Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pitch Wars 2015!

It's here!! I so look forward each year to my time as a mentor in Pitch Wars, an online writing contest where unagented writers audition for a free full manuscript critique from agented/published authors and professional editors. Winners will have their work showcased for top-notch literary agents in November. Over 40 of last years' 70 entrants are now agented and/or have book deals. If you have a finished manuscript, I highly recommend entering! Click here for more info.

PICK ME! PICK ME!

Okay, I know you've been on other mentor blogs, so let me just open with this:

[Shoulder devil pointing at shoulder angel] Don't listen to that guy. He's trying to lead you down the path of righteousness. I'm gonna lead you down the path that ROCKS.


If that's not enough to convince you, how about THESE qualifications:

  • Impeccable taste in dark chocolate.
  • Love of mountains, the ocean, funny people, sarcastic people, random thoughts and fireplaces.
  • East Coast survivor (lived in MA and NY). I now ride a horse to work in CO.*
  • Video game savant.
  • Swoon-worthy husband who is a marathon runner, expert hunter, and Forensic DNA Analyst. He has a flashy agent badge, a conceal-to-carry permit, and has literally caught us dinner before. If zombie apocalypse survival is a priority to you, well. I think you know which mentor to choose.
  • Part hacker I mean... in my other life I used to program stuff.

Or these actually relevant qualifications:

  • This is my third time doing Pitch Wars. In January 2014, my mentee and I tied for second place overall with nine full requests, and my alternate Julie Dao signed with an agent in February. Last August, my mentee and I raked in eight requests and one ninja request, landing us again amongst the most-requested entries in the contest.
  • That means I am two for two with mentees in the most-requested entries out of 70+ finalists per contest.
  • I'm represented by the incomparable Brianne Johnson of Writers House, who found me in an online writing contest much like this one.
  • Bri is also one of THE Pitch Wars Agents. Am I conspiring to find my next agency sibling? Yes. Yes I am.
  • My debut, DUPLICITY, a YA cyberthriller about a hacker whose mirror reflection goes rogue and trades places with him, released from Macmillan in March this year. It has been highlighted by both the Huffington Post and USA Today.
  • I write both boy and girl POV. DUPLICITY is boy POV, and I'm currently working on edits for a YA horror that's girl POV. I've written both contemporary and fantasy, and have helped many a critique partner with world-building.
  • My own work has been through many developmental edits by critique partners, my agent and my editor. I know what to look for, what to leave alone, and how to present editorial notes in a constructive, encouraging fashion.

Or maybe you'd rather hear about my boss editing style:

I have done several full manuscript critiques for my mentees and critique partners, all of whom I'm happy to say are now in one of 3 places: 1) working on R&Rs for agents 2) agented 3) have book deals. Should I be lucky enough to work with you, expect that I will be 100% honest about the strengths of your work as much as its weaknesses, though always in the interest of preserving your vision. I'll provide both high-level notes on things like characterization, world-building, structure, and pacing, as well as inline comments for more specific observations. You will have full creative freedom to address my concerns as you see fit. As long as you're willing to address them, we're going to get along just fine.

Please With A Cherry On Top, Send Me:
All genres of YA (except those in the "Not A Best Match" list below). I do mean all. Horror, fantasy, sci-fi, thrillers, historical fantasy, suspense, etc. I'm drawn to boy POV as much as girl. I love quirky, flawed characters and wacky, unique plots. I have a soft spot for anti-heroes, creepy things, magical realism, humor, Twinkies, and psychological anything. I love atmospheric books where the world is its own character, and rich, underrepresented cultures (or unusual fantasy cultures). And if your MC is facing his/her greatest fear or desire, I NEED IT.

Some of my favorite authors are Patrick Ness, Laini Taylor, Leigh Bardugo, and V.E. Schwab. For titles I love, click here. You can also find out more about me on my official bio page and on Twitter.

I'm Not Your Best Match For:
Novels in verse, high/epic fantasy (i.e. anything LoTR/Game of Thrones-ish), historical (without fantasy elements), dystopian/post-apocalyptic, war themes (like Saving Private Ryan or Jarhead) or political themes. Also, I'm not allowed to consider Adult, NA, or MG manuscripts.

If you've subbed to me before: You are welcome to resub with a different manuscript.


In summary:
You have an amazing story to tell. I have a foot in the door.

LET'S DO THIS.

---
*Part of this sentence is a slight exaggeration.

22 comments:

  1. Enhancing my possibilities of surviving the zombie apocalypse is my guiding ambition in life. I will definitely be submitting to you. I mean, all that other good stuff is nice, but it's really just the cherry on top ;) You can't write if you've been killed and devoured by the flesh-eating undead.

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    Replies
    1. Being alive IS important to your writing career. Glad we're on the same page ;) Looking forward to reading!

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  2. Ummmmmm. I'm totally submitting to you! I got to the bottom of your post and just thought, YES. Even if we don't match up, could we be virtual friends?! What video games do you like to play? I used to work at Game Stop in college. :) I love Assassins Creed (BLACK FLAG) for reasons that will make total sense to you once you see what my novel is about. :)

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    Replies
    1. Yay! I enjoyed Assassin's Creed so I look forward to reading :) I'd say my fave video game series of EVER is Tomb Raider, followed by Fable and the old school Ocarina of Time/Zeldas. And even though they scarred me for life, I really enjoyed the old Resident Evils and all the Silent Hills. I just played them with the lights on. And sometimes with cheats. Maybe.

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  3. You totally had me at "I'm gonna lead you down the path that rocks." :)

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  4. I'd consider submitting to you; what's the cutoff age for YA and NA? That'll tell us if we're meant for each other.

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    Replies
    1. I would say 18 is probably the highest for YA. But YA is also a theme - MC is often still a dependent and focused on here/now. NA is more independent, focused on future, and working out what it means to be an adult.

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  5. You have a soft spot for antiheroes...I'm in, you'll be hearing from me.

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  6. You had me at dark chocolate. But you're doing YA and I write adult (anti-hero writers unite!). It sounds like your mentee is a lucky guy/gal.

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  7. You could've just used the Kronk gif and I would've been in! I have a YA UF with historical elements, set in 1980's NYC - you are on my list! :)

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  8. Hi! Are you open to a story that involves rape? NOT a rape described in detail. You see before and after.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, but I'd be looking hard at the character's emotional arc after the scene. Should affect him/her beyond just the increase in stakes.

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  9. I would love to submit to you--would you be interested in a YA contemporary fantasy that's National Treasure with a dash of Now You See Me?

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    Replies
    1. Loved both those movies. I'd be interested!

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    2. Awesome. Thank you!

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  10. Hi...being English and using British English I'm concerned that you will read my query and think heck that girl can't spell ! Is this a problem for you? So many differences...I have an American friend who's always correcting me- even words like around and round are used differently across the pond

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    Replies
    1. I have an English critique partner so I'm quite familiar with the different spellings and try to err on the side of leaving things alone (I'll always ask if I'm unsure). Wouldn't be a problem at all!

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  11. Hi!
    Any interest in a YA contemporary with a superhero (YA contemporary fantasy)? It includes humor, romance, and of course some action. :)
    Thanks in advance!

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    Replies
    1. Sounds great! Yes, I'd be interested.

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