2021 Pitch Wars Mentor Bio & Wishlist!

For a plain text version of this wishlist, please click here.

Hey there, Pitch Warriors!

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Joey from Friends saying, “How you doin’?”

We are so excited to be co-mentoring this year! We’ve been working together as friends and CPs since we connected on Twitter in 2014, and it’s safe to say we are very familiar with each other’s tastes in books (and we must say, we have very good taste). This is Jamie’s sixth(!) year as a Pitch Wars mentor and Meredith’s first (although she has mentored in AMM for two rounds), and we can’t wait to meet our future mentee and scream about how much we love their manuscript!

First, the basics. If you’re reading this post and saying, what in the world is Pitch Wars? In short, Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to spend three months revising their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents can read a pitch/first page and can request to read more. Find all of the details and dates here.


SO, WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

We are here for all your Young Adult manuscripts and this year we will also be accepting New Adult. Okay, that’s quite broad—let’s dig deeper into what we’re looking for! This year we’ll be accepting submissions in the following genres:

Two gray pencils lay diagonally on a yellow background next to white labels showing the following genres: Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Paranormal, Speculative Contemporary.

BUT WAIT!

Regardless of genre, we are looking for a manuscript that has at least a small thread of romance. Whether the romance is the main plot or a miniscule subplot, we are definitely seeking a story with characters we can ship (any gender pairing!).

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth resting their foreheads together as the sunrise streams behind them from the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice.

Your story doesn’t have to be romance-centric—and the romantic element doesn’t have to have a happy ending—but we are looking for books with at least a teeny, tiny romantic subplot. If we can’t root for two characters to get together, ultimately, it probably won’t be the right fit for us. Also, we fall into the Upper YA spectrum. We’re really looking for characters 16+.

In addition to these genres, we love genre-blending stories and crossover. If you’ve got a fantasy with sci-fi elements, a contemporary with speculative elements, a sci-fi thriller, a fantasy romance, etc., please send it our way! If you’ve got a twist that will make us scream and throw your book across the room in a fit of rage—or burst into tears—we need it. A strong voice will hook us more than anything!

We are also absolutely looking for diverse manuscripts written by authors from underrepresented backgrounds. However, please don’t feel you have to label your work in any way if you’re not comfortable doing so.

ACROSS ALL GENRES, HERE ARE SOME* ELEMENTS, TROPES, AND FEATURES WE LOVE THAT WOULD IMMEDIATELY MAKE US TAKE A SECOND LOOK!

*Please note this isn’t an exhaustive list! In previous years, we’ve received submissions that made us say, “Wow! I love this and can’t believe I didn’t add it to my wishlist!” so please don’t worry if you don’t see your specific trope on this list.

VILLAINS, ANTIHEROES, & ANTIHEROINES

Loki grinning.

If your main character’s arc revolves around their slow descent from hero into villainy, we NEED to read it. If your manuscript features an evil queen, we’ll be super bummed if it isn’t sent our way. Romance between the hero and the villain? Yes, please! Examining what it means to be a villain vs. a hero? Give it to us! Got a retelling of a classic story but from the villain’s POV? We need it immediately! Kissing monsters? A manuscript featuring a full villain cast? No characters but absolute monsters? All the YES!

Please, please, please send us your Lokis, your Kaz Brekkers, your Cardans. We are huge suckers for these types of characters. Even the ones who seem completely irredeemable, we promise you we will somehow have a soft spot for them. If your main character(s) lean toward the morally gray, are power-driven, sometimes do the morally-questionable, are driven by revenge, or can be comped to Jude Duarte, Jyn Erso, Arya Stark, James Howlett, or Kaz Brekker, we can’t wait to meet them. The Darkling is one of our favorite characters ever. Characters that are ridiculously manipulative like Ben Linus are our jam. Give us characters whose villainy is underlined by their intelligence like Ivar from Vikings. Jamie has always been Team Damon, but don’t think she wasn’t also rooting for Klaus (and also hoping for a redemption arc for Kai). If your manuscript centers around the “bad guy,” we would absolutely love for you to send it to us. Give us all the moral-grayness!

ALL THE ATMOSPHERE

We are huge suckers for atmospheric settings and lyrical writing. Especially if that setting happens to be creepy or spooky (think House of Salt and Sorrows). We adore settings that feel like characters and world-building that showcases quirky elements of a town or place that comes alive. Give us your pretty prose and worlds so real they leap off the page. Small towns with something to hide? Yes please! We want to get lost in your world!

INTERSECTIONAL FEMINISM

Mazikeen from Lucifer taking a shot with Linda and saying “No rest for the soulless.”

We love manuscripts that have feminist themes–whether those are completely blatant themes or more subtle ones, we want them all. If your characters actively dismantle the patriarchy, we want to see it. Give us your strong, kickass heroines! Now, this doesn’t have to be literal. Your characters don’t have to wield a sword or fight crime (though we’re 100% for it if they do)—we’re also talking mental toughness—self-reliant, independent women and girls with agency. If you’ve ever been told your female characters are too harsh, too mean, too “unlikable,” or anything of that sort, you have found the right mentors. Please note that our feminism is for all women, not just cis.

ENEMIES TO LOVERS

If they can’t decide whether to kiss each other or stab each other, that’s our siren song. Send us all the rivalries, the feuds, the banter, the characters who’ve hated each other since childhood but now start to notice each other. If your characters are assigned to kill each other but whoopsy, accidentally fall in love instead? We need it! If you’ve got the next Cardan/Jude, Jaime/Brienne, Roslin/Adama, or Nina/Matthias, we want to ship them! Lovers-turned-enemies are also welcome!

MESSY RELATIONSHIPS

We are here for all your troubled and complicated relationships. Think Kaz/Inej from Six of Crows or the Gansey/Blue conundrum from The Raven Boys. The ever-contentious, high conflict relationship between Cardan and Jude. Or the emotionally fraught, slow-burn romance of Feyre and Rhysand. We want all the angst. And this doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships! Give us your knotted sibling rivalries, friendship breakups, feuding families, multi-generational spats. If the relationships in your book can be described as challenged or twisty, you have come to the right place.

RETELLINGS

Literary retellings, fairytale retellings, mythology retellings, give us all the retellings—especially fresh retellings that haven’t been done before, and any retellings featuring mythology or fairytales from non-Western or underrepresented cultures. We also love origin stories or YA versions of movies (i.e. a YA version of Bridget Jones Diary) or retellings of classics with a contemporary twist (think Ten Things I Hate About You etc.). We want all your fresh takes—whether it’s set in the contemporary world with a bit of a speculative angle, has a fantastical spin, or a paranormal twist, we want them in our inbox!

MISCELLANEOUS

Here’s some other random stuff we love:

  • Alternating timelines
  • Unreliable narrators
  • Epistolary and other unique formats
  • Stories featuring twins
  • Love triangles
  • Anything that can be comped to On the Jellicoe RoadBone Gap, “Logan,” “Labyrinth,” “Deadpool,” “Mad Max,” “Suicide Squad,” “Black Mirror,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Tangled,” or “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”
  • Unusual or unexpected settings
  • Small towns (bonus points if they have something to hide…)
  • Anything with a fall/autumn vibe
  • Psychics/fortune tellers/tarot card readers
  • Circuses, carnivals, amusement parks. Bonus points if they’re creepy.
  • Marching band, theater, piano lessons, and all performing arts kids.
  • Creepy forests, creepy board games, creepy mirrors, creepy birds, creepy masks, creepy small towns with sinister traditions. We ❤ creepy stuff!
  • Fandom, fan fiction, cosplay etc—give us all your nerds!
  • Books that remind us of The Twilight Zone
  • Mazes of any kind—mirror mazes, hedge mazes, carnival mazes, corn mazes, creepy mazes, fun mazes, give them all to us! We love a good labyrinth!
  • Roadtrips, study abroad, backpacking adventures, and travel of all kinds. We love when a book’s vivid setting comes alive on the page and transports us to a place we’ve never been before!
  • High stakes fantasy/sci-fi competitions and tournaments, even better if they’re life-or-death (think THREE DARK CROWNS, A RIVER OF ROYAL BLOOD, THE HUNGER GAMES etc)
  • Truth or dare. Games that escalate out of control.
  • Snappy dialogue. If your MC is always whipping out the one-liners, we need to meet them! 
  • A YA version of the classical piece “In The Hall of the Mountain King”
  • If you’ve got a YA “The Good Place” (like LAYOVERLAND), send it our way! 
  • Riddles
  • Natural disasters
  • If Taylor Swift’s “folklore” was a YA book
  • Witches, ghosts, potions, spells
  • Prom, masquerades, school dances
  • Drama and angst!
  • Unusual pets (that don’t die!) 
  • Whirlwind romance that takes place over the course of one day
  • The dark side of social media
  • Found Families
  • Boarding schools 
  • As a hard of hearing author, Meredith is always on the lookout for books featuring d/Deaf/HoH characters, especially written by d/Deaf/HoH authors!

Alright, let’s get more genre specific…

A castle sits on a hill on a foggy morning, the text overlaying it reads “Fantasy.”

We love fantasy in almost any sub-genre! We don’t want to specify too much here, because we want to get ALL your fantasy subs! We love vivid world building and unique magic systems. Alternate histories are always intriguing. Gothic fantasy, yes please! Did we mention villains? We are open to both low and high fantasy, though our tastes skew a bit more toward low fantasy and away from epic. We especially gravitate toward darker fantasy.

Contemporary Fantasy, specifically, is very high on our wishlist. Some of our favorite books of all time fall into this specific subgenre and we would fight someone for the chance to mentor a unique, dark Contemporary Fantasy.

Beyond that, we’re pretty open in this genre! Some of our favorites:

  • Anything by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater (but really anything by her)
  • Anything by Laini Taylor
  • A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  • Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  • The Wicked King by Holly Black
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
  • The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
  • Furyborn by Claire Legrand
  • The Bear and the Nigtingale by Katherine Arden
  • Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  • Fireborne by Rosaria Munda
  • Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
  • Seafire by Natalie C. Parker
  • The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
  • Everless by Sarah Holland
  • Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
  • For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten
  • A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha
  • Winter White and Wicked by Shannon Dittemore
  • The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
  • Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab
Dirty hands grip the edge of a cliff with a stormy sea and sky behind them, the text overlaying it reads, “Horror.”

We are open to all sub-genres of horror be it occult, gothic, psychological, etc. We love atmospheric, creepy horror that makes us afraid to turn off the lights. We’d love to see genre-blending horror, too. Does your horror have a side of historical? Awesome. Is there a bit of fantasy thrown in with your horror? Sweet. Maybe a pinch of paranormal to go with your horror? Lovely. Oh, and if you have anything that can be comped to The Craft, we are absolutely here for it!

We love creepy small towns, haunted houses, abandoned buildings, legends of hauntings, and unsettling places. We love reading a seemingly “normal” situation that gives us some unsettling vibes, but then takes a turn for the totally weird and creepy. Give us creatures of the darkness. Things that go bump in the night. Vengeful ghosts. Monsters and monster hunters. Psychological horror that makes us think. Creatures that prey upon your worst fears. Got a horror in a carnival, circus, or amusement park? We ABSOLUTELY want to see it! 

We are pretty open here, but the only thing we are not looking for here is gratuitous gore / gratuitous body horror. We are likely not the best mentors for books that spend significant time describing the color and texture of peoples’ entrails. We are also not the best fit for horror that features animal sacrifice as a major plot point.

Some favorite books/shows:

  • Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
  • House of Salt & Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
  • Wilder Girls by Rory Power
  • Haunting of Hill House, Netflix TV show
  • Locke & Key, Netflix TV show
  • Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters
  • Ten by Gretchen McNeil
  • The Alienist, TNT TV show
  • The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
  • House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
A macro photo of a multi-colored glass doorknob, the text overlaying it reads, “Sci-Fi.”

We are especially looking for grounded sci-fi here. Got something in the near-future that explores what happens when technology goes too far? A fresh take on dystopia or post-apocalyptic fiction? Literary sci-fi that takes our present day and adds a bit of a sci-fi twist? Send them all our way! If your book has vibes similar to “Black Mirror” or “The Twilight Zone,” we need to read it! We are probably not the right fit for sci-fi that features a romance between a human and an alien, unless the alien is humanoid for the whole book. We are also probably the wrong fit for very science-heavy “hard” sci-fi.

Some elements we’re fond of:

  • Time travel written in an accessible manner
  • Dystopian is one of our favorite genres, and we’d love to see it make a comeback. We’d love to see some unique, fresh spins on the genre!
  • Near-future sci-fi, or even sci-fi that almost feels contemporary (think MORE HAPPY THAN NOT, OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS, NEVER LET ME GO, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or Black Mirror).
  • Anything that explores the dark side of technology. 
  • Supervillains!
  • We’d love to find a heist book with a sci-fi twist.
  • Sci-fi/dystopian “road trip” stories—think “Logan,” “Mad Max,” THE DARKEST MINDS etc.
  • Anything that can be comped to Fringe.

Favorites:

  • Legend Series by Marie Lu (Side note: this series had one of the best endings I’ve ever read)
  • All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
  • The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  • The Fever King by Victoria Lee
  • Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
A darkened hallway with light shining through two open, blue doors. The text overlaying it reads, “Thriller.”

We have been devouring thrillers recently, so we would love to see some of these in our inbox this year. We particularly love stories that revolve around dark academia, boarding schools, secret societies, and cults. We want our thrillers dark, with high stakes that keep us guessing until the end. Even better if there’s a jaw-dropping twist we never see coming! Give us all the unreliable narrators, too! We love thrillers that keep us questioning who we can trust and second-guessing ourselves—we love guessing twists as we read, but we LOVE when we’re wrong! We love ticking clocks, locked rooms, “I know what you did” threats, games that go too far, dual timelines, and of course, traditional whodunnits. If you’ve got an escape thriller like Adam Sass’s SURRENDER YOUR SONS, we want it! We are also totally here for genre-bending thrillers.

Favorites:

  • If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
  • Anything by Kara Thomas or Tiffany D. Jackson
Three cast iron pots hanging over a fire. The text overlaying it reads, “Paranormal.”

What we’re looking for here are Angels, Witches, Fae, Ghosts, Vampires, Monsters, and possibly made up creatures. Sorry, but we are not the right fit for Werewolves, Selkies, Aliens, and Shifters (as a main character).

If you’ve got Death as a character, we need it! Angels are Jamie’s Achilles heel and we’d love to find a fresh take on an angel story that isn’t wrapped up in the Heaven/Hell struggle. We’d also love to find a main character that’s some type of monster hunter that diverges from the typical hunter story line a la Supernatural with a twist. For Vampires, we’re looking for really fresh twists and anything that’s really outside the box (along the lines of iZombie for example). Another thing we’d adore? A YA retelling of Meet Joe Black or similar stories that focus around Death (with a capital ‘D’). We’d also love to see anything in the vein of The Library of the Unwritten, or any stories with a completely unique take on the paranormal world. Give us haunted stuff! Monster kissing! Haunted houses and ghost hunters! Make us fall in love with monsters! Make us question what makes a monster! Do you have a fresh take on the paranormal romance genre, perhaps with an enemies-to-lovers twist?? Send it our way!

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Anthony Hopkins from Meet Joe Black asking Brad Pitt, “Should I be afraid?”

Favorites:

  • Penryn & The End of Days by Susan Ee
  • The Rephaim Series by Paula Weston
  • The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
  • Lucifer, Netflix TV show
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
A branch with yellow and orange flowers hangs diagonally across a beige background. The text overlaying it reads, “Speculative Contemporary.”

We are looking for upmarket, high stakes contemporary with a big commercial hook and a speculative twist. Similar to our sci-fi wishlist, we love stories that are grounded in the real world but have something slightly magical, speculative, or futuristic about them.

  • We are probably not the best fit for “quiet” contemporary.
  • We love mistaken identity stories, mysteries that have us solving it alongside the characters , and friendship breakup stories. While we love dark contemporary, we also love books that make us laugh and leave us smiling!
  • Teens are messy and make bad choices sometimes; we love to see this on the page. If you can see adult reviewers someday complaining on Goodreads that your main character acts too much like a teen, we want this book! 
  • If you’ve got something with the vibes of “Gossip Girl” or “Pretty Little Liars,” send it our way!

Some favorites:

  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  • On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers
  • Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
  • Holes by Louis Sachar

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THINGS THAT ARE JUST NOT FOR US

A neon yellow “No” sign glows against a brick wall surrounded by other blue neon lights on the top and bottom.

Please do not send us:

  • Anything that has to do with or touches on child molestation. Please do not send this to us, as it will be a hard no.
  • Animal death. If your character is hunting to eat, that’s fine as long as it’s not overly graphic. We are not the right fit for characters who hurt or kill animals for fun or books that use animal cruelty to show that a character is Really Bad. We are also not the right fit for stories where a major plot point hinges on a family pet being tragically killed or dying (think I AM LEGEND, WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS etc.).
  • Stories featuring toxic romantic relationships that are touted as “sexy.”
  • Anything written in third person present or second person.
  • If your story takes place in a contemporary setting, we are the wrong fit for stories about The Mob/Mafia.
  • Werewolves, shifters, selkies as main characters.
  • Books featuring romance between a human and an alien, shifter, or werewolf.
  • Contemporary stories where the main conflict revolves around sports.
  • King Arthur retellings or lore.

A black background with blue and green glitter. The text overlaying it reads, “Why You Should Pick Us.”

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT US

A photo of Meredith (L) and Jamie (R) at an Irish Pub in Switzerland.

HI!

We’re Jamie (she/her) and Meredith (she/her) and we’ve been CPs and best friends since we met on Twitter in summer 2014! We love traveling together (so far, we’ve been to NH, RI, NYC, Switzerland, Germany, France, and Las Vegas together—where next?!) but we also love chatting about books and arguing about Lost. We’ve also been critiquing each other’s manuscripts for years now and love bouncing ideas back and forth! Here’s a bit about each of us:

JAMIE

So, I’m Jamie (she/her), *waves*. For my day job, I manage contracts and pricing analytics in the Orthobiologics space for a large medical device company. I’m that person who adores spreadsheets and can get lost dabbling in PowerBI for hours. I live in perpetual chaos with my husband and four children in New Jersey, along with our three ridiculous rescue pups.

I currently have six books out through St. Martin’s Swerve (Until We Break, Until It’s Right, Reluctant Hearts, All the Ways You Saved Me, The Feeling of Forever, and The Way Back to Us), but am solely focused on my Fantasy and Speculative projects currently.

I have mentored YA in Pitch Wars from 2016-2020, and have been able to work with five incredible writers. In 2016, I got to partner with the inimitable Kristen Clouthier. She writes some of the wittiest banter and characters you can’t help but fall in love with. In 2017, I had the honor of working with Shelby Mahurin whose stories, Serpent & Dove, Blood & Honey, and Gods & Monsters are NYT bestsellers! In 2018, I mentored the incredible Kaitlin Bartlett and her breathtaking story featuring two “unlikeable” girls and the heartbreaking consequences when their friendship implodes. She subsequently signed with Pete Knapp at Park and Fine, and I am anxiously awaiting the moment I can hold her book in my hands! In 2019, I got to team up with the extraordinary Ava Tusek whose story about a messy, manipulative conartist sucked me in from the very first page. Then in 2020 I had the pleasure of working with Juliet Marie Hollihan whose Arya Stark meets Twelfth Night story captivated me from the moment I saw her title in my inbox. As for 2021? I can’t wait to see what this year’s Pitch Wars brings!

Some random tidbits about me:

  • I lived and breathed softball for the majority of my life. I’ve played every single position on the field, but I’m most at home on the mound.
  • I am a mom to identical twins.
  • I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts, specializing in Drawing, Painting, and Photography. Which clearly has a lot to do with my current day job :). I do put it to use doing newborn and couples photography, mostly for family and friends.
  • I was a first chair oboist.
  • I’m addicted to television series but rarely watch movies. Some of my favorite shows are/were: Lost, Fringe, Westworld, Friends, The Vampire Diaries, Stranger Things, Grey’s Anatomy, Ally McBeal, Locke & Key.
  • I am an avid supporter of the Oxford comma.
  • I love video games. I’m a Playstation girl myself with some of my favorite games being the Call of Duty, the Uncharted Series, Assassin’s Creed, and Resident Evil.
  • I truly believe there is a Friends reference for every life situation, and I’m pretty sure I can communicate entirely in Friends gifs.
  • I work with several dog rescues as a foster family for rescued pups, and it’s one of the most rewarding experiences.
  • I’m an early bird. Sleeping in to me is staying in bed until 6.
  • I never, ever bother matching my socks. Ever.
  • If you’re a Myers-Briggs type person, I am INTJ.

MEREDITH

Hi! I’m Meredith. I grew up in Concord, NH, but move a lot and have lived in London, Boston, Zurich, Houston, and most recently, St. Louis where I live with my husband and my spoiled rescue dog, Finley (I hope our mentee is prepared for LOTS of dog pics—when you finish your edits please be prepared for an onslaught of photos of Finley in his celebratory hat). I got my master’s degree in social work and worked in the field for several years before deciding to focus on writing full time, which I’ve now been doing for seven years.

I currently have four published YA books. My YA sci-fi, Freedom Trials, is about a teen girl prisoner whose crime was wiped from her memory and must decide between following the rules to win her freedom or breaking the rules to find out what she did to get there; it came out from Page Street in 2018. My YA fantasy, The Red Labyrinth, is about a girl who must venture through a magical labyrinth to save her best friend but accidentally falls for the villain she bribes into helping her; it came out from Flux in 2019. My feminist YA speculative thriller, The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly, is about two sisters who are closer to being strangers, but when one is beaten and left for dead, the only person who can save her is her estranged sister; it came out from Penguin Teen in 2020. My most recent book is a YA romcom called Shipped, and it came out from Penguin Teen in May 2021; it’s about school rivals who hate each other but accidentally fall in love on an anonymous fan site for their favorite canceled sci-fi show.

This is my first year mentoring in Pitch Wars, although I have mentored two rounds of Author Mentor Match! My R7 mentee, Melody Robinette, wrote an amazing enemies-to-lovers contemporary fantasy that’s equally hilarious and swoony; she signed with Pete Knapp at Park and Fine and I can’t wait to see what happens next in her career! I am clearly terrible at following rules because I selected two mentees for R8: Katy Lapierre wrote a delightfully sinister contemporary fantasy with incredible banter that kept me tearing through the pages, while Natalie Leif wrote a wonderfully dark YA contemporary with horror elements that had the audacity to make me cry multiple times in its exploration of grief. I can’t wait to see where their fabulous books end up!

Some random facts about me:

  • I can recite Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice” from memory. It’s my favorite poem!
  • I’ve been playing the piano since I was 9, and I play the most random assortment of music. Some of my favorite pieces to play include Mozart’s “Rondo Alla Turca,” “Let it Go” from Frozen, and “Exile” from Taylor Swift’s folklore. My comfort piece is Bach’s Toccata in D—I love the spooky stuff!
  • I love geese.
  • I am an avid Pokémon Go player (yep, people still play it!)
  • Like a typical New England girl, my favorite food is lobster! 
  • I am also deeply into fandom culture!
  • My life goal is to travel to all seven continents, all fifty states, and all sixty-three national parks.
  • I casually reference The Office in regular conversation and get so excited when people get my references!

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM US AS YOUR MENTORS?

We will tackle all the big picture issues first and then work our way down to the smaller things like scene edits and line edits. As we get closer to the agent showcase, we will work on your query, synopsis, researching agents, and developing a querying strategy. We’re fully prepared (and excited!) to read your manuscript several times until everything’s as perfect as can be. We tend to comment pretty zealously on Word documents, so be prepared to find a lot of those sprinkled throughout your manuscript. To be clear, more than a handful of those comments will be gushing compliments.

You could probably describe our critiquing style as slightly blunt, entirely honest, but always kind. I’m a big fan of the compliment sandwich. Some things that we’re particularly good at fixing are pacing issues, increasing tension, dialogue, making surprises/twists less predictable, picking up on plot holes and world building inconsistencies, and improving/complicating character relationships. We also have the odd knack of picking up on repeat phrases and words throughout the length of an entire manuscript.

We definitely see the editing process as a collaboration and ongoing discussion. We’ll give you suggestions, probably a lot of them, but ultimately we want to work with you to take your book to the next level. And the only way that’s going to happen is if we’re working hard together. We’re looking for a mentee who’s willing to work as hard as we are, someone who wants to dig deep and doesn’t mind doing whatever it takes to get their manuscript where it needs to be. As for our communication style, we are always available via e-mail, DM, text, or to hop on a Zoom call. Whatever works best for you!

Pitch Wars lasts several months, but it’s our expectation (and hope) to continue working with our mentee long after that!


Well, friends, that about covers it!

If you have any questions at all, please leave us a comment or come talk with us on Twitter (Meredith/Jamie). We promise, we are more than happy to chat with you. Honestly? It’s one of the things we’re looking forward to the most!

While we can’t take any specific pitches, if you have any general concerns or if there’s something we didn’t mention that you’re wondering about, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous mentors down below (but still pick us!).

THANKS FOR VISITING AND GOOD LUCK!

winking_dean.gif
Dean from Supernatural winking and pointing at the camera.

PITCH WARS 2021 YOUNG ADULT MENTORS’ WISH LISTS

  1. Mary E. Roach (Accepts NA)
  2. Amelia Diane Coombs (Accepts NA)
  3. Diana Urban
  4. Susan Bishop Crispell (Accepts NA)
  5. TJ Ohler (Accepts NA)
  6. Laurie Dennison (Accepts NA)
  7. Justine Pucella Winans (Accepts NA)
  8. Zoulfa Katouh and Molly X Chang (Accepts NA)
  9. Sonora Reyes (Accepts NA)
  10. Abigail Johnson
  11. Rosiee Thor and Emily Grey
  12. Carlyn Greenwald (Accepts NA)
  13. M.T. Khan (Accepts NA)
  14. Sarvenaz Taghavian
  15. Emery Lee
  16. Margie Fuston (Accepts NA)
  17. Aashna Avachat (Accepts NA)
  18. Allison Saft (Accepts NA)
  19. Fiona McLaren
  20. Jessica Lewis
  21. Brianna Bourne (Accepts NA)
  22. Jamie McHenry
  23. Meg Long and Rochelle Hassan (Accepts NA)
  24. Laura Weymouth (Accepts NA)
  25. Natalie Crown and Angelica Monai (Accepts NA)
  26. Skyla Arndt and Alex Brown (Accepts NA)
  27. Charity Alyse and Cimone Watson (Accepts NA)
  28. Emily Thiede and Lauren Blackwood (Accepts NA)
  29. Anna Sortino and Annika J. Cosgrove (Accepts NA)
  30. Jenny Perinovic and Kyrie McCauley (Accepts NA)
  31. Carrie S. Allen and Sabrina Lotfi
  32. Jamie Howard and Meredith Tate (Accepts NA)
  33. KL Burd (Accepts NA)
  34. Jennifer Yu (Accepts NA)
  35. Hoda Agharazi and Lyssa Mia Smith (Accepts NA)
  36. Em X. Liu and Grace D. Li (Accepts NA)
  37. Carly Heath (Accepts NA)
  38. Kiana Krystle (Accepts NA)
  39. Sarah Underwood and Kat Dunn (Accepts NA)
  40. Joel Brigham (Accepts NA)
  41. Dante Medema and Liz Lawson (Accepts NA)
  42. Aty S. Behsam and Maedeh B. Saaina (Accepts NA)
  43. Kylie Schachte (Accepts NA)
  44. Gabi Burton (Accepts NA)
  45. Aaron Cole and Tamara Cole (Accepts NA)
  46. Hannah V. Sawyerr and Olivia Liu (Accepts NA)
  47. Bethany Mangle (Accepts NA)
  48. Lane Clarke (Accepts NA)
  49. Sunya Mara (Accepts NA)
  50. Karen Bao (Accepts NA)

Click here to view all Pitch Wars 2021 Mentors’ Wish Lists. To view the wish lists by genre, visit this link.

15 thoughts on “2021 Pitch Wars Mentor Bio & Wishlist!

  1. 1.) I would love to submit to y’all. 2.) I have everything you want – fantasy (fae, witches) and romance, anti-hero with a descent into villainy, and what that means/can she do it, kissing the villain, taking and breaking thrones, messy relationships with male protagonist, strong female lead but I’m sure she’ll be called unlikable. lol. But, I have one scene where a horse dies, it is NOT overly graphic (hit with an arrow) and has to do with my characters being chased. It is important to my characters downward spiral into an anti-hero. My work deals with grief and loss and what happens when no one is there to keep you on the right path. A long explanation to ask if this falls in the category that is okay to submit. I really hope so! 😄

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    1. Hey, Jamye! So for us, if the horse is a beloved pet or named character then we would not be the best fit for that. However, if it’s not, then we’d be okay with it. Hope that helps!

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  2. Hi Jamie and Meredith,
    A question about that teeny, tiny romantic sub-plot ask. How teeny? How tiny? My nerdy MC is big on friendship, hesitant on more intimate relationships but she is drawn to one of the secondary characters in the story, she just doesn’t know how to act on her feelings, even after an open invitation. The whole sub-plot is covered in maybe three exchanges and a number of little actions between the two characters, across the whole manuscript. Is that too tiny to be a deal breaker?

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  3. Hey Jamie and Meredith,
    I was wondering about the romance and needing at least a teeny subplot. The romance isn’t the focus, but there’s a tiny subplot that begins about a fourth through the story for the nerdy MC which has a payoff, and two side characters have a romantic subplot right through. Would this be enough for you to consider it?

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