Hi and welcome to Pitch Wars! We're Gracie and Jen, Pitch Wars Mentors to Teen Pit Finalist True Sloan!
First, thanks for dropping by to learn a bit more about all three of us. We are #TeamTeenHurricane! For obvious and not so obvious reasons. We're going to make you wait for the agent showcase before we spill all our secrets...
Pitch Wars 2016: A Wishlist!
Revision is hard work. Every time. But you know this. That’s why you’re here, right?
So I’m going to start hard and tell you a bit about who I am, and why you should pick me to mentor you in Pitch Wars.
First off, I’m a Certified Book Doctor. Well, not exactly. But I do have a PhD in Books (Specifically in English Literature and Creative Writing, Fiction). So there’s that.
What this really means: I’m a reader through and through, I’m a mean editor (mean here signals kickass, but also tough), and I’m passionately in love with words, with how a sentence can make a person laugh or cry or think bless language for giving me this moment.
I have one foot firmly planted in the literary world, and one planted in genre. Beautiful language and dirty plots make me happy. Or tightly honed language and characters who are sharpened by the grit of life. Get it?
I’m the author of the forthcoming Border Markers, a novel told in thirty-three interconnected flash fiction narratives. Here’s the back cover copy, to give you a stronger sense of where I fall as a writer:
After the accidental death of a high school-aged friend, the Lansing family has split along fault lines previously hidden under a patina of suburban banality. Every family's got secrets, but for the Lansings those secrets end up propelling them away from their border town to foreign shores, prison, and beyond.
Oh my stars, my book is going to be a book-book soon-soon, and I’m so excited. Yes, I do have an amazon pre-order link. If you're interested, I would be honoured.
So here it is: I want you to feel this excitement too. But first, I promise you, there’s a lot of hard work to come. Pitch Wars: yep, hard work, but worth it.
I’m sure you want to know a bit about who I am as a mentor and what I can offer you.
I see my role as helping you bring your vision to life. We will not always agree, but I want to hear when you don’t agree with me and why so that I can better help you to write the book you want to write. This is your book, not mine. I will always listen to you, but I will always push you as well. It’s rare for me to be satisfied (I’m an Angelica in that way, Work!) and that means, I don’t stop pushing. If this is something you can’t handle, we might not be the best fit. If this is something that excites you, read on!
I will offer my mentee:
I would rather work with a writer who is ready for the experience, who wants to grow as a writer and thinker and human—even if this book is not the book that gets him or her an agent. As a former mentee (class of 2015 represent!), I know these things are more important than signing with an agent. The agent round of Pitch Wars is exciting and amazing, but in no way is the agent round the only reason to participate. If this is what you’re thinking, we will not be a good fit. If you want to become a better writer, who learns how to revise, who learns their strengths and how to tackle their weaknesses, read on!
So if you’re keen for the complete Pitch Wars Experience™, now you want to know what I’m looking for in a ms, right?
First and foremost, I want literary fiction. Some of my favourite authors include Michael Ondaatje, Aminatta Forna, Roxane Gay, Arundhati Roy, Yuri Herrera, Jocelyne Saucier, James Welch, and Thomas King to name only a few. I love a writer who can combine deft plots, lush settings, and characters I can’t help but love/hate/lust after/want in my life with language that is in itself remarkable in some way.
But I would be super happy to see true literary/genre mash-ups in my inbox. But let's stop the bus a moment and listen: these must be fantastic melds of literary tendencies with genre conventions. For example:
In terms of sub-genres, I’m open to all (with the exception of erotica). Although, I admit, I have soft spots for noir, spec fic, gritty realism, surrealism, and magical realism. If your literary-genre mash-up is weird, or hard to define, yes-yes-and-more-yes. I would love to see a book about the present, or the close-future, or an alternate-future, or something equally haunting and resonant.
In terms of style, I would love to see manuscripts that can be described as “lyrical” and manuscripts that can be described as “hard,” “terse,” or “noir.” Voice is absolutely everything: if I’m in love with your voice, I will be willing to fix everything else. You bring the kitchen sink to the party and I will renovate your house!
In terms of structure, give me manuscripts with exciting or unusual structures/shapes. (Your hint here is Border Markers. I love to read—and write—books with exciting narrative structures. For me, form is as interesting as character.)
In terms of themes, I would really appreciate manuscripts that deal with contemporary social issues in compelling, smart, and elegant ways without being “issue” books. I want a ms that is in touch with our world, and that can make interventions in our world: give me sex, hijabs, politics, and fat protagonists. Give me complications. Give me layers. Give me a picture of our world, and use language to stage your intervention. But I also want something more than an issue. I want to live in the world you build, I want to see your narrative and your language.
And finally, in particular, I am emphatically looking for diverse stories across ethnicities, cultures, religions, sexualities, genders, bodies, abilities, etc., as well as manuscripts from underrepresented writers. Send me your diverse literary fiction or diverse literary-genre mash-ups.
And hey, if you fall within my genre requirements (literary fiction and literary-genre mash-ups) but don't hit other elements of my wishlist, feel free to submit. You might have exactly what I want, but can't put into words.
Thanks for trusting me. I cannot wait.
And if after all that, you need references, feel free to see what my recent editing clients have to say.
My letter is: E. Yep, the classic, everyone needs it to spell stuffs "e".
I'm just leaving this here, because, stylin', amirite?
Now, back to the Adult category.