Pitch Wars Wish List 2018

About RuthAnne: I currently write YA and my debut YA contemporary novel, THE GIRLS OF MARCH, is coming out from Sky Pony. I live in Utah with my husband and one good dog and one naughty dog. I’m an attorney and lover of horror movies, pie baking, and hiking. My agent is the fabulous Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary.

Some of my recent and all-time favorite reads are, in no particular order:

Contemporary:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Speculative:
Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
Remember Me by Christopher Pike

RuthAnne’s mentoring style:

I will provide my mentee with an edit letter of my overall thoughts regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript. I will also go through the entire manuscript, marking up line edits as I go. I am up for bouncing ideas around, helping restructure plots, or reading a second time after my mentee has done a revision (assuming we have time!). A lot of it will depend on my mentee!

I also subscribe to the philosophy that when a reader thinks there is a problem with a story, they’re usually right. When a reader thinks they have a solution, they’re usually wrong. This is your story, I am just trying to help you make it shine! So when I see a problem, I’m going to point it out and usually offer 2-3 potential solutions. If you disagree with my ideas, that’s totally okay! I’m mostly suggesting them to see if they spark with you, or if they inspire you to start brainstorming a different solution. The main thing is that we find the solution that YOU need for your story.

RuthAnne’s editing strengths:

In addition to feedback on pacing, plot holes, and character arcs, I have a good grasp on basic grammatical issues. I was an editor and proofreader for my college newspaper, so I will also keep an eye out for little errors as I read through for big-picture problems.

RuthAnne’s Random bonus skills?

Why yes, I DO have some random bonus skills! If you have a manuscript dealing with legal or political issues, I’m your girl. Seriously. Even if you want to totally abuse the Rules of Evidence, I will help you think of a good way to do that.

 

About Destiny: I am a YA writer, lover of books, and unapologetic fangirl. I also work in digital marketing and social media for my day job. My agent recently left the business and I’m about to dive into the query trenches for the first time since I was a mentee in 2014! This is my third year mentoring and I’m looking to continue my streak of having my mentees agented within the first few weeks! * fingers crossed *

Instead of listing favorite books, I’ll just tell you my current auto-buy authors:

Marie Lu
Sarah J. Maas
Nic Stone
Gillian Flynn
Karen MacManus

Destiny’s mentoring style:
Well, aside from the obvious hilarious comments in the margins of your MS (I personally think I’m super funny), I am a writer who knows what it’s like to write and revise a book(s) and get it ready for agents and editors. I’ve successfully queried (and dealt with multiple offers) and have run the gambit on the submission cycle with publishers. Another plus is I’m a professional writer in my day job, focusing mainly on digital marketing. That particular skill gives me an eye to scrape away fluff and restructure writing in a way that makes your message clear, so the impact is felt. Lastly, I was an intern for two different literary agencies and so I feel I have a good handle on the YA market, what’s selling, what agents are looking for, and what type of query is going to hook agent interest.

Destiny’s editing strengths:

As far as my editing strengths, I particularly love helping hone character development and character consistency. You’ll hear a lot of “would your character really react like this?” or “This dialogue doesn’t sound true to your character. Maybe try ___.” I also really love helping with setting and making sure a reader “feels” the world you create. RuthAnne and I’s goal is to go through your MS three times. First on the big picture stuff, second on line editing (smoothing out sentence structure, dialogue tags, tense, etc.), and then third as a last pass before the showcase. So yes, we’re going to require a lot out of you and you’re going to have to revise and write faster than you probably ever have before, BUT YOU CAN DO IT! We promise not to ask MORE than you can do in a few months (think Professor McGonagall not Dolores Umbridge).

Destiny’s Random Bonus Skills:

I’ve got lots of good writerly skills to offer (for instance, I’m a freelance copy editor for an economic publisher), but I think something that’s important I bring to the table is empathy. I’ve been in your shoes! I know what it’s like to read an edit letter for the first time and wonder how in the WORLD you’re ever going to accomplish everything. I know what it’s like to re-write a book(s), cut characters, shave off thousands of words, deepen characters, deepen your setting… you name it, I’ve been through it in my own personal writing.

Wish list:

We are mentoring YA and would LOVE to see manuscripts along the following lines:

  • Contemporary! Give us friendships both positive and toxic, sibling relationships, parents who exist, and realities like after-school-jobs. We also like a dash of romance—and more than a dash is lovely as well 😉 If you can make us laugh, you are golden. If we laugh AND cry, we’ll definitely want to battle some fellow mentors over you. Fluff, serious, that lovely mix of both—we love it all.
  • We would be completely obsessed with a political thriller or mystery. We miss Veronica Mars in our lives. We’d love to meet a teenaged Olivia Pope. Is there a young adult Big Little Liesout there somewhere? If so, we want to read it.
  • We love horror. Scare the pants off us, please! We would seriously shank some of the other mentors for an old-school Fear Street-style manuscript. Evil cheerleaders in contemporary can be overdone, but you can never have enough evil cheerleaders in horror.
  • We would be super into a retelling of classic literature that hasn’t been done before. (We love you, Jane Austen and Peter Pan, but we’ve read a lot of you lately and need a break.) The Odysseyin space! Jane Eyre in the wild west! LGBT Moby Dick! Gender-swapped Vanity Fair!
  • We love sci fi, fantasy, and horror elementsin an otherwise contemporary or historical setting. Does your book have a touch of sci-fi or magic in it? We are all over that. Think Firefly the TV show, Holly Black’s White Cat trilogy, or Game of Thrones.
  • Note: We do not want high fantasy or hardcore sci fi. Repeat: We do not want high fantasy or hardcore sci fi. If you have a question about where that line is, ask folks on the twitter feed, ask your CPs and betas, or drop one of us a line in the comments section. Don’t waste one of your precious spots sending to us when there are better mentors in the contest for you, friends!

What we want to see in a manuscript, regardless of genre? High concept ideas, unique and voicey characters, a diverse cast, a strong sense of place and time, and a unique perspective or angle (whatever that may be!). It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be promising!

We’re committed to matching you stride for stride, so you put in the work and we’ll put in the work. As your mentors, we are here for you now, but also after #PitchWars because believe you me, publishing is a crazy beast and we want to be there with you every step of the way.

Questions, comment, concerns? Hit us up in the comments section or on Twitter @ruthanne_snow and/or @destinywrites

 

 

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13 Replies to “Pitch Wars Wish List 2018”

  1. This wishlist made me smile uncontrollably!

    How important plot is to you when making a decision? Is it something you’re committed to help your mentee with or you’d suggest hopefuls to have plot figured out before submitting to you?

    1. Plot is definitely important but what’s more important to us is the concept. We’ve previously had our mentees change ENTIRE plots around because some times the plot they think they are going toward could be accomplished by coming at it from a different angle (and they just haven’t thought of it in another light), but having a great concept and characters that resonate is first and foremost what we’re looking for. HOWEVER, there is a time limit involved here and we will take that into consideration because we don’t want to ask too much from the writer and set them up for not being done on time (or at least not having enough time to go through several revision rounds).

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