Interview With #PitchWars 2017 Mentee, Bronwyn Clark

2017 Pitch Wars was, without a doubt, a beautiful experience. I was able to work with Bronwyn Clark on the most lovely of manuscripts. I have to say, I’ve never met someone so happy to do extraordinarily difficult work on their writing. What’s extraordinary to me though isn’t necessarily the difficult work Bronwyn did during Pitch Wars (though she did–she dove in and re-structured her whole novel and re-worked world building without a single complaint), but rather how much she learned. While she received 26 requests during the agent round, she didn’t receive any offers of representation for that manuscript. Instead of taking that as defeat, she buried herself in another manuscript, using each of the tools she’d learned during PW. I was lucky enough to read a first draft of that new book, and let me tell you, it didn’t read like a first draft. She had nailed her plotting. It was such a gift to see how she’d grown as an author. 
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I am unbelievably proud and delighted to say that Bronwyn is now represented by agent Lydia Silver of Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency for that shiny, new manuscript. She’s written about her writing journey over here; I highly suggest checking out that post, as it’s an incredible tale.Now, onto the PW interview! If you’d like to backtrack and read the interview with my 2014 mentee and alternate go here, or the interview with my 2015 mentee go here, or my 2016 mentee, head on over here!
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Me: There are a few parts to PitchWars, the first of which was deciding which mentors you wanted to submit. How did you decide who to send to?
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Bronwyn: Pitch Wars 2017 was my third time entering. The first time I entered in 2015 was with a YA Contemporary (not Juliana’s category). In 2016, I submitted to Juliana because she was so positive on Twitter, and I had a MG Fantasy that I believed would interest her. She asked for pages and even though she didn’t end up picking me that year, she gave me some really great advice. So, when I was choosing who to submit my MG Contemporary with magical elements to in 2017, she was at the top of my list. Juliana is one of the most positive, kind people I’ve ever interacted with. She is wicked smart, and I was over the moon happy when she and her co-mentor picked my manuscript. 
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Me: For the 2018 PitchWars hopefuls, what was it like to have me as your mentor? (Feel free to be honest :P)
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Bronwyn: It was all rainbows, and sunshine, and cupcakes! Seriously, I really did feel like the luckiest mentee on the planet! Juliana goes above and beyond the expected minimum for a Pitch Wars mentor. She doesn’t do this gig for name recognition or for the awesome Pitch Wars Mentor t-shirts. She’s believes in writers. There wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t feel supported. She even had two of her former mentees read my manuscript for input. One of those amazing ladies was none other that Lacee Little, who also gave me awesome feedback. They will be an amazing team. Submit to them! You will not regret it if they pick your manuscript!
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Me: What was your overall experience with the editing/revising process? Was there a certain part that was particularly difficult or rewarding?
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Bronwyn: Revisions for my Pitch Wars manuscript were big. I needed to change my world building and make my magic system more unique. I needed to really figure out what my main character’s goal was and what she was up against to get there. Juliana and my other mentor walked me through what ended up being a rewrite cover to cover. There isn’t a whole lot of time during Pitch Wars for that kind of revision, but I knew they had my back and thought I was up to the task. 
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Juliana sprinkled in heavy doses of encouragement and pointed out things she loved about my writing. She was always ready to answer questions and so easy to talk to. I learned SO much from her, which is why I entered into Pitch Wars to begin with. If you choose to submit to Juliana and she suggests big changes, go for it! She knows what she’s doing. I trusted her 100%, and my manuscript came out stronger for it in the end. Even more importantly, I’m a better writer because of her. That is the biggest reward a writer can get! 
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Me: Were there any parts of PitchWars that you were surprised at? Submissions? Edits? The agent round? Post-agent round?
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Bronwyn: I think I’m most surprised by the additional bonuses of Pitch Wars. The real reason for this contest is to make new writing friends, learn as much as you can, and become a better writer. I’ve met amazing critique partners who I absolutely adore. I made writing friends for life in Juliana and Lacee. I know they will cheer me on for the rest of my writing career (and they will cheer you on as well!). There is such an amazing Pitch Wars community for those who choose to be positive and are willing to support other writers. 
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Me: If you could choose to do PitchWars all over again, would you? Why?
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Bronwyn: Definitely. Pitch Wars may not be how I get an agent, but it has made me a better writer and critique partner. Everyone gets an agent and a book deal at different speeds. Some after their first manuscript. Some after there twenty-third. What matters in the meantime is that we better our craft, and Pitch Wars is a guarantee for that. If you aren’t just looking for an agent and want to learn, then enter. You have so much to gain by doing so. 
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