine drinking, and dazed looks when I was anywhere other than at my computer, hard at work. After three years of laboring over this novel, this was an amazing vote of confidence.
Alas, being chosen for Pitch Wars was only the (glorious) beginning. The hardest work was ahead of me. Or as Daft Punk would say:
“Work it harder, make it better
Do it faster, makes us stronger
More than ever, hour after
hour, work is never over.”
Best Mentor Ever
Luckily, I had the brilliant, comforting, hilarious mentor, Rachel Lynn Solomon, on my side. Rachel was the one who picked my book out of her 145 submissions (yup, still pinching myself). She had a four page edit letter ready to go the night I was chosen, and we chatted for three hours one night (2.5 hours of which was talking about our dogs—am I kidding? You may never know). Then, I made a seven-page revision plan with detailed notes about every scene, we kept in touch every day, and I started kicking my novel’s butt into shape.
Before Pitch Wars, over the course of two summers, my wonderful and supportive MFA professor Jane Delury read and critiqued THE ACCIDENTS more times than I can count. Jane and I were working on fixing a sub plot problem and pinpointing the right ending, but man, was I stuck. Rachel honed in on the same problems, and helped me find some “ah ha” solutions. Working (and becoming friends) with Rachel has been more awesome than eating chocolate icing with a spoon every night, or even every hour, and that’s saying something.