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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pitch Wars Mentor Blog Hop (Wish List Inside!)




Oh, hey. Is it the Pitch Wars Mentor Blog Hop already? So nice of you to stop by...


Um...I'm Ashley Martin...it's nice to meet you...here's my wish list and bio and I'm so excited to be mentoring middle grade and PICK ME PICK ME PICK ME PICK ME!!!!


Whoo! Now that that awkwardness is out of the way, allow me to introduce myself.

I'm a wife, homeschooling mom of two, proud member of the Pitch Wars class of 2015, dedicated bookworm, and writer of middle grade novels. Which basically means I'm a night owl who manages to exist on minimal sleep and copious amounts of Earl Grey tea and baked goods.


As a middle-schooler I read mainly adult fiction, and now that I'm an adult I can't remember the last time I read a book with a protagonist older than twelve (which I'm totally cool with). I'm kind of obsessed with personality tests (I'm a Hufflepuff and solid INFJ), fall is my favorite season, Seattle is my favorite city, I love independent films, and I think Gilmore Girls is the best show ever to appear on television.


My obsession with books started the moment I learned how to read. Whenever I got in trouble as a kid, my mom would still give me my allowance, but I'd be banned from the bookstore for a week. No joke. I was a very, VERY well-behaved child. 

Here are some of my favorite books:

  • THE MEANING OF MAGGIE by Megan Jean Sovern
  • THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE by Alan Bradley
  • ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND by Lewis Carroll
  • ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L. M. Montgomery 
  • BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE by Kate DiCamillo
  • FENWAY AND HATTIE by Victoria J. Coe
  • FORTUNATELY, THE MILK by Neil Gaiman
  • THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien 
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN by J.K. Rowling (I mean, the whole series is amazing, but this one is my favorite.)
  • THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
  • THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
  • LAST IN A LONG LINE OF REBELS by Lisa Lewis Tyre
  • A SNICKER OF MAGIC and THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY by Natalie Lloyd
  • THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE by Laurie King (I do read adult fiction occasionally.)
  • MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE by Robin Sloan (Okay, that's enough grownup stuff in this list.)

Pitch Wars has been a huge part of my writing journey—I submitted in 2014 and was chosen as a mentee in 2015, which led to me signing with my agent, Marietta Zacker, in February!—and I am so excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the community that means so much to me. Whether you're chosen by a mentor or not, I can assure you from experience, you will not regret entering. It's such a wonderful place to learn more about your craft and connect with other writers. I hope you'll take full advantage of it!

Now for what you've all come here for...

MY PITCH WARS WISH LIST!

Give me all your middle grade fantasy, magical realism, heartwarming contemporary, and mystery! 


Here are a few more details on what specific elements will give me a serious case of the grabby hands...

Fantasy

All of it. Seriously. But especially if it involves fairy tales (original or retellings/reimaginings), or any connection to classic children's literature. I love wild and intricate worlds (think Catherynne Valente's Fairyland), and outlandish adventures (CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY or PUGS OF THE FROZEN NORTH). I also love fantasies that feel like they could be real; the ones that take a historical event, reimagine it and add a fantastical twist, like THE BOUNDLESS by Kenneth Oppel. (Also, I mention below that I don't want sci-fi—however—fantasy with some sci-fi elements is something I'd love to see!)

Magical Realism

I love magical realism with heart, where the bit of magic in the midst of everyday life is the thing that gives the MC hope and/or is part of a strong emotional journey, ala Natalie Lloyd's A SNICKER OF MAGIC and THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY. 

Heartwarming Contemporary

Make me laugh, make me cry — better yet, make me laugh AND cry. Give me something funny and sweet, with a character who is spunky and audacious and determined, or something that leans more toward heartbreaking — especially if you've found a way to incorporate humor. This is one of the reasons THE MEANING OF MAGGIE is one of my all time favorite MG novels: it's equal parts snort-out-loud funny and I'm-not-crying-you're-crying emotional.

Mystery

When it comes to mystery, I love a clever, original plot, in a rich setting with a full cast of quirky and vibrant characters. THREE TIMES LUCKY by Sheila Turnage and Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce novels are great examples.

No matter which of these genres your story falls in, I'm most likely to be hooked by two things: CHARACTER & VOICE. I'm particularly drawn to characters. Scenes can be strengthened, pace can be fixed, tension can be added—give me a character I'm emotionally invested in, with a voice that immediately paints a picture, pulls me in, and gives me ALL THE FEELS.

What I DON'T want:

Horror 
I'm okay with dark elements, and some creepy, goosebump-inducing moments in fantasy (my own book has a bit of a dark side), but I'm definitely not the mentor to go to if you're looking to be the middle grade Stephen King. 

Christmas Stories
I promise, I'm not a grinch! It's just that I recently finished some extensive CPing for a friend who has written a Christmas-themed novel. If part of your novel happens to take place over the Christmas holidays, that's fine. But if your story revolves around Santa and his elves, then you'll be better off submitting to another mentor.

Sci-Fi
As much as I love books like Tony DiTerlizzi's WONDLA, there are probably other mentors better suited to straight up sci-fi. (But if you can give me a fantasy with a setting as vibrant and fascinating as the world of WONDLA, I'm your girl!) 

Added clarification (also noted above): Straight sci-fi would be best sent to another mentor, but fantasy with sci-fi elements in my inbox, please!

Why should you pick me? 

Some of my strengths: increasing tension, pacing, cutting passive voice, chapter endings, consistency in characters (voice and actions), and sentence structure/flow. I love being a CP, I love editing and revising, and I love helping talented writers make their books even more amazing. I'm also a super weirdo who actually enjoys the challenge of perfecting a query and synopsis, so rest assured I'll help you work on those, too. Also, I know what it's like to be in your shoes—I was a Pitch Wars mentee last year and my book went through plenty of revisionsand I know how hard and nerve-wracking and exciting and terrifying it can be. I also know how much it means to have someone believe in you and your story, and I can't wait to come alongside you and cheer you on! 

Thanks so much for reading and for considering me as a mentor! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below, or hit me up on Twitter (@papergram). And if you want to get to know me even more, I'll be part of the Pitch Wars live mentor chat on 7/21 at 8pm EDT. I can't wait to read all your beautiful submissions!                                








shley




Visit the other MG mentors' wish lists!

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5 comments:

  1. Would you consider a manuscript with world building and bird main characters who have snarky views of the humans around them?

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    Replies
    1. I'm open to animal MCs, yes. And I don't mind snark, either. :)

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    2. Yay! I'm so glad I asked. Many have said yes. Now how do I choose? LOL It's better than where I thought I was, which was nowheresville. :-)

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  2. Hi Ashley,

    I am excited to have you read my PW sub, and wanted to share my reasons for submitting to you! First of all, your love of fantasy. Also when you were on the MG live chat, I got to know you a little bit more! I think you'd be great to work with and help me know my strengths and weaknesses. Thank you for reading! -Christina Dwivedi

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    1. Thank you Christina! I look forward to reading your submission.

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