Hello, there! And…
OH SORRY WRONG SPEECH
Welcome… to Pitch Wars 2015!
I’m thrilled to be participating as a mentor this year! My experience as an alternate mentee last year was transformative, and I’m excited to be paying it forward. If you’ve stumbled upon this page by mistake, check out Brenda Drake’s post for rules and info. For the rest of you, I know you’re all eager to know what I’ll be mentoring, so let’s get to it!
I’m looking for Adult fiction with strong speculative elements, as well as non-speculative historical fiction.
What the former translates to: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Magical Realism, Historical fantasy, Contemporary fantasy, and most subgenres that fit in the category of Speculative Fiction, unless otherwise specified below. Use your best judgment.
Regarding historical fiction: My areas of expertise include the Viking Age, Tudor England, Puritan New England, and the American Old West. If your story involves any of those time periods, chances are good that 1) I will be totally into your MS, and 2) I will be able to assist you in fact-checking and adding more historical detail. If your story does not involve those time periods, no worries! I’m not averse to doing some research to ensure your novel is historically accurate. Plus, I have access to some databases that may prove useful for further inquiry.
More specifically, I’d love to see any of the following:
- “unlikable” protagonists, especially female leads
- a story that passes the Bechdel Test
- charming villains
- a cast that features awesome POC characters (bonus points for women of color!)
- romance as a subplot, not the story’s primary focus
- a story where platonic love is shown as just as important as romantic love
- historical fantasy that is accurate, yet also reveals aspects of the period not usually seen or discussed
- dark fairytale/myth retellings
- prose that borders on poetry; language that is vivid and precise; imagery that bites
- a nice balance of humor and drama
- hopeful endings (it doesn’t have to be happy, per se, but I’m not fond of complete downers)
Basically, I’m looking for manuscripts that feature complex characters with agency, and a setting I can lose myself in. Language, sex, and gore don’t bother me, as long as all are utilized purposefully.
In the words of Joss Whedon, “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”
Examples of fiction I’ve enjoyed:
- God’s War by Kameron Hurley
- Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
- Kindred by Octavia Butler
- Burning Girls by Veronica Schanoes
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
- Giants of the Frost by Kim Wilkins
- On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
- The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
- Haxan by Kenneth Mark Hoover
Please DON’T send me:
- Genre Romance
- Crime/Legal Thriller
- Hard sci-fi (I don’t have a technical background, so I probably wouldn’t be able to fact-check your science)
- Stories where women are killed/raped/brutalized for the purpose of male angst/character development
Now that you’ve been through the lists, I know what you’re asking yourself…
Why should you choose me to submit to?
As an agented author, I have been through both the querying and submission processes, so I know exactly the kind of obstacles new writers face in the trenches. I served as a judge for the 2015 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge, providing feedback to dozens of writers in a clear and concise manner, and have provided helpful edits for CPs who have then gone on to become published, even bestselling authors.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German, which basically means Ich bin eine Nerd. It also means I have a thing for Germanic folklore, vikings, doomed queens, and long essays on women’s roles in Old Norse society. Trust me when I say I can tell the difference between necessary exposition and an info dump. If your historical novel starts to read like a final research paper, we’ll fix that.
I am also a proud feminist, so send me stories featuring brave women, cowardly women, smart women, stupid women, women who love, and women who hate. I’m all about it.
On the more practical side of things, I will be providing my mentee with: query polishing, line edits, and big picture feedback. Whatever we need to do to get your MS ready for querying, we are going to do. A quick sidenote regarding my critiquing style: I can be harsh. I don’t coddle writers when it comes to their prose. Be prepared for massive edits, if need be.
To sum, I have a passion for storytelling and an instinct for making plot and characters work. If you choose me, you’ll not only be getting someone with a professional eye for editing, but also a cheerleader. I want you to succeed. If that means helping brainstorm new scenes, offering survival advice for the trenches, or merely cheering you up with wacky gifs, I’m prepared to take that bullet.
With that said…
What are you waiting for?! Go submit to me, and let’s do this!
P.S. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment below, or hit me up on Twitter.
Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets — Auto-Linky widget will appear right here!This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.