Pitch Wars 2017 #PimpMyBio YA Fantasy

Is it Pitch Wars time? Yay! So excited to meet new friends and learn about your awesome stories. Before we go any further, give yourself a hand, a pat on the back, a thumbs up…you wrote a book! GOOD JOB!

Check out more details about Pitch Wars, an awesome contest from Brenda Drake on her website. This is an excellent time of year to improve your writing craft, learn about agents and publishers, and connect with other writers, mentors, and freelance editors. If you’d like to see other #PimpMyBio posts, visit Lana Pattinson’s blog.

Cheers! My name is Jacy and I’m entering Pitch Wars with a YA fantasy for the…third time!

I have learned a major component of writing is to never give up!

I love everything fantasy and sci-fi, having grown up in the 80s and 90s among the Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Legend, The Princess Bride, and Return to Oz.

Some of my favorite shows from that time included Sailor Moon, X-Men, and Gargoyles. I best relate to Sailor Mercury – sweet, practical, and a little shy – until I get to know you. Authors that I love include Anne McCaffrey, Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling.  A few of my favorite books include Shadowshaper, The Grisha Trilogy, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Help, and Eragon.

Recently, I learned I’m a Xennial, a micro-generation of people born between 1977 and 1983 who survived the analog-digital transition. To round off this generation identification, I possess both cynicism and optimism, which describes me fairly well on most days. I also enjoy beer, bacon, and books – sometimes at the same time!

During college, I joined the student newspaper and really had a chance to flex my writing muscles. My journey to writing led to editorials, news stories, satirical newspaper editions, and meeting my future husband too. Totally worth it!

I earned a bachelor of arts degree in English and a minor in journalism. Eventually, I went on to earn a master’s in environmental policy and management. I’m proud to be a certified recycling professional – yes, it’s a thing. I took an exam and everything!

ABOUT MY MANUSCRIPT

Since I grew up in the 80s and 90s, most of my inspiration comes from such influences. I consider my story a crossover event of X-Men and The Neverending Story.

 

My story, A FEATHER’S FORCE, is a YA arcanepunk fantasy about a 16-year-old track star who discovers she inherited her super speed ability from another realm. This story is for readers who loved GRACELING’s fiercely independent heroine and INKHEART’s lush, whimsical portal fantasy world.

Here’s some #novelaesthetics of my story:

I’ve been working on this story for three years with a major overhaul in January 2017, thanks to an incredible editor, Lyla Lawless. She helped me discover the potential in my story and gave me valuable advice to improve my craft and make my story stronger. Seriously, look her up! I also have a dedicated CP/editor, Nicole D’Arcangelo, who has been by my side for the past several months.

I won a first page critique from the awesome Heather Cashman during the Pitch Wars workshop, which you can find here. Her feedback was super helpful and I’ve already revised my first chapter. I’m so excited about it!

Now, I’m ready to emerge from the revision cave and share this story!

We all need heartbreaking critiques

Writing is a tough journey. The path in a real writing to publishing journey must be long, treacherous and challenging. If it’s none of those things, you are on the wrong path.

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After a bazillion revisions on my query, I needed critiques. And did I get some incredible feedback from other writers. They served me something raw, honest and organic. They pointed out the good and the bad. In fact, I needed the type of critiques that broke my heart.

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I wallowed from their words and the idea of yet another revision. After a couple of days, I went back to soak in their thoughts, comments and suggestions. They spent so much time on me and I valued their feedback. Apparently, I had focused too much on plot (it read like a synopsis) and less on voice. So I got back to editing, it actually was easier.

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We all need heartbreak because we get so wrapped up in our own work that we fail to see it anymore. Just like those agents and publishers looking for stories subjectively, we as writers are also subjective about our own stories. We need someone else to help us down the path and point out the beautiful things we failed to see before.

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Heartbreak makes us wiser and stronger. And we must continue down our path no matter how long, treacherous and challenging it seems. Never give up!

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Some random tips:

  • Take advantage of feedback from others, but don’t oversaturate yourself.
  • Learn what you can from the feedback, but always stick to your voice and your story.
  • Seek out query critique giveaways or opportunities.
  • Visit the Successful Queries page for examples.
  • Check out the archives in Query Shark.
  • Search Twitter hashtags for tips: #tenqueries | #10queries | #querytip

Feel free to comment with your links, tips and opportunities!

When Life Happens, Writers Keep Writing

So when major life things happen, I don’t know about you, but my writing stalls. My mind goes fuzzy and I lose my creative focus.

Just in the last three months, my life has included two funerals, a wedding, a new career, and a move to a new city with my husband, two kids and three-legged cat. Of course, my writing paused. But hitting that button again hasn’t been easy. I am thankful to have met a few amazing writers in my new city. This connection encouraged me to continue writing no matter what life throws at you.

Other stories kept me company too. Any downtime, especially between funerals, I escaped to other worlds. I finished THE RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard, finished THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary E. Pearson and started THE AWAKENING by Kelley Armstrong. I also bought the GAME OF THRONES set.

And then there’s the awesome Twitter community. I’ve tried to keep up with weekly line games, participated in a few contests, and even met new writer friends. Needless to say, I haven’t given up on my writing. I even started a new WIP about dragons, which excites me so much! However, I haven’t given up on my first novel and started querying recently.

No matter what, don’t give up on your writing. Use life’s moments – good or bad – as encouragement for your craft. Writing is an art. Whether private or public, writing is an outlet for your emotions, nightmares and dreams.

When life happens, writers keep writing.

My #WIPjoy Compilation – June 2016

In June, I participated in #WIPjoy on Twitter. #WIPjoy is a fun hashtag opportunity to share your work-in-process (WIP), celebrate other writers’ works and meet new writer friends! It’s hosted by the awesome Bethany Jennings a few times a year.

Every day of the participating month, you have a prompt to share about your WIP. I already can’t wait until the next one!

Here is the entire compilation of my June 2016 responses for AN HEIR TO EXTINCTION, a YA fantasy about a 16-yo’s search for her father in a world hidden under a coffee shop.

Thanks so much for the #WIPjoy compilation idea Alexandra Wendt – you can find her compilation on her blog here.

 

WIPjoy-June-2016

Intro Week

1. Tell us about your WIP!
While Ember searches for her dad, her uncle wants to transform her into an assassin to kill off magical creatures. X-Men+Vikings
2. Introduce your protagonist’s awesomeness!
Ember, 16-yo coffee snob, tries to be courageous, but is curiously confused. Don’t piss her off, she may accidentally kill you.
3. Share a line showing your WIP’s atmosphere. (my most popular Tweet in this with 25 likes and 2 RTs)
A velvety blanket of white fog loomed, circling tree trunks and cloaking the forest floor.
4. Share a line about one of your WIP’s main emotions.
All alone, I let out a few more exasperated sobs, till my body trembled.

Character Week

5. The character you relate to most, and why.
I think I relate most to Ronni, my MC’s cousin and the inexperienced barista. Ronni is fiercely loyal and very observant.
6. A character who shares a flaw with you.
Wren likes to overshare almost as much as I do. LOL!
7. Did you base anyone off a real person?
All of my characters are based off certain people in my life in some small way – whether it’s what they look like or how they act.
8. Share a line that shows a character’s sense of humor.
“Please don’t feed the animals while on the tour. They are a bit wild and annoying today,” Ember teased at Lavanya, who growled.
9. Which character/s would you want to be roommates with?
I would want to room with Wren because she definitely can carry a lively conversation and knows where to find the sweet treats!
10. Share a line that makes you want to hug a character.
“It’s just…well, you’re new in our guild. And your teary eyes told me you could use a friend.”
11. A minor character with author-headcanon you adore.
he door that intrigued me for years as a part of a bedtime story had trapped me inside. A chill crawled across my exposed skin.

Beginnings and Endings Week

12. Share a chapter beginning you love.
The door that intrigued me for years as a part of a bedtime story had trapped me inside. A chill crawled across my exposed skin.
13. How do you want readers to view the protagonist at the beginning? — and at the end?
Ember beginning = tragic, angry, confused / Ember ending = brave, loyal, mature. 🙂
14. Share a line where a character tries something new.
That’s brilliant!” I remarked. “I never would have guessed that blob of fruit could be so beautiful inside. Is it safe to eat?”
15. What grabs you about your premise?
Even though this story has a portal, it shows the connection between both worlds and why that’s an important element.
16. What sticks with you about the ending?
My MC finding out more about her family, but also the hint of romance!
17. At the end, how has your protagonist made you proud?
She shows courage against her uncle but keeps close to her values.
The end of Ch. 9 when my MC has a friendship connection with one of the guild members.

Random Fun Week!

19. Does your WIP have a contagonist?
Yes! She becomes my MC’s closest friend. She even takes her punishment when they get into trouble!
20. Share a line that mentions food.
I skipped over the bug-like delicacies, looking forward to the yellow mashed vegetables with cheddar and bacon aroma.
21. Does the weather or nature act as an antagonist at any point?
A fierce storm was central to the MC’s car accident and a part of her dad’s disappearance.
22. Share a line about a smell.
A draft blew in from the other side; it smelled like turned earth and blueberries.
There is a kiss at the end!
24. Tell us something your character would hate us to know (mwahaha).
Ember would hate for us to know that if she gets too anxious or worked up, she barfs. (Gross!)
25. Do your characters feel like your… Friends? Kids? Both? Something else entirely?
My characters are like family to me!

Encouragement Week

26. What keeps you working on this WIP?
The writing community I’ve met through Twitter, including my CPs, Beta Readers and close friends. 🙂
27. What threatens your writing joy? How do you combat it?
The real world of my job and cheerleading season. LOL.
28. What do you want the future book cover to be like? (If you already have one, share!)
A door!
29. What’s the best thing people can say to you about this WIP?
“Wow! This is incredible! I adore your characters, especially Marn. When does the next book come out?”
30. What are you planning for your next WIP after this one?
I’m working on Book 2, but also have a WIP about a runaway bride in Vegas.
#WIPjoy was great fun! We all love the opportunity to share our blood, sweat and tears! Thank you to all who participated and my new friends!
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A Hopeful Mentee: My #pimpmybio for #PitchWars 2016

PitchWars is an annual contest, created by Brenda Drake, where authors, editors or industry interns provide valuable mentorship to writers seeking representation for their manuscript. Visit Brenda Drake’s blog for details on PitchWars and follow #PitchWars on Twitter to connect!

This will be my second time entering PitchWars, but my first time creating a #pimpmybio!

PitchWars is so much more than a contest. It’s an opportunity to connect with new writer friends, improve your writing skills and forge a community of cheering and encouragement! Since last year, I learned so much from my writer friends….it has been an incredible journey so far!

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About Me

I’m originally from Washington, D.C., but have lived in South Carolina for a long time. Sweet tea is in my blood, yet my driving doesn’t include any Southern hospitality.

I’m married with two kids, a 9yo and a 3yo, who are all the loves of my life.

I have a B.A. in English and a minor in journalism. I wanted to become a journalist, but somehow became a sustainability professional. I’m even a certified recycling professional. (Yes, I took an exam for that). However, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.

long ago

Science fiction and fantasy fascinates me and I never get bored with weirdly, imaginative stories. I grew up watching spectacular and bizarre 80s movies (see my list below!). I also enjoyed reading those Choose Your Own Adventure books. Who remembers those?

About My Book

My inspiration comes from a coffee shop and used bookstore that I used to work in. Go figure! But there was something about that setting and how I created a hidden world within it. I wanted to write a story that expressed crossover between worlds. The story itself evolved in revisions because I’m a pantser writer.

AN HEIR TO EXTINCTION is a Young Adult Fantasy about Ember, a 16yo girl searching for her father after a car wreck. Only she finds out that he’s part of a magical genocide in a world hidden under her family’s coffee shop. Ember’s journey not only includes the discovery of a strange family history, but five kingdoms filled with tattoos, ogres, assassins, Valkyries and a rebel guild. World building for this story has been so fun!

Why Pick Me?

I’m ready for this adventure!!!

Neverending Story

I want to absorb the awesomeness and expertise of mentors!

I think the only way to improve my writing will be through real feedback, constructive criticism, and loving encouragement. I like hugs!

hug

I am prepared to make BIG revisions and whatever it takes to succeed! I’m a dedicated hard worker!

You want my cookies! Yes, I will send you my homemade soft ginger cookies (or any other cookies you want! REAL COOKIES! Yes. Consider this a bribe.)

cookies

 

Some of My Favorites:

Books: Wicked, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Giver, The Grisha series, A Wrinkle in Time, White Oleander…and more!

Movies: The NeverEnding Story, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Legally Blonde, Mean Girls, Mrs. Doubtfire, Bring It On

TV Shows: Gilmore Girls, The Vampire Diaries, Grey’s Anatomy, Big Bang Theory, The 100, Alias, The Blacklist

Food: Dark chocolate anything and bacon (sometimes together)

Drink: Sweet tea and coffee

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5 Random Facts About Me:

  1. My husband and I met while working at our the college newspaper.
  2. I never had a 16th birthday because I crossed the international dateline flying to Australia. We left on July 1, skipped July 2 and arrived July 3. (The pilot sang Happy Birthday and I got first class cookies.)
  3. You can always find me seeking out where things were filmed or a “Behind the Scenes” tour. Some tours I’ve been on include, The Sands Resort in Las Vegas, the West Wing of the White House, Le Reve in Las Vegas, Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington, District 12 in Henry River, NC, and others.
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  4. I’m a huge fan of Toby Mac and have met him a few times! He’s from my hometown of Annandale, VA!
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  5. I once dressed up as a giant can to promote recycling to children.
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I hope that we will get to work together! Cheers!

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If you’d like to check out the other bios! http://www.lanapattinson.com/pitchwars-2016-pimpmybio/