Most people don’t know this, but three weeks ago, that little dude on the tricycle . . .
That was me.
Waiting. Hoping. Praying–I would be selected out of 1,600 applicants as a Pitch Wars mentee/finalist.
I knew the odds were against me. My YA fantasy—compared to everyone else’s—didn’t sound too special. Fantasy, it turns out, was the highest subbed genre in this contest. It got worse.
YA Fantasy to rule them all, YA Fantasy to find them,
YA Fantasy to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
Sorry, non-LOTR fans, I digress.
I tried to stay positive. Five years of drafting, revising, drafting, revising, etc. etc. etc.
That had to mean something.
I wasn’t so sure when one of the mentors I was fangirling over posted her own stats. My novel was only 1 out of 174 subs to her alone. I
took out my trusty jumbo-sized calculator did the math . . .
I had less than a 1% chance of being selected. Or more specifically, a 0.57% chance of making the 2015 Pitch Wars cut.
Well, alright. I applied last year and didn’t make it. I survived. I moved on. I could do it again. If my eighth grade sweetheart could break my heart and still become the love of my life, what’s to say this struggle wouldn’t someday be part of a grand fairytale?
You see, I’m an optimist. I know if I keep going and have faith, things will get better. Things will become clearer. As a cancer survivor, auto-immune bleeder, and sugar-intolerant dessertaholic, I believe . . .
Speaking of stars . . .
The mentor who inspired me to scribble on a mirror? Her name is N.K. Traver. She’s an editor of Cornerstones, and the author of a 2015 YALSA-nominated Quick Picks for Reluctant YA Readers cyber-thriller, Duplicity.
Like me, she began writing while working in a different profession (most secretly, I’m sure). Like me, she loves chocolate (the darker, the better). And like me, she loves my YA Fantasy (Wait! What!?!)
N.K. Traver picked me. MEEEEEEE!!!!!!!
To be honest, I was completley shocked. I was all . . .
I can’t be a-a-a wizard. I mean, I’m just Harry, just Harry.
Whoops! I’m still waiting for that acceptance letter.
After I closed my gaping mouth and gathered some nerve, I strolled into Twitterland and found–
Upon being offered an official menteeship [geeky giggle], I was formally adopted into N.K. Traver’s Pitch Wars #TeamTallahassee family: composed of all the fab writers she’s mentored thus far. And boy, oh boy, meeting them was awesome. We’re talking glittery unicorn t-shirts. A bazillion tweets. And lots of cake. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? It was. Because suddenly I realized, this is for real. I’m a Pitch Wars mentee. A finalist.
Next, I moved onto meeting the rest of the mentee finalists on Facebook. Oh, yes. We have this private group where we discuss really deep thoughts and use really big words. Things like,
and sort ourselves by book groups (middle grade, young adult, new adult, adult) . . .
and commiserate with one another on whether or not we will survive these next two months . . .
In one short week, I’ve grown to care for these talented and kind, funny and supportive writers, and I’m honored to be part of this journey with them.
Not all of us will find an agent in the final “round” or go on to publishing deals. But we will have shared this experience. This wonderful and frightening moment of knowing our work has been noticed. We–have been noticed.
Our dreams are not the fluffy fairytales we sometimes doubt them to be. They are very much real. And attainable. Pitch Wars is a gift of renewed inspiration. One I hope we always remember.
Well, that. And the chance to say . . .