It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for! Welcome to my wishlist reveal. Gather around, take a seat, help yourselves to a drink… Let’s go!
First things first, you’re probably stalking this page because you’ve got a SFF or suspense manuscript on your hands. If not, and you want to save your precious time, I suggest moving on to another mentor’s wishlist and I wish you good luck for finding your four dream mentors! If you’re in the right place, or still want to see what weird things I’m looking for regardless, I hope you enjoy reading my wishlist for whatever purpose!
First off, a bit about me. This is my first year as a Pitch Wars mentor. I’m about to get my master’s degree in creative writing, publishing, and editing at the end of this year. In the last couple of years, I have interned with a literary agency in the U.S., been involved in the publishing of a book and a literary/academic journal (as the production manager for both projects), and mentored and edited for members of the online writing community. I come from a science background, which makes me meticulous, and I have a commerce degree under my belt with a business-oriented family telling me to frequently think about how to sell things. When I’m not busy in the publishing world, I write SFF and suspense novels. The first draft of the first manuscript I’ve ever finished went a little viral on Wattpad and ended up as one of the initial paid stories on the platform. I also co-host the character development/roleplaying game #CharacterChaos on Twitter, which has helped many people develop their characters through interacting with each other in the game.
What am I like as a mentor?
If I choose you to be my mentee, then I’ve been floored by your manuscript and am willing to do everything I can to get you to your next step in publishing. I am pedantic about details and character development/consistency, and I tend to be like CinemaSins with the books I read. My editorial comments can range from serious edits to inside jokes, and I have been known to dream about the gorgeous dog in a former mentee’s manuscript, so brace yourself for random communication like this outside of the business of editing. As a mentor, I want to be your friend and your biggest cheerleader, as well as a nitpicky but motivational coach yelling at you (maybe yelling at you to relax towards the end of the period). I’m big on schedules and dividing work into steps and achievable goals. Depending on your preference, we could discuss things chapter by chapter after your editorial letter or go by chunks for me to review, but I want to hear from you regularly so we can bounce back ideas on how to make your manuscript better. I should stress that I question everything very easily and will ask for clarification and/or revisions on even the small details, so if you know you’re going to be overwhelmed by so much nitpicking, maybe I’m not the best mentor for you.
What am I looking for in a mentee?
I’m looking for someone who’s proactive and completely in love with their manuscript, but also willing to give it some tough love if need be. I’m looking for a mentee with an open mind and strong curiosity. I hope you’re willing to learn the most you can out of this process, so you can apply it to your future career as an author. A self-motivated, low-maintenance, and low-drama mentee is strongly preferred. Mentorship with me is a two-way street, and I need you to work with me and not for me. Come with your own ideas on how to revise based on my guidance and please ask questions!
What am I looking for in my inbox?
Without further ado, here are the genres and subgenres I accept! In some cases, I’ll include very specific ideas about what I want to read/watch but will never have the time to write. Don’t worry if you don’t have a manuscript exactly like that! I’m putting them there to help you understand my tastes, although I am secretly hoping that someone has written about these strange ideas. I also accept New Adult submissions, but be prepared to have a conversation about age!
If you know me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m writing a cyberpunk fantasy thriller. So, it’s no surprise I’m looking for cyberpunk subs. Bring me the techy, the colourful, the oddly possible futures!
The cyberpunk aesthetic is one of my favourites, but it’s easy to get caught up in the awesome world and neglect the plot and characters. I’m looking for a fast-paced story with not only an immersive cyberpunk world but also characters who stand out against the intense backdrop. I’m also looking for a manuscript that makes cyberpunk accessible to more people. Give me the story of a unique female main character in a genre dominated by a male audience. Give me posthuman beings (e.g. androids, technologically enhanced people) who aren’t the bad guys. Bonus points if people aren’t at odds with technology and the plot is just within the setting and interacts with the setting, as opposed to fighting against the setting.
I am someone who spends my spare time thinking about what humanity’s immediate future would look like. For some reason, the near futures I write tend to come true… I don’t know if mentoring has that effect, but proceed at your own risk…
I want to know how the trajectory of people’s current behaviour lands us in your version of the world. How and where people live should make strong logical sense. I’m especially interested in your near-future inventions here. How much of your world is familiar, and what are humanity’s future adaptations, be it biological/societal/technological? I would also love something to do with space! I don’t mind if the science is hard or soft.
These movies are sort of old now, but if you can comp to my all-time favourite movies, GATTACA and Sunshine, I want your sub. Compelling characters, intriguing world, suspense – hit me with it!
I’m not looking for dystopian worlds. Sorry!
Cli-fi is my jam! If you have a manuscript that involves the aftermath of climate change, please consider subbing it to my grabby hands. I don’t mind if you submit apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic. It’s all very exciting to me!
Here comes the first weird request… Post-apocalyptic novel, but set in the ancient times. Could be cli-fi like an ice age, or even a magically-induced thing… The possibilities are endless, and I wonder if anybody has actually written this sort of story? Because I want to read it!
No zombies, please. I can do any medical apocalypse except widespread rot, haha.
I’m fascinated by ethics and consequence, and time travel stories are the perfect opportunity to explore them. If your time travel manuscript has difficult philosophical situations, I’m your gal! Trying to right a wrong, meeting an old friend, trying to live an alternative version of your life that you’ve always wondered about – these are all great, but what are you losing to gain this opportunity? Is it worth it? Looper is one of my favourite movies, and so is Source Code.
Exploring the possibilities of alternate timelines in a philosophical way like Mr. Nobody would make me very happy. The butterfly effect is on my mind a lot and I often wonder about these possibilities. What if we made the other choice? What’s the chaos like if we get to simulate our possibilities before making choices?
If it involves travelling to a very specific historical period and spending most of the story there, then that might be out of my depth.
Is this where I put my even weirder requests? Leggo! Can I read these, please?
- A murder/thriller that happens across parallel universes – I really love the show Counterpart (speculative fiction involving parallel versions of our world and espionage/diplomacy in between) and The City and the City by China Mieville (a murder mystery across superimposed cities).
- A dark take on human experimentation.
- Anyone comp their manuscript to Arrival? Please consider subbing to me!
This is such a broad category, so I’m going to try and narrow things down. I think magic is cool, but even cooler when it’s treated like a science. I like magic systems that follow rules and limitations. If magic fails, I want to know why! (It’s the scientist in me. Sorry, chaotic magic people!)
Just putting it out there that I have major grabby hands for espionage in an urban fantasy setting. Different magical factions spying on each other – the world needs this!
If you have a “weird” magical realism manuscript, I embrace all the weird! I love an experimental/unconventional voice, too, and I think it would go well with this subgenre. If your magical realism manuscript explores complex concepts that leave the reader suspended and thinking about the story long after they finish reading, I want it! I read Touch by Claire North recently and it had that phenomenal effect on me. I want subs that will blow me out of the water like that!
As you can probably tell already, I am a sucker for genre blends and this wishlist has gotten a little messy. I think this is the best place to put it, though – can I have a manuscript about returning to our ancestral magical roots after an apocalypse?
This genre is my favourite when it comes to film and television. Would you comp your manuscript to Homeland, Blindspot, Counterpart, any Christopher Nolan movie, even the Mission: Impossible series? Give me a manuscript with an original concept and a blockbuster feel. If your thriller has some fun, humorous moments (something like Now You See Me, perhaps), even better! I also love action.
Nordic noir was big worldwide for a while, and I have personally never gotten over the hype. I read a lot of this! I’m looking for gritty, dark, and twisted murder mysteries. The more screwed up, the better. There’s only one catch: I need to find the investigator(s) interesting. I’ve read so many police procedural novels where the crime was intriguing, but the characters involved were flat. Yes, the plot is a very important part of a mystery novel, but the characters also need to be compelling to keep my attention on it.
I want a cozy mystery that will disturb me. The main character needs to make me care and notable quirks that define them are preferred. Keep me on my toes!
What I’m generally looking for
- Witty and humorous beats
- Genre mashups
- Vivid, cinematic imagery
- Antiheroes and antagonists by circumstance – no explicitly telling the reader who to root for
- A story that appeals to a reader’s mind as well as their heart (I’m a thinky person)
- Moral/ethical dilemmas in which no one has the higher ground
- Strong family relationships and friendships
- A slightly unconventional or experimental writing style (think The Road by Cormac McCarthy)
- Something set in Africa or Asia, or my home of Australia
- Sociopathic main characters, shady characters, characters that I’d have a love-hate relationship with and yell at a lot
- Can I just say that I feel annoyed having to put “diversity” on my wishlist because it’s such a no-brainer?
What I’m generally not looking for
- Romance as a big subplot (you’d have to really sell me on the characters and concept)
- Cliches, but I’m all for subverting tropes in a plot twist or poking fun at expectations like a reader would
- Religion or religious undertones
- A good vs bad situation
- Clearly good and bad characters
I hope this gives you an idea of what I want! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me on Twitter (my DMs are open to the public). I look forward to seeing your fantastic manuscripts in my inbox!
Pitch Wars 2019 Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists
- Paris Wynters
- Kathleen Barber (Accepts NA)
- Ian Barnes
- Mary Ann Marlowe (Accepts NA)
- Elizabeth Little
- Hayley Stone and Erin A. Tidwell
- Gwynne Jackson (Accepts NA)
- Maxym M. Martineau (Accepts NA)
- Katie Golding (Accepts NA)
- Ava Reid and Rachel Morris (Accepts NA)
- Carolyne Topdjian
- Natalka Burian
- Tim Akers
- Alex Segura
- Michelle Hauck and Carrie Callaghan (Accepts NA)
- Laura Brown (Accepts NA)
- Mia P. Manansala and Kellye Garrett (Accepts NA)
- Kerbie Addis and Ren Hutchings (Accepts NA)
- Susan Bishop Crispell (Accepts NA)
- Kelly Siskind and Heather Van Fleet (Accepts NA)
- Janet Walden-West and Anne Raven (Accepts NA)
- Kate Lansing (Accepts NA)
- Kristen Lepionka and Ernie Chiara
- Alexa Martin and Suzanne Park (Accepts NA)
- Gia de Cadenet (Accepts NA)
- Rob Hart
- Layne Fargo and Halley Sutton
- Michael Chorost (Accepts NA)
- Sarah Remy (Accepts NA)
- Nicole Glover (Accepts NA)
- Farah Heron (Accepts NA)
- Samantha Rajaram
- Keena Roberts (Accepts NA)
- Rebecca Enzor (Accepts NA)
- Matthew Quinn Martin (Accepts NA)
- Denny S. Bryce (Accepts NA)
- Meryl Wilsner and Rosie Danan (Accepts NA)
- P.J. Vernon and Kelly J. Ford (Accepts NA)
- Gladys Quinn (Accepts NA)
- Diana A. Hicks (Accepts NA)
- Damyanti Biswas
- Stephen Morgan (Accepts NA)