My Pitch Wars Bio

Pitch Wars is upon us, so I’d thought I’d go ahead and make my bio! Thanks to Lana Pattinson for hosting #PimpMyBio. You can find her website and the blog hop here!

About Me

My name’s Katie, and I’ll be submitting a middle grade sci-fi. I’m a recent college grad from Texas that will be starting my first job (oh my gosh real world!) as a high school English and theatre teacher in the fall. I write science fiction and fantasy for middle grade kids and young adults from my not-so-fantastical apartment/lair. I’m a proud Gryffindor that enjoys going to the movies once a week, travelling though I have no money, and belting out Disney songs in my car named Luna. My greatest achievements have to be getting moved from the worst seat at an Ed Sheeran concert to the front row, meeting George RR Martin (GOT starts this week!!!), and surviving a semester working at Magic Kingdom in Disney World. Graduating college is up there, too, but definitely below the Ed Sheeran concert experience.

Now cut to the good stuff.

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Writing

I will be submitting VIRTUAL TALE, a MG sci-fi that follows Poppy, a 12-year-old who wakes after a car accident to discover she’s living in a virtual reality world designed after fairy tales while, in the real world, her body sleeps in a coma.

Poppy couldn’t care less that the VR company has made her and eight other disadvantaged children its charity project. All Poppy cares about is that she gets to live in a free world of castles, enchanted forests, and magic, instead of the controlling, cage-like walls of her parents’ house.

However, Fairy Vale isn’t the perfect escape the company promised. Conceited prince charmings badger her about the location of a key she knows nothing about, Poppy’s stern supervisor forbids her from trusting her hermit of a fairy godfather, and an evil witch, known as the North Witch, returns from the dead to take over the minds of Fairy Vale’s guests—including Poppy’s.

Along with teaming up with the cautious Oliver and offbeat Eliza, Poppy must trust her instincts and her heart if she is to discover the location of the key that opens the North Witch’s prison. If the key gets into the wrong hands, the witch could take control of Poppy’s mind. Time ticks down before the witch gains her freedom, or worse, Poppy’s time in Fairy Vale ends, and she’s forced back to the real world. There, only a coma awaits her, and in the real world, not even true love’s kiss can wake her from that sleep.

Fun facts about VIRTUAL TALE:

  • At my university, I was taking a course on fairy tales while writing the manuscript, so I got to put all my fairy tale knowledge to use.
  • Poppy’s parents are strange and distant, so there’s definitely something fishy about them.
  • One of Poppy’s friends was slightly inspired by Paris Geller from Gilmore Girls. 
  • Though it is a sci-fi, it feels like a fantasy since a majority of the story takes place in a fairy tale VR world.

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My Favorites

  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Sarah J Maas and all her stories
  • Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
  • Jenny Han and her lovely writing
  • JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis’s friendship and their books
  • Game of Thrones
  • The 100
  • Gilmore Girls
  • And so much more

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Why Would You Want To Work With Me?

I am willing to devote myself to making this novel as close to perfect as we can get it. I’m so grateful for all the mentors and everyone running the contest. I would never waste your time. I take critiques well and am flexible. I’m completely willing to go on an Elle-Woods-after-Warner-says-she’s-not-smart-montage and work hard. I also would love to form a friendship with my mentor. Writing-friends are such a great kind of friends.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @katiebhudson. If there are any other mentees who would like to talk please don’t be shy!

I can’t wait for our next adventure,

Katie Hudson

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How To Survive A Writers Conference

This past weekend I attended my first writers conference. I cannot recommend it enough. The classes, the pitching, and most importantly, the community are incredible. First, you should know that the conference I attended was the DFW Writers Conference. It ran smoothly, incredible agents attended, classes were helpful, and the community was extremely supportive, so I highly recommend it. Here’s what I learned.

Dress comfortably but nice. Business casual is safe. Try to wear something that makes your personality stand out, whether it’s a pop of color or some statement earrings. Writers are creative, so show you can be creative and still professional through your clothes.

Attend as many classes as possible. Before the conference, I hadn’t given much thought to the classes. However, I learned so much. From an agent’s class on writing queries to an author’s class on writing enchanting prose, there were many to choose from. One of my favorites was a workshop. This one had limited seating, so there were only about ten of us in there. We got to sit around a table with a couple agents and authors and ask them questions. It was incredibly helpful and put me into a situation where I felt comfortable speaking to agents.

Talk to people. Talk to your fellow attendees, talk to the speakers, talk to the agents. Don’t be afraid to do so. I made friends everywhere I turned. When someone sits down next to you, introduce yourself and ask what they write. It’s an easy way to start a conversation. You never know who they’ll end up being. Perhaps they’ll end up being someone who could turn into a good friend or future critique partner. Perhaps they’ll end up being a published author willing to lend you advice. No matter who they are, they are a part of the same community as you, and it is an incredible feeling to connect to that writing community.

In pitch sessions, be yourself. The great thing about pitching to agents in person is that they get a sense of who you are. If they like you, they may be more inclined to work with you. Before you go into the pitch, introduce yourself and let the agent do as well. I had memorized my pitch so that I wasn’t completely a mess while pitching it. Then the agent asks you questions. Respond naturally. You know your story, so you know how to answer those questions. Don’t be too nervous. Just be yourself. Smile. Show the agent that you are passionate about your story, and they will appreciate you for it.

Take risks. This could be in something as small as introducing yourself to the person sitting next to you, or it could be something as big as entering your query in the Gong Show. The DFW Writers Conference has a Query Gong Show at lunch where several agents sit at a table with gongs in front of them. Someone reads off anonymous queries, and the agents hit their gongs at the spot they would stop reading. On a whim, I entered my query, never thinking it would actually be chosen. But then it was being read off in front of the entire conference, and agents were tearing it apart. However, the critiques the agents gave my query were incredibly helpful, and I ended up editing my query and making it a hundred times stronger because of their suggestions. It also was a great conversation starter. After, when people would ask me what I write, I would say I was one of the Gong Show queries. People were extremely complimentary and supportive. We’re all in this together, so don’t be afraid to take risks. You want to get as much out of the conference as you can, and taking risks is the only way to do so.

Those were the last of my tips, though I’m sure I could think of hundreds more. If you’re on the fence about attending a conference, I say go for it. You won’t regret it. If anything, the conference instilled in me the belief that becoming an agented and professional writer was possible. That feeling is priceless.

Prepping For My First Writers Conference

In less than two weeks, I will be attending my first writers conference. I have always thought about attending one since querying through email has been difficult, but every time I looked at the prices, I (a poor college student) would run away without looking back. But as the ending of my college career approaches, my yearning to have an agent grows. So when I met with an author over Christmas break who had found her agent through a writers conference, I decided it was time.

Now, I’m preparing to attend and thought I would make a list of everything I plan on bringing.

  • Business Cards
    • These are to give to agents who ask for them and to fellow conference attendees, so they can follow you on social media and keep in touch.
  • 15 Query Letters
    • I’m not exactly sure how many I should bring or if I should bring any, but I decided on 15 just in case.
  • 3 Sets of the First Ten Pages of my Manuscript
    • Once again, I’m not sure if this is needed, but if an agent asks to see a paper writing sample, I want to have something prepared.
  • Notepad and pen
    • I own one of those fancy folders that are made from a leather-like fabric and have plenty of room for storing documents as well as a built in notepad. There is also a place to stick a pen.
  • Laptop?
    • I’m conflicted about this one. On one hand, I could not use it at all and have to carry it around with me all day, but on the other hand, the thought of being apart from laptop at any event that has to do with writing terrifies me. I’m not staying in the hotel, so I wouldn’t be able to run up to my room if I needed it at the last second. Therefore, I will probably bring it.
  • Water and a Snack
    • I might not like the food, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • My Pitch
    • And when I say this, I mean the one in my head. I plan on memorizing my pitch, so I have it down perfectly when I meet with agents.

Virtual Tale

In two weeks, I will be on my way to my first writer’s conference. The pressure is on to get my new manuscript ready to pitch, but I believe it is almost there. I’ve decided I’m going to pitch a middle grade sci-fi called VIRTUAL TALE. The inspiration for it came while I was watching HBO’s Westworld. I know, I know–Westworld doesn’t exactly scream “for children.” The aspect I enjoyed was the world building of a fake world that people could visit and live in. Instead of a western though, I thought a fairy tale would fit best for a middle grade novel, so VIRTUAL TALE came to being. Here is the blurb I’ll most likely use for querying:

Mr. and Mrs. River’s favorite pastime is ignoring their 12-year-old daughter Poppy River. This becomes easy when a car wreck forces Poppy into a coma. When she wakes, Poppy finds herself living in Fairy Vale, a virtual reality world designed after fairy tales. There, she learns that she is one of nine disadvantaged children given a spot in the virtual reality company’s philanthropy project, giving her a free year living in a world of castles, forbidden forests, and magic. However, Fairy Vale isn’t the perfect escape the company promised.

Due to her parent’s love of staying as far away from society as possible, Poppy never learned how to survive a fairy tale. Conceited prince charmings badger her about the location of a key she knows nothing about, Poppy’s stern supervisor tells her not to trust the fairy godfather that lives deep in the forest, and people whisper of an evil witch, returned from the dead to take over the minds of Fairy Vale’s guests, including Poppy’s.

Along with teaming up with the cautious Oliver and offbeat Eliza, Poppy must trust her instincts and her heart if she is to discover the location of the key that opens the witch’s prison. Time ticks down before the witch gains her freedom, or worse, Poppy’s time in Fairy Vale ends, and she’s forced back to the real world. There, only a coma awaits her, and in the real world, not even true love’s kiss can wake her.

Writing Middle Grade

The books that have dug themselves deepest into my heart till they became the foundation of who I am seem to mostly be middle grade. When it comes to novels, I’ve only ever wrote Young Adult. YA is the genre that I most easily find the stories that speak to me; therefore, YA is the genre I read the most and end up writing the most. However, when thinking about what books have had the biggest effect on me overall, about 75% of them are middle grade. The Percy Jackson series, Nancy Drew, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and The Chronicles of Narnia are all middle grade. I mean, Harry Potter, is middle grade. I could write several books on just what Harry Potter has done for me.

So, it seemed inevitable that I would eventually write a middle grade manuscript. But every time I began one, I couldn’t make it through. I couldn’t find the heart in the stories that make the middle grade novels above so special. But, finally, I found a story. And it might just be the right one.

I don’t want to talk about this new project in this post because I want to give it its own. However, I will say that writing middle grade with the right story fits. I’ve found my voice in it. I can write characters with big personalities that allow them to be funny without having to crack jokes (because I have absolutely no joke-cracking comedic bones in my body). Friendship and family are my focus when it comes to relationships between my characters. And it’s so refreshing to write characters who might be sad, but are still children in some ways, so they still have a hold on their childlike hope and happiness.

So, here’s to my first middle grade manuscript. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the one that’s meant to kick start my writing career. I’m holding onto the same hope that my twelve-year-old heart had ten years ago.

Waiting and Writing

Well I am still waiting for replies from the two agents that requested pages. I haven’t gotten any more requests, but I have received many rejections which is disappointing but expected.

I still haven’t begun writing anything new. I am taking a Tolkien class this semester, so I have been busy reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now I am onto The Silmarillion and hope to finish that up before the class starts.

But I really miss writing, so I am hoping to start something new soon. I still want to go with my “small town high fantasy” idea, but I have added a bit to it. I want the plot to revolve around a mysterious house in the town. The house secretly is sort of like this world’s Mount Olympus. All the gods and goddesses from the fantasy world live there. I think this would be fun because then I will get to make up my own mythology and gods and goddesses. Considering I am in love with Greek mythology I couldn’t think of anything more fun to do. I also like the idea of the people in this world only being able to see black and white and one other color. The other color they can see says something about them. I don’t know what yet. But when they are in the gods and goddess’ house they can see all colors. So that’s all I have so far. Hopefully, I can think up a plot soon, so I can began writing again.

Rejection

Rejection hurts. My querying process started out great with two agents requesting pages right off the bat. But since then I have had about five rejection letters. I’ve gotten these before so I am used to them, but I feel so strongly about this manuscript that I don’t know how anything else I write can live up to it.

I think I am going to send out a few more query letters to newer agents. They will have less sales under their belt, but are more likely to be taking on new clients. Hopefully, they will be more open to my idea.

In the meantime I am trying to keep the writing part of myself busy by thinking of a new idea for a novel. Part of me has really been wanting to do something with a small town because I grew up in one, but I just can’t bring myself to commit to something that isn’t high fantasy. I love creating different worlds and shaping my characters within them. So today I got the idea of having the majority of my story take place in a small town but have the small town be in a fantasy world. That’s all I got so far, so we will see if it leads to anything.

Meeting George RR Martin

Last semester was the absolute BEST semester of my college career so far. Not only did I get moved to the front row of an Ed Sheeran concert and take my first upperclassman Creative Writing class (more on that later),but I got the opportunity to meet George RR Martin. You know, the A Song of Ice and Fire (AKA GAME OF THRONES) George RR Martin. Yeah that one.

The library I work at holds GRRM’s (George RR Martin’s) personal collection of his work. So he popped on by to donate a first edition of The Hobbit to us. He had the his official presentation ceremony where he gave a public speech at my university, but the night before there was a private event that I begged my boss to let me work. She pulled some strings and I was in!

Most of the people at the event were donors of the library. I was the only student there except for some “maroon coats” who are basically there to schmooze over the donors. As soon as GRRM walked in I almost threw up. He looked just as I imagined from all his pictures, like a mountain man Santa. Basically, the whole night I stalked the famous author. At first I was too nervous to approach him, so I ended up hovering around him the first part of the night as everyone else took their chance to speak with him. There was a professional photographer there capturing the whole event, and I am pretty sure he was annoyed with me by the end. I was probably in the background of over half the photos.

As soon as I was getting my courage to say something to GRRM, they pulled him away to make a short speech. I groaned and went to take my place in the crowd to listen. When he was done I moved in on him before anyone else could. But as I opened my mouth I froze. What was I supposed to say? I wanted to talk to him about writing, and I was having visions of us becoming best friends forever and braiding each others hair. Finally, I found my voice and told him that I was a student worker who was studying Creative Writing. He asked what I wrote and I told him epic fantasy which he lit up at. But then an awkward silence stretched between us as I panicked to think of what to say next. I ended up saying it was nice to meet him and left.

Ughhhhhhhhh.

That’s how I felt after that moment. It was my chance to meet one of the most famous authors in the world and I couldn’t put two sentences together.

As the night grew late he moved into the room that had the first edition Hobbit displayed. I took a deep breath for courage and followed. He was sitting at a long table where we usually held meetings and classes at. Everything was much more casual and there were less people, so I was able to push my nerves to the back of my mind. A few others were in there and they were asking him questions. As soon as a silence hit I took a chance and asked if he had any advice for someone who wanted to be a professional writer. He went on to a long spiel about how much the publishing industry has changed since he first started and how it was a lot harder to start a career now. But eventually his answer came out to be that I should marry rich, so I won’t have to have a day job. We all laughed and I was completely giddy just by the fact that he was talking to me. I probably looked like a crazy smiling psychopath who was seconds away from falling over the edge.

Then he started talking about how it’s a long debated question if a true writer writes for themselves or other people. He said that even if he knew he would never sell another book, he would still write. He believed true writers couldn’t keep the words inside themselves. At that point I wanted to cry because I felt the same. It was a surreal experience.

The night ended and he left. So we didn’t have any best friend parties planned anytime soon, but I got to talk to GRRM and nothing could ever take that experience away from me. A couple days later I got an email that the pictures from the event had been uploaded. I went to click on them and there it was–the perfect picture of the two of us in conversation. I hadn’t even realized the photographer was there. I should definitely send him some cookies for capturing one of the most exciting exchanges of my life.

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Agent Update

I emailed my first round of queries and ended up sending out 16 even though I wanted to keep it around 13. But I am going to hold off on sending any more until I start to see what kind of responses I get. So far I have had 2 rejections and 2 requests of partials, which I am thrilled about! The 2 rejections have been from larger agents who already have their client list pretty filled up, so I knew they were a long shot anyway. I got a request for 30 pages from an agent yesterday so I sent that to her, and she just emailed me back saying she received them! The other partial request was the one from my top pick agent, and I have still yet to hear back from her.

Now it is time for me to wait for the other responses to come in. In the meantime, I keep going back and editing my manuscript. Each time I find more and more things that can be changed which is frustrating, but I know that every writer has this problem so I won’t dwell too much on it.

In other news, I have to pick up a lot of hours at work because I got a speeding ticket. Hopefully, this will keep me from sitting around my apartment and waiting for the responses from agents to come in. Now, I’m just ready for classes to start back up. Fall is my favorite season and football in Texas makes it the most exciting time of the year. So here’s to the rest of summer flying by!

Critique Partner

On previous manuscripts that I have attempted to find an agent for, I refused to get a critique partner. Part of me truly believed a critique partner couldn’t help me, but another part of me just didn’t know how to find one. The idea of sharing my story online with a complete stranger terrified me.

I finally sucked it up and searched for critique partners for THE ROYAL SLAVE (the current manuscript I am querying), but I wasn’t finding what I was looking for. Most websites led me to giant groups that had over a hundred people critiquing each other’s work. This wasn’t for me at all. Finally, I came upon an author’s website that had a small forum set up for people looking for critique partners. I thought I would try it out and entered the information about my book on it. A day later I got an email from someone who was apart of a small critique partner group. She asked for sample pages of my writing and a bit of information about my goals and critique styles. About a week later she invited me into the group, and my entire perspective on my writing changed.

Critique partners are golden. They helped me see my writing and my manuscript in an entirely new light. I discovered bad habits I didn’t even realize I had. My first chapter has completely transformed from a toad to a prince since I have gotten critiques on it. Sometimes it is hard to see the flaws in your work when you are so closely attached to it. Critique partners can help you take a step back from it, and see it as a first-time reader would. Critiquing others’ manuscripts also helped with my writing. I saw things that did and didn’t work in others’ manuscripts that I realized I did the same. Now, I feel as if I am able to see my own work from an editor’s standpoint instead of just a writer’s one.