I’m so excited to be back for my second year as a Pitchwars mentor!!! I had the best time last year and I can’t wait to dig into your awesome submissions. And why should you grace me with your middle grade submission??
First of all, because I HAVE BEEN WHERE YOU ARE. My agent search was epic. You can read about it HERE. But here’s the short version: three+ years, 5 manuscripts, 290 queries, 47 full requests, one offer from one of the absolute best agents there is: Sara Crowe.
So if you are in that place where you are SO CLOSE YOU CAN TASTE IT? I’ve been there. And gotten to the other side. And I want to help you get there too.
|Making this Harry Potter quilt took almost as|
long as it took me to find an agent.
(Okay, not that long.)
Whatever it is, I’m going to dig in. I’m not here to nitpick your grammar and word choices – though we will shine those up if they need it. But if you get as far as being chosen for Pitchwars, you’ve probably got the mechanics of writing down. Competition was TIGHT last year, you guys. My focus is going to be on story. How can we make your story the most compelling it can be, whether it’s a high fantasy or quiet contemporary? I’m likely to hone in on big story elements that need to be changed/strengthened/added. So don’t apply to me unless you’re ready to get down to some serious work.
I love helping writers. I work as a freelance editor and ghostwriter, helping people craft and hone the stories they envision, and I’ve done this for fifteen years. For ten of those years, I did classroom arts residencies in K-12 classrooms as a playwright, helping young writers find their voices and express them.
|A recent library haul.|
HERE’s my post from last year on why you should pick me. And HERE’s a Project Mayhem post I wrote about the things I learned from last year’s Pitchwars slush, which may help you prepare your submission. You can read more about me AT MY WEBSITE, and read an interview with playwright me HERE and mentor me HERE.
So what am I looking for? My tastes in middle grade are pretty broad, but my very favorite categories are contemporary and magical realism, with bonus points for diverse stories. There are exceptions to all of these, but here are the things I’m not as wild about: high fantasy, sci-fi, gross-out humor.
And here’s a list of some of my very favorite MG books (excluding the obvious, like Rowling, Cleary, Dahl, etc.):
The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
Splendors & Glooms AND A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz
The Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker
Wonder by RJ Palacio
His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
A Crooked Kind of Perfect and Hound Dog True by Linda Urban
The Tale of Despereaux, Flora & Ulysses and Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshish
Walk Two Moons and Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
The Winnie Years series by Lauren Myracle
Better Nate Than Ever and Five, Six, Seven, Nate by Tim Federle
The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins
May B by Caroline Starr Rose
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams
|My crazy-eyed dog Athena says you should apply to me.|
Hopefully I'm a better mentor than a dog trainer.
Contests are about the relationships, and I can’t wait to get to know you!