IWSG – 02/01/17 – Jumping the Gun

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for Insecure Writer’s Support group! Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG is a monthly bloghop where writers can share their fears, doubts, and insecurities. The support from this group has been invaluable to my growth as a writer, and I don’t doubt it will be for you too!
You’re welcome to join. All you have to do is click here to sign up, or click the nice little picture below too!
There’s something to be said about watching a live write-in on youtube, only to be introduced to a whole new side of writing life. One you may, or may not, be ready for. Jumping the Gun is one of my favorite pastimes. I often think I’m ready far before I am even close to being so. Of course, no one can tell ME that, not and keep their head.
Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of ‘how to write’ videos on youtube. For those of you who may not know, I’m really ADHD. This means it’s incredibly difficult for me to focus on a book, which means reading is very, very hard. This means, that in order to do better in my craft, I have to rely on audiobooks, or on youtube videos. Podcasts too, although I tend not to listen to them very well.
Anywho, I got into this channel on youtube called WordNerds, where each day they put up a short video on writing, reading, publishing, or anything literary related. Most of them are YA writers, and some of them are published, so their information is incredibly accurate. I really appreciate listening to them. I was watching this live write-in when someone in the comments section mentioned #PitchWars. Not knowing what it was, I asked, and found out it’s a contest every august for those with polished manuscripts.
Then I proceeded to ask a bit about beta readers, which gave me some good information. Mostly on where to find betas (most of the people said on Twitter, or on various writing websites throughout the internet), but it was good information regardless. For more information on how exactly to utilize betas, I watched This Video by the lovely and talented author Jena Moreci, who also has some great writing tutorials.

Then the talk went back to #PitchWars, and more specifically SunVSnow, a pitch war contest whose entry date was THAT VERY NIGHT. It felt like providence! Like fate was telling me to enter this contest, that it was my one and only chance!  So I looked it up and found the website dedicated to the Sun side of the contest. Basically, if you were chosen, your manuscript would be worked with by several mentors. Then, if from there you were selected, your manuscript was read over by several Literary agents, who then picked the ones they wanted to represent!

It sounds like a writer’s dream, doesn’t it?

It certainly sounded like mine. So I forced myself to stay up way past my bedtime, and write out the pitch letter they required, to write up and edit an entirely new opening for my book. I even woke up my writing mentor to help me with it! I had my boyfriend, and my best friend and another good friend all read the letter to make sure that everything was utterly within what was required. I figured if they chose me for the first round, I could pound out the manuscript and that’d be it, right?

Well, I spent the entire day right up until the submission deadline in utter abject horror, anticipating the chance that they might flunk me out just because my manuscript wasn’t polished. Hell, it hadn’t even seen a beta reader yet! And then I saw it. Right there, on the submission page.

‘Polished Manuscripts only.’

My little heart broke. I was absolutely despondent. Okay, well not really, but I certainly wasn’t happy. I didn’t submit it. But I learned a lesson. Always read the terms and conditions first on contests like these. And hey, at least I have eight months to polish my manuscript before #PitchWars!

17 comments to IWSG – 02/01/17 – Jumping the Gun

  • miladyronel  says:

    At least you now know where your book should be heading? Sometimes a kick like that sends us in the right direction with our stories. Happy writing.

  • Stephanie Faris  says:

    Ugh…I hate when there’s fine print. I think we’ve all been there!

  • C.D. Gallant-King  says:

    Hey the good news is that now you have your pitch letter, for when you do feel ready.

    That being said, what does “polished” mean, anyway? I’ve seen “polished” manuscripts that looked like they were written by someone pecking a keyboard with their nose, and I know people whose first drafts make other writers green with envy. Sometimes its worth it just to see what would happen…

    IWSG February

    • Nicohle Christopherson  says:

      To me, polished means that it’s been edited at least by the author, and has gone through at least three beta readers. That’s what it means to me, anyway. But honestly, I know the manuscript I was going to put in isn’t ready. It probably won’t be ready for a long time.

  • Stephanie Scott  says:

    Hello! Welcome to the IWSG world! I haven’t watched many writing videos but that’s a great idea. I’m a big fan of audiobooks and listen to them almost daily.

    Also, small world, I’ve been involved with the Pitch Wars community for three years now as a writing mentor. I’ve made so many writer friends through it. You are smart to take the time to polish your manuscript. Writers often make the same mistakes as beginners–I know I hit all of them myself. So taking the time to learn and grow before pitching to the pros like agents and editors will save your precious writer ego some bruising 🙂

    BUT just so you know, there’s Pitch Madness coming up at the end of February. Check author Brenda Drake’s blog for details or google Pitch Madness Brenda Drake. The difference with this one is no mentoring. You submit your pitch and first page (or whatever the requirement is) and pre-selected writers who are either published or have agents go through the submissions and choose the strongest ones to present to an agent round. So, enter if you are ready for an agent to see your work. Otherwise, Pitch Wars in August gives you needed time 🙂

    Here’s my February IWSG post: Stephanie Scott How I Read Now

    • Nicohle Christopherson  says:

      Thank you for the advice! It’s nice to see someone who’s been involved in things like pitch wars viewing my humble little blog, so thank you! I’ll have to look up miss drake, and in the meantime, your blog is getting a new subscriber! Thank you so much!

  • Chrys Fey  says:

    Welcome to the IWSG!

    I’m sorry that you weren’t able to send your manuscript. I read the terms and conditions about a dozen times before I feel I have everything done correctly.

    • Nicohle Christopherson  says:


      I know, it’s awful that I didn’t read it before hand, bt what are you gonna do, right?

  • Susan Gourley  says:

    Despite the disappointment, that must have been really good practice. It’s great to find something that really enthuses us. Nice to meet you on IWSG

    • Nicohle Christopherson  says:

      Nice to meet you too! And you’re right, it really did rekindle my love of the book, so at least that was helpful!

  • cluculzwriter  says:

    That’s too bad, Nicohle. I had a similar experience 20 years ago. Only I had to wait weeks because there wasn’t anything like that online back then. Welcome to IWSG. One day you’re going to tell a new writer about your experience and they’ll learn something. Don’t let this stop you. Just be patient. And live your dream.

  • Reprobate Typewriter  says:

    I think the worst part of pitching is writing the letter–how in the heck do you fit a whole novel in a page?–so you’re over the tough part. Now just make the manuscript all shiny.

  • Alex J. Cavanaugh (@AlexJCavanaugh)  says:

    Sorry you weren’t able to submit it. But you did learn you can prepare such a letter or email on short notice.
    That’s cool that videos really help you. I’ve listened to a couple podcasts but not watched any videos specifically on writing techniques and such.

  • Lynda R Young  says:

    It’s so easy to jump the gun. We get all excited about our work and want to send it out there. You aren’t alone!! All the best for the polishing stage.

  • C. Lee McKenzie  says:

    We get so eager to send our stuff out that we sometimes forget to dot those t’s! 🙂 Glad you caught the fine print, and now you can be ready for the next time.

    • Nicohle Christopherson  says:

      Same! Have you recently considered any kind of submissions? I’m curious who else might jump the gun a bit…

  • Michelle Wallace  says:

    Welcome to the IWSG.
    I think it was a good experience since it gives an indication what you can produce within a limited time frame. You made progress after spending an entire day working on it, right up until the submission deadline. So imagine what you can do with the manuscript in eight months? 🙂

    Writer In Transit

Leave a Reply