PitchWars Mentoring: Year Two…
Yes! I’m so excited to be back for a second year as a PitchWars mentor. I will be mentoring YA again and I’m on the lookout for an amazing manuscript. Before I get to the nitty gritty details of my wishlist, here is a little about me beyond the regular bio…
Who am I?
I’m the youngest of five kids. At the dinner table, I had to claw (and sometimes bite) my way to an extra slice of bread or last scoop of chocolate chip ice cream (Yum!), so I’m prepared to battle for a story that transports me to another world, makes me feel all the feels, and has lush, beautiful writing.
I was a PitchWars mentee twice! First for a YA contemporary thriller, and then for a YA historical that will be my debut in March 2018! That year I did not go all the way through the process because I signed with an agent, but I did get feedback from, in my opinion, two of the most amazing writers in the YA category… Stacey Lee and Stephanie Garber.
Hmmm, what else can I share? I have a degree in Journalism and spent my first year out of college working in entertainment in Los Angeles. After that, I moved on to advertising and eventually landed in the world of books helping to promote stories coming onto the market via Ingram Book Group.
When I’m not writing, I’m worshipping at the altar of Netflix, binge-watching bad crime dramas or rewatching every episode of Sherlock ever made. I also love biking, running, Arnold Palmers (flavored iced tea mixed with lemonade) and Red Vines, (seriously not in that order!)
Why do I mentor?
This question is easy to answer. Since 2012, I’ve been writing this blog (Chasing The Crazies) about my ups and downs in publishing. Along the way, I created a few features I hoped would help writers with the process. After being in the query trenches more than once, I learned a thing or two and wanted to share that experience with other writers. All of this culminated in being asked to judge contests and eventually host one (Sun vs. Snow). So for me, being a Pitch Wars mentor was a natural choice. I love writing, revising, and editing and want to use my knowledge to help a fellow writer achieve their dream!
Fair warning – I’m kind of an extrovert. I want to wave at you in person and gush over how much I love your story and your writing so at first I’d like to chat via Google Hangouts. At that time, we will discuss big picture issues. I also want to get a feel for what you’re struggling with in your manuscript and discuss the process moving forward. After that, we can continue to chat via video feed or can work via email and text, whichever you prefer.
What my mentee can expect?
Homework. Lots of homework at the beginning. I’m going to ask you to fill out a character questionnaire, walk me through your story beats, as well as chart the emotional arcs of your characters. Then I’m going to ask for a chapter-by-chapter summary to confirm each scene is necessary and moving your plot along. We will also have regular check-ins to chat about how you’re feeling about the process and discuss any issues that come up as you are revising.
What I’m looking for:
YA Contemporary (Any and all of it – but here are some of my favorites)
Complicated family dynamics like in WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI
Sports-related drama in the vein of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series or Ginger Scott’s LIKE YOU duology
Sibling rivalry and support as seen in Huntley Fitzpatrick’s MY LIFE NEXT DOOR
Fish-out-of-water stories like ANNA and THE FRENCH KISS
Someone who has an unusual hobby that helps form their character
A setting different than a hometown that acts as a character in the book
Stories where friendship plays a main role
This is my love! Send me anything and everything, but I have specific interest in…
Lush dramas like Stacey Lee’s UNDER A PAINTED SKY
Clever storytelling combined with mystery as seen in GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE to VICE and VIRTUE
A twist on a well-known historical figure in the vein of Broadway’s HAMILTON or MY LADY JANE
An unknown part of history that has dramatic impact like WASP (Women’s Army Service Pilots) in Sherri L. Smith’s FLYGIRL
YA Magical Realism* (A contemporary world with a hint of magic)
If you have a book like Emily Bain Murphy’s THE DISAPPEARANCES, please sub it to me!
*Please see note below about this category. Only MR manuscripts please! Do not send me any YA Fantasy or Science Fiction books. There are tons of other YA mentors who are looking for these genres!
YA Thriller and Mystery
I’m a huge fan of the whodunit.
Send me manuscripts like Karen McManus’ ONE OF US IS LYING, Kara Thomas’ THE DARKEST CORNERS, or Gretchen McNeil’s TEN. HUGE bonus points for an unreliable narrator!!
Secret societies also pique my interest. If you have a manuscript similar to THE LIAR SOCIETY or the THE CONSPIRACY OF US series, please send it!!
Spies and international intrigue are also high on my list, too! If your book is like Ally Carter’s GALLAGHER GIRLS or EMBASSY ROW series, I’d love to see it!!!
Basically, if your book is anything close to Veronica Mars – PLEASE. SEND. IT.
Things Not for Me:
- Science Fiction or Fantasy manuscripts
- Books with a ton of gore or grisly scenes
- Gritty, dark stories which include rape or self-harm of any kind
- Cheating parents or boyfriends/girlfriends
- Alternate history
- Romance that does not have a HEA (Happily Ever After)
To get one last hint at my personality here is a list of my favorite books, music, TV series and movies:
Wink Poppy Midnight – April Tucholke
Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
Simon Versus the Homosapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
Such A Rush – Jennifer Echols
Paper Towns – John Green
The Boy Most Likely To – Huntley Fitzpatrick
City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
Dumplin – Julie Murphy
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin
Cage The Elephant
Young The Giant
Sixteen Candles (Anything John Hughes to be honest!)
Ten Things I Hate About You
Veronica Mars (movie) – Yes, slightly obsessed
Field of Dreams
Somewhere in Time
Still have a question or unsure about my wishlist?
Please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@atrueblood5). I’m always open to answering more specific questions about what I’m looking for in a potential manuscript. I’m also happy to field general questions about Pitch Wars, too!
WHY (hint…hint…) don’t you check out Brenda Drake’s blog for more details?
Don’t see a description of your manuscript on my list? I highly encourage you to check out the other AMAZING YA mentors below.
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