Can we just take a moment to tell you how freakishly excited we are to be Pitch War mentors. The manuscripts, the authors, the agents...just WOW! Mentor wish lists are being posted today. The rules, the regulations, the how-to's of the submission can be found on Brenda Drakes blog: www.brenda-drake.com.
Now comes the hard part, trying to convince a pool of crazy-talented writers that Trisha Leaver and I are the co-mentoring team you all want.
Who the heck are we?
We both have canned bios. They are pretty and formal and makes us look all official. You can read them on our websites www.trishaleaver.com andjennilwalsh.comshould you have ions of time to waste, but here is the real us.
Trisha lives on Cape Cod, land of sun and perpetual traffic. She hates sand, is easily irritated by tourists, and she has no tolerance for supermarket parking lots. Trisha is a mom with an insanely organized carpool schedule, a wife to a husband with mad sailing skills, and the proud owner of a black lab named Orphie.
Trisha is a member of the SCBWI, the Cape Cod Writers Center, and the YA Scream Queens—a group of nine female authors who are deathly serious about their horror. Her YA Contemporary, THE SECRETS WE KEEP (FSG/ Macmillan, 4/28/15), received a starred review from VOYA and was named one of the best YA Novels for summer by Teen Vogue. She also writes YA Psychological Horror (CREED, Flux, 11/8/14) YA Historical Fiction (SWEET MADNESS, Merit Press 9/15/15) YA Sci-Fi (HARDWIRED, Flux 11/8/15), and Short Stories (I SEE REALITY, FSG/Macmillan 1/26/16)
Jenni L. Walsh spends her days knee deep in words in Philadelphia’s suburbia. Copywriting, freelance editing, blogging for Kick-Butt Kidlit, and authoring—she does it all, and loves every second of it.Her passion lies in transporting readers to another world, be it in historical or contemporary settings, and her latest project tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s. Jenni’s agent, Stacey Glick from DGLM, is currently trying to find it the perfect home.
Beyond words, Jenni is a mama (of an almost 2-year-old, a babe on the way, and a needy goldendoodle), a wife, and a lover of carbs and Swedish fish (ideally consuming one after another).
Now that you know who we are, here is why you should you pitch to us:
Between us, we have a wealth of information. Jenni is a PitchWars graduate herself. She’s been through the process and has come out the other side, signing an agent contract just weeks later. It just so happens that Trisha was Jenni’s mentor (proud mentor moment for Trisha!)
This is Trisha's third year as a PitchWars mentor, her second year co-mentoring. She was on the NESCBWI conference faculty in 2014 and 2015 where she taught workshops on psychological horror, short stories, Crafting HEN’s (Happily Ever After NOT endings) and most importantly PITCHING!!!! With that experience comes lots of practice tweaking, polishing, and finessing a manuscript until it shines.
What can we offer to an author?
We're going to get down and dirty with our mentee's manuscript. And, we'll be candid about how. First: developmental edits. We'll hone in on all that big-picture stuff (voice, pacing, tension, dangling threads) while also cleaning up those pesky grammatical and sentence-structure no-no's.
Second: we'll take your MS line by line to give it that agent-ready sheen. We'll be doing a lot of heavy lifting, but so will our mentee (and we want someone ready to get their hands dirty).
In a world where we are often told no, we think it is as important to point out what does work in a MS. By highlighting those scenes/chapters/beautifully-written phrases, the writer knows what to expand on and what to give the reader more of. That leads to...
What are we looking for?
YA Contemporary:Think SAINT ANYTHING or WE WERE LIARS. Give us a literary feel, beautiful prose, and characters that will stay with us for years to come. Don't tiptoe around difficult topics. Dive in and tear it open. Life and emotions are messy. Own them and let us feel them as we read. Issues, edge, language, sex...not a problem.
YA Historical Fiction: We are looking for beautiful writing that captures the depth of the time period. Connect us to the setting and the character, have us longing to live in past centuries when life was harder and the problems were equally as complex.
YA Psychological Horror:There is nothing more frightening than the evil that lurks inside a chosen few. The sociopath who thinks he's sane. The delusional man who subscribes to his own truths. The tormented soul who embraces the darkness raging in his mind. No paranormal or half-dressed girl running away from a chain-saw wielding maniac for this horror fanatic. Bring us straight psychological horror with a heavy dose of "oh crap...that really could happen!"
YA Fantasy: We're shying away from high fantasy, but the rest is fair game. Show us your imaginative world building, strong characters, and adventure.
YA Thriller: We are walking a fine line here between our tastes in psychological horror and psychological thrillers. Give us a fast-paced, character-driven manuscript where the stakes are high and the voice is authentic, and we will fall in love every time. Give us tension, suspense, and a cast of characters we neither hate nor trust. Startle us, confuse us, let us second guess our own intuition. We want to dig for clues, get angry that we didn't see a twist coming, and curse ourselves for naively "believing" that seemingly honest character.
YA Science Fiction:Keep it based in reality and set on thisplanet and we are game. Toss us into another galaxy with flying machines and mutating aliens and we’re lost every time. Oh… andfeel free to throw in some romance too.
Do you think your MS could be a match? Any questions for us? Feel free to comment below. We'll also be around on twitter (@tleaver and @jennilwalsh) so don't be shy. PitchWars is all about connecting, and the mentor/mentee relationship is one that'll extend well beyond the agent showcase. *waves to our PitchWars family*
P.S. feel free to take a peek at Trisha and my critique styles here and here from July's First Page Workshop.
Oh, and check out the other fabulous mentors involved!
Jenni L. Walsh is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.