Positivity Passes

I’m part of an online writing community that is actually attached to an online fitness program I’m a part of. (Writer friends come into your life in the most unexpected of places, don’t they?) The admin for this group is also participating in #RevPit and offered the idea of a Positivity Pass to our group (something some of #RevPit editors do for their top submissions even if they don’t choose them as the finalist). A Positivity Pass is just someone reading over your work and letting you know what they like about it/what they think you are doing well. It can feel good as a writer to hear what we are doing right. She is also offering a chance for the writer to indicate if they would like a critique on top of that pass (yes, please).

I jumped at the chance to participate – if for no other reason than to see what some other folks are writing about. 🙂 I do miss workshop.

One of my readers (each submission went to two people, and we each got two things to read in return. We did not necessarily get work from the people who were reading our own – if that makes sense) is Rebekah, the admin for the group. She has had kind things to say about my first ten pages, as well as offered some advice, which is always welcome!

On the flip side, I am working my way through (hoping to finish in a bit) her own submission – y’all, I never knew I NEEDED an introverted nerdy (and capable) princess story. If you need it, too – just know it’s coming!

#RevPit Novel Aesthetic

One of the fun things about #RevPit are the mini games they play throughout the month. The one today is at the request of Jeni Chappelle, one of the editors – the novel aesthetic. This is simply a collage of pictures that represent your novel. It sounded like a fun exercise, and I am a visual person, so I put this together (I do not own any of these pictures – I hope those with the copyrights don’t mind… [strained smile]):

#DVPit

#DVPit is a “Twitter event created to showcase pitches from marginalized voices that have been historically underrepresented in publishing” (The DV stands for Diverse Voices). It was brought to my attention through my participation in #RevPit, mentioned in a previous post. I had no clue things like this existed, though I’ve been on Twitter (under my pen name) since 2009.

There are two DV pitch fests each year – essentially one for YA writers and one for adult writers. It’s a simple task, really – fit into 280 characters (all that Twitter allows) your pitch, the #DVPit hashtags, and the category/genre you are pitching within. [strained smile] I don’t even want to think of trying to do this back when Twitter only allowed 140 characters…

There are also rules of how many times you can pitch/post each day, but essentially no more than six times on the day designated per project. Agents and editors then spend their day scrolling through the hashtag to see what might be of interest to them. If they like your post, you can head over to their Twitter page to see what their guidelines are (if they are asking for a synopsis or first five pages, etc.). You can then follow up by sending to those you wish to.

These are the pitches I posted this morning:

Alice Hart finds herself in the wonderland that is Chicago, trying to make sense of a life newly (finally) lived. She meets Stanley, and they begin a romance/adventure that leads each to find what they’ve been searching for. But is it each other? #Alice #AllFallingThings #DVpit

Stanley Hoppenworth finds time ticking away, fears he’ll forever be living in the far-reaching shadow of his father. He meets Alice, and they begin a romance/adventure that leads each to find what they’ve been searching for. But is it each other? #Alice #AllFallingThings #DVpit

A character-drive novel populated with people loosely based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland characters. Based in Chicago, Alice Hart and Stanley Hoppenworth are both trying to make sense of a life newly (finally) lived. #Alice #AllFallingThings #DVpit

I, of course, realize now that I missed the part about including the genre. [facepalm]

BUT – I still got a like on the first one. So time to do some digging. 🙂

#RevPit

Today would have been my nana’s (nah-nah) 92nd birthday. My middle name after is her first – and I carry it and all her sass and fierceness with me every single day.

It is also the day that I submitted for #RevPit. #RevPit, I have learned, is a Twitter Pitch Fest lead by editors. “It supports authors by offering editing-focused chats and mini-events throughout the year as well as an annual contest wherein querying authors can win feedback and edits on their full manuscripts from professional editors, ensuring their works are polished and ready for agent inboxes.”

Earlier in the month, I had spent some time scouring the #RevPit editor’s bios to see who just might be a good fit. We are to pick our top two editors and one alternate to submit to. I came up with my list, and then I spent some time checking out their Twitter feeds to see whose personalities I might get on with best. This helped to solidify my list/order.

This morning, I got up early, before the window to submit had opened. (Once your first choice’s inbox hits 100 requests, your submission goes to your second choice. If they also already have 100, then it goes on to the alternate.) I had my answers to the required questions all typed and ready to copy/paste. I was ready. And I submitted. My first choice editor still had available slots by the time I hit submit.

The editors have a month to review all submissions (query letter, first ten pages). If something catches their attention, they will email and ask for the full manuscript. It sounds like most of them request up to ten manuscripts – so an email is not a guarantee that they’re picking you.

For the writer, me, that means a month of obsessively checking my email and watching my Twitter feed for “teasers” posted by my chosen editor. Winners are announced at the end of the month. What do they win? An edit of their full manuscript.

So. Here we go. I wait.

I’ll be honest that I’m going into this assuming I won’t be picked. I’m sure that won’t mean it won’t sting a little if I’m not. But if anything, I now have a draft of a query letter and a synopsis ready to go. That alone was a pretty big feat.

[UPDATE: I did not get picked. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ]

COVID 19

I have a bit of a commute from my home to my college where I teach. (Well, that’s a pretty severe understatement, actually. It’s far. Really far.) When I left work this afternoon to head home for the weekend, there was still no indication as to whether or not we would be returning the next week – meanwhile, colleges all over the country are scrambling to move to remote learning (as it’s being called).

Then I got home and checked my email – and there it was. We will be adding a week on to our spring break – so next week (when we should have had class) and the week after (our actual spring break) will be used by faculty to move their current face to face courses online. It wasn’t stated, but I’m assuming we will be online for the remainder of the semester.

I’m in shock. I’m feeling a great loss. While two of my classes are already online, and six credits of my load are my Teaching Chair duties, my creative writing poetry class is (was) in person. I’m a firm believer that creative writing classes need to be in person – there is a community aspect to it – you have to trust the people you are handing your work over to. Especially when you are doing it for the first time. I guess I can be glad they were able to have that community feel before this all went down.

But all that aside – I’m crushed that I didn’t get to say goodbye to my students. When we met this morning, I had no idea that this would likely be the last time we would all be sitting in a room together. I’m heart broken. If only this decision could have come even one day earlier.

Beta Reader Returns

It’s hard to know when we write something if others will like our work or connect to it. It can hurt if someone doesn’t because it feels personal – they don’t like my story, which in turn means they don’t like me. We are not always the hardiest of folks, we writers.

So when my first beta reader, Ann, told me she had finished my novel and was ready to hand it back over…I was braced for it. She was one who went into this saying she’s not a writer, so she didn’t necessarily feel qualified to respond – but I countered that most readers aren’t writers. I just wanted her reaction. (And if she could point out any errors I may have missed, I’d surely appreciate it.)

So when she told me that she loved the story, which she had been reading over her lunch hour the last few months, that she was missing her time with these people every day – I was relieved. I wanted to just puddle right there – someone else likes my story, sees these people the same way I (and Jack) do.

She had some great feedback throughout – pointing out things that were confusing or didn’t follow. She marked errors that I was sure were no longer present in the document (I had edited four or five times by this point…). And I thanked her for every single mark and comment.

I am also excited for an excuse to go back and revisit Alice, to work through some of these points.