• Image of the Pitch Wars logo. Established in 2012. Into the publishing trenches with you.

     

    Pitch Wars 2021

    Wish List

     

  • Welcome Pitch Wars hopefuls!

    We are Meg Long and Rochelle Hassan and we are so excited to be mentoring this year. We’ll be accepting Young Adult sci-fi and fantasy submissions. Read on for more info about who we are, what working with us will be like, and the details of what we do and don't want to see in our inbox.

    This is the HTML version of our wish list. The text-only Google Doc version is here.

    What is Pitch Wars?

    Pitch Wars is a volunteer mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry experts choose one writer and spend three months helping them revise their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where literary agents can read a pitch/first page and request manuscripts from authors if they’re interested. Learn more about Pitch Wars on their website.

  • #TeamJasmineDragon:

    Please, sit. Why don't you enjoy a cup of calming Jasmine tea?

    Why submit to us?

    We are both former Pitch Wars mentees, so we’ve been in your shoes. And neither of us found an agent through the showcase but rather stuck it out and wrote whole new manuscripts that earned us agents and publishing deals. Rochelle has also since sold her Pitch Wars MS. We know the ins and outs of revising and putting in the work to find an agent even after Pitch Wars is over.

     

    More on our books:

    Book cover image of Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves

    Wednesday Books: 1/11/22
    A girl and wolf must learn to trust each other if either of them want to survive the gangster on their tails and the predators in the wild as they compete in a Mad Max style sled race across the tundra of their frozen planet.

    Book cover image of The Prince of Nowhere

    HarperCollins: 5/3/2022
    A human girl and a shapeshifter must venture into deadly, freezing mist, past the terrifying creatures that live there, to save the future from an enemy who only cares about the past.

    Book cover image of The Buried and The Boundnn

    Roaring Brook Press: Spring 2023
    A young witch is charged with protecting her sleepy hometown from fae mischief. But when a dark entity takes root in the wood, she must seek help from the unlikeliest of allies to form a coven reckless enough to take on the new threat.

  • What we're looking for

    Diverse and innovative YA fantasy and sci-fi. All subgenres under the SFF umbrella are fine with us. We will be accepting New Adult, but if we select you as our mentee, we would ask you to age it down to YA. (Sorry, it’s the market, not us!)


    We’re drawn to fun, fast-paced, hopeful, adventure-filled stories with characters we can fall in love with. We want to feel immersed in the voice and prose – whether it's descriptive and lyrical, sharp and funny, or something unexpected. The speculative element is also important to us, and should be important to the story. For example, while we’re accepting "contemporary with a hint of magic," if you could take away the magic and still have the same story, then we’re not as likely to be hooked.


    We are especially excited about diverse stories and submissions by marginalized authors. You do not have to disclose anything about your identity or whether your book is “own voices” or not, but we welcome stories that showcase diverse perspectives.

    Things We Love

    These are just a general overview of our favorite story elements in no particular order. (You're still welcome to send us your submission even if your book doesn’t have any of these. We won't know exactly what we want until we see it!)

    • History, folklore, and mythology
    • Adventure of all kinds! Including quests, competitions, battles of good vs evil, etc
    • Anything that can be described as “anime-inspired”
      • Our favorites: Sailor Moon, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Studio Ghibli, Ghost in the Shell -- pretty much every shounen/shoujo anime with over-the-top fight scenes and a protagonist whose biggest strength is believing in themselves
    • Beautiful, atmospheric prose
    • Fast or tight pacing
    • High concept hooks
    • Tired old tropes done in refreshing ways / Twists on familiar concepts
    • Cunning women (as protagonists or villains 😈)
    • Slow-burn romance
           (A note about romance: We are down for stories where there is a romance subplot or no romance at all!!  Though we are probably not the best mentors for a story that is romance first and SFF second.)
    • Rivalries
    • Found families/team-as-family, especially queer
    • Anything about smashing gender roles

    What is probably NOT a good match

    These are things that are unlikely to grab us for various reasons unless you’ve wildly twisted it in some way.

    • Space operas, unless it mostly takes place on an interesting planet
    • Traditional/Western fantasy court drama / intrigue
    • Angels and demons
    • Love triangles & insta-love
    • Stories that revolve around organized sports or sports teams.
           (Even if it’s a fantasy/sci-fi sport...unless your sport is more adventure-based, a la dog sledding. 😅)
    • Love interests or protagonists you would unironically describe as “Alpha Male”
           (Ex: doesn’t respect protagonist’s boundaries, is extremely pushy, has volatile emotions)
    • Superhero stories
           (Note: Super powers in a story are separate from an actual superhero story. Super powers, yes we like. Superheroes, not so much.)
    • Sexy/steamy books
           (Discussing sex/sexuality is fine, fade-to-black scenes are fine, but explicit on-page sex isn't what we’re looking for.)

    Please don’t send

    These are the things we won’t consider at all, and may have to pass on without even reading the submission materials, depending.

    • Anything with wolves, ice planets, witches, necromancers, or fae—because we’re staying away from anything too similar to projects we’re currently working on.
    • Graphic novels, epistolary novels, or novels in verse—we like these, but we wouldn’t know how to help you edit them!
    • Straight contemporary stories with no fantasy or sci-fi elements.
    • Manuscripts that are not YA or NA in theme or nature (no adult, women's fiction, etc).
    • Books with rape, sexual assault or incest, even if it’s a small part of the story. We understand that some authors address these themes in thoughtful ways, sometimes even engaging with their own lived experiences; however, we are not the best match for these manuscripts.
    • Books with strong religious themes
    • Horror or anything with serial killers
    • Stories that promote bigotry of any kind, toward any marginalized group.

     

  • Our Mentoring Style

    Here's where we can help your story shine:

    • Developmental or big story edits
    • Strengthening main character arcs
    • Pacing
    • World building
    • Voice and consistency
    • Action and/or fight scenes

    Our Process

    First, we will read your manuscript and write an edit letter addressing any developmental edits we think will make the story stronger. We definitely will want to talk (in whatever form of communication works) about the edit letter and discuss any changes to be sure you feel confident about tackling them.

     

    We will also read through the changes you make once you’re finished with revisions. If time allows, we might be able to squeeze in line edits but this will depend on a lot of factors and can’t be a guarantee.

     

    Communication is key, so if there’s a point where you get stuck or need extra eyes or just want to talk about your manuscript, we’re very open to having those discussions. We’re happy to share gifs or squee in messages for support or give you the space you need to work.

     

    What Our Mentee Can Expect

    As a mentee, you should be prepared to work hard, and be open to possibly making large changes to the story. This could be cutting and adding scenes, removing or editing subplots, reworking major plot points or rearranging events, rewriting whole chapters, fleshing out characters/POVs or removing them. You might end up scrapping thousands of words and writing thousands of new ones from scratch.

     

    This sounds like a LOT, we know—but we’ve both been there!

    You're never required to make the changes your mentors suggest, and if you don't agree with a suggestion, we’re happy to discuss reasoning and purpose behind our thoughts and work together to find a solution that you feel comfortable with. Counter-suggestions are encouraged and expected. This is part of the revision process that we’ve both had to do with agents and with editors so we’re here to work through the hard bits WITH you.


    Whether or not you land an agent with your Pitch Wars book, the goal is to come out of the program with a stronger manuscript and better revision skills.


    Note: Please know that we do have high expectations of our mentees. For our Pitch Wars books, Meg rewrote two-thirds of her entire book while Rochelle redid several major plot points and cut five characters (and then she scrapped half the book and rewrote it again later on). We really know how tough revisions are and we definitely will guide you through them, but the hard work—the writing and rewriting—is up to you.

  • Other YA Mentors Wish Lists:

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