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 year:
- 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 /Scholastic 2015.)
Seriously, if you have a contemporary YA, I'm your gal!
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 I’ve loved:
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.
- Historical YA
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!
- 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 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.
- 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 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 that book.
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 quiet premises.
If 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.
Why 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:
“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!”
"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!"
Also, you may want to check out my Editorial Services page, because I have some other testimonials there. And you can read the Love YA success stories, too.
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!
P.S.: This is the blog hop!