Pitch Wars 2017: #PimpMyBio
Somehow, it's that time of year again. Yes, my friends, it's Pitch Wars time! If you feel like you're having déjà vu, well, so am I. Let's jump in, shall we?
My name is Amelia, and I write Young Adult Contemporary! Some of you may know (or remember) me from last year when I was mentored by the gracious and amazing Emily Martin. (If you're a mentee reading this and fit her wishlist for 2017, SUB TO HER!!! You will not regret it!) In the traditional sense, my Pitch Wars 2016 experience was a “success story” and resulted in me signing with an agent. However, as I’ve learned over the past year, the definition of writing success is nebulous. After making the sub rounds with editors, my Pitch Wars novel didn’t sell, and for a myriad of reasons, my agent and I parted ways. I have a blog post about that here if you’d like to know more. I’m an open book (har har) about my experiences, so feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Despite my fabulous experience last year, I was hesitant to take another stab at Pitch Wars. Why? For quite awhile, I believed entering Pitch Wars 2017 would mean publicly stating my “failure” as a mentee last year (see blog link above) and that negative mentality held me back. But as summer—and Pitch Wars Mania—neared, my fellow 2016 mentees talked me into entering. Because they're awesome and supportive. After all, there’s no harm in trying, in hoping, and gunning for second chances, is there? I have a brand new manuscript, and I’m determined as ever. Possibly more determined than last year.
My Manuscript: The Origin Story
BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN (high-fives to all The Smiths fans!) is a Young Adult Contemporary featuring San Francisco, the illegal world of action bowling and hustling, and a healthy dose of bantering enemies-to-lovers romance. I began writing BSA while on submission with my PW novel and completed the “draft zero” in five weeks. I love writing about oddities, weird subcultures, and teenagers breaking the law. BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN is all of these thing. And a bag of chips.
Short & Sweet Synopsis
BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN is about seventeen-year-old Caroline “Chuck” Wilson, who goes to illegal lengths to save her family’s bowling alley in San Francisco when rent is increased beyond their means. Chuck teams up with Beckett Porter, the one person she’s sworn off, and together they enter the underground world of action bowling and hustling to earn seven grand. Everything goes according to plan—that is, until they cross paths with San Francisco's territorial bowling kingpin.
This is a brand new manuscript that hasn't seen the horrors of the query trenches—yet. I'm looking for a mentor to help me with big picture edits, plot development, and emotional/character arcs. I'm very open to criticism and critique (my skin is thicker than steel), I thrive on deadlines, and enjoy pushing my writing to the limits. One of the most fantastic things about writing is there's always room for growth and improvement. Revising is my happy place, so I’m more than eager to set my draft on fire and see if something prettier emerges from the ashes.
The Biographical Part of #PimpMyBio
Ah, the boring details. I'm a twenty-six year old full-time writer, a voracious reader, and an indoor person with an “outdoor voice." At sixteen, I decided high school wasn’t for me, passed an exit exam, and began studying at a junior college. Depending on my mood I’ll either tell you I’m a high school dropout or extremely prodigious and graduated early. Now I have my BA in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from University of California, Davis, and my MFA in Creative Writing Fiction from Saint Mary's College of California. If you haven't noticed a trend, I'm from the West Coast, specifically the land of Redwoods, hot air balloons, wineries, and not-so-golden bridges. After getting my degrees, I returned to my hometown and live in a blue-walled apartment with my cat (she's fur-tastic), and my boyfriend.
When I’m not writing (or thinking about writing or reading or editing or reviewing) I’m often found playing video games or binging Netflix. Some of my all time favorite shows are Arrested Development, Twin Peaks, Archer, Psych, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Chuck, Rick & Morty, Bob's Burgers, Parks and Rec, Fargo, Veronica Mars, Happy Endings, Gilmore Girls, Mr. Robot, iZombie, The O.C., Buffy, Scrubs. I surely forgot some... I'm a big movie person, and I have an obsession with eighties/nineties movies. I geek out over Magic the Gathering and board games; I come from highly competitive stock.
Music is a stress reliever for me, and I can overcome my social anxiety if it means attending a fantastic concert. I make methodical, detailed scene-by-scene playlists for my books and WIPs. My favorites include Grouplove, Joy Division, Frightened Rabbit, Father John Misty, Lorde, The Vaccines, BØRNS, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, and The Smiths. Just to name a few.
While I enjoy the great indoors, I occasionally expose my vampiric skin to the sun. I’m a beekeeper and manage two hives (and counting, peep the pics below) with my mom! I embark on annual camping trips into the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I’ve camped every year since I was a mere zygote. In recent years I’ve discovered a taste for road trips—I love traveling and wandering, but only when I’m in control of the journey.
Random Facts About Me:
- I'm super-talented at claw machines. What can I say? It's a gift!
- I collect carnivorous plants!
- I never shared my writing publicly until I was twenty-one and entering the Upper-Division writing program at UC Davis.
- I have nine tattoos. If I'm being honest, I only like half of them.
- I lost all my baby teeth by the time I was nine. I have an "advanced mouth."
Books, Books, Books
As a kid, I was kind of weird and unpopular, so books became my friends. (Who am I joking? I’m still that kid!) I learned to live vicariously—the adventures, the friendships, the romances—at a young age. As long as I can remember, I've been writing my own stories. I even used to illustrate them, but I'm an awful artist.
The five most recent reads I've enjoyed are Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley, This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills, Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett, and One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus. I will forever love (and am indebted to) the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty—they were my bible in middle school. I enjoy comic books and graphic novels as well. Saga is the best (I want my own Lying Cat, but who doesn't?). Chew is great, and anything by Neil Gaiman.
I know what it takes to succeed in Pitch Wars—I’ve done it before, I can do it again—but I’ve learned there’s more to success than landing an agent. Last year, my singular goal was a golden ticket to agent land. I had tunnel vision. And while that’s a fantastic goal and one I still strive for, I realize there’s so much more to the equation. The journey doesn't end with landing an agent. Not at all. Right now, success means revising my manuscript to shiny (near) perfection, and Pitch Wars is the perfect environment to make that magic happen.