Pitch Wars Pimp My Bio 2016!

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Hello, wonderful person! Welcome to my first-ever Pitch Wars Pimp My Bio blog bio!

I am super excited to be entering the contest this year. This post is your go-to place to find out more about yours truly!

Who I Am

My name is Madison Lessard. I live in a little town about forty miles outside of Boston with my family, as well as a dog who (like me) is very appreciative of food and a cat who pets himself by rubbing against inanimate objects.

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I write mostly contemporary young adult. I’ve been an avid writer and reader for as long as I can remember, and this is my first time doing Pitch Wars.

What I’m Writing

The novel I’m submitting for Pitch Wars is a contemporary YA entitled While I’m Here. It follows the summer adventures (and misadventures) of heart patient Casey, who is racing against the clock to make a few months the best of his life.

He wakes up in the hospital on his graduation morning to an unwelcome surprise. His doctor diagnoses him with an irreversible condition that leaves him just a couple more months to live. His immediate reaction? Not so great. Content to spend the rest of his brief life in bed, he confines himself to his bedroom and shuts everyone out.

But a week after his diagnosis, his two best friends present to him a plan for their summer: a very lengthy bucket list, a trip with no destination, and one summer to do as much as they can.

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Casey is sold, and so his last summer begins. There’s just one problem: his parents, who are still coming to terms with losing their son, aren’t so crazy about his ideas. 

And for fun… this is the #novelaesthetics post I made for WHILE I’M HERE.

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Here are some fun facts about Casey…

  • He is a huge geek about cars, but the one he drives is a disaster. The car itself is almost like a character in the book because Casey is always complaining about it not running right.  

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  • He has a form of congenital heart disease called truncus arteriosus in which his heart doesn’t function correctly, and he’s spent weeks of his life at a time in the hospital because of it.
  • He’s extremely headstrong, and once he sets his mind on a goal, he’ll stop at absolutely nothing to get there.
  • His bucket list has 100 things on it, and he started writing it in the fifth grade after a major medical episode that left him near dead.
  • He appreciates blueberry pancakes with syrup and bacon very, very much. 

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In addition to While I’m Here, I have several other contemporary YA novels in the early stages, and I have two other complete manuscripts on the backburner right now.  

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More About Me

  • I’m a music person. I love to sing and I play three instruments– the clarinet, the piano, and the saxophone. 

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  • I’m a little bit of a geography buff. I have a bunch of (probably unnecessary, but still fun to do) groups of geographical things memorized– including the countries of the world. Try me!

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  • I’ve been a dancer in various types since I was three.
  • I’m a little bit of a musical theatre nerd. 

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  • I am a firm believer that almost any problem can be solved by eating a slice of purple velvet cake.
  • I take pictures of everything. I’m serious.

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Why do I want to do Pitch Wars?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of my writing life so far, it’s that you never stop improving. My seventh-grade English teacher always used to tell us that a piece of writing is ‘alive’– it can always be changed and get better.

I was introduced to Pitch Wars earlier this year by a previous mentee, and when I learned what it was, I knew I wanted to enter. I’m entering Pitch Wars because I want to improve. I want to learn about deadlines and writing on a tight schedule. I want to edit and revise. I want to connect with someone over my manuscript and make it so that someday, other people will connect with it, too.

But honestly, the biggest thing that has drawn me to Pitch Wars has been the people in the community. Over the course of this summer so far alone, I’ve met so many fantastic people in the writing world. The long road towards publication so far has been downright scary at times, and the amount of support I’ve gotten from other people in the Pitch Wars community (and the writing community in general) has been absolutely inspirational.

I am ready to work hard and meet some more fantastic people! No matter what happens in Pitch Wars, I will look back at this experience when it’s over as one of my greatest lessons in the writing world yet.

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I am ready to rock!

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Where You Can Find Me

If you want to check out the rest of my blog, you’re in luck! You’re already here– here’s the homepage. My Twitter handle is @oldpbfan21.

Thanks for reading my bio! You can check out the other mentee hopefuls’ bios here.

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The Voiceprint Project: weekly Twitter chat!

Happy Sunday! I’ve been talking on my Twitter all this weekend about an exciting announcement I would be making for The Voiceprint Project soon, and now I am officially stepping up to address those Tweets. If you’ve been following my blog and/or my Twitter, you know that last Friday, May 6th, was the launch of my online initiative, on Twitter and otherwise. I am so thrilled to say that I have gotten so much support in these past nine days alone, and now I am going to be kicking off another branch of the project.

Neurologist and author Anne Lipton has been hugely supportive of me already in this endeavor, and she recently gave me the idea to host a weekly lit-chat on Twitter under the hashtag. This basically means that once per week, I will be on the hashtag ready to answer any questions or talk with anyone who wants to discuss the project and its subject. This is going to take place every Friday, starting this week on May 20th. Regular gatherings on the hashtag will mimic the “kickoff” Twitter party I hosted on May 6th. Share your thoughts and get your voice heard!

I would be more than happy to chat with anyone who has questions about this new aspect of the project. Tweet @oldpbfan21 or use #TheVoiceprintProject.

Thank you to all of you who have supported me already– and special thanks to Anne for all your ideas and advice! I’m very excited.

And so it begins…

It’s official now! I am happy to say that The Voiceprint Project officially kicked off on Friday on Twitter, and now the initiative is in full swing. I’m super excited because I got some great support during the kickoff party, and the support has continued over the course of this weekend. To everybody who has helped in any way: thank you so much! None of this stuff would be possible without you guys to support me.

I want to take this opportunity to point out and clarify a few things for those who might have questions about the project. I’ve listed out my goals for the project here, and I also wrote about the general idea in the project’s introduction about a month ago. 

The Twitter hashtag has been in use by me for a few weeks, and some others have begun to post on it. I want to make something clear: even though the official “kickoff party” on Twitter was this past Friday, anyone is welcome to post anything related to the project on the hashtag at any time.

I’m also excited to announce that I have a new aspect of the project in the works– picking a certain day of the week where a sort of “lit chat” will happen on the hashtag, open to anyone who wants to talk about the project or any of its main ideas. Think something kind of like what happens in the literary community on Twitter every Wednesday, #1linewed, where people share a single line from their manuscript in a Tweet. Stay tuned here on my blog for my announcement of what day I’ve chosen and when this will officially start!

Also in the works are interviews with young authors and writers as well as other members of the literary community. I’m working on so many things and I am so excited that this is all getting started. You’ll see me updating on my Twitter regularly, and blog posts will be more regular now too.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me get this started– I couldn’t do it without all of you!

 

#TheVoiceprintProject

Today is the day!

Good morning, all! Today is the day– it’s the official launch of The Voiceprint Project. If you want to check it out, go to the Twitter hashtagand feel free to send me a shout. It’ll go all day, and we’re going to be basically talking anything. I invite anyone who has advice, personal stories, quotes, or thoughts involving young writers to go ahead and join me! My Twitter is here.

I’d like to also point out that if for any reason you’re not able to participate or join in right away, that’s okay– because it’s not just today. This project is going to expand and get bigger as the time goes on. I’ll regularly post here about it and am always going to be looking for opportunities to spread the word. Given the growing amount of young people writing and breaking the ice in the publishing industry, this project will serve as a resource for people like myself who want to connect with other young writers.

I’ll be updating on my Twitter regularly all day. I hope you can join in!

#TheVoiceprintProject

The Voiceprint Project: My Story

Hello, wonderful people! As we are two weeks out from The Voiceprint Project officially kicking off on Twitter and otherwise, I wanted to share a few more details about my story as a young writer. This project will be an opportunity for people such as myself to share stories similar to the one I am about to tell. For those reading this who might be new to my blog, check out my original post about The Voiceprint Project here.

I want to talk about one of the central points of this project in relation to myself: how I realized, even at my age, that I want to be a writer.

When I was about six years old, I created a list of things that I wanted to be when I grew up– simultaneously, as in I wanted to do all of these jobs at the same time. I cannot recall exactly everything that was on that list, but I know that there were a lot of different things and many of them were very hard to accomplish or impossible. Among them were the following: an astronaut, a famous singer, a fashion designer, a dancer, a composer, and of course, as I was a six-year-old girl immersed in Disney movies and fairytales, a princess. What I know for sure is that a writer was never on that list, and didn’t even cross my mind as a possible path for my life until about a year and a half ago.

I’ve always been a writer, but I never formally classified myself as one until then. When I was about the age at which I comprised the list of jobs, I also wrote short stories. They still aren’t finished, because I would handwrite two pages and then get tired of it, but they were short stories nonetheless. The most prominent one that comes to mind was an attempted novel called Wish about the fearless Charlotte, her younger (and irresistibly adorable) brother Austin, and the adventure they went on when they discovered that there was a mermaid named Pearl living in the town pool. I never actually got to write about Pearl or anything they did with her… I got to the part where Austin bangs on Charlotte’s door one summer morning declaring that “we’re going to the pool” and she “had better get dressed”. I had big plans for Pearl and the siblings; they were going to go on a magical adventure through the sea, counter the evil mermaid Storm, and go on a quest to save Pearl’s life. It was, obviously, geared towards kids around the age I was when I got the idea for it, and maybe I’ll pick it up again one day. But even at that point in my youth, I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a writer.

Fast-forward about five years or so. I started writing other things, short stories about characters from movies, TV shows, and video games I enjoyed. I realized that I liked to write, that this was something I enjoyed spending my free time doing.

Then came the magic moment– in January of 2014, inspiration struck me in a way it had never before. We had made multitudes of paper cranes in my eighth-grade English class for a community project. They were everywhere– in the classrooms, in desks, in cubbies, on the floor. One day, I went to open my locker and one flew out, and from that little piece of origami came the inspiration for my first novel. That summer, I started writing to be heard; I started writing for others, not just for myself. And now I know that it’s what I want to do.

So now, to other young writers: I’d love to know your stories. Let’s spread our ideas and voices together. Give me a shout on Twitter or leave me a comment below.

Two weeks! #TheVoiceprintProject

 

Announcing The Voiceprint Project

voice • print (noun)

an individually distinctive pattern of certain voice characteristics

 

“A voiceprint is a set of measurable characteristics of a human voice that uniquely identifies an individual.” (from WhatIs.com)

This past autumn, I went to my first writing conference. I had no idea what to expect. I’d never been to any formal, organized gathering of other writers before, and certainly hadn’t been exposed to real, live people in the publishing industry. It all seemed pretty scary to me, but I was determined to go, despite the fact that I knew I would likely be the only person there under the age of eighteen.

So on November 14th, I went into Boston and was dropped off at the hotel where it was being held. If you’ve been to a writing conference before, you probably know what I’m talking about when I say that I was both excited and terrified at the same time. Once the day began, however, it was not nearly as daunting as I expected it to be. I vigorously took notes (seriously– I wrote down almost everything from the talks, just so I would remember it) and practiced my pitch just about every free second I had. I had the privilege of pitching Jessica Sinsheimer of Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency while I was there– and side note– she’s a super nice person and you should definitely check her out online. She’s been involved in creating some really fantastic tools for writers in the publishing process, too– you have no idea how much time I’ve spent scrolling the #MSWL hashtag and how much it’s helped me throughout my querying process.

During the pitch session, Ms. Sinsheimer mentioned to me (after I told her that I’m fifteen) that she had been seeing a lot more younger writers like myself seeking publication. She went on to say that she thought it would be cool if there were a way to connect those young writers via social media. And I loved this idea, which leads me to why I’m making this post about it now. After leaving the conference, I did some brainstorming, and continued to do so for several months, which led to the development of the idea and the writing of this post.

Now there’s a name for it. I’m starting The Voiceprint Project. This is an initiative I’m taking to try and connect young writers online, encourage the spread of our ideas and stories of our experiences, and of course, talk about writing. The reason I’m calling it ‘voiceprint’ is because I believe that all writers of all types have a unique voice, their own groundbreaking ideas, and a story to tell, and no one should be left out from that even if they’re young like I am. We all ultimately have the same goal in the writing community– for our work to be read and to spread our message through writing. Yes, I’m only fifteen, but I was just as serious about being at that writing conference in November as any other person in the room, and I believe that the writing world is one of the few places where it doesn’t matter how old you are. The thing that really matters is that you have a story you want to tell.

I invite any young or student writers, both published and unpublished, to join me in a Twitter party on May 6th to kick off the project. We’ll meet new people, talk about our experiences, and share our thoughts on just about anything to do with writing and the publishing process. If you know a young writer, spread the word!

I’ll be updating on this site and on my Twitter (@oldpbfan21) about the project as it takes shape and May 6th comes closer.

#TheVoiceprintProject