Monday, July 17, 2017

Pitch Wars 2017 Wish List - MG!!!

Well it's that time of year again! This is my third year as an MG mentor for Pitch Wars, and I'm so excited to find a mentee to join #TeamKraken. Why #TeamKraken? Simple. A kraken can definitely whip a manuscript into shape!!!

As for this year's wish list . . . am I wrong to want more of the same as last year? I received some outstanding subs--so much so that I wanted to work with more than one and was desperately trying to find matches with other mentors!

So I'm not going to stray too much from last year's list, which means I would love for you to send me . . .

1. Anything science, technology, or STEM related/influenced, bonus points if it's a female MC. I'm not one for hard sci-fi, including stories set in space, but if there's a scientific element in our world that plays a key plot point, I'm all for it. For example, my mentee last year's manuscript focused on flying and the science behind it!

2. Magical realism or contemporary fantasy where the magical element isn't "found" by the main character or limited to the main character's family. Rather, there is a magical element throughout our world that at either everyone knows about and accepts or a good segment knows about and accepts (like Fablehaven). 

3. I'm still up for plots revolving around a competition, tournament, or solving a puzzle. Bonus points if the reader can solve the puzzle along with the main character! Doesn't have to be fantasy, but it can be!

4. Hobbies/after school clubs, sports, and other activities. I never thought I'd get into a book about flying, but I fell in love with my mentee's story last year. She made her main character so passionate about flying, that I was all in! If you have a book that features a hobby or activity that your main character is really excited about, I'd love to read it! I don't care if it's sports related, cooking, fashion, chess, scuba diving, etc. If your book features a main character who is over the top into something, send it my way.

5. Straight up fantasy that doesn't involve transporting from our world to another world. Bascially, I'm just not the best for portal fantasy stories. There are some I love (UNLUNDUN), but I'm so picky about them that I think you'd be better off querying someone else than taking a chance with me. 

About those fantastical worlds . . . anything goes! Surprise me! Make it original, and I'm in! Some MG fantasy I love include The False Prince, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Jinx, The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes, The Map to Everywhere, Tuesdays at the Castle, and Dragon Slippers. 

Retellings? I'm game, even if it's a well known fairy tale, like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty--as long as there is a fresh twist.

Superheroes? Again, if there's a twist to it, something that makes it stand out, I'm interested!

Mysteries? Yep! Contemporary or fantasy--give me a bunch of kids in a whodunit!

Multiple POV? Not a turn-off at all. Also not required. I write in first person POV and third person POV, so absolutely no preference there either.

LGBT and and diverse voices are always welcome!

Keep in mind I am not a huge fan of real dark fantasy or gloominess. I like my MG to have a fun angle or bent. 

So with that said, is there anything I don't like? I'm probably not the best for horror, historical, novels in verse, or animal protagonists. I'm also not a fan of issue books or books with serious issues, like diseases or death. Have you read The Seventh Wish? The first half--where a tiny fish in the lake grants wishes and the MC's life is turned upside down? That's in my wheelhouse. The second half of that book--where it turns into a story about the older sister's heroin dependency? NOT in my wheelhouse. Lol. Not saying that book isn't great--it's just not for me, the thing we writers need to get used to hearing.

OH--I also can't help with graphic novels. 

Now, about me:

I've written three MG novels and have read for published and unpublished MG and YA authors. I will work with you to make your manuscript as ready as possible for the agent round and querying after Pitch Wars. My strengths are plot, character arcs, and pacing. If you have a real good feel for your characters, but are unsure if they're doing enough/feel the story could be tighter, but aren't sure how/why/feel they're wandering/wondering if there's enough plot, etc., then I am the mentor for you!

As to what I'm looking for--a story I can fall in love with. Voice, yes. Concept, yes, and then . . . a mentee who has a polished manuscript, but is open to revising and even gutting characters or sub-plots if it makes the manuscript better. Declining a suggestion/revision because it's too much work is not acceptable to me. Please do not sub to me if you really are not open to considering massive revisions or changes. 

As for timetable, it makes no difference if you sub to me the first hour, first day, or right at the deadline. I'll read everything you send. Don't worry about your query, either! I'm not an agent. I'm going to read your pages no matter what. As for requests, I'll ask for the full manuscript and a synopsis. I don't care if the synopsis sucks. I'm just looking to make sure there is a plot and get an idea that you've thought things through to the end. Sometimes I request right away and sometimes I'll request a week after the sub window closes. It just depends on my schedule. I always go back and re-read subs to make sure I didn't miss anything.

As to how I work as a mentor, I'll read your full manuscript and send a 5-10 page edit letter with overall issues that I think need work. I'll happily brainstorm as much or as little as you desire. Once we get a blueprint down, you'll be off doing your revisions! I will then read again, doing line edits as time and story permits, doing whatever I can to help along the way.

Feedback for the Unchosen

I'm going to make the same offer I did as last year. If you would like feedback on your entry, tweet me @theSol23 after the mentees are announced, and I will do my best to give you some feedback on your query and first chapter. (If you were selected as a mentee, I will NOT give you feedback--you have a mentor for that!) This makes it easier for me, as there are quite a few people who really don't care or want feedback, and as you can imagine, it takes quite a bit of time to craft feedback.

Final Thoughts

I had great subs last year and I'm totally excited to read your subs in my inbox this year! If you have any questions about how Pitch Wars works or about my wish list, please check out my 2016 list below or feel free to tweet me @theSol23!


And last but not least---visit the blog hop below, which will hopefully work, but if not-- click here to be directed to Brenda Drake's website for a list and links to other mentors! Good luck!




































  1. (accidentally posted this in the 2016 thread as well)
    When you say portal fantasy, does it mean strictly between this world and another world? What about portals between multiple worlds, all different from this one?

  2. Hi Jessica! Thanks for taking the time to read my wish list! I'm talking more about kids finding a portal in our world, like a wardrobe, book, library that leads into another fantastical world where they have to fight the bad guys to get back home or discover they are the Chosen Ones who must save the new world. If something takes place in another world entirely and there's world hopping, the same tropes don't apply so I wouldn't have that automatic cringe/sigh upon reading the opening pages! Good luck!

    1. Thank you for the clarification! It was very helpful.

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