Pitch Wars Prep Care Package

Hello internet-peeps!

I assume you’re here because you’re considering submitting your manuscript to Pitch Wars! And as a mentor this year, I am so excited to read the entries once they roll in. However, there is still almost a month until the submission window opens. So, I figure there’s a lot of stress-prep going on. And I’m hoping to relieve some of that stress with some helpful guides to help you prepare your submission and your brainz for Pitch Wars.

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The first thing I’ll give you is a bit of advice. While Pitch Wars is a great program that provides both mentorship and platform, it is not the end-all, be-all of pitching your work to agents. I did not make it into Pitch Wars the year I applied and I just used that experience to learn and grow as a writer until I got my agent. So all parts of the Pitch Wars experience can be valuable. (Also the fact that you finished and polished a whole book is a huge accomplishment. You’re all awesome!)

So, what do you need for Pitch Wars? A Manuscript, a query, a synopsis (optional), wine (less optional), and a support system!


Note: you should have a complete and polished MS ready for Pitch Wars. But I’ll provide you some resources I’ve used in my own writing journey for those last minute touches.

Susan Dennard and the Revision Process

The For Writer’s Section in Susan Dennard’s Blog

Before querying & sub: cutting word count, filler words, & line-edits

Can Your Scenes be Seen?

Pitchwars Mentor Blog

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer


Some quick advice from me:

  • Comps are NOT a requirement. They’re there to provide some quick insight into what your story is about, the tone/themes of your story, and/or the audience you seek to reach. If the comps you’re trying to include only confuse these facts, considering not having them.

Writing a Query Letter

Query Letter Success

Query Tracker Success Stories

Writer’s Digest Successful Queries

Query Shark


How to Write a 1 page Synopsis

6 Steps for Writing a Book Synopsis

How to Write a Novel Synopsis


Support system:

Adventures in Revising(2): CPs, Beta Readers, or hired editors?

#CPMatch on Twitter

Bonus Advice:

Online Contest Pitching: Querying and Pitching in the Public Arena


WiP Playlist: Dragon of Joseon

I used to hate sharing my process for my works-in-progress (WiPs) because I’ve abandoned story ideas before. Usually at the halfway point, but sometimes I’ve written the whole MS and then shelved it. So, I’ve felt odd sharing details of a project before it’s DONE-done. However, I’ve also NEVER felt a project is done-done, so what am I even talking about?

Anyway, I am going to share steps of my writing progress since this is my blog and I’m pretty sure only 5 people read it with any regularity (Hi, Thudsters!)

I’ve made a fun writing playlist for my newest contemporary fantasy, and figured I’d share it since I am all about discovering new writing music AND I am hoping to fish for writing music recommendations (if you have any then send them my way)!

The tone is definitely current in the sense that I am listening to A LOT of K-Pop (but I listen to that all day every day anyway so maybe that’s just my brain and not my WiP). But I also am kind of leaning toward the epic ballads and moody music for this one. Some of my stand-out soundtracks for Dragon of Joseon are:

“Because I Miss You” by Beige from the Moonlight Drawn By Clouds (구르미 그린 달빛) OST

This song is so sweet and had such a longing in it. Most of my characters long for something so this fits all of them really well.

“Fighter” by Far East Movement ft. Yoonmirae (윤미래) & Autolaser  

This could equally relate to both of my main female characters. One is fighting for family and love. The other is fighting for honor and power.

Will Be Back (꼭 돌아오리) by 임Sun Hae Im (선혜) from Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (달의 연인-보보경심 려) OST

The style of this song is SO saeguk to me and EPIC. I actually didn’t love Scarlet Heart Ryeo and DNF’d it as a show, but there were some definite moments of beauty in it. And while the era of SHR was Goryeo and my WiP is inspired by a different time period (Joseon) it for sure gave me historical feels and fits a mood I’m trying to accomplish with my WiP.

The Man/Han Shi Hoo’s Theme (Artist Unknown) Orange Marmalade (오렌지 마말레이드) OST

This song makes me imagine a lone traveler going on a journey. It’s so simple, yet gives me some great feelings with the melody. It’s the theme song in Orange Marmalade for the character of Han Shi Hoo (played by the yummy Lee Jonghyun, lead guitarist of CNBlue). He’s a vampire and kind of a teenage delinquent (sexy vampires are still a thing in K-Dramas and I’m not mad as long as they all look like Jonghyun). His character kind of reminds me of something I’m going for with my main dragon character (also a bitter supernatural male). So I’m going with this as Jiyong’s theme for my WiP.

If you want to see my whole Dragon of Joeseon playlist in all it’s glory, it’s on my YouTube channel HERE:

Adventures in Revising(3): Writing Software | Ulysses III versus Scrivener

(NOTE: These posts are meant as friendly advice from my *personal* 
experience but might not always be applicable to your work. 
If you have any fun advice to give, please add it in the comments! 
I’m always excited to learn new tricks of the trade from my fellow writers!)

So, I don’t know about you guys, but when I decided to write in earnest I just opened a Word Document and let myself go. When I felt like being “fancy”, I used Google Drive so I could have my documents “on the go”.

After I got more than 50 pages written, I would have issues finding sections if I wanted to add new scenes. So, I started trying to create things: like writing notes to myself in the document. But when I wanted to send documents to CPs or beta readers, I had to create brand new documents, free of my little notes-to-self. So, when I was told that there exists software out there that solves these writer problems, I was like hellz yea! (caveat: although there are trial versions, the version with all the cool options costs some mool-ah).

So, here are the main two that I’ve heard about:

Ulysses III
Platform: Mac & Windows
Price: $39.99
Free Trial Version?: Yes

Ulysses III is called a text editor. The idea is that when you’re writing (especially if it’s creative writing and not just to create a report document) then you shouldn’t be fiddling with format issues. Of course, that’s not to say that Microsoft Word doesn’t provide you with a good platform to just write on. But when your document is so long (i.e. has chapters and hundreds of pages) it can get kind of hard to navigate your work.
So Ulysses does all the work for you so that all you have to do is write. Of course you can change the fonts and displays and formats to your liking as you work on it. It’s not like Ulysses takes away any of the controls that are available with Word. It’s just supposed to make your life as a writer slightly easier.

So here’s the basic rundown of Ulysses according to it’s creators:

Ulysses is a unique Mac OS X text editing environment aimed directly at creative writers. With its innovative “tabbed” single-window interface, featuring integrated notepads, a documents browser, advanced search/filter capabilities and multi-document previews, Ulysses aims to give creative writers, novelists and storytellers the best writing experience available on any platform today.
Ulysses lets the writer focus entirely on content while aiding him in organizing the multiple parts of his work without forcing him into any pre-defined structure whatsoever. Developed exclusively for creative writers, Ulysses lacks both the functional overload of traditional word processors and the developers-oriented approach of classic text editors.
Additionally, Ulysses sports a fully extensible, plug-ins based export feature which enables the user to export their project into various different file formats, including the likes of “Plaintext”, “RTF” and “LaTeX”.

Here are some great tools for writers of long manuscripts:

  • One of the best features for writers is a toolbar that allows you to separate your document into seperate sections called “sheets.” This would be convenient for your multiple chapters. To find and edit them separately.
  • It automatically opens in three panes: one that shows your folders, one that shows individual documents or sheets, and one that allows for editing.
  • You can add tags to each document that allows you to filter your searches. For example, tag all of your WiPs as such, or tag all of your story notes as such.
  • Ulysses also saves directly to iCloud for all of you Mac users.
  • Another good thing about Ulysses is you can use it with Daedalus on your mobile devices and edit your documents on the go!

Ulysses is a tool originally created for technical writers, however it is a convenient tool for the tech-savvy writer.


Platform: Mac & Windows
Price: $45
Free Trial Version?: Yes

Scrivener is also a great writing software.

It has a lot of the same features as Daedalus, like letting you order your chapters in the left column for easy navigation of your book, creating titles for your sections, creating descriptions of each section, inputting research/links/pics. I personally think that the format and design of Scrivener is more appealing to the eye than Ulysses. Especially because it has fun options like the cork board.

Here’s what the creators have to say about it:

Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft. Scrivener puts everything you need for structuring, writing and editing long documents at your fingertips. On the left of the window, the “binder” allows you to navigate between the different parts of your manuscript, your notes, and research materials, with ease. Break your text into pieces as small or large as you want – so you can forget wrestling with one long document. Restructuring your draft is as simple as drag and drop. Select a single document to edit a section of your manuscript in isolation, or use “Scrivenings” mode to work on multiple sections as though they were one: Scrivener makes it easy to switch between focussing on the details and stepping back to get a wider view of your composition.
With access to the full power of the OS X text system, you can add tables, bullet points, images and mark up your text with comments and footnotes. Format as you go using the format bar at the top of the page, or use any font you want for the writing and let Scrivener reformat your manuscript after you’re done – allowing you to concentrate on the words rather than their presentation.

There’s also a pretty nice tutorial about Scrivener on Youtube created by one of the programmers.

Here are some great features for writers of long manuscripts:

  • You can export to a standard word format.
  • You can organize all of your documents (.doc, .pdf,.jpg)
  • Rearranging files (aka chapters) on the cork board. This is great for a pantser like me who writes first and asks plot questions later.
  • You can save “snapshots” so that you can have a draft of your manuscript before you make any drastic changes.
  • You can also edit multiple documents at once.

(This is an update of a post that was originally written for Books Are Bread).

(Thanks @downtonallie for your great tip on Ulysses and Scrivener!)