Monday, August 3, 2015

Pitch Wars Wishlist!

It's finally Pitch Wars time, lovelies! (And if for some reason you have no idea what that is, you can go here and read all about it!)

I'm absolutely ecstatic to be a mentor this year. I participated as an alternate in 2013 as well as two #Pitmad events, the last of which resulted in me signing with my agent, the oh-so wonderful Mandy Hubbard at D4EO.

These things really work, guys, and I'm so thrilled to be involved.

A little about me:

In whatever shreds of free time I have that aren't immediately eaten up by writing, you can usually find me reading, laying out in the sun, driving too fast, or dream shopping for houses I'll never be able to afford. :-) I love tea, baking outrageous birthday cakes (and baking in general, really), skydiving, drizzly rain, and I'm pretty certain I'm not nearly as funny as I think I am.
And why should you submit to me, you ask?

1. Because I'm a plot ninja! In my critique group, when someone needs brainstorming help, they come to me. Sometimes I can't fix my own book to save my life but give me someone else's manuscript and I have about a million thoughts that at least spark some kind of new idea in whoever I'm working with.

2. I give really detailed edits. I like to start off with a big picture kind of chat about the book and the places I think need to be worked on. That's not to say you have to change everything I point out. This is more of a conversation about your book as a whole and what we both agree needs to be worked on. Every bit of the editing process should be working toward making your book better, but always staying within what YOU want it to be. It's your diamond, I'm just shining it up.

3. Once the big picture stuff is resolved I like to line edit, offering suggestions and comments as I go, and I LOVE pointing out the parts that made me laugh out loud or cry or scream at my computer. Like a running commentary on your book as I read it.

SIDE NOTE: If you're not ready to do some real revisions, please don't submit to me. My job is to work with you and make your book as perfect as possible in time for the agent round, not flatter you and tell you everything is fantastic just the way it is. Working with me requires actual WORK. :-)

4. I have a serious knack for romantic progression. It's not always easy to take two people from first meeting to falling in love without losing that... spark. If you feel that's something that might need to be worked on, I'm definitely your girl.

5. I have a quick email turnaround, and I'm a huge fan of Google Hangouts. I'll be available pretty much always to answer questions, brainstorm, vent to, whatever, because I know what it's like to be on the other side of things and have worries about the contest or how things are going to work.

6. I plan to give feedback to everyone who submits to me. With so many people entering and so few slots available (especially this year, since there are no alternates) I want to be able to offer something to everyone who takes the time to send their writing my way.

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: Feedback may take a while to put together depending on how many submissions we're talking about, but I'll eventually get to every single person. Just be patient with me.

7. I give some great pep-talks (and lets face it, who doesn't need one of those every once in a while?) Contests and agents and querying can all be stressful and I've got your back through it all.

Okay! Now for the wish list.

I am mentoring YOUNG ADULT ONLY. I'll have to automatically pass on anything else. :-(

In YA, I'm looking for gritty, intense plots, terrifying unexpected twists, sudden deaths, original characters, and achingly beautiful love stories fleshed out in rough circumstances. I'm a sucker for a fantastic love story. Forbidden romances, love triangles, secrets, kick-ass kissing scenes, and super sexy love interests, in all forms. But it's not just about the sexy. Show me characters WORTH falling in love with and you'll hook me.

Give me psychics that prey on people’s dreams, terrifying plantations and chases through swamps, or serial killers picking off teens at a Halloween party. Give me epic, fantastical worlds that are seriously messed up. Give me dark and twisted. Give me heartbreak, and misunderstandings, and betrayals.

Bonus points if you make me gasp, cry, laugh out loud, or jump for joy.

More specifically:

Horror/Thriller- The book that got me my agent is a YA horror about a demon train that abducts its passengers from all over the world and tortures them with their worst fears. Horror is my go-to genre. Give me ghosts, urban legends, cults, psychos, hauntings, possession, the occult, southern gothic (I LOVE southern gothic!). I'm interested in horror based in reality as well as more fantastical twists and settings (like my train.) However, I steer clear of gore/slasher/mutilation type horror, where people are chopped up and tortured for no reason other than the shock factor. I want to be creeped out, not disgusted.

Concerning thrillers, I'd rather see manuscripts that embody the psychological side of things, rather than the heist/mystery/hunted-by-a-secret-government-organization kind of stuff. Think Vanishing Girls, The Tenderness of Thieves, etc.

Fantasy/Magical Realism/Steampunk- New approaches to magic, especially when it's there but not the whole focus of the book (a la, The Scorpio Races.) All original urban fantasy, alternate histories, portals. I want super creepy high fantasy worlds, truly terrifying antagonists, new twists on old tropes, and jump-off-the-page, gritty settings that feel as real as the characters.

*I have a soft spot for pirates too. The more original the concept the better.* 

Historical- Historical thrillers (again, psychological), original approaches to time travel, retellings, and historical fantasy. I love, love, love magical/paranormal elements in historical settings. (ex- The Infernal Devices or Pirates of the Caribbean.) 

*Bonus points for Regency era or anything resembling Pride and Prejudice but with a paranormal twist.*

But Most Importantly: Sometimes I don't know what I want until I see it. I don't know how many times I've read a synopsis for an upcoming book and thought "Holy crap that sounds good" and it's something I normally wouldn't have gone looking for on my own. When in doubt, ask me. I'm very active on Twitter.

And at the end of the day, if your book embodies this quote, I'm probably game:

Things NOT for me:
  • Dystopian, mystery, or science fiction.
  • Novels told in verse.
  • Vampires, werewolves, angels, or any other played out magical creature. If I roll my eyes, you’ve lost me.
  • Books involving graphic rape scenes, clichéd boarding school type settings, or torturing babies/children.
  • Your bubbly, happy, contemporary about true friendship might be a future bestseller, but it’s also not for me.

And that's it! Check out all the other awesome mentors below and then send me all those amazing manuscripts! :-)
You know you want to...


  1. Hi Megan

    I think my book will tick some of your boxes and plot ninja really caught my attention! (complicated love story in a creepy place) I really feel you could help me. Can I ask?...How do you feel about romance with paranormal elements - no creatures...more like genetically enhanced abilities in a contemporary setting ? Is that YUK NO THANKS or yes please sounds like my type of thing
    thanks for reading

    1. No, that sounds really interesting! I'd definitely be interested in taking a look.

  2. oooh good...I need a ninja in my life
    keep an eye out for me !

  3. Hi, I really love the sound of your critique style and I think my novel checks some of your boxes. =) But I was curious, how do you feel about darker YA contemporary? Dealing with death and grief and family relationships?


    1. I would definitely take a look at that! Sounds great! However, I have a special place in my heart for paranormal/magical twists so I'm more likely to fall in love with something like that if I'm being honest. I would still love to see it, but I would totally understand if you looked at other mentors too. I want everyone to find the right person for their MS. My CP Rachel Solomon is also a mentor and she LOVES contemporary and she's very similar to my style of critiquing, so you should really check her out. She's lovely.

      Good luck!!

  4. Hey, Megan! Looking over your wish list (especially possession) makes me think you might like my horror book. Plus your critique style seems super helpful and a lot of fun. But I have one problem: half of my book takes place in a boarding school setting. :( Though I keep it creepy and the story doesn't stay there. Would you be not interested at all or do I still have a chance?

    Thanks for reading!