6 Tips for #PitMad Pitch Party Today on Twitter

#PitMad is happening now!  It started at 8am and will continue until 8pm EDT/EST.  If you want your pitch to stand out keep these things in mind.

1.  Write a great pitch.  You only have 140 characters to get your pitch out.  That must include your genre (example #A = adult) AND #PitMad so that your pitch makes it to the right spot.

It isn’t as easy as you may think.  You need to introduce your character. The problem he/she faces. And the stakes.  That’s a well-rounded pitch.  Of course this isn’t always possible. So just try to make it as gripping, or funny, or mysterious (basically whatever your genre) as possible.


2.  You cannot use the same pitch twice in a row.  Twitter won’t allow it.  So have a few pitches written in advance or work on your pitches while waiting to tweet again.

3.  You can only tweet your pitch twice an hour.  I usually tweet on the hour and the half-hour.  But you can do it at quarter of and quarter past.  Doesn’t matter.

4.  Please, please, please do not favorite other writer’s tweets.  The way you know if you gain a request is by being favorited.  Don’t get someone’s hopes up for no reason.

5.  Support other writers.  To show your support for your fellow writers retweet their pitches.  Most will do the same for you in return.  RTs do not count toward your twice an hour pitch.  Remember, we are all in this together.  Share the love.  It’s the right thing to do.

6.  You pitch gets favorited.  When your pitch gets favorited– you’ll notice I didn’t say IF– go to that agent’s bio page by clicking on their picture.  Most will have their guidelines to follow.  Others will send out tweets and tell you what to do.  Make sure you include #PitMad in the subject line when sending materials.  And please, follow the guidelines to the letter.  Don’t get rejected for something as simple as follow instructions.

Good luck to everyone!  Stop by and say hello and I’ll RT your pitch. Or leave me a comment below and give me your twitter handle and I’ll do the same.

UPDATE:  I just found a great formula for pitches.  Here it is:  “When [MAIN CHARACTER] [INCITING INCIDENT], he [CONFLICT]. And if he doesn’t [GOAL] he will [CONSEQUENCES].”

Try and make it as effective as possible in the fewest number of words.
Try putting the goal and consequences first.
Use active words. (Verbs are your friend.)
Assign an adjective to your MC (plucky or reluctant or young or… you get the point).
SAVE EVERY VERSION. (I have a journal I use for brainstorming these. It goes through many pages just to get one usable logline.)
Consider how to pitch the story as a romance. A thriller. An action-adventure.

Descriptions in fiction writing

Many writers struggle with descriptions.  How much detail do you give?  How important is it that I describe this object/place?  How do you go about describing an everyday object so you don’t bore your reader?  I’m not talking about people today just objects.  Although with people you certainly don’t want to use a laundry list such as:  He was six feet tall with brown hair and brown eyes.  No one will remember that.  But that’s a post for a different day.


In every story, regardless of genre, setting the scene is important so your reader knows where the story is taking place.  It’s also a great way to show a passage of time.  For instance, the sun drained from the sky.  By that sentence we know that it is past twilight.  You can go further to show that it is deeper in the night by describing a velvety black sky pierced with tiny pinpricks of light, etc…

But how do you go about describing mundane objects so we don’t bore the reader?  I read recently that some readers skip over the parts in books where the author sets the scene or describes an object or room.  Though I understand it in some cases, I believe the reader is missing out on valuable information.

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Passive Voice Unmasked!

I have come across so many websites that give advice on the passive voice– and I’m shocked how many writers get it wrong.  Just this week, a writer was teaching (or trying to) other writers how to edit and remove passive voice from their novels– and she used an example of ACTIVE voice as what to cut!  I couldn’t believe it!  As most of you know, kindness, constructive, and polite comments are best on people’s blogs.  No one likes to get it wrong.  So I tried as politely as I could to steer her in the right direction.  I think she moderated my comment.  Oh, well, I tried.

Her post raised my hackles, and it got me thinking…  How many writers will now take her advice and cut mercilessly every word they think is passive?  This would be a travesty– leaving empty shells of a stories everywhere.  Several writers wrote in to thank her!


But that won’t happen to you, because you’ve come to the right place.  Side note:  I never ever post on a subject unless I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have it right.  You can rest assure what I tell you is the truth because I’ve done my homework– most times I’ve obsessively researched the matter.

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When is a writer an author?

When does a writer make the leap to author?

This is a question I’ve pondered for years.  I know what “they” say.  By “they” I assume it means industry standards.  They say a writer becomes an author once they become published.  OK, let’s use that standard.  Does that mean traditionally published or self-published?


First let me say I am not bashing self-publishing.  I’ve thought about it many times myself.  Please do not take this as an attack because it’s NOT.

So, you stay a “writer” until you get a book deal from a publisher.  OK.  Well, what if it’s a brand new publisher that no one has ever heard of?  Does that count?  Obviously if you’re lucky enough to get a deal from one of the “Big 5″ you have definitely morphed from writer to author.  But why?  Because you were in the right place at the right time? Continue reading

Real Life Serial Killers– What makes them tick?

The serial killer has become wildly popular in crime fiction.  Maybe they are so fascinating to us, as readers, because they are complicated creatures.  They are deliciously bad.  We, as writers, are told never to make our antagonist (bad guy) all bad, or our protagonist all good.

Dr. Hannibal Lector is a perfect example of this.  Especially the one depicted in the television series, Hannibal.


Dr. Hannibal Lector– played by Mads Mikkelsen– is a brilliant forensic psychologist and culinarian (although some of the ingredients in his dishes are questionable).  In one scene we see his soft side with Dr. Alana Bloom, and in the next, he is slaughtering people and arranging them in dramatic convoluted poses.  Far beyond what is necessary to end their life.  He’s an artist when it comes to designing a shocking display for the FBI.  Yet, part of me loves him!  Why?  Because nothing is black and white with him.  He’s justified in his actions, which makes him a perfect character.  However, in the real world the serial killer is a frightening creature.  And one I never want to come in contact with in a dark alley.

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Please don’t base your success or failure by what you read on the internet

I don’t normally bash other people’s posts.  If you own a blog you have the right to say anything you want.  Right?  Well, in this case no.  And I’ll tell you why.

I was reading a post (I won’t reveal what blog or the author because that wouldn’t be right) where a young writer stated…  She read an article about authors who have “made it” and they said they wrote 1000 words per hour.  Well, I don’t know where she found this article or what it actually said, BUT she ran with it.  Advising all new writers to set their word count goals to 1000 words PER HOUR!  That’s right, 1000 words per hour.  No excuses.  Her words, not mine.

As I read this post I couldn’t believe the so-called advice she was giving to new writers.  It got my hackles up big time!



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Our characters come to life on the page

As most of you know I am a pantser.  With that, comes surprise after surprise at what my protagonist, Shawny, says and does.

I am writing the sequel to Timber Point, as I’ve said before, and lately I find myself shocked by  Shawny’s actions and reactions.  Not to mention her mouth.  Some of the things that come out of that woman’s mouth are absolutely unbelievable.



Yesterday I was writing in my sun room, my husband, Bob, sitting at the table reading, when suddenly, I burst into hysterics– laughing so hard I was literally in tears!  Seconds later, I gasped.

Some of the situations Shawny gets herself into can only happen to her. slowdown

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