Pitch Wars Mentee Bio

Howdy! This is my first time doing Pitch Wars (click link for details on this writer’s contest).  After reading so many amazing mentee bios here, I decided I had to break down and do one myself.

Here we go. A wee little background on me.

1. I have a BA in English and Sociology and I will tell you straight up that while my day job is not in either field, every day I use what I learned earning those degrees.  Don’t think about college as a means to and end – ie job.  Better to view college as an opportunity to spend four years (or more) studying any subject that fascinates you.  It is unlikely you’ll have that opportunity at any other time in your life so grab hold and squeeze every bit out of it you can.

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2. I’ve been lucky enough to travel widely:  Most of the US, Canada, Mexico, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, I think I’m forgetting one.  Scotland is next up on my wish list.  The husband is Scottish and has been looking for an excuse to wear his kilt 24/7 since we got married.

 

3. I have a boring day job.  Shocker right?

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I’m in operations management which means I keep things running efficiently by my amazingly well-written policies and procedures.  When a process breaks down, I either fix it or yell at people until they fix it.

4.  I put writing aside for more than a decade while I was busy working and having babies.  I entered NaNoWriMo and wrote 50,000 words in one month.  I haven’t stopped since.

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5.  I live in Massachusetts.  It’s wicked pissah!    But no, I don’t sound like a Wahlberg.  I’m a NY transplant so I missed out on the accent.

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6.  Most of my story ideas start as a scene or a collection of scenes and then I build from there.  I’ve tried to outline and be more organized, but my process is still pretty much sitting down and bashing away.

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7.  I make time for writing by ignoring household chores.  You should see my house.

 

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8. I write women’s fiction although that genre covers a lot of territory.  What I like to say is that there are plenty of others out there writing ‘serious’ books.  I mean the ones that are reviewed in the NYT, not just getting on the list.  I don’t write those.  Life is hard, sometimes so hard we need a break.  I write about characters who are as real as I can make them with struggles as real as I can make them, but every ending is happy because the world hands out too few of those.

9.  I’m ridiculously busy.  I should not even be sitting here writing this. I should be cleaning this house for my daughter’s Tea Party/American Girl doll birthday party tomorrow.  But writing is now almost a compulsion.  It reduces my stress and anything that can do that is worth it.

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10.  My goal is for my readers to turn the last page on the book and feel a bit like you do when you walk out of a great movie, one that made you feel everything and left you energized, uplifted, happy.  That’s what I’m shooting for.

 

 

So that’s it. Thanks for getting all the way through it.  If you’re doing Pitch Wars as well, sound off in the comments.  I’d love to hear what your write and why.  How do you want your readers to feel when they’ve turned the last page?

 

Thanks!

Christa

 

Query, in which an author asks an agent to the prom

Or at least that’s what it feels like.

One time, and one time only, did I ask a guy out. It was to my prom. My on-again off-again boyfriend was off and there was no one in my school I was interested in at all. So, I screwed my courage to the sticking place and asked a college sophomore I knew through church. Remarkably he said yes.

In submitting my very first Query I had the same queasy feeling. I didn’t submit to an agent, I entered Pitch Wars. It’s a contest where you get picked by a mentor and then a second round happens where you can get picked by an agent.

The mentors are fellow authors, editors, and they donate their time. Incredible really.

After submitting I checked out the twitter feed to find that I am a moron. I have not done near enough research into my genre or publishing norms. I’m woefully ignorant. I didn’t know a novel over 120,000 words was a red flag. I didn’t know what stakes were and why they mattered.

I spent the first day just Googling all this stuff I didn’t know. I thought I was so ready and my novel rocked so hard. Um… no. I’ve got some work to do.

So the novel is going back into the garage and we’re gonna put her up on the lift and see what we can do. At 133,000 words she’s just too dang long. I’ve got some subplots that need to be nuked and some characters to tweak.

I’m so glad I entered Pitch Wars before I started the big push and sent out what probably would have been a bunch of laughable queries.  I would have been that weird kid with the bad skin you always tried to dodge to avoid hurting his feelings.  Sadness.  Of course that kid sometimes grows up to be a billionaire, but that’s about as rare as becoming a NYT bestseller so I think I’ll work on my stuff instead.

Writing the Author Bio – A bit excruciating isn’t it?

Today’s lunch hour task was to write an author bio. It’s the last thing I need to complete the query I have ready to send an agent.  Finding an agent I thought was a good match proved easier than anticipated.  Finishing this dang query is another matter.  I was moving along nicely until I crashed face-first into the brick wall that is the author bio.

Seriously, does anyone who’s not a narcissist enjoy writing these things? I’ve read numerous blogs, books, and articles amassing tips that seem obvious – ‘don’t lie’ to tips that seem a wee bit esoteric  ‘spin a web of magic’. Um…. no.

How do I write this thing to appeal to an agent, be thoroughly true, sell myself as an author, but not bore them with personal details? Without writing creds (outside two pieces in a college magazine ages ago) it’s kind of a tough sell.

So here’s my draft. Sound off in the comments with any advice.  Have you written a bio and if so, did you have an easier time of it?  What am I doing wrong?

Thanks!

Author Bio Draft

While attending college in Massachusetts eventually earning a BA in English and Sociology, Christa MacDonald fell in love with nearby Cape Ann and dumped her plans of moving out West with the rest of the cool kids. After a series of jobs doing everything from counseling adults with developmental challenges to writing magazine abstracts she ended up in the corporate world as an operations manager. Ten years and three babies later she decided it was time to try and capture in book form the down to earth, yet quirky people who live along this stretch of New England coastline.  The Davies of Coventry is the first of a series set in Cape Ann and is Christa’s first novel.