Saturday, 30 July 2016

How to develop character

Hey Pitch Wars peeps (and anyone else who's stumbled across the blog! lol). Here's our top tips for improving your characterization!

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What is setting?

Here are our top tips for using setting to its best effect in writing!

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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Our Writing Tips for Pitch Wars!

Hey!

Here's an impromptu video of our writing wishlist and writing tips!


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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Books to love!

For those amazing Pitch Wars hopefuls, I thought I'd stick up a little extra post about the kinds of books that I love. I'll see if I can get my co-mentor Dionne to do the same later, but she's traveling right now, so you might have to put up with just me. Lol

NOTE: I don't mentor all of these categories or genres, but they all have elements I love through any genre, so good to note down!

Okay so here goes:

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle - a surreal, amazing read. This has an amazing ability to tease a reader along with a great mystery and the writing is to die for.





Bone Gap by Laura Ruby - again, surreal and intriguing. I like me some intrigue!




The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater- now this is my kind of fantasy! Aside from my ridiculous love of horses, this has gorgeous writing, wild creativity and characters that have such bravery and heart you can't turn away from them.




The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R Donaldson - twisty, clever, dark and deliciously unreliable!



My Sister, My Love by Joyce Carole Oates - this has heartbreaking emotion and such a real and thought provoking main character. Besides, the quirky format and character notes are very engaging.




The Maze Runner by James Dashner - I love the complexity of this and how it grips the reader from the first page and ups the stakes all the way along.




The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - this is one of my favorite books ever. It is so intelligent, dreamlike and clever. Give me all of this. We keep asking for Neil Gaiman to submit to us for PWs, but he hasn't so if you have a similar kind of book, please sub to us and we'll love you forever.





Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - no explanation required. See above.



Life of Pi by Yann Martel - now, caveat here: didn't like the opening. However, stunning ending and imagination. Really, really changed my mind when this ending came around. Phenomenal talent there!



I am Legend by Richard Matheson - oh so clever on the ending. I like good endings. A lot. No, really. A LOT.



And the odd ball. I wonder if anyone knows this: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg (has a few various different title formats) - stunning look into the human psyche. These characters are so real. Push through the old-fashioned writing and you'll be rewarded with an amazing book.




Okay, must stop. This is just a tiny selection of what I love and I'm hoping you have something along these lines!!!


Oh and obvious choices: The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, etc, etc.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Pitch Wars Wish List



First things first - we all know there is a Scavenger Hunt going on. So,  in order to find the letter you need from this blog, find the hidden link that will bring you to your letter...


Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…



It’s that time of year again – Pitch Wars has hit 2016! Welcome everyone new, and welcome everyone who’s been here before.  This year, Dionne McCulloch and I have teamed up once again to mentor YA – go team McC!!



Strength and Honor



This is a wonderful opportunity not just for someone to get mentored by seasoned professionals, but for the whole writing community to come together, bond, support and help each other to the next level! So here’s to the war paint and the writing tribe we’re all honored to be a part of!



Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys (and girls). Make your lives (read: manuscripts) extraordinary!

To help you decide if we’re the right mentors for you, here’s our wish list of genres, followed by notes on elements in books that we either like, or not so much:




WE WOULD LOVE TO CONSIDER…

Strong sense of place

Cowgirls – strong female gangs would be great (in any genre, actually)

Contemporary (but no issue books)

Epistolary

Mysteries

Thrillers

Spooky/Scary/Creepy

Unreliable narrators

Fantasy (caveat: writing should be in a modern style. Love all forms of fantasy, but writing must be fresh)

Diversity of all kinds



WE’RE NOT LOOKING FOR

Deep horror/gore

Issue books

Romance/Sex where this is the main theme

Sci-Fi

Straight historical

Non-fiction




BOOK ELEMENTS WE LOVE…

VOICE!

A main character or characters with clear internal conflict

A specific reason why only YOUR character can tell THIS story

Quirky, realistic, odd-ball families

Really tight, complex stories

Siblings

A little love in the mix

Risk taking and pushing boundaries in all areas of writing, character & plot

A voice that blows us away (come on, guys, you knew that would be in here. Twice.)

Characters  - it’s all about the characters.

Emotion, emotion, emotion – make us uncomfortable, happy, sad, afraid and everything in between.





BOOK ELEMENTS WE DON’T LOVE SO MUCH

Sex-filled

No tropes or cliché

Sorry, but we’re stepping aside from werewolves/vampires this year

Placeholder dialogue

Sloppy writing that hasn’t been edited at all






I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse…



And that’s it. We can’t wait to read your writing and your wonderful words and are so excited that you will submit to us if you fall into our wish list categories. But if not, never fear…go through the blog hop and see all the other amazing, wonderful, super-spiffy mentors! You will be blown away by all the awesomeness.




You talkin’ to me?



Fiona




"My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."


Or…if you want to be picky about it: My name’s Fiona, I’m repped by the Blake Friedmann Literary, TV & Film Agency. I’ve interned with two literary agencies (Inklings & Holloway). I’m a full time scriptwriter with my first production coming out next year; I teach creative writing to home schooled kids; I work alongside Cornerstones Literary Consultancy; I have published numerous in print and online articles/short stories/etc; I’ve worked as a copywriter, and in media, too. More importantly, I love horses (especially mine), I miss my two boys (Hugo and Harry) too much to put into words, I have a bad addiction to Coca Cola, and I live in Cyprus, where I write lots of run on sentences just because I can and no one can stop me because it’s my blog! Lol.

Three of my mentees have had success through PWs - one published, one agented, and the other with a deal from HarperTeen!



It’s you and me babe, how about it?

(side note: if anyone knows where that quote comes from, you get brownie points from me!)



Dionne





And I’m Dionne. Hello! I’m represented by Brianne Johnson at Writers House in NYC and am the US Managing Editor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy. I also freelance as a book and script editor and am a judge for the Bath Novel Award. I write a monthly column about how to work with an editor for The Writer magazine. I live in England with my dog, husband and 3 kids (no order of preference!) and challenge myself to always jump in the ocean, no matter how cold it is.


P.S. If you really, really, really can't find the Scavenger Hunt Letter, let me know and I'll slip you a clue! ;-)


May the odds be ever in your favor!



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