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Pitch Wars 2019 Wishlist!

September 10, 2019

Hello, Pitch Wars Hopefuls! I’m back for my third year mentoring in this incredible program, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be here. Pitch Wars is SUCH a highlight of my year, and I’m so glad you’ve decided to check it out and stop by my wishlist!

Before we get started, if you’ve stumbled upon this post and have no idea what Pitch Wars is, not to worry! It’s a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, and industry interns choose one writer each to spend three months revising with. We read our mentee’s full manuscript, offer feedback, help guide them through revision, and work on a pitch and query letter. It ends in February with an agent showcase, where agents can read a pitch/first page and request to read more. If you’re a writer with a finished, unpublished manuscript, check out pitchwars.org for more info!

Now, onto the wishlist! If you’re looking for relentless enthusiasm, excessive capitalization, and a ton of exclamation points, you’ve come to the right place! Especially if you write young adult, because that’s all I’m accepting. ;)

I’ve prioritized what I’m looking for and included some books I love to help make it easy for you to decide if I might be a good fit for you and your manuscript. For those of you keeping track, what I’m accepting is very similar to previous years, but there are some changes, so pull up a chair, grab your favorite beverage, and read on!

THE WISHLIST

So, what am I looking for?

  • At the very top of my list is contemporary with a side of something extra: magic, the supernatural, the absurd. Send me all of your contemporary/light fantasy, speculative fiction, paranormal, and magical realism set in our world. Witches? Yes, please. Ghosts? Absolutely. Deep forests that may hold more than just trees? Definitely. I want magic rooted in the world I know, that makes me think that maybe, just maybe, it truly exists.

                        The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

                        The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

                        The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

                        The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

                        The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

                        The Rattled Bones by S. M. Parker

                        The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

                        If I Stay by Gayle Forman

  • Next up, I want your natural disasters, survival stories, and apocalyptic settings, especially when disaster drives the plot in unique and vivid ways. I’m absolutely OBSESSED with weather and nature, so send me your stories that immerse me in them!

                        Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell

                        I am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall

                        A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

                        A YA version of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

  • For contemporary, my tastes are widespread (the above bullet point covers some of what I’d love to see in contemporary!). I love anything atmospheric—if your setting is so alive I can feel and see it, I want it. I love light, funny reads and all the romance! Whether the romance is the primary thread or a subplot that leaves me weak in the knees, I want it. Make me swoon! And finally, life is messy and unpredictable, so show me that in your novel. Dark and twisty stories are absolutely welcome here.

                        Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon

                        Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennet

                        I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

                        Up to this Pointe by Jen Longo

                        To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

                        Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill

  • And here are some extras that I LOVE:

                        - Subtle lyricism and gorgeous prose

                        - YES to diversity, especially more f/f representation

                        - Sister stories (with a happy/hopeful ending, please!)

                        - Enemies to lovers, slow burn romance, forced proximity, secretly royal or magical

I WILL NOT BE MENTORING:

                        - Anything that isn't YA

                        - SFF/high fantasy. I absolutely love it, but I’m not the right mentor for it.

                        - Historical fiction. Again, adore it, want to read it, but not the right mentor.

                        - Horror. I don’t like being scared. I’m all about atmospheric, even a little creepy (some of what I’ve listed above fits that description!), but anything that’s going to make me scared as soon as the sun goes down or give me nightmares isn’t right for me.

                        - Anything with self-harm or suicide.

                        - Abuse of any kind: sexual, substance, or abuse toward animals.

                        - Excessive violence.

Okay, still with me? Fantastic!

YOUR POTENTIAL MENTOR

I was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2016 (the incredible Heather Ezell was my mentor, and we went on to co-mentor together the past two years!) and made it through to the other side. My manuscript got stronger, my craft improved, I got an agent, and I made some amazing friends. I’m utterly passionate about this program, this community, and helping other writers. I have a background in teaching and I’m a co-creator of the revision focused blog, Be Your Own Mentor. I can promise you that when I fall in love with your manuscript, I’ll be your fiercest champion and most loyal fangirl!

Some of my strengths include pacing, getting your hook in deep and early, setting up stakes, and character motivation.

I’ll communicate primarily via email and, if you’re into it, text messaging, video chats, or whatever you need!

As a mentor, I’ll push you harder than you thought possible. I’ll make you work. I won’t sugar coat anything, just like I won’t hesitate to tell you how much I utterly LOVE something. I’ll cheer you on the entire way, encourage you when you’re struggling, and give you all the pep talks whenever you need them. And, come February, you’ll have a stronger manuscript and an incredible sense of accomplishment! I want you to feel damn proud of the work you did during your three months in Pitch Wars, and I hope you come out of this loving your manuscript more than you ever have before.

ARE YOU MY MENTEE?

You’re ready to work. I’m not going to give you a few line edits and send you on your way. Nope. I’m going to pull your manuscript apart and help you stitch it back together. (When I was a mentee, I started my edits by rewriting my entire manuscript in first person present from its original third person past. And that was just the start! Then I did a full developmental revision, working on character arcs and subplots, then line edits.)

Communication is really important to me. I want you to come to me with questions, brainstorming, and if you just feel like something isn’t working. I’m always here and don’t want you to be shy. Writing is a vulnerable process, and you can be vulnerable with me. I’ve been on the receiving end of many edit letters, so I know how painful it can be to approach revisions and all that follows. As your mentor, I promise I’ll be here to support you, send love and make game plans, talk through the roadblocks, and more.

You’re open to changes. I’ll never say you have to make a specific change, but I want you to really think through my suggestions and be ready to answer questions.

You believe in yourself and your writing. This is a big one.

You’re motivated and self-disciplined.

You’re awesome and friendly and won’t be weirded out by my constant enthusiasm and mushy tweets about how much I adore you.

STILL WANT TO KNOW MORE?

I’m a PNW native and absolutely looooooooove it here. LOVE.I graduated from Seattle University with a bachelor of science in diagnostic ultrasound because seeing inside the body is SUPER cool, but I was always writing in my spare time. After a shoulder injury required a career change, I became employee number six at a financial technology startup where I managed our customer support, brand personality, content creation, and social media.

That’s where I met my husband, my biggest support and absolute love of my life. One evening he suggested I quit my job to pursue this writing thing full time, and after a bit of coaxing on his part, I took the plunge and haven’t looked back. That was four years ago, and in that time I wrote my second book, got into Pitch Wars, signed with an agent, wrote my third novel, mentored in Pitch Wars twice, drafted my fourth novel, and signed with my current agent, the incredible Elana Roth Parker of Laura Dail Literary Agency. (Yep, I’ve had two agents. Parting ways with an agent is something that’s fairly common but not talked about much. I mention this because no two paths look alike, and I think being transparent when able and showing all sides of the journey is important!)

I have a schnoodle named Doppler and I absolutely ADORE her. I think nature is magic. I love thunderstorms, hiking, reading, drinking lots of tea and coffee, red lipstick, and playing chess. Twilight foreverrr. Battlestar Galactica is the greatest television show of all time. I’m an optimist through and through. I watched the 2017 total solar eclipse from an airplane my husband was flying, and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I have a twin sister who was my very first soulmate (I’m very lucky to have two!). My husband still gives me butterflies. I’m an INFJ. I’m not a morning person. I hope more vampires decide to settle down in the PNW.

Have questions? Just want to say hi? I love meeting new people, so feel free to stop by on Twitter and Instagram!

Thank you so much for stopping by my wishlist! To see the rest of the YA mentor's wishlists, you can visit the blog hop on the Pitch Wars website here, or use the links below!

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