Hello, #PitchWars!

If you’re not active on writer-twitter, then it’s unlikely you know about Pitch Wars. Basically, “PW” is a big writers’ contest where hundreds of aspiring amateur authors submit their stories for selection by published authors, agents and editors. If none of that interests you, then you can safely skip over this post.

For those of y’all still here – let’s talk #BoostMyBio!

My name is Blair and this is my first crack at Pitch Wars. I’m submitting my manuscript, THE SECOND TRANSIT, in the Adult category (you guys know how that sounds to everyone else, right?). I describe my story as science-meets-historical fiction, though it would probably qualify as “speculative” too. I am very new to all of this terminology, so you’ll need to give me a minute to catch up.

Comps: THE SECOND TRANSIT is a bit like Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Years of Rice and Salt” meets Carol Vaye Watkins’ “Gold Fame Citrus.” It tells the story of an asteroid that whizzes past a planet every ~2,000 years. Every time it passes, its immense gravity has catastrophic ecological effects that completely reorder the climate and even geography. It is 90,000 words.

What I hope to get out of PW is feedback from more experienced, established authors on how I could polish THE SECOND TRANSIT into something publishable. I finished book last year after I put myself on a deadline to finish before our daughter was born, and it’s been in edit ever since. While I read a lot (or at least I used to, before my wife and I descended into babyland), I don’t really belong to a community of creative writers, and nor do I work in those circles. It has only been on the Pitch Wars forums that I’ve gotten clear advice on what goes in a query letter or synopsis, and I had no idea what “comps” even were until very recently.

So – you see what you’re dealing with here. 😅

My query currently stands thusly:

Hunter-gatherers like UKA have just begun emerging on a lush world when a massive, ultra-dense asteroid barely misses their planet. Its intense gravity triggers widespread ecological upheaval, forcing Uka and her clan to seek an uncertain refuge amidst the sudden bitter, unseasonable cold and multiplying extinction events across their world. So opens THE SECOND TRANSIT, a multi-generational, 90,000-word story of the great asteroid’s recurring near-misses of the planet every 2,276 years.

In each chapter of the book, the women and men of each age confront what the asteroid has wrought. After their rural village is destroyed, KEHTUMYE and his friends must journey to an early city-state in search of food and find an agricultural revolution in full swing. During the journey, Kehtumye is forced to reexamine his faith in their gods, who seem to vanish in the age of the mysterious chaos. JAPUEL, an accomplished astronomer in a Middle Ages era, realizes that her amateur scientist grandfather stumbled upon a terrible truth in their history. When her own world comes toppling down, she realizes she must find a way warn generations thousands of years in the future about the dangers to come. In a near-modern era where society is unraveling, PILUSO, a bold reporter at a “Doomsday” tabloid, discovers the lengths to which her government will go to suppress her reporting about the truth. In each era of the great asteroid’s passage, the characters encounter crises of faith as well as life and death as they draw closer to a final confrontation with their planet’s recurring curse.

THE SECOND TRANSIT is an adult sci-fi-meets-historical fiction story whose format and narrative will appeal to readers of Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Years of Rice and Salt” and Claire Vaye Watkins’ “Gold Fame Citrus.”

About me: The key stuff is all here. I’m from the mountains in Virginia, work in tech, and work hard to dedicate at least a little bit of time every day to write creatively. I’m a competitive powerlifter, returned Peace Corps volunteer, backcountry hiker and co-authored a trade book about enterprise software product management. When I was a little kid, I wanted to play in the NHL. Currently, I’m reading Jennifer Egan’s “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” and recently finished Charles Mann’s “1491,” both of which I strongly recommend.

I’m on the forums and Twitter and eagerly checking out the queries y’all post there! Let’s do this!