Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pitch Wars 2017

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


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:

  • I've been a developmental editor with Cornerstones Literary Consultancy since 2015. My job is to literally do the exact same thing I do for Pitch Wars (only you get me here for free!).
  • This is my fourth time doing Pitch Wars. In every year I've mentored, my mentee has pulled in no less than nine requests in the agent round. In 2014, we tied for second place overall with nine fulls.
  • That means I am three for three with mentees in the most-requested entries out of 100+ 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. 
  • She is also one of THE Pitch Wars Agents. Am I conspiring to find my next agency sibling? Oh yes. Yes I am.
  • I'm published! My debut DUPLICITY, a cyberthriller about a hacker whose mirror reflection goes rogue and trades places with him, released from Macmillan in 2015. I'm honored to say the ALA named it one of their Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers last year.
  • I write both boy and girl POV. (And enjoy reading both)
  • I've also written contemporary and horror, and am currently revising a historical fantasy, so I have a wide range of knowledge for what's expected of each genre.

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

Clients say my ability to present editorial notes in a way that's constructive without being abrupt is what they most appreciate about me. Should I be lucky enough to work with you, expect that I'll 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 high-level notes on things like characterization, world-building, structure, pacing and plot, 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:
YA, and YA only please! I'm looking for horror and fantasy (historical, contemp, urban, low/light, high, etc - literally all subgenres of fantasy except those in the "not a best match" list below). I'm drawn to voicey, flawed characters and redeemable villains, who may or may not ever be redeemed. I have a soft spot for antiheroes, creepy things, humor, Twinkies, and psychological anything. That's not to say I only like villainous MCs - give me your good boys/girls, as long as they're balanced by a delicious antagonist! I also adore MCs who kick ass in non-physical ways: their wit, a unique skill, their compassion etc. I love atmospheric books where the setting is its own character, and vivid, underrepresented cultures or unusual fantasy cultures. Diversity in all forms welcome (and, frankly, expected). And if you have a villain love interest like the Darkling from Shadow and Bone, I WILL TRIP OTHER MENTORS FOR IT.

**Added 7/23 (from Twitter): I'm especially drawn to conflict or fierce loyalty between close relationships, whether a parent/grandparent, sibling, villain, best friend or love interest. Basically, emotional intensity is just as important to me as external (plot) conflict. I also love anything that includes myths/legends or superstitions, whether based on real life or made up.

Some of my favorite authors are Patrick Ness, Renee Ahdieh, Leigh Bardugo, and Victoria 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, dystopian, apocalyptic (including zombies - I KNOW, sorry!), portal fantasy, anything with 'chosen one' heroes, good vs evil as main theme (i.e. LOTR) or quests, or any genre not listed above. I'm also not big on non-human characters (faeries, elves, aliens, half-anythings like werewolves, dragon people, etc), Greek gods, or sports 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, provided it meets the criteria of my wish list above.

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


*Part of this sentence is a slight exaggeration.

P.S. I'm giving away one of my last ARCs of Duplicity on Goodreads, if you like free stuff:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Duplicity by N.K. Traver


by N.K. Traver

Giveaway ends August 03, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

P.S.S. We're clearly meant to work together, but I'm obligated to remind you there are other fab YA mentors too:
Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
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