Pitch Wars YA Mentor Wish List

2018-YA-Mentor-SQUARE

If you’ve found yourself here, it’s probably because you’re considering applying to Pitch Wars. Welcome!

I am so thrilled to be a YA mentor in Pitch Wars this year. I was a mentee in 2017, and PitchWars brought so much goodness to my life: a new writing community, an amazing mentor, stronger writing skills, and a lot of industry know-how. After Pitch Wars, I received five offers of representation and went on to sign a two-book deal with HarperTeen.

So I’ve got a lot of love for Pitch Wars, and I am eager to pass along what I’ve learned and help another writer navigate the choppy waters of publishing.

ABOUT ME

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I write YA contemporary fantasy with a Southern Gothic feel. My stories often feature f/f romances, complex family relationships, and atmospheric settings. I have a weakness for old forests, Southern voices, and beautiful sentences. I’m originally from the pine woods of rural Florida but have made my home in Nashville, Tennessee, where I’ve learned to love bluegrass and have even started learning to play the banjo. I spend most of my time writing, reading, and hanging out with my scruffy little rescue dogs, Nutmeg and Luna.

I have a Master’s degree in English and have taught academic writing at the college level. I’ve also worked as a content editor and writing tutor. I am represented by Lauren Spieller of Triada US Literary Agency. My debut YA contemporary fantasy, GHOST WOOD SONG, will be published by HarperTeen in summer 2020.

Mentoring Style

I believe writing is an extremely vulnerable, personal act, so I always strive to be kind and constructive in my feedback. That said, I’m also going to be honest and direct and will spend most of my time in problem-solving mode.

My strengths as a writer are character development, world-building, atmosphere, voice, dialogue, and style. I am strongest at the sentence/paragraph level, so if you need help with crafting sentences and cutting fluff, I’m definitely the mentor for you.

I am looking for a mentee who is able to accept criticism and work hard, even if it means making significant changes. But I also want a mentee who will to keep true to their vision for the book and say no to changes that don’t fit with that vision. In other words, I want my mentor-mentee relationship to be a cooperative partnership—give and take.

I tend to be a bit reserved, so you probably won’t see me posting quite as many gifs and heart-eyes emojis as other mentors, but I promise to be an enthusiastic, dedicated mentor and to provide every bit of insight and help I can.

Books I Love

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

 

What I’m Looking For

Give me magic, friends. I love both low and high fantasy, magical realism, and speculative fiction. I am a sucker for atmospheric settings, beautiful sentences, and inventive magic. I want characters I can care about—ones with personal stakes and a sense of agency. And I want careful, thoughtful, lyrical writing. Don’t just entertain me; make me feel something. My ideal book has a commercial, high-concept hook paired with gorgeous prose.

I strongly welcome submissions from writers from marginalized communities. LGBTQ stories are my jam, especially those with a f/f romance.

As someone from a low-income background, I’m very interested in stories with characters who aren’t economically privileged—who don’t live in palaces or even middle-class suburbs. I would especially like to see these stories from writers with similar backgrounds.

Give me intersectional feminist narratives and all your “unlikable” female protagonists. I want badass girls (with or without violence), tough cookies with gooey centers, and smart girls with cool hobbies.

Miscellaneous longings: witches, pretty bugs, creepy mansions, ghosts (no horror), small seaside towns, Southern families, pirates, goddesses, sirens, forests and gardens, and dark fae.

Wildest dreams: If you can write a YA fantasy with the atmosphere and tension of a Daphne du Maurier novel, I’m the mentor for you!

YA Categories I Want Most

  • Contemporary Fantasy
  • Magical Realism
  • Speculative Fiction
  • Gothic, especially Southern Gothic

YA Categories I’ll Consider (but I’m VERY picky with these)

  • High Fantasy
  • Paranormal
  • Fairytale/mythology retellings

I’m Not a Great Fit For/ Don’t Want

  • Categories other than YA
  • Works over 125K words
  • (Realistic) Contemporary
  • Science Fiction
  • Horror
  • Religious Fiction
  • Memoir
  • Graphic Novels
  • New Adult (NA)

Thanks so much for considering me as a mentor. I can’t wait to read your submission! Have questions? Ask below in the comments.

P.S. Meet Nutmeg & Luna!

You can see wish lists for all Pitch Wars mentors here: https://pitchwars.org/pitch-wars-2018-mentor-blog-hop/

Be sure to check out all the other amazing YA mentors!

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17 Comments on “Pitch Wars YA Mentor Wish List

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  11. Hey Erica! I was so excited to read your wishlist and I think my YA Historical Fantasy (Sabriel X Master & Commander) might be a great fit. However – my heart dropped when I saw your “over 115k” rule. Mine’s sitting at 122k. Is there any leniency on that?

    Like

  12. Pingback: 2018 Pitch Wars Mentor Bio & Wishlist! |

    • No, I’m thinking more of spiritual journey/ devotional writing with an intent to convey, for example, Christian themes and values. A Dan Brown plot would be OK, though I’ll admit it’s a little outside my interests. But who knows–you might surprise me!

      Like

  13. Hi Erica, would you consider a contemporary YA with a vampire/werewolf theme? Thanks!

    Like

    • Hi, Rina,
      I would consider it, but I’m probably not the best fit for it. If there are other mentors asking for those elements, I would definitely pick them instead. Good luck! 🙂

      Like

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