#RevPit 2021 Annual Contest

#RevPit 2021 Annual Contest

April 20, 2021 Off By jaywhistler
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You may be familiar with #RevPit, the annual contest organized by www.reviseresub.com, which provides a free developmental edit of a novel for writers who are unagented. The winners are paired with professional freelance editors, who work one-on-one with a writer to focus on character development, plot arc, stakes, tension, voice, POV, and more. At the end of the process, agents and editors are invited to view the first chapter and the query for the winning manuscripts. Over the past five years, numerous winners have secured representation and publication through the contest.

The 2021 contest is currently underway, with winners to be announced soon. In the meantime, the editors also participate in #10Queries, which we use to provide quick feedback on a handful of entries. However, we don’t specify which entry we’re commenting on. It’s a guessing game! Is this your MS? Maybe, maybe not. But perhaps the advice applies to you, regardless!

I did my #10Queries session on Friday, April 16, but rather than trying to scroll through all the hashtags, I’ve compiled everything for you right here. I hope you find some useful tips, whether or not you entered #RevPit 2021!

#10Queries Twitter Thread

I’ve got a full glass of decaf iced tea and I am about to start my #RevPit#10Queries session. Doing this at my standing desk today. Ready???

MG=Middle Grade
YA=Young Adult My abbreviations for genre:

M=Manuscript pages

#RevPit#10Queries I will not indicate whether I would/would not request because I had too many that I wanted to request and can’t have them all. Instead, I’m giving tips on what I like and what could be improved. #RevPit#10Queries Now for general observations that apply to many (but not all) queries. #RevPit#10Queries

Start query with MS summary. Grab attention first! Then give those boring MS details about word count, age category, genre, and comp titles. Remember to include your bio, even if it’s simple. #RevPit#10Queries

Add a line about why you are subbing to this agent/editor, e.g., “Because of your interest in X…” or “I recently attended your session at Y conference,” etc. Shows you’ve done research, know what they’re looking for.

Keep MS summary ¶s <250-ish words. Entire query should be <500-ish words. Editors/agents are busy people with dozens of submissions/day. Get to the point fast. #RevPit #10Queries

Find a qualified CP who can spot grammar, punctuation, usage, spelling errors before you sent them to an editor/agent. Those can be another reason to reject that has nothing to do with the strength of your writing or story. #RevPit #10Queries

Try not to use blockbusters as comp titles. We’d all love to be the next Rick Riordan or Suzanne Collins. But use more realistic titles that show you know the market. #RevPit #10Queries

And now, on to what you really came here for, the submissions. #RevPit #10Queries

Q1: MG📆
❤️the “rags to riches” trope b/c lots of kids will relate. MC’s goal is clear, but how are the stakes bad? Seems like they would actually be good. Good bio ¶. #RevPit#10Queries

M1: Good 🌎building w/lots of sensory details. Describes MC’s ordinary world beautifully, w/nice sense that something is not quite right. #RevPit#10Queries

Q2: MG 📆
Holy moly, stakes are 🔥!!! Plus an emotional wound that sets up the storyline immediately. I wonder if the stakes are too high for MG? Great bio ¶ and good comp titles. #RevPit#10Queries M2: Ordinary 🌎 is obv diff for this MC & these pages show it well. I like that things are about to change right away. Still not sure if stakes are appropriate for MG. Might this be YA? #RevPit#10Queries 

Q3: MG🕵🏽‍♀‍
MS summary needs more. Feels like stakes with no setup. What are MC’s internal/external goals before the inciting incident? Goals help show where tension will come from. Nice bio ¶. #RevPit#10Queries I have no idea where the “female” symbol in the previous tweet came from. Thanks, twitter?? #RevPit#10Queries 

M3: Fun opening and good peek into ordinary 🌎. The storyline and word count feel much older than MG. Think about whether this is really YA. #RevPit#10Queries 

Q4: MG 📆
Immediate connection to a strong MC. A lot to deal with already, and now more piled on. Clear external goal. What is internal goal? How will it be affected by crisis? #RevPit#10Queries 

M4: The MC’s ordinary 🌎 is well done. This ain’t no white picket fence life. Good choice to have 3rd-person POV. Not connecting with the voice yet. #RevPit#10Queries 

Q5: YA 📆
Good comp titles. Lots of info in summary. Try to cut it down a bit & add MC’s internal and external goals. Right now, seems as if MC is reacting with little independent agency Good bio ¶. #RevPit#10Queries 

M5: Love that opening line. 😂 Great voice for MC. Story feels dated. Should it be historical instead? 🤷🏻 #RevPit#10Queries 

Q6: MG 📆
Love the concept. MC’s internal goal is clear. External is fuzzier. Remember that goals are not the same as what actually happens. Need to understand how goals might cause conflict/tension. Good bio ¶ #RevPit#10Queries 

M6: Clear voice for MC, w/clear int. goal. External still not showing up. What does the MC hope to be able to hold in their hands at end of story? Inciting incident and crisis should throw success of ext. goal into question, but we need to know what it is. #RevPit#10Queries

Time for a quad stretch! #RevPit #10Queries

Which reminds me, dear #RevPit community. Remember to practice lots of self-care this coming week. Step away from your computer and stop refreshing your inbox. Breathe. Let go of all that shoulder tension. #10Queries

Q7: YA😱
Interesting reflection of pop culture is intriguing. Clear goals and stakes. Avoid mentioning your age in bio. Instead, add relevant writing experience showing you are someone to be taken seriously, regardless of age. #RevPit#10Queries 

M7: Good character building for MC in these pages. Might be introducing other character too soon. I’d like to see the MC struggle more with their circumstances before having someone else on the scene. Increases tension and builds connection to MC. #RevPit#10Queries 

Q8: MG 📆
Love the story concept. Feels relevant and needed. Cut the MS summary in half. Focus on MC’s internal/external goals, stakes, and sources of conflict, incl. antagonist. Great bio. Include as part of Q, not added ¶ after signature. #RevPit#10Queries 

M8: MC’s ordinary 🌎 feels relatable, still hints at some conflict to come. Not seeing clear internal/external goals. What does MC want BEFORE inciting incident? #RevPit#10Queries 

Q9: YA😱
Intrigued by plot. Not seeing internal/external goals for MC. Stakes for others, but what is at stake for MC? What could they lose? Also, start with MS summary, then metadata, then bio. No more than 500wds for whole Q. #RevPit#10Queries 

M9: Great opening line, but it gets lost b/c nothing in the pages circles back to it. That line hints at STAKES!!! Capitalize on that and keep reader thinking about it. Remember: ordinary world≠ordinary. #RevPit#10Queries 

Q10: YA📆
Consider combining metadata with ¶ on themes and moving after MS summary. Grab attention with story first. Great stakes here. Interesting twist on social justice stories. #RevPit#10Queries 

M10: Not a lot of tension yet, but a hint of something at end of these pages. Think about ways to reveal character through actions instead of narrative. Might be a bit more backstory here than necessary. Save for later? #RevPit#10Queries 

That does it for me and this batch of #RevPit#10Queries. But we still have some time, so feel free to ask me any questions. Just don’t ask if one of the tweets was about your MS.