I just finished all the work I had planned for the current draft of Graveyard Shift
, my novel in progress, which ended up taking 5600 words out of the manuscript (though the actual changed wordcount is probably more like 15kwords, a couple of major chapters had very substantial rewrites). The structural changes, mainly deletion of a major character, worked pretty well, unfortunately it's still overlong (128kwords, target length 120kwords), so I need to look at a different approach. I've got some ideas, but it's a tough ask. On the plus side I'm writing regularly again after this year's health stuff got in the way for much longer than anticipated.
The other thing I'm thinking of doing is submitting it to Pitchwars, which may interest the other writerly types around here. Pitchwars is a sort of contest for people with unpublished manuscripts, where you pitch a query letter and first chapter to 5 out of (this time) 100 mentors (assorted published and due to be published writers and editors) and if your submission catches their interest they'll mentor you through a new draft, with the possibility of picking up an agent at the end of the process if any of the ones who come to watch decide they like your newly polished pitch (hence Pitchwars).
You can only pitch to five mentors, though, and there are restrictions, each mentor specifies an age range (MG, YA, NA - new adult, or Adult) and will only consider manuscripts aimed at that age range, while individually they can specify as many additional personal wants or restrictions as they wish (romances only, no romances, no magic, no kids in peril, etc) so that they end up with pitches they're comfortable handling, so you have to research your market (every mentor has a link to an appropriate web page). Unfortunately for me, Adult tends to be the category with fewest mentors, I've been through 25 so far, and only 1 will even consider Graveyard Shift
And the other problem I have is timing. Submissions have to be made in a 24 hour window on the 17th, which isn't an issue, but over the next couple of weeks the mentors may then request synopsis, additional chapters or the full manuscript, and generally email you to see if they think you and they will work together. Which wouldn't be an issue most of the time, but just happens to cover the week and a half I'm in Greece sailing/visiting Athens. Getting online shouldn't be too much on an issue in Athens, but in little fishing villages might be more of an issue! Hopefully people will be flexible enough to work with me to get around that if they're interested.
If anyone is interested enough to want to look it up for themselves: Twitter hashtag #Pitchwars and explanatory web page here
, with list of mentors here
Minor content warning if you follow up and start going through mentor pages, there seems to be an internal competition amongst the mentors for who can include the flashiest, gaudiest embedded gifs. If you're at all photosensitive you probably want to disable loading images! I'm not and I still find some of the pages almost unreadable.