Welcome Fellow Writers!
If you're clicking on this tab it must be because you wish to throw your hat into the ring for Pitch Wars, the single most exciting writing contest in all of the Twittersphere! Or maybe it was an accident and your finger slipped... Either way, Welcome!
If you write middle grade, I might be the mentor for you. I'm supposed to tell you a whole bunch of stuff about myself in this portion, but I'm guessing you are just going to skim it while looking for my wish list, so I'll let you go down to that section and check it out first, and then if you think we are a good fit, keep reading and I'll tell you why I'm qualified to be your mentor.
Go on. I'll wait....
So, does your manuscript have what it takes to win my coveted mentee spot? Let me fill you in. I'm looking for middle grade manuscripts from various categories that meet two important criteria.
1. Your manuscript has to be funny or at least light-hearted in tone. Bring on the fart jokes, the rubber noses, and the booger humor. If your first chapter can make me laugh, you will be a strong contender. I am basically a twelve-year-old boy at heart, so no gross out is too gross. I can also appreciate higher levels of humor, including sarcasm and snark.
2. Your manuscript has to have voice. It's that certain way of writing that makes it sound just like you. If your project doesn't have voice there isn't much I can do to fix that, so it is a MUST HAVE.
So that's it. That's my whole wish list.
Now, you might have some follow up questions, like "What about scary stories?"
My answer: It still has to meet criterion one and two. So if you have a funny scary story, in the vein of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, I say send that bad boy.
"But what about fairy tale retellings?" Again, must be funny and have voice. See Ella Enchanted.
SHOW ME The FUNNY and I will be happier than a fat kid with cake!
Here are some MG Stories I LOVE:
Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John
Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park (which are technically chapter books, not MG)
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
Where the Sidewalk End by Shel Silverstein (but don't send me poetry, just an example of what I find funny.)
Here are some things I do not particularly like:
Bloody, scary, horror (EEK!)
Touchy feely, much too precious or sad (BOO HOO!)
Super High Fantasy- like if you have invented a whole other solar system and different alien races (Cue the head scratching)
TRIGGERS FOR ME:
Police as the villains- I am married to a cop and so I will not the the right mentor for a story where they are the bad guys.
Dead Dads- Okay, my dad died in 2010 and some stories with dead dads still bother me, if they have a lot of similarities to my own story. For example, I recently read WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord (dead dad, who was a chef, who died suddenly and left his family with a business to deal with) and it wrecked me. While I can stomach that type of story in my reading, I don't think I can spend several months living in it. All that to say that having a dead parent/s is not necessarily a deal breaker, as long as the whole story is not about that.
ARE YOU STILL HERE? STILL READING??? STILL THINK WE MIGHT BE A MENTOR-MENTEE MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN???
Here's why you want me to take a peeky peek at your manuscript....
( ME )
I have been doing this writing thing for a while now (ten manuscripts worth!) and I never managed to make it into Pitch Wars.
Okay, wait, that doesn't sound very flattering.
I didn't make it into Pitch Wars, but I still had a great time, made lots of friends, worked on my query letter and my first chapter, and kept trying and in October of 2015 I signed with Kate Testerman, of KT Literary!!! And that's not even the best part! Prepare to be more impressed!
And here is some more stuff about me! I am married to a police officer, and we have two elementary school aged kids. I love to read and write (Duh.) We are super into glamping, and we like to renovate campers for fun and profit. I attended Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO, and now I live in the beautiful Fountain City, Kansas City, MO. I love anything vintage, retro, and glam. I am a red lipstick lover and a Modcloth addict.
I want to work with someone who is willing to change stuff. Maybe big stuff. Definitely small stuff. And so you have to be a person who can enjoy this whole crazy editing process and come at each suggestion with the full power of your creative mind. You CAN make that character less whiny. You CAN find another word for barf on this page. You CAN add another scene here where milk comes out of somebody's nose. Defeatists, complainers and excuse-makers need not apply.
In return for your hard work you will get amazing, brilliant, and often times hilarious comments. My strengths include plotting, characterization, content, humor, story structure, and pacing. I am not great at punctuation and grammar, full disclosure.
This writing road is bumpy and long, and it's nice to see a friendly face waving at your from further down the road. Let me be that face.