So here's the deal with #PitchWars. The possibly super-powered Brenda Drake organizes this awesome contest that connects aspiring writers with mentors (like me!) and then we work together scrubbing and shining the aspiring author's manuscript until it is so stinking sparkly that agents will fight for the right to call it their own. For more info and to be part of the contest YOU MUST go to Brenda Drake's blog.
This year I am co-mentoring with fellow YA author Kate Karyus Quinn, an amazingly talented author who has written ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE, (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME, and the upcoming DOWN WITH THE SHINE. What are we looking for in our mentees?
First of all...
And Kate does too, so we're definitely looking for mentees who write YA. Beyond that... well, Kate and I are eclectic readers. Here's a link to my Goodreads Read Shelf so that you can see what I've been cramming my brain with lately, but the truth is that if you have a good voice and compelling character building, the genre is secondary to me.
Fantasy, SF, contemporary, historical - I honestly don't care. I will read anything that I think is well executed, and if I think I can help you make it even better, awesome.
So you might be thinking... Yeah of course I think my book is well-written, with a great voice and compelling characters and awesome execution. So, clearly we were meant to be together. Well, not necessarily. I like my stuff a little darker, my characters a little edgier. I have no problem with sex, violence, and other shadowy such goings-ons as long as they're necessary to the plot and not tossed in there for shock value.
So if you've got something you think might be a little much for other mentors, or maybe an ms you're not sure you want your mom to read we might be a good fit!
That's what I want from YOU!
But what can you expect from ME?
If I'm your mentor, be aware that I'm not a fan of empty compliments. I'm not going to litter your ms with happy thoughts about how awesome you are. What I will do is let you know when something really stands out to me - a turn of phrase, or spot-on characterization that is above the norm. If you wow me, I'll let you know.
What about the bad? First off, I am never, ever, going to tell you that you suck and need to give up. I recently re-read my very first novel, and a critical person might have told that Mindy she sucked and should give up. And they wouldn't have been without reason to think so - trust me, that ms is absolutely terrible.
So, with that in mind, be aware I'm not going to tear you or your ms down for the sake of tearing you down. Every ding I put in it is there for a reason, and it's meant to help you improve. I will ding it. I'll dent it. Be aware of that, and be ready for it if you want to be my mentee. Compliments feel good, but they don't make you any better as a writer.
You can also check out the query critique I did on Brenda Drake's blog in June for an idea of how I work.
You will get line by line comments from me - some of them very long-winded because that's how I roll. You'll also get an overall thoughts, more than likely long-winded. I'll give you ideas about how I think you can make improvements, but by no means should my word be the golden rule. You don't write like me, you write like you -- and that's what makes your writing yours.
There are already plenty of books in the world from me - NOT A DROP TO DRINK, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, the upcoming A MADNESS SO DISCREET. I'll also have a contemporary out in 2016, THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES, and the beginning of a fantasy series coming in the Spring of 2017 from Putnam, GIVEN TO THE SEA.
There's also a very awesome collection of short stories that Kate and I (along with eleven other very talented YA authors) contributed to, titled AMONG THE SHADOWS: 13 STORIES OF DARKNESS & LIGHT.
If you think Kate and I are your style definitely submit to us. Be aware that while we only choose one mentee to work with extensively, we will offer a query and first page critique to those who submit to us but are not chosen. If you are not chosen as our mentee and are interested in a critique, after the lists go up email us (kate.min.pitchwars(at)gmail.com) and let us know you'd like your entry to be publicly critiqued and we'll add you to the queue. First come, first served but we'll try to get through all of them before the agent round in November.
If you think I sound like the kind of mentor you might want, check me out in social media ways to see if we might be a good fit personality wise. I'm all over the place, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even YouTube.
And because you might want to do those things, it wouldn't hurt to give you the added benefit of a giveaway while you're at it. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win ARCs of my mentor-partner Kate Karyus Quinn's upcoming DOWN WITH THE SHINE and my October release, A MADNESS SO DISCREET, along with an e-copy of AMONG THE SHADOWS.
a Rafflecopter giveaway