Pitch Wars 2018 Wish List

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Welcome, Pitch Wars peeps, to my 2018 Wish List! I’m over the moon to be back mentoring again, and can’t wait to see what lands in my inbox this year!

hellopeeps

Requisite biographical information:

My name is Lyndsay Ely (that’s eel-ee, like an eel), and I am the author of GUNSLINGER GIRL, a YA Western SFF dystopian genre burrito that came out in January 2018 from Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown. In 2015, I entered GG (under a different title) into Pitch Wars, and was lucky enough to be mentored by the incomparable Elizabeth Briggs. I am now represented by Laura Zats of Red Sofa Literary, agent and co-host of the Print Run podcast. By day, I’m a marketing graphic designer at a Boston publishing house (which means my life feels like publishing 24/7 sometimes) and organizer of a local speculative fiction writing/critique group. 

When I’m not working, writing, or reading, I love searching for antiques and vintage collectibles, finding a great new craft cocktail bar or brewery, playing Pokemon Go!, geeking out at cons, and…other stuff.

summershooting


Hey, that’s nice and all, but what kinds of manuscripts are you looking for?

Okay, okay—this is supposed to be a wish list.

Once again, I’m just a young adult mentor asking you, the prospective young adult mentees, to send me all of your fantasy, light scifi, historical fiction (especially if it’s SFF), and genre-bent fiction that defies easy categorization. Gimme your complex, morally complicated characters, your worlds saturated with baroque levels of detail, and plots that will twist and turn more than a pair of headphones buried at the bottom of my oversized and rarely cleaned purse.

Got a YA fantasy reminiscent of Marjorie Liu’s MONSTRESS? I want to see it.

An unusual, razor-edged take on familiar elements like THE CRUEL PRINCE? Yes, please!

Lush worldbuilding like THE BELLES or a historical setting with a healthy dash of dark fantasy like GRAVE MERCY? *points at my inbox* It goes in there!

louise_want


More about what I’m looking for:
  • Diverse casts, relationships, and settings of all kinds (including, but not limited to, LGBTIQA+, neurodiversity, and #ownvoices)
  • Feminism, badass ladies
  • FANTASY—high fantasy, low fantasy, historical fantasy, diet fantasy, extra spicy fantasy, cold brew fantasy—all of them!
  • SCIFI—hard, ultra-sciency science fiction isn’t my thing, but an adventure story that utilizes science (for example, like A WRINKLE IN TIME) might catch my eye
  • HISTORICAL—Got something like a young adult HARLOTS, GODS OF GOTHAM, or SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN? I have a weakness for period pieces, SFF or not
  • GENRE-BENDERS—I love to be surprised!
  • Unlikeable or anti-heroes, vigilantes, and redeemable villains
  • Unusual magic systems (though this doesn’t mean I don’t like the usual ones too)
  • Adventures! Heists! Treasure hunts!
  • Dark! Gritty! Grim dark!
  • Positive fat representation (of any gender)
  • Departure from traditional gender roles (for all genders)
  • A CITY OF BRASS-esque YA
  • Twisted stuff, like a YA version of PREACHER or PENNY DREADFUL
  • Retellings aren’t my favorite, but if you have an unfamiliar or rarely traveled one, especially with lavish prose like in UPROOTED, I’d be interested in seeing it
  • Graphic novels? YES, PLEASE. I cut my storytelling teeth on comic books, so I am here for GNs.

loveislove

 

Okay, what do you NOT want?

This is always tricky to answer, because just when you think there’s something you couldn’t possibly enjoy—like a space book about singing—an author comes along and upends that. (*glances at SPACE OPERA by Cat Valente*)

But, in general, I’m not looking for:

  • Mermaids, werewolves, or angels vs. demons (Note: If these exist as elements in your story or world, that’s 100% fine; If they are the main focus of your story, it’s less likely to entice me.)
  • Love interests whose biggest selling point is smouldering hottiness, or Insta-love™
  • Contemporary (unless you have a reallllly dark Gillian Flynn-esque practically-a-murder-ballad YA contemporary)
  • Epistolary novels, novels told in text message, verse etc. (Just not my thing.)
  • Rape as a character motivation, or excessive use or threat of sexual assault as a device to create danger (Again, it’s okay if these elements exist in your world, as long as they are not used excessively or as a main motivator.) I’ll also note here that no trigger warnings are necessary in my case, but please be aware of any noted on other mentors’ wish lists.
  • White saviour stories, or narratives about discrimination that center the experiences of the privileged class
  • Any plot that leans on “MC overcomes challenge despite the fact that / even though she’s a girl.” (Girl MCs who have to pretend to be boys is gonna be a tough sell to me too, though I won’t say it’s 100% out.)

rbg


I’m still not entirely sure what you like. Do you have a list of favorites that can better help me understand?

You bet your backside I do!

Favorite books/comics: The Count of Monte Cristo, the Young Wizards series, Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, The Cruel Prince, Gods of Gotham, A Darker Shade of Magic series, The End of Mr. Y, The Stand, Strangers in Paradise, Monstress, Saga, Transmetropolitan, Preacher, Fables.

Favorite authors: Leigh Bardugo, V.E. Schwab, Diane Duane,  Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Scarlett Thomas, R.L. LaFevers, Lyndsay Faye, Warren Ellis, Terry Moore

Favorite TV/movies: Battlestar Galactica, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Archer, Rick and Morty, Steven Universe, Venture Bros, Harlots, Dangerous Liaisons, Titus, Deadpool, Heathers, Muppet Treasure Island, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Favorite characters: Holland (from A Darker Shade of Magic series), Katniss (from THE HUNGER GAMES), Nina (from SIX OF CROWS), Amethyst (from Steven Universe), Starbuck (from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA), Maeve (from WESTWORLD), Zuko (from ATLA), Leia (from STAR WARS), Katchoo (from STRANGERS IN PARADISE)

Favorite Pokémon: Sandshrew

sandshrew

So what can I expect from you as a mentor?

To start, doing what it takes to get you the materials you need to revise in a timely manner. This will include an edit letter, feedback on revisions, help on your query, synopsis, and pitch, as well as assistance in finding sensitivity readers, if applicable. (Plus, a hand with anything else that might come up.) 

And if you need some words of wisdom, one of the wisest mentors out there once said: “There’s no different angle, no clever solution, no trickity-trick that’s going to move that rock. You’ve got to face it head on.”

The rock is your manuscript. And we’re gonna face it head on.

toph2

What are you looking for in a mentee?

Someone passionate about their writing and the amazing opportunity that is Pitch Wars. Someone who can take criticism, and search for the kernel of truth within it even when it doesn’t entirely make sense to them. Someone who won’t just kill their darlings, but turn their back on them as they are dragged kicking and screaming into the underworld.

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And, most importantly, someone who will do the hard work and hit the deadlines, no excuses.
(Barring unforeseeable events, of course.) I am a very deadline-oriented person, and I’d like a mentee that is too. Revisions can be intense, even with the extended timeline this year. But if you’re willing to to put in the effort, so am I!

Are you ready?

valkyrie

Return to the Pitch Wars 2018 Mentor Blog Hop main page or continue browsing the YA mentors’ blogs via the links below!

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Pitch Wars 2017 Wish List

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hellopeeps

 

UPDATE: When you’re finished reading below, check out Part 2 of my Wish List, filled with all manner of of riveting clarifications!

Hello Pitch Wars peeps! As a brand-new-mint-in-box-first-time mentor, I’m super excited, honored, and more than a little nervous to be posting my wishlist!

First, a little about me: My name is Lyndsay Ely (that’s eel-ee, like an eel). By day, I am a mild-mannered graphic designer at a Boston publishing company, where I’ve spent eight years creeping around the inner workings of the industry and acquiring a staggering number of books for my TBR pile. When I’m not doing writerly stuff, you can find me digging through a thrift/antique shop, trying out a new cocktail bar, or geeking out to the max at a con.

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In 2015, I was lucky enough to be a Pitch Wars mentee, mentored by the incomparable Elizabeth Briggs. Today, I am represented by Laura Zats of Red Sofa Literary, and my debut novel, GUNSLINGER GIRL, comes out in January 2018 from Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown.

What am I looking for?

As a young adult mentor, I humbly request that you send me your finest YA speculative, SFF, and historical fiction!

I like fantasy, light science fiction (hard sci-fi is a harder—but not impossible—sell), stories that* bend genre (Bend it! Bend it like you’re the avatar of genres!), adventures, dark, twisty stories, and well-detailed historicals. Give me a book like SIX OF CROWS or THE GOLDEN COMPASS or GRAVE MERCY. Send your young adult GODS OF GOTHAM , ANCILLARY JUSTICE, or SHARP OBJECTS. Give me complex, complicated characters (your Kara Thraces, Hollands, and Kaz Brekkers), worlds that vibrate with their intensity, and plots that will make my stomach ache to see how they’ll turn out. Not too hard, right?

genrebender

MOAR WANTS (both general and oddly specific):

  • Heists/treasure hunts (I’m a sucker for these!)
  • Badass ladies
  • Diverse casts, relationships, and settings of all kinds (including, but not limited to, LGBTIQA+ & #ownvoices)
  • Dark, gritty, or adventurous historical fiction
  • A historical Middle Eastern-based fantasy (See? Oddly specific. I HAVE A MIGHTY NEED!)
  • Twisted stuff, like a YA version of PREACHER
  • Geekiness.
  • Anti-heroes, vigilantes, and redeemable villains
  • A Gillian Flynn-esque YA contemporary
  • I’m not big on re-tellings, but if you have something along the lines of JANE STEELE, I might be interested
  • Feminism!!!

What do I not want?

Well, middle grade and adult entries to start. And I’m not the person to send your contemporary realism or romance manuscripts. I do like angst and romance, but I generally need some magic and explosions and such to go along with it.

donotwant_appa

MOAR DO NOT WANT:

  • Mermaids
  • Angels vs. demons
  • Love interests whose biggest selling point is hottiness, or Insta-love™
  • Ghosts or paranormal (though this is a maybe if it’s a historical setting)
  • Contemporary (unless you have the aforementioned Gillian Flynn-esque contemporary)
  • Epistolary novels, novels told in text message, verse etc. (Just not my thing.)
  • Killing off of pets, familiars, or anything cute, loyal, and lovable. (Unless it’s absolutely necessary for your plot that you devastate the reader. Because it’s absolutely going to devastate me.)
  • Rape as a character motivation, or excessive use or threat of sexual assault as a device to create danger
  • Non-Western settings starring a Western MC. (White savior stories are a hard pass from me.)
  • Any plot that leans on the “MC overcomes challenge despite the fact that / even though she’s a girl” device. (Girl MCs who have to pretend to be boys is gonna be a tough sell to me too, though I won’t say it’s 100% out.)

Not sure if I’ll be into something? Ask me on Twitter!

butwaitheresmore

Some personal favorites to give an idea of what I like:

Some favorite books/comics: The Count of Monte Cristo, the Young Wizards series, Six of Crows, Gods of Gotham, A Darker Shade of Magic (and sequels), the Bloody Jack series, The End of Mr. Y, The Stand, Strangers in Paradise, Transmetropolitan, Preacher, Fables.

Some favorite authors: Diane Duane, Scarlett Thomas, R. L. LaFevers, Lyndsay Faye, Warren Ellis, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, and Terry Moore.

Some favorite TV/movies: Battlestar Galactica, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Archer, Dangerous Liasons, Titus, Deadpool, Heathers, Muppet Treasure Island

karathrace1


What can you expect from me as a mentor?

Well, to start, doing what it takes to get you the materials you need to revise in a timely manner. This will include an edit letter, feedback on revisions, help on your query, synopsis, and pitch, as well as assistance in finding sensitivity readers, if applicable. (Plus, some other things I probably haven’t thought of yet.)

What am I looking for in a mentee?

Someone passionate about the amazingness that is Pitch Wars. Someone who can take criticism, and search for the kernel of truth in it even when it doesn’t entirely make sense to them. Someone who won’t just kill their darlings, but pop up in the back seat of the darling’s car, garotte them, then burn the car and walk away without looking back.

carexplosion

And, most importantly, someone who will do the hard work and hit the deadlines, no excuses. (I mean, some things are obviously unforeseeable, but besides those.)

I am a very deadline-oriented person, and I’d like a mentee that is too. Two months for revisions sounds like a lot, but it runs out quick. However, if you’re willing to to put in the effort, so am I!

letsdothis
*that is in blue

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