2018 Pitch Wars Wishlist

Hello Pitch Wars Friends!! Welcome to my wishlist! I can’t offer you a cup of tea through the screen, but I can give you one to look at while you read!

Now that you’re comfy, I’m Sabrina! I’m so excited to be a mentor this year, and I can’t wait to get my hands on your manuscripts.

My publishing/writing experience:

I’m a college senior majoring in Creative Writing and an editorial intern at Page Street YA. My job at Page Street includes reading/critiquing at least 2 manuscripts a month and attending informational meetings about the publishing industry over Skype. My major includes reading/critiquing my peers’ poetry and short fiction every week, as well as writing and revising my own work.

In the past, I’ve written for The Barnes & Noble Teen Blog and interned at the LKG Literary Agency. I’ve been noveling since I was twelve (I’m drafting my fourth book at the moment), and have been editing fiction almost non-stop for the past two years—through creative writing workshops, critique partners, and my work at Page Street. I’ve known since elementary school that I want to work in publishing, and have been following the industry since I was sixteen.

Some non-publishing facts about me:

-I swam competitively for ten years

-In high school I took Spanish and Japanese, and last semester I studied Scottish Gaelic (A bheil thu gu math?)

-Singing/Talent Competitions make me cry (because they’re finally achieving their dreams, okay?)

-I have three cats, and one is named Crookshanks (I wasn’t allowed to name the others)

-I’m from NYC, but I’ve lived in London, Dublin, and Edinburgh

(I didn’t live in that castle but I WISH)

My mentoring style:

My strengths are definitely in character and plot, so if you’re mainly looking for help with setting/world building, I’m probably not the right mentor for you.

In terms of communication, when it comes to the formal edits of the manuscript, I prefer to talk over email. But for quick questions/more general wonderings, I can always be reached through Twitter/text/etc. Also, I’ll probably plan to Skype with you at least twice—once after each edit letter—so we can discuss the manuscript face-to-face.

What I want in a mentee:

Revising is hard work, so I am looking for someone who has no problem killing their darlings, and is aware that this process may involve a lot of rewriting.

But I’m also looking for someone to work with me. My goal in offering edits is never to give one suggestion to a problem, but rather to point out an issue and allow the author to find their own solution. I think it’s important that my mentee can receive criticism, but doesn’t do so blindly. If I want you to change something you aren’t happy with, I’d much rather talk it out/hear your reasoning than have you take the story in a direction you don’t like. At the same time, if you aren’t open to any suggestions, there’s not much point to this collaboration.

And now…

MY WISHLIST:

Category: Upper MG
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, and Historical

The Specifics:

I’m interested in fluffy/lighthearted contemporary, voicy fantasy, and historical fiction that focuses more on the characters than the setting. Some things I’d LOVE to find in my inbox are:

-Stories that center around athletes/sports—especially swimming, figure skating, and gymnastics. I know not everyone loves sports stories, but I DO (seriously, this is very high on my list)

-Competition—i.e. magical tournaments, model u.n., jousting, chess club

-STEM girls (particularly if competition is involved)

-Characters with intense passions—i.e. being super into art, music, cooking, drama, a school subject

-Strong siblings/family dynamics

-Friendship novels—I’d especially love a boy/girl friendship that never develops into a crush

-Queer friendships that never develop into crushes

-Queer friendships that do develop into crushes

-A novel about a historical figure or event I’ve never heard of before

-A historical novel about a girl who’s story has been forgotten/erased over time

-Jewish characters

-F/F as the main romance

-#OwnVoices stories

-MCs with physical and mental disabilities (especially if this isn’t something they hate about themselves and isn’t their only characterization)

-MCs who do bad things for good reasons

-Girls that wield swords and wear makeup

-Boys that wield swords and wear makeup

-Fantasy that deals with mental health

-I’m a sucker for witches/wizards

-Also boarding schools

-Stories set in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales

-Stories based on Arthurian Legend (especially if they involve Morgana or Merlin)

-A middle grade Outlander would be awesome

-Characters involved in fan culture–YouTube, books, movies, fanfiction, everything in between

-Retellings! Especially if they’re queer/gender-bending/based on stories that aren’t super overdone

Things I don’t mind:

-Multiple povs! (but I may ask you to restructure if the story calls for it)

-Unique formats are fine (but again, I may ask you to restructure)

-I’m happy working with 1st or 3rd person

-Superheroes

-Fairies

-I love monsters (but I’ll be picky about them because I don’t want to mentor someone who’s book is too similar to mine)

-I’m fine with darkness and violence, so long as the story also has lighthearted elements

What I’m NOT interested in:

-Super serious/sad contemporary novels—if your book takes place in a hospital, I am not the right mentor for you

-Futuristic books

-Dystopian books

-SciFi books

-Horror

-Vampires and werewolves are a hard sell for me

-Talking animals are also a hard sell

-Novels under 20,000 words

-Novels in verse

-Chapter books

Some of my favorite books/series:

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz

Magyk by Angie Sage

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan (I’d love to find a queer Percy Jackson omg)

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Spiderwick by Holly Black and Tony Diterlizzi

Simon vs. by Becky Albertalli

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Alan Cole is Not a Coward by Eric Bell

…Annnnd I think that’s it! Thanks for reading, and definitely feel free to ask me questions here or on Twitter if you need clarification. I look forward to seeing your wonderful middle grade stories!!

(A final note: please do not feel pressure to call your book #Ownvoices in your query if you are uncomfortable doing so. Similarly, if you are okay mentioning your novel is #Ownvoices but would like that info to remain between us, just let me know.)

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