Let me start by saying, I am so thrilled to be a part of Pitch Wars! This contest has played a huge role in kicking off my own career, helping me land an agent (the amazing Lara Perkins of Andrea Brown Literary) and eventually a book deal (my debut, THE YEAR WE FELL APART, comes out from Simon Pulse in January 2016!). This is my second year as a mentor, and last year I had an amazing experience working with some incredibly talented writers. My mentee went on to get an agent after the contest, and I am so proud to have been a part of that journey.
I’ll be mentoring YA this year, so if you’re still with me… here is a bit more on my mentoring style:
My critiques aren’t sugarcoated. I will absolutely gush and fangirl over all the aspects I love about a manuscript, but I also won’t hold back when I feel something isn’t working. This experience is all about learning and growing (and having been a mentee myself, I know how challenging it is!). With that in mind, I am looking for a mentee who can handle constructive criticism, who will take a thoughtful approach to revisions, and who isn’t afraid of hard work—even if it means cutting scenes and killing your darlings.
If you’d like to know more about me, come chat with me on twitter, where I can often be found discussing important matters such as book boyfriends, chocolate cravings, and other writerly things!
And without further ado, here are some more details on what I’m dying to see in my inbox:
Contemporary YA. I write in this genre, so it’s always something I enjoy reading. Things that will give me grabby-hands include: VOICE!!!, rich world-building (even realistic YA needs this!), and a strong hook/fresh story idea.
I’m also looking for historical fiction and magical realism! (I tend to fall hardest for magical realism that is firmly grounded in the world around us, but with a touch of the surreal. Think A.S. King or Sarah Addison Allen.)
I love writing that strikes a balance between literary and commercial, and adore stories that are heartbreaking and honest (and if you can make me snort-laugh, I’m yours). I’d also love to see any manuscripts with psychological elements (but no horror, please!), and if your ms has a slow-burning romance, unreliable narrator, or a unique structure (alternating POV, stories told in before/after sections, etc.) send it my way!
I’m NOT the best mentor for your high fantasy or sci-fi novel.
My favorite books are ones that evoke a range of emotion; especially those that make me laugh and cry. Some examples in no particular order…
- Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
- Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
- Anything by Jandy Nelson
- Anything by Courtney Summers
- Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
- Anything by Nina LaCour
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Don’t forget to scope out Brenda Drake’s blog to read all about the submission guidelines!
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