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#pg70pit—how to submit

Are you here in 2017? Some rules have changed, but the content below has been updated for 2017.

If you have any additional questions, comment below or tweet me!

What you need to enter:

  • Your e-mail address (this is private and used only to verify entries or notify winners)
  • Your code name from poetry—THIS IS NEW FOR 2017; before it was from song lyrics. 5-7 words. (This contest is anonymous—choose something unique and difficult to trace back to you. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” is probably going to be too common—we want to avoid repeats!)
  • Your novel’s intended audience—Middle Grade, Teen, or Adult (Adult is 18+)
  • Your novel’s word count, rounded to the nearest thousand (71,469 becomes 71K)
  • Your novel’s genre (I have a guide to major genres here and the sub-genres of science fiction and fantasy here)
  • Seven words describing your MC—(DO NOT include character’s name. Can be a list of words or a phrase. See tips on your seven-word description below.)
  • Your 70th page with extra spaces between paragraphs (choose up to 257 consecutive words from your 69th or 70th page, or a section spanning both. It will appear single-spaced.)

When and where to enter:

On June 7, 7:00 am Eastern Standard Time, I’ll post the submission form on my blog for all age categories.—THIS IS NEW FOR 2017

I will remove the submission form on June 8th.

Tips for getting your entry ready

The seven words describing your MC should do one of the following:

  • help ground the reader,
  • show that your main character is interesting or sympathetic, or
  • show your ability as a writer who effectively and efficiently crafts words and punctuation.

You can structure it however you like. For example, you might give setting or genre details:

Baffles regency norms, her mother, gentlemen suitors.

You might make it like a pitch:

Witty girl overcomes first impressions, falls hard.

Or you could list adjectives and get creative with punctuation:

Clever, judgmental, poor. Loved anyway (by snob…)

THIS IS NEW FOR 2017: Participating in the Twitter contest is optional, but the seven-word phrase is still a required part of your entry.

Your 69th/70th page is going to be what matters most in the contest.

Choose up to 257 consecutive words from your novel’s 69th-70th page. You may complete cut-off sentences that fall on the 68th or 80th pages, but do not exceed 257 words. We may email finalists and request their full manuscript to verify that their excerpt falls on one of those pages.

For example, if saw that a chapter ended on my 70th page, I’d take from both the 69th and 70th pages.

Editing your Excerpt

You can ask friends to help you edit your excerpt or 7-word pitch, but please do so privately, not using public tweets or including the hashtag in a blog post asking for feedback. Because this is a blind contest, don’t risk a judge seeing your entry—or your code name—before the results are posted, or you’ll be disqualified.

You can edit an excerpt down to make it 257 words or fewer.

See examples of how I’d edit someone’s page in the 7th on 7th series.

In my Revision Checklist for Writing Contests, you’ll see my top-secret tips for hard-core revising.

You can also search winning entries from 2015 and 2016 by searching my blog 🙂

If you have any more questions, comment below. Now an excerpt from one of my trunked novels as an example on how you might edit your entry.

pg70pit-a new kind of writing contest

I had 193 words on page 70 and 221 words on the page before it. If I’d started with “Where did they go?” and stopped at the end of the chapter, I’d have 259 words. But I really like the context of some dialogue before, so to include that, I needed to make some cuts from the middle.

Here’s the original excerpt, showing what I cut to make room for that line of dialogue:

“Where did they go?” asked Gareth.

“To his quarters, I’d imagine. I’m sure she’ll be back tomorrow.”

Warmth radiated on the back of Gareth’s neck. “Where does this guy live?” He hadn’t meant to shout.

Faye put her hand on his arm and spoke to him gingerly. “In the keep. The castle keep.”

Someone waved Mary over, and she left.

“Why would he take her there?”

Faye’s silence, her look of pity, confirmed it.

“Get Robin. We’re gonna get in there, and I’m gonna smash some heads. If he so much as touches my sister I—” He was already out of town and back on the road by the time he’d finished talking. Faye caught up with him about a quarter mile later.

She was riding her pack horse. Gareth stopped, wondering what she did with the cart. What’d she do with the cart? She pushed off the horse, landing in the dirt, reached out to Gareth, but then dropped her hand at her side. “Gareth, if you even got past the front threshold, trying to remove your sister will get you—or the pair of you—killed. If you challenge the king’s man, you challenge the king.”

The sun was throwing threw yellow light on the lime-washed walls of the city on the coast. Gareth didn’t stir.

“Gareth.”

He clasped his hands over the top of his head, and behind his neck, his forehead creased in worry, in hopelessness. “Let’s get Robin. He’ll know what to do.”

They had just turned back, leading the horse behind, with the horse when the ground below them opened up, dropping them into darkness.

Here’s what the new excerpt looks like:

“She is in the company of the king’s steward. He’s harmless enough. If they’d stayed here, she would have only been gone a few minutes. But she left with him.”

“Where did they go?” asked Gareth.

“To his quarters, I’d imagine. I’m sure she’ll be back tomorrow.”

Warmth radiated on the back of Gareth’s neck. “Where does this guy live?” He hadn’t meant to shout.

Faye put her hand on his arm and spoke to him gingerly. “In the keep. The castle keep.”

“Why would he take her there?”

Faye’s silence, her look of pity, confirmed it.

“Get Robin. We’re gonna get in there, and I’m gonna smash some heads. If he so much as touches my sister I—” He was already out of town and back on the road by the time he’d finished talking. Faye caught up with him about a quarter mile later.

She was riding her pack horse. Gareth stopped. *What’d she do with the cart?* She pushed off the horse, landing in the dirt. “Gareth, if you even got past the front threshold, trying to remove your sister will get you—or the pair of you—killed. If you challenge the king’s man, you challenge the king.”

The sun threw yellow light on the lime-washed walls of the city. Gareth didn’t stir.

“Gareth.”

He clasped his hands behind his neck, his forehead creased in worry, in hopelessness. “Let’s get Robin. He’ll know what to do.”

They had just turned back with the horse when the ground below them opened up, dropping them into darkness.

I hope this was helpful!

74 thoughts on “#pg70pit—how to submit

  1. Marcia Gendler Nass says:

    Laura for chapter books, are there any pitches coming up, or any contests? My chapter book is around 6,500 words and the MC is in second grade.

    • Lara says:

      Hi, Marcia—Unfortunately I don’t have experience with chapter books because they’re such a hard sell. I know agents that represent picture books and MG–YA, but no one who represents chapter books. You could try KidLit411 and see if they have any leads. Sorry!

  2. elementalseries5 says:

    The description of the contest sounds like it is intended for previously unpublished manuscripts, but I thought I’d double-check. My latest manuscript won’t be ready this for this year’s 70pit, and I’m very sad about missing the fun. It’s being edited, but won’t be completely polished by then.

  3. Dana says:

    Hi Marcie and Lara. So, my 70th page is the POV of my antagonist. Could I submit my 60th page since I’d like the agents to see my MC’s POV.
    Thanks!
    Dana

  4. jeremyszal says:

    Hey Lara,
    Where will the submission form be? Is it up already? I know we don’t submit until July, but I’d like to have it bookmarked beforehand.
    Thank you! 😀

  5. D.T. Nova says:

    I think I have it right but I’m asking just to be sure.

    The page(s) that is/are 69th/70th when the formatting is 2-line spacing and a 12 point font, right?

    I can use part of both pages even if one or both individual pages are over 259 words already?

  6. Mary Holm says:

    Hi Lara,

    What if your novel features more than one POV and your pages 69/70 are not in the Main Character POV? Who should the seven word character sketch be about?

    Mary

  7. Debbie Smiloff DeLouise says:

    I’m working on my adult novel 259 excerpt from pages 69/70. On page 69, I’m in the middle of a long quote but want to include the end of it. Should I use quote marks around it or . . . . indicating that there is more of the quote before it? It’s a complete sentence and can stand alone.

  8. Tammy says:

    Thank you for running this great contest! I was just wondering if the code name was supposed to be in place of your own name or if it is in place of your manuscript’s title?

    • Lara says:

      code name is in place of your MS title, and it must be song lyrics. If I recognize the code name from another contest, I can’t vote on the entry (though the other readers can, if they don’t recognize it).
      Your name shouldn’t appear anywhere, except maybe in the email address, which we don’t show the judges/readers.

  9. Nicole Dacanay says:

    Hi Lara! Thank you so much for this opportunity!

    Is 257 words a hard limit? I want to make sure I’ve got everything ready for tomorrow, and my submission is over that limit by about 100 words.

    • Nicole Dacanay says:

      I just re-read the “Editing your Excerpt” portion and I think I’ve answered my own question. Again, thank you so much for this opportunity! 🙂

  10. Beth says:

    When the winning entries are posted, will the authors’ real names be used, or will their code names be displayed. Thank you.

    • Lara says:

      Anonymity is part of the contest. We won’t know the authors’ names at all—only their email addresses, which will only be looked up in the event that a writer needs to be contacted for confirmation or late agent requests.

  11. Daphne says:

    Hi Lara!
    My page 69 is the end of a chapter and 70 is the beginning of the new one. Is it okay to use these two pages with something showing the separation of the scene in the middle? Or should I start on 68 or end on 71?

    • Lara says:

      That’s fine! Some people have used asterisks, some have included the next chapter’s name (chapter name won’t be counted in the 259)

      • Chelsea says:

        Hi Lara,

        Thanks! I just entered, and I’m very excited! 🙂 Hrm, I think I found it through Google, so I’m not sure if it’s linked anywhere. I just wanted to double check. Thank you!

        Best,
        Chelsea

      • Lara says:

        That makes sense. Google takes a while to acknowledge new blog posts, and last year’s entry form was more popular than this one, since this one’s only been live ac ouple hours 🙂

  12. Diane says:

    Is the code name supposed to reflect you personally, your manuscript, or just something you pick for whatever reason? Is there a word or character limit?

  13. Barb Hopkins says:

    Confused on the spacing (I may need more coffee.) Single spaced with double between paragraphs or double with extra space between paragraphs?

    • Lara says:

      single spaced with an extra “return” between paragraphs to leave some extra space. If in doubt, see how it looks when pasted into Notebook or TextEdit 🙂

  14. Barb Hopkins says:

    I needed to make a change after hitting submit, hit the edit button provided, & made the change. Then I hit submit again. Hoping it didn’t submit 2 copies of the same entry.

  15. candide66 says:

    I went to “save” my entry and got a page load of Spanish, then couldn’t get back to send the form! No idea if it’s got there or not, and can’t re-send because 2 * send is cheating! Any idea what I should do??

  16. Sara says:

    I think I may have put the word count for the singe page and not the word count for my whole manuscript in my YA entry, but when I use the link to go back and edit the form, it comes up blank. By filling it out, will I create a duplicate form or will it replace my other one?

    • Lara says:

      The edit link pops up after you submit and is unique to your entry. Email veritylanelara at gmail with the email you entered, and I can check for you once craziness does down

  17. Lisa says:

    If you have an upper YA or NA, in other words the MC is eighteen, but it’s a coming of age novel that has the concept of first sex and childbirth, would I enter it in Teen or Adult?

  18. Leslie Wibberley Author says:

    Hello, just found this amazing contest. A quick question. In counting pages, do I start with the first page of my manuscript, or start counting with the title page, and the page that has a single line epigraph. which means my manuscript would start on page 3.

    • Lara says:

      Awesome! You can count the title page or not, but don’t count any epigraph. If your 257 words (max) bleeds into 68 or 71 a bit, it should be fine.

  19. Mel says:

    oh dear, I didn’t count my words and now I have and there are too many. I’ve saved my editing code, but where do I put it in again?

    • Lara says:

      You should be able to open a new tab or window with that link and submit through Google Forms directly. It won’t be on my site, but it will still get through!

  20. Everly says:

    For the Romance genre, you mention “no erotica or explicit content.” My MS definitely isn’t erotica, but…how explicit is *too* explicit? And does that just apply to the submission page or the MS as a whole?
    Thanks!

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