Perfect Pitch

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.
 
Freya with the letter PBefore I get on with this year’s P post, I just have to say my P post from last year is one of my favorites. It’s so ridiculous, and I love the picture of my naughty girl with her poop face. And now that I’ve managed to use the word poop again on P day, let’s move on to today’s contronym, which is pitch.
 
Pitch – to erect and fix firmly in place
 
~ or ~
 
Pitch – to throw, to discard by throwing
 
“Son, I need you to pitch that tent.”
 
An hour later, the father walks out back to find a ratty tent set up in the grass with the wind whistling through the numerous holes. “Son, why did you put this piece of garbage up in the yard? You were supposed to throw it away.”
 
“Well, Dad, you said to pitch it.”
 
Tent
 
 “Son, I need you to pitch that tent.”
 
An hour later, the father walks out back to find an empty patch of grass. He goes into the garage and discovers the family tent in the trashcan. “Son, why did you throw away this perfectly good tent? You were supposed to put it up in the backyard.”
 
“Well, Dad, you said to pitch it.”
 
Awkward segue alert!
 
Speaking of pitches, the first round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) is judged on pitches
 
New visitors from the A to Z Challenge: I’ve entered ABNA several times, and if you want more details about my history with the contest, you can read about it here. But the important info for this post is that the first year I made it to the quarterfinals I got a glowing review from Publisher’s Weekly with one minor weakness mentioned. Last year I made the quarterfinals with the EXACT same novel, and the PW review was spirit crushing and made me cry. So this year I rewrote the first third of the novel attempting to fix the weaknesses and entered again.
 
First I made it past the pitch stage, and then I made it past the excerpt stage to the quarterfinals. The semifinal list came out on Tuesday, and sadly my name was not on it. But since the cut went from 100 to 5, I was disappointed, but not surprised. What I really wanted to see was my PW review, and the wait was making me crazy.
 
I know I shouldn’t let the anticipation of one review from one person have so much power over me, but my brain was doing its usual crazy thing. 1. Since I had one good and one bad PW review, I was imbuing this third one with mystical tie-breaking powers – whichever way this one went indicated the way all strangers were going to react to my novel going forward. 2. No one but me had read the significantly rewritten first third of my manuscript, not even my trusted first readers. So this would be my very first reaction to the changes, and if they said my book sucked, then all my changes would have been a colossal waste of time. No pressure.
 
On Sunday, I found out in the ABNA forums that due to a computer glitch (maybe?), some people had started getting their reviews that morning. Of course I wasn’t one of those put out of my misery early despite how many times I hit the refresh button. By the time the semifinal results were announced on Tuesday, I was already a basket case. And still no PW review for me and a block of other writers. And since we’re writers, our imaginations went berserk. Of course we hadn’t gotten ours because they were the worst ones ever. Or maybe the best ones except for the semifinalists? There was even a crazy theory floated that they never got around to reading ours. We all went to bed nervous wrecks. Notice I didn’t say we went to sleep - no chance of that!
 
I was sure when I got up Wednesday my review would be there, but, no, the tortuous waiting was not over yet. Then at about 2:30 in the afternoon, my PW review FINALLY appeared. Fingers trembling so much I could barely open it, heart racing so hard it was basically one long beat, I read my review. And it was good! Really good! And the best part is they positively referenced the thing that was listed as a weakness in the first review, so that means my changes worked! I was so relieved I actually shed a few happy tears as that four day stress build-up finally released.
 
I’m so grateful I received a positive review, but having been on the opposite end last year, my heart goes out to my fellow ABNAers who had a less-than-kind review. Eat some chocolate. Drink some alcohol. Then glean anything you can from the review that could potentially improve things and get right back up on that writing horse!
 
Were you a part of ABNA this year? Are you familiar with contronyms? Can you think of any other ‘P’ contronyms? How Pretty is Freya with her letter P

 

Tent image courtesy of juliaf.

Comments

Natalie Aguirre's picture

A big congrats on your great review. I'm trying to fix my pitch for my query letter right now.

John Wiswell's picture

Congratulations on landing in the quarterfinals! That's huge.

Patricia Lynne's picture

Great word and story to go with it.

Congrats on reaching the quaterfinals. A couple years ago I thought about entering, but my WIP wasn't ready enough so I passed. Then I forgot about it completely and haven't given it much thought until now.

Laura Marcella's picture

Hello, Jocelyn! Heehee, that example reminds me of Amelia Bedelia! It's a good reminder to be clear, precise, and specific in our writing. 

Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Natalie - Thanks! And good luck with your query letter!

John - Thanks! It does help build confidence in my writing.

Patricia - Thank you! You should definitely enter next year - it always opens in January.

Laura - Definitely! And the word dust is also a contronym, which leads to one of Amelia's memorable scenes. 

Tony Noland's picture

I made it past the pitch round, but that was it. Was fun while it lasted, though.

Good post for the A to Z!

Courtney Turner's picture

Sounds heart racing... To have it all hinge on one reviewer. What if that person had a bad hair day or had a fight w/ a spouse or kids?

xiaojun's picture

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