Like many #PitchWars hopefuls last night, I finally puffed myself up and hit submit on my long-gestating query.
Were my pages good enough? Was that opening line the perfect balance between titillating and meaningful?
It turned out, to my subconscious mind, it didn’t really matter.
Why? Two words:
After falling asleep on the couch being tenderized by my parents’ cat, my fiendish mind conjured my perfect #PitchWars nightmare.
As it turned out, the procedure for selecting mentees had changed. No longer was this the friendly, twitter-based community I’d grown used to. Now the mentors organized their critiques around a forum, with groups of mentors ganging up on potential mentees to bombard them with dramatic insults as to their craftsmanship, and professionalism.
Each mentee was given a number (I was #19–I think I got this number from the example on the submission box). All five mentors I’d submitted to started a chat about #19, typing sentence-long reasons why this was the Absolute Worst Thing They’d Ever Read. How dare I? Did I even* read books? What did I think words were???
My submission was so awful, a mentor I hadn’t even queried chimed in to tell me how sub-par my efforts were.
I was devastated. I hadn’t prepared for this.
The worst thing about my MS, according to the mentors, were all the wizards. Why did one of the MCs turn into a wizard halfway through? Why did he have lightning powers?? Why did I have to list the entire rank and file of all the wizards on his wizarding council??? Why on the second page????
Wizards were so old hat.
But, I protested**, my MS doesn’t have wizards.
It was then I reopened the file I’d uploaded.
To my horror I discovered my MS was not only littered with secret wizards, but that five pages of it were taken up by wizard mugshots, each wizard council member lovingly*** illustrated in a small rectangle, his wizarding stats listed below. Wizards were nine to a page, all bearing the same purple robe and pointed hat speckled with stars, each with a long grey beard, and an identical Where’s Waldo-ian expression.
All my MCs were wizards. The plot was wizards. In fact, the plot was not so much a plot at all, as a collection of bad drawings of old white dudes at the same, three-quarter angle.
And that’s the end of my #PitchWars nightmare, a real dream I had that I’m happy to have suffered, if only so my pain can serve to uplift those awaiting judgement with me.
At least our manuscripts aren’t full of secret wizards.****
*Note to self–delete crutch words later.
**Replace with said.
**** Unless you do have secret wizards, in which case, um, I don’t really know, but that’s awesome.