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#pg70pit—how to submit

Are you here in 2017? Some things have changed. Stay tuned for an updated “How to Submit” page.

I’ve been getting some great questions about pg70pit on Twitter, so I thought I’d show everyone what the submission form will look like, and give some tips on how to enter. If you have any additional questions, comment below or tweet me!

Here’s what the form will look like:

I filled in the form using Pride & Prejudice as an example.

70pit16-Entry-Form

What you need to enter:

  • Your e-mail address (this is private and used only to verify entries or notify winners)
  • Your code name (This contest is anonymous—choose something unique and difficult to trace back to you. This year entrants will chose lines from songs. Up to 7 words)
  • The song from which your code name comes. (The finalists will be made into a playlist on Spotify, so try to pick a song available on Spotify and fairly unique) 
  • 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)
  • 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.)

When and where to enter:

On July 1st, 7:00 am Eastern Standard Time, I’ll post the submission form on my blog for middle grade novels only. Any novels in other age categories submitted at this time will be disqualified from the contest—even if they re-enter at the correct time.

I will remove the submission form at 7:00 pm.

On July 2nd, this process repeats for Teen novels. Anyone submitting a teen novel before 7:00 am on 7/2/15 will be disqualified.

On July 3rd, I’ll post the submission form for Adult novels. Anyone submitting an adult novel before 7:00 am on 7/3/15 will be disqualified.

Be sure you choose the correct age category, or you will be disqualified.

Tips:

The seven words describing your MC replaces the 35-word pitch or Twitter pitch. It 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…)

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 I were submitting my novel, I’d see that a chapter ends on the 70th page, so I’d take from both the 69th and 70th pages.

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

I’ll use my own WIP below the jump as an example. If you have any more questions, comment below.

pg70pit-a new kind of writing contest

Editing your Excerpt

I had 193 words on page 70 and 221 words on the page before it. If I 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! 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.

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

53 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 259 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 🙂

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