Monday, November 2, 2015


PitchWars is at its heart about the writing community. And even though at the end of the day Mindy McGinnis and I were only able to choose two mentees, we still wanted a way to give feedback to the many many many others who had been kind enough to share their work with us. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback.

I'm happy to say that quite a few people have been generous enough to take us up on this offer! So, through November, Mindy and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Make sure to look for them on both of our blogs as we'll be posting totally different critiques.

And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I am now offering manuscript critique services which you can find out more about here.

You'll see my comments in red.

Dear Agent,

Alorna thinks anything, even death, would be preferable to living as ‘Princess Plain,’ mocked and bullied in her own kingdom. But that’s because she doesn’t know the alternative. I like the princess plain bit here, but the rest lacks specificity. And the second sentence about not knowing the alternative doesn't hit because you already said she'd prefer death - which is kinda the worst alternative of all. 

Her mother magically disguised disguised her specifically how? her in hopes of escaping Alorna’s destiny This reads as if the mother is trying to esccape Alorna's destiny: reigning as the bloodthirsty dictator of the Sacred, a group of magic beings who want their ancestral lands back from humans. I think you need to explain more about the Sacred and exactly what Alorna's destiny with them would be.

The truth arouses the interest of Malek How does he find out?, a magician who lost his magic when the Sacred went into hiding. If he can kill Alorna, he’ll regain his power and be able to continue his search for the dryad he loved and lost to his best friend hundreds of years ago.

Unaware of the prophecy, Alorna seeks safety with the Sacred Seeks safety from whom - Malek? This needs to be more clear.. Being adored is a novelty for her, and her increasing powers are intoxicating. But when the Sacred’s Seer reveals Alorna’s future, she must choose: risk losing herself to a dark destiny or abandon the only people that have loved her? Is this the whole conflict? Is there anything else keeping her there? Does she feel some sort of loyalty to the people who have taken her in?

A DESTINY DARK AND GLORIOUS, an approximately 100,000 word, young adult fantasy manuscript, is told from the perspective of Alorna, Malek, and a telepathic cat named Ivan.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

1st Page:

By Tiffany Dawn Munn


Her cousin Raquelle knew how to break a person, but Alorna knew how to stay out of her way. Usually. This morning was proving to be an exception. Added in cousin up top so we have a better idea of who she is right from the get-go.
Alorna bucked against the weight on her back, but Maven’s another cousin? bony knees dug into her shoulder blades and pushed her down. Her forehead smacked against the oak floor. She turned her head, licked her split lip, and watched her cousin advance, scolding herself for not seeing this attack coming. 
Raquelle stepped forward, pink lips curved in an angelic smile. A ray of sunlight from the arched window highlighted the blond braids crowning her head. She kneeled, and the light glinted off a pair of scissors in her hands. “Time for a haircut.” She opened and closed the blades once, twice.
A tiny moan escaped Alorna’s lips.  I will not beg. But she had nourished her brown, lackluster hair for the last year, coaxing it to grow and treasuring each centimeter, and her desperate desire to save it overcame her wish to be strong.
“Raquelle, please.” Raquelle grabbed a fistful of Alorna’s shoulder-length hair, stretched it taut, and yanked her head back. “Please, please!”
Raquelle had always bullied and tormented her, and Alorna had taken it, taken it until she was stuffed full of regret and self-loathing. But she did it to placate the monster inside Raquelle, assuming it could be worse, fearing Raquelle’s wrath if she refused the mistreatment.
Not fair. I play her games. I give her what she demands, but it will never be enough. A red fury churned inside Alorna, roared through her lungs, and rushed out in a growling scream. I think this is a fairly strong beginning that has nice conflict and shows us who your heroine is. Nice job!


  1. Thank you for the critique! I've worked on that query so much that I was just too close to it to see how to improve it more, but your suggestions help so much. Looking at them, I felt two thing: happiness that I could now make it better and the need to smack my forehead and say, "Duh! Why didn't I think of that?" :)