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:

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

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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Dear #Pitchwars 2015 Mentees

Hey you… yup, I’m talking to you.


I know, weird that  you’re now a mentee (which btw is a weird word and always autocorrects to menthe when you’re typing. So annoying). If you were anything like me last year, I was specifically choosing NOT to look on Brenda’s blog because I didn’t want yet another disappointment.

Then my Twitter feed started blowing up and just like that, I found out I was chosen by the amazing Trisha Leigh!

My writing life has never been the same.

In an effort to pay it forward, here are three things I would like to pass on to you as an alumni (that sounds WAY fancier than it really is).

I ended up signing with an agent who requested from #PitchWars, but SO many of my amazing fellow PitchWarriors signed with agents who didn’t request from #PitchWars. So I guess that’s the first thing you need to know. Don’t let yourself be consumed with getting requests. The amazing thing about this contest is that it focuses on craft rather than reward… The entire point of #PitchWars is actually not to get you an agent. The entire point of #PitchWars is to give your manuscript the best shot it has in order to eventually get an agent. If you have a kick butt manuscript, then by default, you have a WAY better chance of finding an agent with it! FOCUS ON THE CRAFT, NOT THE REWARD.

Second thing… LEAN IN.

This process can be tough. If this is the first time you’ve ever revised with an edit letter, it can be REALLY overwhelming (I wrote about how I tackled it here). But the revising process doesn’t stop with your mentor. You may be asked to revise and resubmit by an agent or you may choose to revise based on similar reasons for rejections… then once you get an agent, you may go through several rounds of revision (*raises hand in solidarity*), and then when your book sells you’re going to have to revise some more! Lean in to all of it. Throw yourself into it (I always think of this scene from Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken when I say that).


Fear of failure is going to try to weave it’s shriveled, gnarled fingers into your confidence. Drop kick that fear in the face and — Like my grandma always says — fake it till you make it. Because here’s a secret, NONE of us ever feel like we know what we’re doing. Every book scares us just as much as the last one.

Lastly… say no to competitiveness.

When a big chunk of the 2014 PitchWarriors got a private FB group, something magical happened. We all left our egos at the door and purposefully chose not to be competitive with each other. This meant that we shared stats, we shared when we got rejected and by who (so that others with materials out with that agent could know where they were on the reading list). We shared the dates of requests so we could let others know where the agents were at in the query inbox. None of us played things close to the chest because we were ALL getting rejections and victories and we ALL needed to celebrate or cry with THE ONLY OTHER PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND! We shared it all. We asked for query critiques, first pages critiques, even full manuscript reads when we made changes. We helped eachother with email wording, we bounced twitter pitches off each other, we talked each other off the ledge when we felt like we were NEVER going to get an agent or no one would EVER fall in love with our manuscripts. Then we would scream and squeal when we started getting agents and book deals. oh and laughed. We laugh a lot. It’s been almost a year, and none of us have any intention of ever leaving 🙂

None of that could have happened if we went into it thinking that the other mentees were competition. They aren’t. Even if they write in the same genre, they aren’t competition. Quite the opposite actually, they’ll be your lifeline to the reason you started writing in the first place if you’ll let them.

So welcome to the #PitchWars club! You’re going to have a blast!

Oh and one last thing, remember that finding an agent is just like making base camp on your climb up Everest. You need to make it to base camp, but you can’t stay at base camp. Celebrate when you get there, but keep your eye on the prize (aka total world domination… er I mean a lifetime of published books!)

Bonne Chance et Bisous!


(Oh and on the day of the agent round, just take the day off work if you can because let’s be real… you’ll be checking your entry ALL DAY! #refresh #refresh #refresh)

For the other AMAZING PW2014 thoughts for the PW2015’ers, visit: 

Amanda Rawson Hill: On Doubt and Hope

Tracie L. Martin: What no one tells the PitchWarriors

Jennifer Hawkins: Last year at this time, I was you…

K. Kazul Wolf: Congrats on getting further into the insanity…

A.B. Sevan: Swimming with the Big Fishies

Tracie Martin: What No One Tells the PitchWarrior

RuthAnne Snow: 2014 Pitch Wars Mentee here, looking to offer…

Rosalyn Collings Eves: Most of you are probably sick with dread…

Peggy J. Sheridan: Welcome to the club…

Janet Walden-West: The Long Game

Destiny Cole: Yup, I’m talking to you…

Kelly DeVos: Confessions of a PitchWars Alternate

Mary Ann Marlowe: First things first…

Mara Rae: I’m going to keep it short and sweet…

Jen Vincent: Last year, on a complete whim…

Kip Wilson: Congratulations, lucky mentees…

A. Alys Vera: PitchWars is great, don’t get me wrong…

Nikki Roberti: 3 Things You Need to Know

Erin Foster Hartley: I’ve been putting this off…