So! Pitch Wars is finally here and I’m so excited!
As some of you know, I’ll be mentoring someone with
a YA ms, and we’re going to polish
it to take it with a tuxedo and a tie to the agents’ round in January. And hopefully,
this writer will get MANY offers of representation! *wink*
Now my bio and my wish list!
I’m a mother of three boys and owner of eleven
hens. When I’m not collecting laundry or eggs, I write YA fiction. I’m
represented by Lauren MacLeod of the Strothman Agency, and I’ve worked with
many published YA authors, such as Francisco Stork, Gretchen McNeil, Debra Driza, and Kimberly Sabatini—among others. I freelance, too, and I
absolutely love helping others hone their manuscripts.
Let me tell you what I want to read this year, but
first, I’ll let you know what I DO NOT
want to read this year:
- YA dystopian—I’ve read too many and, even though
I know there could be a true gem out there, I’m not up to it this year.
- A novel written in verse.
- A quiet novel. Like, a teen losing someone they
love and the ms is just about this teen coping with this death… or something
quiet like that.
- A novel that’s over 100,000 words. While there
are a few mss that are over 100k that get pubbed like Twilight, this contest will
take place in just a couple of months, so I don’t think we’ll have time to edit
thoroughly something that has so many words.
What I would LOVE to read:
I love this genre. In fact, the MS I picked last
year was a contemp. YA that did more than well in the agents’ round. (More
about that later!)
I want an original contemp. YA with a hook—nothing
that is too quiet (like I said above). Give me something fresh, and if it has
romance, then even better. I love girl POVs and guy POVs, love flawed characters that make you feel. (BTW, I’m writing a contemporary YA right now, and
I’ve read tons of books in this genre. Also, I've been so lucky to beta some awesome contemp. YAs, like THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West /Harper Teen 2012 and VICKY by Francisco X. Stork /Scholastic 2015.)
Seriously, if you have a contemporary YA, I'm your gal!
Last year, someone asked me about literary YA. So I
want to specify here—think of a MS that is beautifully written, that it doesn’t
only matter what happens in the book, but it also matters THE WAY it’s written.
The cadence and rhythm is beautiful and the characters are complex and flawed
and loveable at the same time. An example of lovely prose would be Lauren
DeStephano’s WITHER. Or Nova Ren Suma’s IMAGINARY GIRLS.
If your MS has a commercial aspect, like an
intriguing and hooking premise (again, that isn’t quiet), and it’s written
beautifully, with a literary slant, then it’s very possible that I will pick
-Fantasy YA, and Urban Fantasy YA
I love fantasy, but not high fantasy. (High fantasy
is something set in a very different world, sometimes with a different
language, etc—like Eragon, Lord of The Rings, etc). Since editors aren't buying so many Fantasy YAs lately (they are currently asking for contemporaries and the like) I will be picky with this genre, but if I see something I truly love, then I'll definitely pick it.
- Historical YA
I just finished revising a historical YA I wrote,
and I’ve read tons of historical YAs to get the language right and all. So I
know my share of historical YA. The bad news is that I’ve also learned that is
a tough genre to sell, so it has to be really awesome. And the writing must be
smooth, and the plot shouldn’t be predictable, either. If you think your
Historical YA is very original and your writing is there, then please send it
- YA Sci-fi
I have to be honest. Sci-fi isn’t my favorite
genre. But I HAVE picked sci-fi in contests before. Like one of the
mss I picked for The Writer’s Voice 2012 was a great YA sci-fi that later sold in a six-figure deal. What I’m
trying to say here—I read sci-fi. I’m just very
picky when it comes to it. But again, if I love it, I will definitely take it.
- Magical Realism YA
SURE!!! As I mentioned above, I loved IMAGINARY
GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma, and that is totally magical realism. Seriously. I love
I love the nature of this genre—that it makes you
flip pages because you really want to know what the heck is going on! And then
there’s always a twist that you hopefully didn’t see coming and you’re like,
WOW! Yeah. I want that. Said this, I have a couple of things to say. If it’s a
YA thriller, I want a romantic subplot (it doesn’t have to be a huge romantic
thing, just that there’s a love interest). And I want that there are enough
teens around—let me explain. Sometimes YA thrillers include institutions like
the FBA, CIA, whatever, and those are filled with grownups. Teens want to read
about teens. So if your YA thriller has romance and there are a few teens
around (without so much focus on what the grownups do), then send it my way,
It makes me sad that editors aren’t buying
Paranormal YA as they used to. Because come on! It’s a great genre. This being
said, I'll be looking for something exceptionally good in this genre.
Yes!! Send it my way. *thinks better of it*
*shudders* Um, no!! Okay… yes? But promise you’ll send it during the day.
Otherwise I won’t be able to sleep!! *wink* But seriously? Sure! I love this
genre, too. I’m even in the acknowledgements of a YA Horror published by Balzer
& Bray, and I loved that book.
It has to be something original and that reads like
fiction. I may fall in love with a YA Memoir!
And if you think of any other YA genre that I
didn’t mention, then SURPRISE ME, and send it my way—unless of course, it’s
something I specifically said I don’t want to read. ;)
Why should you pick me?
Well, I’m going to let my last year’s mentee, the
lovely Missy Mitchell, to answer that for me:
“Monica is the mentor YOU need. First, she knows her stuff, which is
totally important. She has a great eye for "big picture" and
line-edits. She also helped brainstorm ideas with me to help bring my MS to the
next level. And availability?? I have to tell you, Monica was available at a
moment's notice. She was super fast with her edits and responses, even if I
would send a regular old email to just talk about a MS idea. << This is
super important during #pitchwars. Most important, I received offers from
agentS and am now talking with publishers. 'Tis true!! So you should choose
her. She's the one!”
Also, you may want to check out my Editorial
Services page, because I have some other
And I’ll say what I said last year: you should pick
I’m going to make you work so hard, you’ll fall off the grid
while revising your MS. Because I have lots of experience editing mss, and
I can help you brainstorm. And because we’ll have fun in the process!
Summing up, PICK ME! ;)
And while I was drafting this post, the lovely Brenda Drake sent us the names
of the 18 participating agents. Aren't they awesome?
For submission guidelines, go to www.brenda-drake.com.
Now, the list of mentors so you can hop around the blogs! (Or maybe
don't, because you're going to pick me, right?)
Secret letter: R