HEY HEY HEY!
PITCH WARS SEASON IS BACK!
I am delighted to be participating as a mentor for my third year. I was also an alternate mentee back in 2014, so I've been on both sides of the Pitch Wars community. I can say with great confidence that if you're considering entering, don't mull it over any further. DO IT. It's just about the best move you can make for your manuscript and for developing your craft--specifically, for broadening your approach to revisions, learning new techniques, and working with another writer (your mentor) who can guide you through the process.
For those of you who have limited understanding of Pitch Wars, it's an online pitch contest created by author Brenda Drake. Writers submit their pitch and opening pages to carefully selected writing "mentors." Those mentors will then go through their submissions to choose one lucky entry to work with. Throughout the next two months, the mentor will guide the writer through revisions, prepping the manuscript for the agent round, where the new-and-improved, sparkly, polished pitches are posted live for agents to check out and hopefully make requests. More details about the contest and its submission guidelines are listed on Brenda Drake's site.
This year my tastes are largely the same as in previous years, with a few tweaks. (I am only seeking YA.)
- Contemporary, realistic fiction with HUMOR.
I say it every year and I'll say it again: I want to see funny. Give me all your quirky characters, witty banter, humorous situations, unconventional relationships. Dark humor is great, too. I love it all--from dark and edgy to lighthearted and fun. I'm not talking slapstick "I Love Lucy Redux" (though I do love me some Lucy...). I'm hoping to see book versions akin to John Hughes-ish concepts, like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off......
Happily-ever-afters aren't usually my thing. I can appreciate them, but frankly, I prefer endings that aren't always tied in a neat bow.
- Contemporary realistic spun as a RETELLING
Contemporary retellings are so much fun to read (and to write!). I wish I saw more of it on the YA shelves. The fantasy genre sort of lends itself better to reconstructing fairytales, so if you can pull off a successful reimagining in a realistic, non-magical world, then I want to see it! I don't care whether it's a fairlytale retelling, a reimagining of a literary work, or even a spin on an old movie. I love them all.
A little about my editing style...
Be warned: I will add lots of comments in the margins of your manuscript. I've been known to give as much as 300 comments to my critique partners. I like offering my immediate reaction, in real time. This will include a lot of "I like this!" or "Great line!" or "This doesn't make sense" or "Whaaaaat?" It will also include more in-depth comments when I identify an inconsistency of bigger problem. In addition to the document comments, I'll also prepare an edit letter that focuses on big picture issues, and I'll lay out an attack plan for you to follow while tackling revisions. I'm happy to be a hand-holder, as well. If you need moral support, or a virtual cookie, I'm here for you. For more about me, read my mini-interview from 2016 on Brenda Drake's site.
A few examples of how I edit:
A little about my favorite books...
This list is not by any means all-inclusive. I have way too many favorites to list.
THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon
A CROWN OF WISHES by Roshani Chokshi
MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera
THE LIST by Siobhan Vivian
WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart
BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray
CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers
DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Hass
ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Nivens
THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp
THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD by Emily Henry
I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson
LOVE AND OTHER THEORIES by Alexis Bass** (I'm biased on this one--Alexis is one of my CPs.)
TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS by Leila Sales* (Basically, I love everything by Leila. She is the master of blending deep emotion with humor.)
My favorite authors of contemporary fiction on the dark side are Lauren Strasnick, Courtney Summers, and Stephanie Kuehn.
My favorites on the lighter side are Leila Sales and Kody Keplinger. I also enjoy Susane Colasanti, Miranda Kenneally, Robin Mellom, Nicola Yoon, and Jennifer Nivens.
A few miscellaneous facts about ME...
(This is recycled from last years's bio but hey--I haven't changed all that much.)
I am a Harry Potter geek like no other. (Ravenclaw!)
I studied Latin for 7 years in high school and college. Caesar and Ovid are my jam.
My day job is in the surf/skate industry. If you can't handle tweets that include salty surfers, monster waves, or injury-laden skateboarders, I might not be the right mentor for you.
My reading resume goes a little something like this: Nancy Drew in elementary school, Sweet Valley High in middle school, and Christopher Pike and Stephen King in high school. By college, my tastes went a little haywire--I ranged from the horror-filled nightmares of John Saul to sultry, sexy stories by Jackie Collins.
I'm represented by the lovely Jessica Sinsheimer of the Sarah Jane Freyman Literary Agency. For a not-so-brief summary of how I got my agent," check THIS out.
Best of luck choosing your mentors!
Here's an "a" for all you Scavenger Hunters out there.
For a complete list of mentors in the 2017 Pitch Wars contest, see below: