Pitch Wars is finally here and I’m so excited! I’ll be a mentor for
the third time! Can you believe how time flies?? =)
So! 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 November. 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, Kasie West—among
many others. Some of the entries I've picked in contests from slush have had nice deals and one even sold for a six-figure deal. I freelance, too, and I absolutely love helping writers hone their
manuscripts. (Some days I even prefer to edit than to write!)
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
- YA dystopian.
- A novel written in verse (unless it's done sparingly, like in WE WERE LIARS).
- 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 debuts 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
first MS I picked in Pitch Wars was a contemp. YA that did more than
well in the agents’ round.
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, 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
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 your ms.
-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). I’ll tell you a few examples of Fantasy YAs and UF YAs
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor, THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie
Steifvater, SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo, CRACKED by Eliza Crewe, etc, etc.
Last year, I wrote a YA historical, and I 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 my way!
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 to Disney Hyperion. 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.
What would make me pick it? First, the voice. If you have an amazing
voice, I’ll even read your grocery list. Second, if the sci-fi part in your
book is just a small element—say, the setting is contemporary and there’s only
one scientific thing on the MS… then, that would be nice. Think the TV series
Heroes. There’s a lot of superhero fantasy stuff, but there’s also a little
sci-fi thread in there, too. And the series isn’t 100% sci-fi. And third, if your
book has a nice romantic plot, or if it feels like an adventure (even if it’s
set in outer space), then, I’ll probably like it.
SURE!!! As I mentioned above, I loved IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma,
and that is totally magical realism. Seriously. I love magical Realism. (Here’s
a secret I’ll tell you: I’ve ALWAYS wanted to write a MR YA, but I still haven’t
figured out the plot.)
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, please!
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
It has to be something original and that reads like fiction. I may fall
in love with a YA Memoir!
I just picked a LGBT
MG for The Writer’s Voice this year that got 10 agent requests. Why did I pick
it? Because it had a fresh twist in the same-old premise. If your LGBT YA has a
VERY original twist, and it’s well written, and I love the voice, it’s very
likely that I’ll pick it. One book I liked in this genre is SHINE by Lauren
Myracle. I liked it because it had a crime, a mystery, and the writing was
lovely. I’m stressing out that it has to be original with a twist, because
after years of reading slush, I’ve came across many LGBT titles, but with very
you can 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. ;)
If I love your voice and writing, then I probably won’t
care about the genre. Also, I'll be paying attention to whether you show instead of tell on the sample pages. Let me know if you have questions for me on the comments section of this post.
should you pick me?
Well, I’m going to let my former (and very awesome) mentees, Missy Mitchell and Rachel Coleman, to answer
that for me:
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!”
"Working with Monica was sort of like earning a mini MFA in creative
writing, she's that good! She worked on big picture things like cutting
out an entire POV character; changing the "telly" parts of my MS to
sound more like the internal monologue of my protagonist; as well as the
minute details like word choice, grammar, and punctuation. When she
finds something that doesn't work, she not only tells you why but also
offers brilliant suggestions for fixing it. She has a knack for
understanding the kind of story you are trying to tell, and then making
your MS shine. She's also incredibly nurturing, finding ways to make
every critique feel like a compliment. If you're looking for someone to
cheer you on, and be super tough at the same time, you've found her.
She's quick to respond (like supernaturally quick. I don't know how she
does it!) and continues to keep in touch and mentor me long after the
PitchWars contest is over. After working with her, I've had full
requests from every agent I've queried. If you don't get chosen to be
her mentee, you should totally hire her as a freelance editor
And I’ll say what I said last year: you should pick me because
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! ;)
P.S.: This is the blog hop!
Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Easy-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here
to display it.