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What are Your Expectations from a Writing Mentorship? #Pitchwars

By 19/08/2019Fiction
writing mentorship Pitchwars

Over more than a decade of writing, I have received the support of hundreds of publishing professionals. Writing coaches, authors, editors, agents, you name it. Having no formal training in writing fiction, my fledgling career is entirely the result of kindnesses from the publishing industry,  and my author friends and mentors.

While listing out the super-long list of credits for the acknowledgments page for my debut novel, You Beneath Your Skin, I took stock of just how many people had helped me to various extents on my journey,       directly or indirectly, and I realised I wasn’t paying it forward enough. Not enough.

I’d seen the Pitch Wars ‘call to mentors’ post that week, so I looked up the application, filled it, and shot it off.

For those who don’t know what Pitch Wars is all about, it is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for an agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents.)

writing mentorship PitchwarsI was accepted, and landed this amazing opportunity to help someone the way I would have loved to be helped. This is my profile on Pitch Wars.

Next week, on the 27th August, I’ll be critiquing a query letter and a first page during Mentor Query or First Page Critique Workshop, and on the 11th of September, I’ll have my manuscript wish-list up.

I’m not allowed to disclose the genre of stories I’m looking for until then, but I will be reading in the Adult category, and if you know my writing, you will already have a feel for the stories I’d like. I’m hoping to find a manuscript that I would swoon over story-wise, and one I’m confident I would be able to help with the most.

I’ll answer questions about my wishlist on the post on September 11th, but today, I’d love to ask a few questions.


Ever taken part in Pitch Wars? Have you undergone a writing mentorship? Mentored anyone? What was the experience like? If you were applying to be a mentee, what would you want from your mentor?


I co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post Fvourite Placethe last Friday of each month snippets of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity.

This monthly event has brought smiles on the faces of a lot of participants and their audiences, and somewhat restored their faith in humanity. Here’s a sampler. Click here to know more.

Sign up here and add your bit of cheer to the world for the next installment on the 30th August.

If you would like to pre-oRDER my debut crime novel: CLICK HERE TO FIND YOU BENEATH YOUR SKIN
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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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23 Comments

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – I’m in awe … I’d love you to be my mentor – but many in this blogosphere are … without realising it. Pitch Wars sounds interesting … but I’d love the learning – especially in this sphere, where there seems to be more flexibility and openness – looking forward to reading more -cheers Hilary

  • Balaka says:

    I am envious of the person who would have you as a mentor. I wish I could also take part in Pitch Wars. Do share us about your mentoring experience. Love and hugs

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      You’re so kind, as always, Balaka. I hope I can do justice to the responsibility.

  • Sulekha says:

    Damyanti, being a mentor with pitch wars sounds cool. You will be helping a new author, that’s great. Wish I find someone to help me with my incomplete manuscript 🙂 In fact, I have a couple of half written stories I need to complete. Best of luck mentoring.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks so much, Sulekha. I’m not the most experienced mentor, but there are some very good ones at Pitchwars. If you like, you could polish up your stories and consider submitting them to the mentors!

  • DJ Cockburn says:

    Difficult to answer the opening question in any helpful way, because different people want to achieve different things with their writing and come into these things with different levels of ability. I’m sure you’re flexible enough to recognise that, and you’ll be a great mentor to some lucky person.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thank you, and yes, I do. I’m fortunate enough to be able to choose a mentee, and I hope to be able to help them shine a manuscript so it snags the attention of agents,

  • writershilpa says:

    How I wish you could be my mentor and read my reflective writing posts and give me a detailed critique of my work!
    <3

  • JT Twissel says:

    I have been to a meet and greet with agents which is probably the same as a pitch war. I think most agents come to those events looking for a certain genre and style. Something they feel they can sell.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      The mentorship is a preparation for the agent showcase, in which the mentee’s work will be up for viewing by agents.
      The showcase is a bit like meet and greet, but online, without the nerve-wracking experience of an actual meet!

  • Shilpa Garg says:

    Pitch Wars and its mentoring program seems super cool and exciting. It’s a great way to encourage and inspire new writers. Your mentee is very lucky. All the best to you for this project! Cheers!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      It IS a cool opportunity for me to help out, Shilpa. I think someone is going to make me one lucky mentor!

  • Now you get to give back and that’s an awesome thing!

  • Oh wow, how wonderful that you’re a Pitch Wars mentor–I’m sure you’ll be so great at that. Funny, in my last post up on Rust Belt Girl I mentioned Pitch Wars and how honing my pitch–into one short tweet–helped me better talk about my manuscript. I had a thesis advisor for my MFA but we wrote very different kinds of things–so as wonderful as he was, he wasn’t a mentor in the traditional sense. Since then, I’ve always been a part of critique groups, which is sort of a group mentorship project, but I’ve never really taken a writer under my wing. I probably need to fly first! If I were a mentee, I’d be looking for what I’m currently seeking from a literary agent: direction. Not so much how to write a query, pitch, etc., but where to direct my focus. Should I work on my short stories? Collect them into a chapbook and maybe publish with a univ. press? Should I focus only on the novel I’m trying to sell or the novel-in-progress? Ha! (Sounds like a need a mentor, right?!) Good luck to you as you embark on this exciting project, Damyanti!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      “Should I work on my short stories? Collect them into a chapbook and maybe publish with a univ. press? Should I focus only on the novel I’m trying to sell or the novel-in-progress?”

      Yep, those are big questions, Rebecca! They’ll take a lot of thought, but mainly from you :). If I could suggest, I’d say write down what you want out of your writing career. The pros and cons of writing short stories, of writing a novel. Why you would do the one and not the other, and vice versa. What industry wisdom do you already have, and what questions can someone experienced in the industry answer for you? Usually, we know the answers, but seem to need outside validation to concur with those.

      I’m excited by the opportunity to mentor someone. Unofficially I’ve helped polish up queries and first pages, which have landed agents, so this would be an opportunity to do it for someone whose story I love and I’m confident about helping with.

      • I love your advice, and plan to take it. Thank you! You will be a wonderful mentor for an emerging writer, I’m sure!

        • Damyanti Biswas says:

          So happy that helped. I’ve been there, so it felt like a familiar quandary. Thanks for your kind words. I hope to live up to them.

  • Jim Borden says:

    congrats on the mentor opportunity, what a nice way to give back.

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