PitchWars Blog Hop: Why I Wrote This Manuscript

First off, huge thanks to C. M. Franklin, fellow PitchWars mentee, for organizing this blog hop, the amazing Brenda Drake, for organizing and hosting the PitchWars contest, and of course Sarah Guillory, author of the YA novel, RECLAIMED, and the best dementor a girl could ask for.
 
Writers are often asked to sum up their stories in a sentence or two, so it’s best to be prepared with an answer to the question, “What’s your book about?”
 
In my case, THE MOST DAZZLING GIRL IN BERLIN is the story of an unlikely friendship between two desperate girls at a queer cabaret in Berlin in 1930.

Gisela and Christl banner

artwork by Gwen Katz

The inspiration behind a story is something that often doesn’t get asked right away, but “Why did you write this story?” is such a great question. This is when it gets personal. It’s your chance to show the reader why you were the perfect person to write it.
 
I have a myriad of reasons for mine: a fascination with this time and place, a burning desire to write about diverse characters organically, and a head start on the necessary research back from my days studying and reading for my Ph.D. in German Literature.
 
Still, there was one particular moment when it all came together for me.  It was after seeing the fantastic 1930 film, PEOPLE ON SUNDAY. This slice-of-life silent film chronicles a group of twenty-somethings as they break away from their everyday lives in Berlin for a day off at the Wannsee beach just outside of the city. You can see the entire film (it’s in the public domain) here.
 
A couple of months after seeing the film, I was brainstorming new manuscript ideas, and I put stars next to two scribbled lines in my notebook:
 
*People on Sunday retelling with teens struggling through the uncertainty of the Weimar Republic Era in Berlin.
 
*A girl working in a queer cabaret?
 
Apparently I ran with the idea from there. Just under these lines is my character list, scribbled notes on queer cabarets at the time in Berlin, followed by notes and more notes from some of the non-fiction books I read. And so it began!

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1998-012-36A, Potsdamer Platz

As part of the blog hop, make sure to check out the amazing posts by the other PitchWWars mentees on what inspired each of them to write their stories:
 
Carleen Karanovic: HOPE ON A FEATHER
Heather Truett: RENASCENCE
Tracie Martin: WILD IS THE WIND
Susan Bickford: FRAMED
Rachel Sarah: RULES FOR RUNNING AWAY
Amanda Rawson Hill: GRIMM AND BEAR IT
Charlotte Gruber: CODE OF SILENCE
Mary Ann Nicholson: CALAMITY
Nikki Roberti: THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES
Anna Patel: EXODUS
K. A. Reynolds: LE CIRQUE DU LITERATI
Susan Crispell: WISHES TO NOWHERE
Ron Walters: THE GOLEM INITIATIVE
Rosalyn Eves: THE BLOOD ROSE REBELLION
Ashley Poston: HEART OF IRON
Mara Rutherford: WINTERSOUL
Janet Walden-West: Damned If She Do
Kazul Wolf: SUMMER THUNDER
D. Grimm: WITCHER
Kelli Newby: THORNVAAL
Tara Sim: TIMEKEEPER
Elliah Terry: POCKET FULL OF POPPIES
Alessa Hinlo: THE HONEST THIEF
Rachel Horwitz: THE BOOTLEGGER’S BIBLE
Whitney Taylor: DEFINITIONS OF INDEFINABLE THINGS
Lyra Selene: REVERIE
Natalie Williamson: SET IN STONE
Robin Lemke: THE DANCE OF THE PALMS
Stephanie Herman: CLIFF WITH NO EDGE
Shannon Cooley: A FROG, A WHISTLE, AND A VIAL OF SAND
Ruth Anne Snow: THE GIRLS OF MARCH
Elizabeth Dimit: PHOEBE FRANZ’S GUIDE TO PASSPORTS, PAGEANTS, & PARENTAL DISASTERS
Elliah Terry: POCKET FULL OF POPPIES
Gwen C. Katz: AMONG THE RED STARS
Jennifer Hawkins: FALSE START
Kelly DeVos: THE WHITE LEHUA
Gina Denny: SANDS OF IMMORTALITY
Natasha M. Heck: FOLLOW THE MOON
Esher Hogan – WALKING AFTER MIDNIGHT
D.A. Mages: THE MEMORY OF OBJECTS
Kirsten Squires: INCEPTO

18 thoughts on “PitchWars Blog Hop: Why I Wrote This Manuscript

  1. I’m hooked. I love this era too, but your premise sold me. I can already hear the music. Also, love that you included the banner my teammate Gwen C. Katz drew! You get bonus points!

  2. Ron Walters says:

    Your book sounds fantastic. I’ve only been to Berlin once, but I loved it. Add that to also loving Cabaret (which I saw for the first time at the English Theatre in Frankfurt), and, well, I’m hooked!

  3. Love this premise, Kip. I’m so excited to read it someday. Also–WHY DIDN’T I USE THE BANNER GWEN C. KATZ MADE FOR ME? *goes to correct this immediately*

  4. Your premise and setting are killer. I wanted to give you a high five for your PhD in German. I’m ABD in French Lit and studied German too. Awesome to run into fellow foreign language lit people.

    Good luck in the agent round!

  5. I love so much about this: the time period, the premise, especially the title! I hope you do find an agent for this, because I would love to read it.

    I’m also thrilled by how many academics (or would-be academics) are also writing on the side. My PhD isn’t as glamorous (English: rhetoric/composition), but the historical research skills do come in handy.

  6. That was so much fun! I LOVE seeing the very beginning stages of a book like that. It reminds me not to panic when I think I can’t possibly turn my tiny idea into a huge book. By the way, I still remember your query and it was so good! Can’t wait to see what good things happen with this book!

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