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#PitchWars #Pimpmybio

posted Jul 24, 2016, 1:56 PM by Timothy Vienne   [ updated Jul 24, 2016, 2:07 PM ]

I began writing seriously about four years ago. I had moved to Saudi Arabia, and I had to give up the love of my life: improv comedy. Writing is one thing you can do when you are stuck in the middle of the desert surrounded by religious police. Alhamdullah. Finishing the first novel, of course, was as pleasant as pulling teeth, but I have a second one done and am working on a third, so the habit has stuck. I find it hard to keep myself from going back to pecking away at my Scribophile or the 1950s vintage Remington that my wife bought me last year for my birthday. The blank page is perhaps the most thrilling, open adventure I can have. In it there are infinite possibilities, and you can't say that about much else in life.

I have an interest in writing fantasy, but my reading spans a variety of genres, from depressing Russians to 19th century British romances to the latest literary craze to really good YA. I'm currently listening to the Hunger Games on audiobook, but before that I read Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses and before that E.M. Forster's A Room with a View and Where Angels Fear to Tread. <-- I loved all of these. I also just got to visit Italy and see some of the places Forster wrote about with such descriptive power.

I live in Tunisia right now with my wife, where I am doing dissertation research on business politics in North Africa. It is long, slow, messy work. I have a daughter who died of leukemia.

(Note: Timothy Vienne is a pen name. My real name is Bob Kubinec).


I never intended to write a YA fairy tale retelling. It just kind of happened. (I guess that's how fairy tales are supposed to work, though). My wife and I were on a long plane trip, and to amuse her I took out my laptop. I started writing about the first idea that came into my head: a crazy world where people took advantage of fairy tales: i.e., they knew what the game was, and they played it to their own advantage. To amuse us, I invented a character who wanted more than anything to be cursed because she knew if that happened, she would find a prince. From this absurd premise was born a story which wouldn't let me give up on it. So thousands of words and several rounds of edits later, I have THE PRINCESS AND THE PEASANT. In addition to Sleeping Beauty, it brings in The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, because it is a story about a girl who learns the dark side of what waiting for Prince Charming requires.

I think my manuscript is in a polished state--as I am told we should to submit to #Pitchwars--but I could use a firm critique of the manuscript, with particular attention to how the main character evolves over the course of the novel, and in particular how her relationship with her co-adventurer, a young orphan servant boy, develops as well. I'm not the most emotionally aware writer, so I often have to work hard to get deep into my MC's inner experiences. 


I am quite used to critique, and whatever you say about my manuscript, it's probably no more harsh than what I get from my advisor. So I appreciate frank advice, although at the same time I am looking for a mentor who will believe in the main character as much as I do. I do my best to respect other people's deadlines because I know what it's like to be busy and have to rely on others to get things done. Finally, I am looking for a mentor relationship that is also a friendship. I have made great friends through this authorship adventure from an amazingly diverse set of life circumstances, and I hope to do the same through this contest.