#CPPitch List


Here’s your list of fellow “single” writers searching for a CP! These will be arranged alphabetically by first name on the 22nd and every two days following. That way, if you come check the list again in two days, you can see who was recently added.

Want to enter? Find the Rules and Entry Form here.

Entries are closed! Thanks to all who participated!

Bold entries below are ones selected for an edit of their query and first chapter.

Comp Titles

Does one of these pitches remind you of another book or author? Tweet the author to let him/her know. I know how difficult it can be to find comp titles to put in my own query! Remember, the best Comp Titles tend to be less than 5 years old or were debut novels.

Spread the word

The more the merrier! Consider mentioning #CPPitch to your friends on social media or by email to get them involved.

New entries are marked with an asterisk. More entries will be posted on the 28th.


To protect the kingdom he’s sworn to serve, Morgan McRobbie must become its worst enemy.
Keith Willis‘s TRAITOR KNIGHT, adult, 124K

In the 12th century, time-traveling musicians must save their kidnapped sister from almost certain marriage.
Lara Willard‘s ROBIN EVANS AND THE WORLD SONG, adult, 65K

One girl’s magic makes her an outlaw from her own people, and she must join with those who burned her home in order to save herself. (Note: MC is a teen, but there are multiple POVs)
Mary W. Jensen‘s FEY MOON, adult, 98K

A gangster in a heathen port city learns that he’s becoming a god, only to find out that they die too.
Justin D. Herd‘s OF GODS AND MADNESS: THE FAITHFUL, adult, 85K

Fantasy Romance

When twenty-year-old Aidelle smashes a timepiece as her fiancé leaves her, sealing herself in a timeless reality, she must cross the volatile ‘timestreams’ to rewrite their argument or be erased from existence.
Alexandrina Brant‘s WHEN THE CLOCK BROKE, adult, 80K

A slave and a prince work together to catch a murderer and find themselves falling (illegally) in love along the way.
Melanie DeWitt‘s DUSTRIEL’S BLESSING, adult, 74K

In Mithos, where True Love is the strongest form of black magic, Martia must make a choice—kill her other half or submit to their wild new power.
Tiffanie Lynn‘s THE SINNER ROSE, adult, 90K

Beta tried to forget the alien freaks that took her. But they aren’t having that. To survive she needs to remember what they did to her—fast, or risk everything she loves.
Colleen Myers‘s CAN’T FORGET, new adult, 65K

Historical Fiction or Historical Romance

Forgotten silent film star Hester Carmella chronicles her rise to fame in 1920s Hollywood, her career given an unexpected boost when her sister is brutally attacked by the future Black Dahlia killer.

The tangled love story of a tortured hero who must choose between letting go of the pain of his past, and the love of a woman he tried so hard to hate. WWI Europe.
Sarah Bailey‘s ALONG CAME RUTH, adult, 71K

A family sacrifices everything, including each other, in order to build the Brooklyn Bridge.
Tracey Wood‘s A BRIDGE BETWEEN US, adult, 78K

Treating his invention of a time machine like a superpower, Horatio becomes The Forever Man and returns to Belfast of 1909 to prevent the Titanic disaster—before the ship even sets sail.

Romantic Comedy Crime Solvers & Fighters

Texan Colt Ryder uncovers a cryptic letter in Dublin Castle and the hunt for the Irish Crown Jewels is on!
Anne Lipton‘s THE EMERALD EYE, adult, 76K

Single mom/artist/house-cleaner Jules must uncover how her deeply unpopular boss Ray ended up in a tote filled with bloody fish and slush, hopefully without ending up in a fish tote herself, a challenge for someone with her testy disposition and abrasive personality.
Diane Carley‘s THE PROBLEM WITH RAY, adult, 73K

Other Genres, Either Funny or Romantic

When Diggs, a physically unfit graphic artist, unwittingly signs himself up to run a half marathon, it pits him not only to accomplish the training and finish the race, but to save his town from extinction.
Alden Gilroy‘s NA Contemporary LOOK HOW FAR YOU’VE COME, 79K

Every book has a story to tell, separate from the one written on its pages.
Ashley Brannan‘s Adult Contemporary (w/ paranormal elements) SILVERTHORNE AND BLOOM USED BOOKS, 80K

Monsters versus Mobsters versus Monsters in 1929 New England.
D.R. Perry‘s Historical Paranormal THE CHANGED, NA, 74K

Fresh from a breakup, Michelle Fortes moves to France to heal her broken heart with cheese and wine, but instead finds culture shock, medical mysteries, and her wildest fantasies come true in Alexandre.
Elle Marr‘s Romantic Mystery HEARTS IN ROUEN, NA, 76K

A duffel bag of money found under the floorboards of a double-wide trailer funds Mara’s fresh start, but when her past and her present begin to overlap, Mara is forced to face the lies she’s been telling and the dangerous man that’s hunting her down.
Jillian B. Paige‘s Contemporary Romance THE LAST BITTER WORD, NA, 61K

While hoping to find a cure for a sexually-transmitted disease, Scarlett, a university student, has to avoid becoming sexual prey to a professor. A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.
Jo Wu‘s Steampunk Fantasy PLAYING PREDATOR, NA, 85K

An angel-museum curator is drawn into the secret world of a real winged warrior she is forbidden to desire.
Kimberly Cooper‘s Paranormal Romance THE SKYRIDERS: RISE OF THE SUNBIRD, adult, 80K

Astrid just had the best day of her life with Theo, the man of her dreams, but a day later she has completely forgotten him.
Margarita Montimore’s Upmarket Contemporary AWAKE AND ASTRAY, NA, 91K

Jody’s grandmother burns her own house down with Gramps still inside, and Jody must decide whether her loyalty lies with Gram or with the deceased Gramps.
Gabby Gilliam‘s Women’s Fiction THE FARMER’S WIFE, Adult, 67K

Ivy knows that she could have avoided the whole scene, shown Adam the door and then quietly and consistently stalked him like good girls do, but quiet desperation just ain’t her style.
Jessica Boothe Frye‘s Contemporary Romance SOME GIRLS DO, NA, 67K

Twenty-five-year-old doctor in love with her shy, stuttering best friend must overcome her mother’s disdain and his insecurities to live happily-ever-after.
Shaya Roy‘s Contemporary Romance WWW.PERFECTMATCH.COM, Adult, 82K

LIFE AFTER REDBY is a magical romp through the mind of a deranged ex-soldier reliving her survival in Zombie Hell.
Kaitlin Caul‘s Thriller LIFE AFTER REDBY, Adult, 74000

Professional demon-hunter Lazarus will take on any challenge, certain that anything he can’t punch through, his beloved boss can guide him around—but this time, his deadliest enemy is the one inside his own mind.
Melanie Weisberg‘s Urban Fantasy CHAINBREAKER, Adult, 115,500

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#CPPitch—a Critique Partner Mixer


Have you written (or are you writing) an adult or new adult novel?*

Do you want a critique partner to work with and improve BOTH of your novels?

Is your novel between 60,000–120,000 words?**

*For the case of this mixer, any novel with a main character 18 or older, or a novel with a young protagonist but adult themes (like The Ocean at the End of the Lane) in the genres listed below will be eligible. A “New Adult” novel has a protagonist between 18-25 and concerns itself with the transition into adult life: starting a new career, navigating college, or engaging in a serious relationship.

Young adult, middle grade, or other children’s books are not included in this mixer. However, if you decide to organize your own, I will link to your information!

**If your novel is not yet finished, you can still participate if you have written at least 60,000 words in this novel. You will need to critique your partner’s work first, and he/she should not critique yours until you are finished and have edited it yourself. If you have written more than 120,000 words, you can’t expect your CP to read more than that. My advice? Cut the fat, then have your CP read your novel. Otherwise find a CP with a longer word count also.


Since I’m running this shebang, I’m picking my own genres to include. If you write straight-up romance or mystery, you can easily find critique groups online. If you wrote erotica, please organize your own CP mixer! 

Is your novel one of the following genres?

  • Fantasy
  • Fantasy + Romance
  • Historical Fiction (also Historical Romance)
  • Romantic Comedy Crime Solving / Crime Fighting (Yes, I am that specific. Think Stephanie Plum novels, The Thin Man, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, or the TV shows Castle and Veronica Mars)
  • Other (Other genres like mystery, thriller, contemporary, or literary MUST include a generous helping of either comedy or romance. Erotica is not accepted.)
  • Time Travel (I can include this under Historical Fiction or Fantasy—whichever you think will be the best fit. For Science Fiction that is not time travel, it must include either romance or comedy, and it will be listed in the “other” category.)

These are how I’ll arrange your pitches. If you wrote a time travel novel, for example, decide which category has the most family resemblance. If you wrote a funny mystery or a romantic thriller, those would go in the “other” category.

I’m going to pick one pitch from each category and give that person a free line-edit of their first ten pages!

What I will not accept

Do not enter this mixer if:

  • …your pitch/query/first 250 has words in it that will trigger my safe search or result in my getting spam emails for penile enhancement
  • …your novel is erotica, a novel about a person’s sexual journey. If the O is more important than the connection made during a sex scene, then it’s too erotic for this mixer.
  • …the romance contains infidelity
  • …the film version of your novel would garner a NC-17 rating, either for gore or sex

This mixer is for fantasy, Historical fiction, and genre fiction with romance. One or two sex scenes is fine! Rated-R sexiness is fine! If you wrote a different genre but your novel is funny, enter it into the “other” category.

Again, if you organize a mixer for other genres, let me know in the comments and I will link to your information. 

How to enter

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your name
  • Your Twitter username (if you want people to connect with you)
  • Your email (this is how I will communicate with you. It will NOT be released to anyone else without your permission)
  • Your novel’s title
  • Age category
  • Genre (see above)
  • Word count
  • A one-sentence pitch (If your protagonist is in college or is younger, include that in your pitch)
  • Your query letter (Just the main pitch, not your bio or any salutations)
  • The first 250 words of your novel (250 words MAX. Stop mid-sentence or go under.)

You have until August 31st at 11:59 pm EST to enter. 

I will post your name, Twitter handle, word count, age category, genre, and one-sentence pitch in a new post on September 2nd. Entrants will be organized by genre, not age category.

See the current list here! Check back September 1st to see the final list.

If you write several one-sentence pitches and don’t know which one to enter, tweet them with hashtag #CPPitch, ask your friends to vote, and see which has the most favorites.

Add other authors and follow them on Twitter!

September 1st and 2nd

Pick 5 stories you think you’d like to read, at least 2 from your category. (That’s right! If you wrote a fantasy, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick a funny mystery to read!) I will publish a form on the 1st which you will use to submit your list to me.

September 3rd and 4th

I will mark any entrants that got chosen to be #PitchWars mentees. Congrats to them! But they can’t participate in #CPPitch. Then I’ll email each of you the query and first 250 words from each of your top 5.

(If there are more than 100 entrants, I am NOT going to email everyone. See disclaimer below.)

September 5th and 6th

Narrow down your top 5 to just 3. Email me back with your choice by 11:59 on September 6th.

September 7th

Wait patiently while I play matchmaker. Do not email me on any other subject, please. If you have questions, ask on Twitter. I will not respond to other emails at this time.

September 8th

Continue to wait patiently until you receive an email from me with the name of your critique partner(s).


I have no idea how the turnout for this mixer will be. I will sort up to 100 entrants, starting with Fantasy and working my way down. If more than 100 enter, then I’ll still list the entrants and pitches for the remaining categories, but y’all will have to choose CPs amongst yourselves.

Final words:

Of course, you can ask other members if they will critique your work, but no one is obligated to work with anyone else. Besides, you want a CP that will enjoy your story, right?

I recommend exchanging one to three chapters at a time. If it turns out one of your CPs isn’t contributing, you don’t have to give them feedback. Then you don’t critique 50 pages for someone that only critiques 2 for you in return.

Remember, be cordial to each other. Be professional. Set reasonable deadlines, but be understanding if something comes up. And be honest if something comes up for you that will keep you from contributing.

Above all, be an easy person to work with.

Submissions are now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!

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WATCH, or: Where to Start and End your Novel

This post explains the acronym WATCH, asks what kind of novel you’re writing, and then teaches you where/how to begin and end your novel. Short fiction writers—don’t fret. You can learn about beginning and ending your stories effectively, too.

I’ve been reading Characters and Viewpoints by Orson Scott Card* and learning so much about point of view and types of novels that I’ve not read anywhere else. So of course I’m going to share what I’m learning with all of you!

[*EDIT: When I read the book and wrote this post, I was unaware that Orson Scott Card is homophobic. As such I do not recommend his book. I still learned something from it though, and I’ve shared that below.]

My main takeaway was his idea of a “MICE Quotient.” He says there are four types of stories. Each story has all four elements, but stories will emphasize one more than the others. M.I.C.E. stands for Milieu, Idea, Character, and Event.

I think his use of “Idea” is a bit misleading, and I’d probably have to look up “milieu” again every time I saw it in the future. So I created my own mnemonic device that works well in the context of my time-traveling historical fantasy.

W.A.T.CH.: Which will you focus on in your writing?


  1. World
  2. Answer
  3. Time
  4. CHaracter

Okay, I know the H in “character” is silent. Nobody’s perfect.


This is Card’s “Milieu,” but “world” is far less pretentious and more memorable, in my humble opinion. You’ve probably heard of “world building” if you are familiar with Sci-Fi and fantasy, or the broader term “universe.” World concerns itself with setting, place, time, culture, customs, manners, and the like. Every novel has some degree of its own world. In some stories, though, the world-building is so central to the book, it almost becomes a character itself.

Westerns, epic fantasy, and historical fiction tend to focus on World.


This is what Card refers to as “idea,” but I think “Idea” has connotations of “theme” and not much else. An Answer story poses a question or a problem that needs to be answered or solved by the end. The question could be obvious—”Who murdered Mr. Boddy?”—or it could be figurative. If it’s figurative, the answer might very well be the theme of the story. Take The Great Gatsby, for example. While the World (1920s), Time (events), and Characters (Gatsby, Carraway, Tom, Daisy, etc.) are all important and well-developed, they are all used to illustrate the themes (money, power, time, etc.). An allegorical story like Pilgrim’s Progress has universal, and thereby flat, characters, but it can get away with it, because the story is about finding answers. What is Christian’s purpose? To get to the Celestial City.

Mysteries, capers, allegory, and some sci-fi and classical fiction focus on Answers or theme.

Examples: Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Ocean’s Eleven, Pilgrim’s Progress, The Great Gatsby


Time deals with events. Cause and effect. The plot. What happens. If you’re trying to get a writing degree at a respectable university, they will tell you that Character must always trump plot. And while that’s true for literary fiction, it’s not true for all fiction. Anne Lamott, whom many of us regard as one of the finest writing instructors alive, urges writers to think about characters and their motivations, hang the plot. But in Bird by Bird, she confesses that she had to rewrite one of her novels countless times, because the plot made no sense, and her editor kept telling her it didn’t work. So she learned how to do a plot treatment, and she fixed it. Plot gets thrown under the bus by some respectable writers, but it’s definitely important.

I really enjoy character-driven short fiction, but if I pick up a novel in which nothing actually happens, I’ll throw it across the room and rage about it to my poor, unsuspecting husband. Popular fiction, the kind that is nearly impossible to put down, focuses on Time and what happens in the book. Hopefully the characters will change by the end of the book, but that isn’t always the case. Katniss Everdeen isn’t the deepest character on the shelf, but she sure does a lot.

Time novels start with something amiss that needs to be fixed. They right a wrong; they “save” women from spinsterhood. Or at least they try to fix the problem. They primarily try to change what happens, though the people in the story are usually changed, too.

Because they deal with problems, the line between Time stories and Answer stories can be a blurry one. The difference is that in an Answer story, something is learned or realized, resulting in an understood truth. But in a Time story, something happens, resulting in a shift in circumstance. Answer stories have an intellectual conclusion, whereas Time stories have a physical one.

Dystopian, disaster, justice/revenge, thriller, horror, sci-fi and romance are generally Time- or event-focused.

Examples: The Hunger Games, Jurassic Park, The Count of Monte Christo, The Da Vinci Code, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Doctor Who, Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones’s Diary.


A character-driven novel is one in which the most important factor isn’t what happens, when and where it happens, or the author’s intent. The important thing in a character-driven story is personal growth. The character should change for the better or for the worse. If the character doesn’t change, the reader grows in understanding of why that character will never change.

Contemporary literary fiction concerns itself primarily with character: who characters are and why they act the way the way they do. Motivation, motivation, motivation.

General fiction, literary fiction, and the bildungsroman (a coming-of-age story) depend primarily on character.

Examples: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Things They Carried, Huckleberry Finn

How to begin and end the story



When the world in your story is the focus, you begin by introducing the world. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” Tolkien created a gigantic universe that is Middle Earth. His stories begin by showing what life is like. Then things begin to shake that world up a bit. Orson Scott Card gave the example of The Lord of the Rings. Why does the story not end when the One Ring is destroyed? Because the story isn’t just about Frodo Baggins and his Fellowship; it’s about how Middle-Earth completely changed. So the story ends not at Mount Doom, or at Aragorn’s coronation, or after the scouring of the Shire. It ends when the last of the elves leave Middle Earth. The world has changed. It’s changed for Frodo, too, so he leaves with the elves.

Grey Havens

Where are my tissues?


If you’ve read or watched many mysteries, you know they all start the same. They might have a couple of lines or minutes introducing the protagonist as a person capable of solving a mystery, but they really start when someone’s been murdered or another crime has been committed. They start with a mystery or a question. Why do you think some people call mysteries “Whodunits”? The story ends when you find out who did it.


In theme stories, the story begins with theme and ends with theme. The Great Gatsby begins with advice (given in the past) about considering someone else’s history against your own, and how those histories have affected your presents:

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.'”

It ends with the message that even though we make effort to change our futures, we will always be pulled back to our past:

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

You end the story once the characters or the reader has a new understanding.

In a series of Answers stories, they might end on a new question. Readers read the next book to have the new question answered. That’s usually how seasons of Castle end. And if you watch Sherlock, you really know what I mean about ending on a question!


Time stories begin by showing you what’s wrong. There might be a quick introduction of characters, but then we see what sort of circumstance the characters are in, and they realize they’ve got to do something about it. Or they reject it but end up doing something anyway.

Lizzie Bennet Diaries

My mom gave me this shirt.

The Hunger Games begins with the Reaping. Pride and Prejudice begins with a woman who, according to her mother, needs a husband (preferably a rich one). Doctor Who episodes usually begin with the discovery of aliens bent on the destruction of the universe.

Time stories end when circumstances change. The woman gets married; the world is saved. Justice is had; someone is avenged. They basically end when there’s nothing else to tell—nothing else happens to change the circumstance of the world or of the protagonist. At least not until the sequel. If a time story is part of a series, one story might end when the circumstances change in order to create a new story. The Hunger Games ends after circumstances change for Katniss and Peeta. They’ve hit a new normal. But Haymitch assures them that more change is to come. Catching Fire is notorious for its cliffhanger ending.

Pride & Prejudice wedding

The story ends here when it’s one about finding romance. Achievement unlocked.


Character stories begin with the character living a normal life.

500 Days of Summer Todd Hanson

Everything that happens in the story affects the character somehow, and by the end of the story, the character has grown. Character stories end with the change or growth in character. A new life for the character has begun.

(500) Days of Summer is not a love story, it’s a character story. It doesn’t end with a relationship, it ends when Tom finally gets a life. (I adore this movie.)

Chris Oatley has a great post on “How to Write Great Character Introductions” [archived] over at Paper Wings Podcast. If you’re writing a character-driven story (and even if you aren’t), be sure to read it.


Take some time and think about your favorite books and movies. What kinds of stories are they? Where do they begin? How do they end?

Be sure to check out WATCH Part Two—a quiz on where you should begin and end YOUR novel.

Once I get through my notes and finish Characters and Viewpoint, I’ll be starting a new series on Point of View. Subscribe or follow me on Facebook to stay in the loop!

beginning & ending your novel: a lesson in genre