Okay, the moment you all (or at least 8 of you!) have been waiting for!
The results are all in from the judges.
Before we reveal these, please take a second to thank the judges and perhaps a Twitter shoutout to them would be appropriate.
And remember, every participant in #PeerPitch will get an email with discounts for editing services, with the Wonder Writers, and writing courses with Writers HQ.
We have put the choices of each individual judge first, then the overall winners are at the bottom of the post.
We hope everyone feels like they’ve gained something from #PeerPitch. If you missed out in the contest, I hope you got good feedback. If you’re disappointed, dust yourself off, have a strong drink, then get back on the writing wagon – we are planning to hold more contests next year, so be prepared and keep an eye on the blog. You can sign up via the side menu on the right.
Throws us right into the action and gets to the point with no need for preamble or over-expository explanation. There’s tonnes of atmosphere, some vivid description, and there’s a tense sense of intrigue as we follow the soldiers and wonder who (or what) the prisoner is… I’d like to know more about who the narrator is and how he feels about his situation, but as an opening paragraph I’m hooked.
- MILTON HITS THE HEADLINES
Full of humour and an endearing narrative voice. Some lovely turns of phrase from a spider’s-eye-view and already there’s lots of conflict. We’re immediately on Milton’s side and our attention is grabbed by his potential friendship with Zoe. My main suggestion would be to be careful not to overcomplicate the narrative by interrupting the action too much with expository thoughts, as it could become a little manic.
- ACCIDENTALLY CURSED
A strong narrative voice with hints of bitter-sweet humour. I like the internal monologue mixed with action, and straight away we have a clear sense of the character’s goal and conflict. It’s also nice to see subjects like dyspraxia and anxiety tackled in YA, and interesting to combine this with fantasy, though it might be worth seeing if you can introduce the supernatural element into this opening section if possible, so the genre is clear right off the bat.
- MILTON HITS THE HEADLINES
It’s a really funny pitch, brilliantly put together in under 140 characters. And the 1st 250 has a huge amount of sparkle; it’s funny and the voice is really strong. I love the idea of the main character being a spider and it made me chuckle when he starts talking about his ‘house humans’.
This has a really great opening line. Selina has a strong voice and the set-up is established, without feeling forced, in the 1st 250. The protagonist is different, there is humour as well as a message and I love the quest at the heart of the book. I’m a sucker for anything astronomical!
- HOPE RUNS FREE
I am looking for animal stories at the moment and I love the idea of Tessa forming a bond with a wild mare and her foal here. I think this also promises a lot of love and warmth as well as heart-break, which is something I’m also looking for.
- DEMELZA CLOCK & THE SPECTRE DETECTORS
I love the idea for this one – I thought the vibe was quite ‘Cogheart’ and I’d love to find a female protagonist who’s an inventor!
I feel very involved with the characters already, after only 250 words, and I like the use of imagery (especially given the theme of the book).
- DRAGON LIES
I just wanted to know more! It’s also very hard to do any fantasy world building within 250 words, without info-dumping, and I thought it was well done.
- ACCIDENTALLY CURSED
- WEIRDOS OF LONDON
- MILTON HITS THE HEADLINES
MILTON HITS THE HEADLINES by Emma Dykes (6 points)
2nd Place (JOINT)
ACCIDENTALLY CURSED by Loretta Chefchaouni (4 points)
TOTALITY by Caroline Murphy (4 points)
4th Place (JOINT)
TROGLODYTE by Lydia Massiah (3 points)
DEMELZA CLOCK & THE SPECTRE DETECTORS
by Holly Rivers (3 points)
WEIRDOS OF LONDON by Ellie Lock (2 points)
7th Place (JOINT)
HOPE RUNS FREE by Martha Taylor McKiever (1 point)
DRAGON LIES by Hannah Samson (1 point)
Here’s a little more about our winners
1st Place Emma Dykes
Despite having a degree in biology, Emma is actually rather scared of spiders—much of her research for Milton was conducted from behind a cushion.
Her next book will be about something cuddly.
As well as writing, reading and obsessively entering competitions, Emma is a sucker for a good family celebration. Hallowe’en, Christmas, birthdays—as long as the glitter glue can make an appearance, it’s on.
Emma previously placed second in #peerpitch with a YA short story, now published in Shift_ magazine and she’s also had success with flash fiction, published by Reflex Fiction and National Flash Fiction Day.
2nd Place Loretta Chefchaouni
Loretta Chefchaouni lives in the far-too-sunny state of Florida, USA, where she homeschools two teen boys while pursuing her passion for writing. In the snippets of time between schooling, plotting, wording, and momming, Loretta likes to dote on her pets, curl up with a good book, and drink coffee by the pot. She is currently seeking a dream agent who will love her fantastical stories and quirky characters as much as she does.
2nd Place Caroline Murphy
Caroline Murphy was a magazine editor in London in her glory days, before moving to Asia 13 years ago. Four sons and two cats later, she is a stay-at-home mum and an active member of the SCBWI. She has just moved back from Hong Kong to the North of England, and is currently trying to keep her fingers warm enough to write.
4th Place Holly Rivers
Holly is a children’s drama practitioner/storyteller living in London. ‘Demelza Clock & The Spectre Detectors’ is her first children’s book and she is currently trying to make it the best it can be on The Golden Egg Academy’s foundation year course. She loves colourful things, sausage dogs, eating sushi, Bjork, travelling, charity shops, Frida Kahlo and the film Labyrinth. She hates the colour beige and boiled eggs.
4th Place Lydia Massiah
Lydia’s claim to fame is that Philip Pullman tutored her during her teacher training, after she studied English at Jordan/Exeter College, Oxford. Though Bristol is her current home, her heart is still in Somerset – especially its caves and wildlife. She has three sons, and a Red Collie who’s like Yondu’s arrow after squirrels.
6th Place Ellie Lock
Weirdos is a Twitter baby, starting life on #Peerpitch in early 2017. Its older siblings are a story about idiotic owls escaping London Zoo (longlisted for the 2016 Times/Chickenhouse prize), and another about witches (sitting in a drawer). Ellie’s a former BBC journalist and mother to three weirdos.
7th Place Martha Taylor McKiever
For as long as she can remember, Martha McKiever has loved horses. As a girl growing up in upstate N.Y., her favorite books included Black Beauty and the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley, as well as Marguerite Henry books. She was an elementary and special needs teacher when she finally fulfilled her dream of owning a horse.
Now a transplant to Charlotte, North Carolina, she’s surrounded by nature and loves writing on her back porch, traveling, and having fun times with her two sweet granddaughters. On a recent trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, she observed wild mustangs in their habitat and was inspired to write HOPE RUNS FREE. Besides being a member of SCBWI Carolinas, she’s enjoyed immense support from critique partners and online writing peers.
7th Place Hannah Samson
Writing has always been an escape from stress for me. I started when I was in 6th in a gifted writing program my school offered. I was in it for all three years of middle school and continue to write on my own outside of school. My skills have grown a lot and as a Sophomore in high school now I have more book ideas than I know what to do with. When I’m not writing I’m usually in the theater or curled up with a book. I’m grateful for all the opportunities given to me and want to continue to write as I get older.