Hey, Pitch Wars peeps! I’m so happy you stopped by to check out my wish list! (If you don’t know what Pitch Wars is, it’s an annual writing contest put together by the fabulous Brenda Drake. If you have a polished, completed manuscript and want to know more, check out the details on Brenda’s blog).
Before we get to my wish list, here’s a little bit about me:
My YA contemporary fantasy, THE WOOD, will be published by Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan on August 1, 2017! I’m represented by the absolutely amazing Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, Inc., with whom I first connected when I was a Pitch Wars mentee all the way back in the first ever Pitch Wars in 2013. If you’re at all curious about my 2013 Pitch Wars entry, you can check it out here. Although this isn’t the manuscript that landed me a book deal, it is the manuscript that helped me connect with the online writing community (thanks to Pitch Wars!), and which eventually led to me signing with my dream agent. For that story, you can check out my blog posts “My Journey to Publication, or Why You Should Never Give Up” Parts One and Two.
This year, I will be mentoring YA fiction. As a mentor, it is extremely important to me that my mentee’s vision for his or her book shines, and as such that is always my primary focus. So, while I will be giving constructive criticism on how to get your manuscript submission-ready, above all I want to help you turn your book into what *you* always imagined it could be. To do this, and to make your Pitch Wars experience as enjoyable and beneficial as possible, I will be using both my experiences as a Pitch Wars mentee in 2013 and a Pitch Wars co-mentor last year, along with my experiences from navigating the publishing waters for nearly six years now. Although I will focus on all of the elements of your book when giving feedback (plot, character, voice, description, etc.), I am especially attuned to pacing and tension. Many people will argue that the most important element in writing is either plot or character, but I will always argue that it is pacing/tension (established through well-developed internal and external conflicts). In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how unique your plot is or how interesting your main character is if you can’t keep your reader turning the pages, and all of that boils down to pacing, tension, and conflict.
For more about my style as a Pitch Wars mentor, check out my mini-interview here. And check out my previous mentee’s success interview from when I co-mentored last year here (includes a little more info on my mentoring style as well as some insight into the Pitch Wars process from my 2015 mentee).
And finally, as you all know, we are doing a Blog Hop Scavenger Hunt this year! My letter is…*drumroll*…E!
Now, without further ado,
My Wish List
I have always been a very eclectic reader, and as such I have a very wide range in genres I’d like to see. First and foremost, as a girl who grew up fascinated with all things paranormal and who has seen every single Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode about a dozen times, I am a huge fan of speculative fiction. I’m your girl for pretty much anything that falls under the fantasy umbrella (including fantasy, paranormal, contemporary/urban fantasy, supernatural, Gothic/horror, and magical realism) with the exception of high, Lord of the Rings type fantasy (not because I don’t like the overall story elements of LOTR—please send me elves and dragons and wizards, etc, if done in a new, unique way!—but because I have a hard time staying interested when there are too many odd place and character names and background information/family trees to keep track of). I am also a fan of light science fiction such as the Across the Universe series by Beth Revis, but I am not your girl for super high-tech science fiction such as The Martian by Andy Weir.
To give you an idea of the types of stories I love, here is a list of some of my favorite fantasy/speculative fiction books:
- The entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (I’m kind of a superfan)
- Vicious by V.E. Schwab
- The Shiver trilogy, The Scorpio Races, and The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
- The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
- The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
- The Diviners by Libba Bray
(Also, one of my favorite adult paranormal/urban fantasy authors is Karen Marie Moning, so if you have the YA equivalent of her style, please send it my way!)
I am also a huge fan of fun contemporary fiction and contemporary romances. Emphasis on the word fun. My 2015 mentee’s book, OUT OF LEFT FIELD, is a fun, fast-paced contemporary about a girl pitching for her high school boys’ baseball team (and it was soooo good you guys. Check out her entry and the ridiculous amount of agent interest she got here.) While I do appreciate darker contemporary topics (and do believe they are important to have even in a “fun” contemporary, since darkness is a part of life), I am not your girl for anything to do with cancer or stories revolving around a main character’s impending death, simply because I’m way too emotional to handle it. In other words, please don’t send me anything even remotely resembling The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. On the flip side, I could handle something resembling Dead Poet’s Society (one of my favorite Robin Williams movies), where the main focus of the story is much more on character relationships and on characters finding themselves, and where a character’s death serves to highlight a bigger issue. However, for me to fall in love with a story like this, there has to be a lot of heart behind it (I don’t like to cry while reading if I can help it! I cry enough at movies as it is, I don’t need to cry from books, too. That being said, if your book is something truly special, I’ll break out the tissues for it).
For some more insight into the kinds of contemporary stories I gravitate toward, here are my all-time favorites:
- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- The Moon and More, Along for the Ride, and Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
- Red by Alison Cherry
- The Heist Society series by Ally Carter
- Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
- The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
- Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
(Also, please send anything resembling Gilmore Girls and/or Friday Night Lights).
As a history major, I also enjoy historical fiction, especially alternate and/or supernatural history, time-travel, and anything to do with American history (with favorite time periods being: the American Revolution, the Edwardian era, WWII, and the 1950s and ’60s). Some of my favorite historical books include:
- Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
- Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
- Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
- The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
(I would also love to find a book resembling either Band of Brothers or The Patriot).
And finally, I am a huge sucker for romance. Whether it’s the main focus of your story or one of several elements, if there’s romance in your book, I am that much more likely to be drawn to it! However, don’t let a lack of romance stop you from sending your book to me if it hits any of my other wish list items (Vicious by V.E. Schwab, for example, is one of my favorite books of all time, and I wouldn’t exactly call “romance” one of its main elements). I also love a well thought-out mystery and surprise twist endings.
So, to recap, I’m mentoring YA this year, looking for: speculative fiction; fun, fast-paced contemporaries; historical fiction; romance; and mysteries (or some crazy mix of all of the above!). I am NOT looking for high-tech science fiction; high, LOTR-type fantasy; or John Green-esque contemporaries.
If you think we might be a fit, please send your submission my way! I look forward to reading!