Hello, everyone! It’s almost that time again! I had so much fun being a critiquer/judge in the Son of a Pitch contest last time, and I can’t wait to participate again!
For those of you not familiar with Son of a Pitch, it’s a critique-based contest that allows entrants to get feedback on their query and first 250 words from published authors as well as from other writers. It’s a great way to hone your pitch and first page, and hopefully get them in front of agents and editors! More info is here.
This go-round we have a theme: Disney heroes and villains. I have chosen to be Ursula from The Little Mermaid. I know you want to be on my team because it’s the best one: Ursula kicks butt with her dark ocean-magic.
A little about myself: my name is Elizabeth Roderick. I’m the author of Love or Money, a standalone LGBT romantic suspense novel (published through Limitless Publishing), and The Other Place Series, a new adult magical realism series (also through Limitless; the first two installments (The Hustle and The Other Place) are already out, and the last two will come out next year). I have several other books in various stages of editing, and am working on a few more. I write YA, NA, and Adult, and my genres range from contemporary to fantasy and all points beyond and in between. My books usually feature characters of the sort society tends to shun (addicts, convicts, the homeless, and the neurodiverse). I think if you get to know my characters, as well as people like them in real life, you might find they’re a lot more wonderful and interesting than you originally thought.
Part of the reason I write “unlikeable” characters that is because I myself am a neurodiverse person, along with all the baggage that can come with that (I’m a recovering addict, for instance). I’ve recently “come out” about the fact that I have bipolar disorder with episodes of psychosis. This profession is one of the few where this might actually be an asset: my experiences I think lend a lot of insight to my writing and my characters. A lot of things people only know about from television, I’ve lived through, for better or worse. Believe it or not, it’s not all dark!
I use my stories as a way to explore the different ways in which people’s minds work, and the many ways in which they learn to live and love in this crazy world. It’s my strange and convoluted way of trying to find out how I fit into this society. I think a lot of writers write for the same or similar reasons.
Enough about me. I’m really excited to be part of Son of a Pitch again. I love reading everyone’s entries. The only problem is I’m always left wanting to read the entire manuscript.
Critique contests like these are so important. I would never have gotten published if it weren’t for the advice I got from other writers, authors, and industry professionals along the way. Writing is a subjective business, and we all know that sometimes the advice we get from critiquers can be contradictory. But it is always a learning experience. It’s sometimes difficult to see how our stories will be perceived by others. Readers won’t always walk away with the same perceptions, but knowing what those perceptions are gives us incredible insight into our own work, and helps us to make it stronger, even if we end up not taking the exact advice our critiquers gave us.
The support of other writers and professionals in the community is also incredibly important. My hope is to see each and every entrant published. My first job in that regard is to make sure that no one gives up. The only thing that separates writers from authors is the refusal to throw in the towel, even when it gets hard. There will always be days when you think you can’t go on, when you’re angry, when you’re sure you “suck”. Ask anyone who is published, even people who are mega-famous bestsellers. They’ve felt the same way. I want you all to love writing, and to believe in your own voice, enough that you’ll never give up.
As for what kind of stories will be my favorites, I’m constantly surprised by what I like best. Any of you who know me know that I am a huge fan of diverse stories, especially #ownvoices. That isn’t limited to stories about and by neurodiverse people—I’m massively excited to see stories from authentic points of view that I’ve never read about before. In fact, I would be so honored if you would comment on this blog post, or in a private message if you prefer, and tell me the inspiration for your diverse and/or #ownvoices story. I love hearing people’s personal stories as much as I like reading their fiction.
That said, I’m a huge fan of any sort of story that’s well-told, even if it can’t possibly be #ownvoices because it’s about a being that is a near-sentient wisp of memory contained in the scent of jasmine in a young woman’s garden. (That one sounds like a tweet from Magical Realism Bot.) I love crazy stories, and more traditional stories; quiet stories and high-action stories; stories about love and hate and everything in between. I want to read them all, and I can’t wait to!