Pitch Wars Mentor: 2019

(Pitch Wars owl icon reading “Young Adult Mentor: Into the Query Trenches With You”)

Welcome, adventurers! You’re most likely here for the Pitch Wars 2019 mentor blog hop, checking out all our bios and wishlists to find the right mentors to sub to. 

(Animated gif of Caduceus Clay from Critical Role turning undead zombies into plantlife)

If you wound up here with no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a quick recap: Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where authors, editors and other publishing-type folk choose a writer and a manuscript to work with over the course of about three months. Then, in February, there’s an agent showcase where agents can read the pitches/first pages of those manuscripts and maybe find a few where they want to read more.

Make sense? Wicked. Onward!

(Critical Role’s Marisha Ray and Liam O’Brien toasting with champagne flutes)

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR

Let’s get to that good, good stuff first, right? These are the young adult genres I’m accepting this year:

  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • And any and all subgenres therein, including steampunk 

THAT’S IT? THAT’S THE ONLY RESTRICTION?

Well, yes and no. There’s a lot of space to play with within those genres, so here’s some details that might help you narrow down if your book would be my cup of coffee:

  • Your book is a genre mashup. Not quite science fiction? Not quite fantasy? Located somewhere in the nebula between genres but you’re not sure where? Send it to me. I love genre mashups, and I love weird new worlds.
  • Your book can be described as “such-and-such IN SPAAAAACE” or “such-and-such BUT WITH DRAGONS.” This kind of works off the first bullet point, but for example, “cozy murder mystery IN SPAAAAAACE” or “Veronica Mars BUT WITH DRAGONS.” If that’s your pitch line, SEND IT TO ME.
  • Your book has some or all of my favorites, like:
    • Misfits and rebels and all other forms of chaotic-aligned characters
    • Unique narrative structures
    • Nonbinary characters
    • Diverse, intersectional casts
    • Dark, gritty magic; magic that is both gorgeous and brutal
    • Family — found families, complicated families, dangerous sibling duos, etc.
    • Morally gray characters, trashfire heroines, and other disaster babies who are desperately trying their best, while going, “Is this how you human?”
    • Androids, AI, and/or robots who are also going, “Is this how you human?”
    • Feminist themes and sisterhood
    • Con artists and heists (if you have a YA Lies of Locke Lamora, I want it SO BAD)
    • Mechas. All the mechas. 
    • Tricksters, gods, and trickster gods

I will be accepting new adult SFF entries; however, be aware that, given the market, I might recommend changes that would push it into either young adult or adult.

(Travis Willingham from Critical Role, slouching down and pulling his hoodie over his head)

what i am *not* looking for

Ah, yes. Well, unfortunately, not every book is going to appeal to every reader, and there are some elements/themes/tropes that might make your book a bad fit for me, like:

  • On-page rape or sexual violence 
  • On-page child abuse
  • Slavefic or any romantic subplot where there is a clear power imbalance that makes true consent untenable
  • Female characters who can be replaced by sexy lamps (see this link)
  • Casts where the main female character is considered “not like other girls”
  • Any romantic plot where a character demeans, belittles or is otherwise mean to their love interest in the name of “keeping their distance” 
  • Racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, bigotry
  • Generic Western fantasy settings that eschew closely to the Tolkien playbook

 

(Critical Role’s Laura Bailey and Travis Willingham in gothic attire, mugging for the camera)

ABOUT ME

This is my first time mentoring in a long, long while (2012), so let’s just start fresh with this. I’m Becca, I’ve been an absolute nerd about science fiction and fantasy stories from right around the time I was born, and now I write my own. My debut book, CROWNCHASERS, is a young adult space opera about a wisecracking pilot, her part-sarcasm-part-cinnamon-roll engineer, and an imperial throne she doesn’t want but may not be able to avoid. It comes out in fall of 2020 from HarperTeen.

Beyond that, I’m a professional copy editor who worked for The Man once upon a time, but now I work freelance, which basically means I still work for The Man but now just at really weird hours. I bring to the table over a decade of editorial experience, and while I’m a debut author, I’ve been in and around the YA publishing community for almost eight years. I’ve got a decent amount of grandfathered-in knowledge when it comes to navigating the world of pitches, queries and first pages.

  • Me as a mentor: I bring a solid one-two punch of both big-picture and line-level editorial advice to the game.
    • Round one, I will send you an editorial letter tackling big topics like poking holes in your plot structure, analyzing your character arcs, and pushing your world-building and magic systems to the next level. This won’t be prescriptive — I’m not here to rewrite your story — but I’ll be there as a partner as much as you need to help you find fixes that strengthen the manuscript and keep your vision for the book intact.
      • Note: I write pretty mean fight/action scenes, so if you have one, two or several of those in your book and you’re not sure if they hold together, I’ve got a good eye for them. I’ve also got a good ear for dialogue and how conversations flow between your characters.
    • Round two, if there’s time before the showcase, I’ll take a line-level look at the book and point out any rough spots or clunky sentences before it goes on display. This is where all those years of professional copy editing experience can really come into play to put that final polish on your manuscript.
    • Most of this communication will be by email, which tends to be the easiest way to reach me, unless you find yourself really needing a Skype call or something similar to hash out a troublesome revision issue. 

And that’s it! I hope the above helped you with making your mentor selection, and I’m super looking forward to seeing what stories y’all are working on out there!

Keep scrolling to find links to all the other amazing YA mentors! Good hunting, Pitch Wars folks!

(Animated shot of the Mighty Nein facing off against a dragon)

Pitch Wars 2019 Young Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists

  1. Aiden Thomas (Accepts NA)
  2. Kelsey Rodkey and Rachel Lynn Solomon
  3. Nancy Werlin
  4. Olivia Hinebaugh
  5. Abigail Johnson
  6. Rebecca Schaeffer
  7. Rebecca Coffindaffer (Accepts NA)
  8. Laurie Dennison
  9. Sam Taylor
  10. ST Sterlings (Accepts NA)
  11. Brenda Drake and Kyle T. Cowan (Accepts NA)
  12. Carrie Allen and Sabrina Lotfi
  13. J. Elle
  14. Andrea Contos (Accepts NA)
  15. Raquel Vasquez Gilliland and Sandra Proudman (Accepts NA)
  16. Ayana Gray (Accepts NA)
  17. Susan Lee and Auriane Desombre
  18. Julia Ember (Accepts NA)
  19. SA Patel
  20. Kat Dunn (Accepts NA)
  21. Sonia Hartl and Annette Christie
  22. Jesse Q. Sutanto
  23. Ray Stoeve
  24. Aty S. Behsam and Kylie Schachte
  25. Cole Nagamatsu
  26. Rachel Griffin
  27. Adalyn Grace
  28. Adrienne Tooley and Kelly Quindlen (Accepts NA)
  29. Ciannon Smart and Deborah Falaye
  30. Kristin Lambert, Sasha Peyton Smith
  31. Kimberly Gabriel and Dawn Ius
  32. Lyndsay Ely
  33. Jamie Howard
  34. Jenna Lincoln (Accepts NA)
  35. Jen Marie Hawkins and Anna Birch (Accepts NA)
  36. Judy I. Lin
  37. Leila Siddiqui
  38. Zach Hines (Accepts NA)
  39. Hoda Agharazi
  40. Michaela Greer (Accepts NA)
  41. Liz Lawson and Jeff Bishop (Accepts NA)
  42. Lindsey Frydman (Accepts NA)
  43. Chelsea Hensley (Accepts NA)
  44. Isabel Ibañez