Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My 2017 #PitchWars Mentor Wish List!

Pitch Wars Flowchart
Congratulations! You've traversed the Flowchart Forest, scaled the castle walls, made it past the sixth-grade bully, solved an intricate assortment of clues left behind by an eccentric gamekeeper, said the magic words, and unlocked the PitchWars treasure chest to reveal MY 2017 MENTOR WISHLIST!!!

Or maybe you just took the well-lit path around the forest and rang the doorbell at the castle gate. In which case, a recap: I am here for all your CONTEMPORARY, FANTASY, MAGICAL REALISM, or MYSTERY middle grade novels! But, fair traveler, your journey is not over quite yet. Next stop...the details! (Lean in a little closer, now, these are important. Here's a Butterbeer and a Chocolate Frog to replenish your energy while we chat.)

Give me your heartwarming, tear-jerking, laugh-out-loud-in-all-the-right-places contemporary. Make me feel all the feels! I want sincere, relatable characters—with personalities and voices that leap off the page—and I'm open to heavy issues handled with honesty and grace.

Examples of contemporary styles I'd love to see: Stef Soto, Taco Queen; The Meaning of Maggie; The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher; Forget Me Not; Root Beer Candy and Other MiraclesBecause of Winn-Dixie.

In this dish, I'm looking for very specific ingredients. The key seasoning: humor. If you have a rollicking fantasy adventure with quirky characters, kooky settings, and/or over-the-top villains and heroes, order up! Badass heroines also a plus. EDITED TO ADD: I am open to animal MCs! But, I prefer the stylings of Fenway and Hattie or The Wind in the Willows. Stories in the vein of Wings of Fire or Warriors aren't really my cup of tea. 

Flavors I don't love quite as much...
Dragons as MCs. (I'm open to non-human main characters, but dragons just don't...light my fire. *ba-dum-bum-chh*)
Christmas stories. 
Dark scary/horror/paranormal (Scooby-Doo/Ghostbusters-level, goofy ghost stories okay). 

Examples: Fortunately, The Milk; The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates; Pugs of the Frozen North; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Flora & Ulysses; Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Any and all conundrums—whether a lost treasure, a brain-tickling puzzle, or a whodunit murder mystery. My favorites have larger-than-life characters/settings and a compelling emotional backdrop.

Examples: The Flavia DeLuce novels (I know these are technically adult, but the MC is 11 and I adore them); The Mo and Dale Mysteries; Last in a Long Line of RebelsEscape From Mr. Lemoncello's LibraryThe Mysterious Benedict Society.

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. As with contemporary, I'm open to weighty themes, and my favorite characters are the ones who never give up, even if things don't turn out the way they thought they wanted them to. 

Examples: The Key to Extraordinary; A Snicker of Magic; Hour of the Bees.

A few last wish list notes...
• Genres are listed in no particular order. 
• #OwnVoices welcome! I'm also interested in diverse characters not written from an own voice author, if they've been well-researched and run by a sensitivity reader.
• No matter which of these genres your book falls in, the biggest hook is going to be voice, voice, voice!
• The holy grail of my Pitch Wars wish list: if you can make me both laugh AND cry in your one single book, I will fight off even a blood-thirsty killer rabbit to make it mine. 

Now that you've gotten to know my wish list, a few things about me... 

Name: Ashley Martin
Occupation: Middle-grade author/graphic designer/homeschooling mama
Represented by: Marietta B. Zacker, Gallt-Zacker Literary Agency
Personality: INFJ
Hogwarts House: Hufflepuff!
Preferred Drink: Early Grey Tea (with cream)
Current Obsession: Anything lavender (the flower/flavor, not the color)
Favorite Book: Hahahaha! See above lists and add Harry Potter.
Favorite TV show: Parks and Recreation
Favorite Movie: You've Got Mail
Favorite Literary Couple: Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe
Misc. Loves: My husband, my church, tattoos, kittens, podcasts, 
Seattle, Cola LaCroix, vintage books with charming inscriptions, and pie.

Some of My Mentor Strengths:
• Increasing tension
• Pacing
• Cutting passive voice
• Chapter endings
• Consistency in character voice/actions
• Sentence structure/flow

What You Can Expect From Me:
• Edit letter with overview of revision suggestions + recommended resources
• Line edits for entire manuscript
• Second read-through post revisions, prior to agent round
• Help with query + synopsis + pitch
• Cheerleading and encouragement!

Thanks so much for reading and for considering me as a mentor! I've been in your shoes—I was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2015 and my book went through plenty of revisions—so I know how hard and nerve-wracking and exciting and terrifying this process 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! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below, or hit me up on Twitter (@papergram).

Now go check out the other mentors' wish lists!

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