#TEAMVENOM PITCH WARS 2018 WISHLIST

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Who We Are

We’ve been writer friends for a few years now and we have very similar opinions regarding the books we read, both published and unpublished. We’ve worked well together on numerous writing projects in the past and look forward to bringing our teamwork and work ethic into a relationship with a mentee. To us, being mentors means giving a writer an opportunity as well as the reassurance that they, and their novel, are appreciated and needed.


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I am Kimberly Vale, a YA fantasy author represented by Amelia Appel at Triada US and a Pitch Wars Alumni. I live for fantasy–in books, movies, video games, everything. There’s something truly special about creating new worlds and diving into worlds created by other authors.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I started writing full-length novels at 18 and decided to try to make it my career two years ago. I worked full-time, went to college at night, mothered my two children, and found time to write in between moments in life. I know what it means to be dedicated to success and the sacrifices you have to make to get closer to reaching your dreams.

I wouldn’t be where I am as a writer if it wasn’t for Pitch Wars. Yes, I got my agent from the showcase, but I took away so much more than that. My mentors provided me with so many helpful insights into writing, revising, editing, basically the entire process, and I became a stronger writer because of it. I want to give back in the best way and give this gift to another writer. As a teacher, I think of myself as a mentor everyday and am so excited for this opportunity to combine my passions for education and writing/reading and expand my experience in a different, more personal atmosphere.

I live in Arkansas, the home of Wal-Mart, with my husband and two children and facilitate reading intervention at an elementary school. I love coffee, sushi, Game of Thrones, and gaming.


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I’m Francesca Flores, a YA fantasy author represented by Peter Knapp at Park Literary & Media. I’m also a reader for FORESHADOW, an online serial YA anthology dedicated to emerging, diverse voices. I love all things YA, but fantasy has always been my home. I first fell in love with the genre as a child by watching Sailor Moon and reading Harry Potter. I love reading books with characters who fight to rise above their circumstances and with atmospheric settings that come to life.

A little about my own writing journey: I first started writing novel-length projects when I was about 14 or 15 (so many vampire projects) and completed my first full manuscript when I was 18. I proceeded to write another sixteen manuscripts before deciding I was ready to query with a YA fantasy assassin novel I’d written. I signed with my agent, Peter Knapp, through PitMad.

I decided to apply to become a Pitch Wars co-mentor because helping people improve their manuscripts, while being encouraging and centering the author’s vision of the book, truly makes me happy. I think Pitch Wars is a great opportunity for writers and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. While I love plotting, strengthening characters, and bringing a new world to life, you can also count on me for the small stuff. I studied Linguistics, which taught me many things about grammar, sentence structure, and rhythm.

My home is San Francisco, but I love to travel. When I’m not writing or reading, I’ll be traveling, dancing ballet and jazz, practicing trapeze, drinking a cup of green tea, or watching a new drama.

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What We Want

TEAM VENOM IS READY TO SINK THEIR FANGS INTO FANTASY.

We are exclusively looking for young adult fantasy. It’s what we both write and love to read, so it’s what we’d both be best at mentoring!

We are most partial to fantasy set in a different world than our own. Immersing a reader in a new world is important, so we’re looking for highly atmospheric settings that drop us right into the scene. We tend to prefer stories on the darker side of fantasy with fast-paced plots, unique magic systems, really strong emotional arcs, and diverse settings and characters that tackle the genre in a fresh way while still giving us all the things we love in YA fantasy.

The following are all things we would love to see in our inbox. So if you see something that fits the bill, send it our way!

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Story Elements

There are specific tropes, concepts and characters we absolutely love in fantasy and would want to see in a manuscript. These aren’t the ONLY things we’d love to see (we’d love to be surprised by some new concept that has the major setting and plot elements we described above!), but if you do have any of these, PLEASE SUBMIT TO US.

*italics recently added to list

  • Witches
  • Demons
  • Vampires
  • Monsters and creatures of all kinds
  • Girls in non-traditional roles, such as knights and warriors
  • Rich, detailed world-building
  • Girls who simultaneously kick ass and love the new boots or fancy dress they’re wearing; it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
  • Boys who show emotion
  • Unique twists on common tropes (lost princess, the chosen once, etc)
  • Fresh, diverse retellings
  • Fantasy that takes advantage of the story to deliver a social critique (subtle or obvious, either way is fine)
  • Ragtag teams
  • Characters who work their way up from nothing
  • Characters with secrets, mistakes, and major flaws
  • Enemies-to-lovers and lovers-to-enemies
  • Platonic relationships between m/f
  • Corruption and/or redemption arcs
  • Stories where romance is not the main goal; we LOVE a well-done romance in our fantasies, but not so much that it takes over the plot or becomes the catalyst in the plot.
  • On that note, a memorable romance
  • Complicated relationships (romantic, platonic, familial, whatever) that are more than what meets the eye
  • Multi-pov
  • Villains, anti-heroes, unlikable characters
  • Games, trials, races, heists
  • Girl squad/crew
  • Girls who don’t hate each other
  • Complicated family relationships
  • Unique royalty and court systems
  • Unique magic systems
  • Established relationships from the start and choices affecting those relationships
  • Different forms of love
  • Alchemy (make me feel smart)
  • DEEP CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
  • A compelling world without magic
  • Crime lords and ladies
  • Elemental magic
  • Revenge
  • Unique settings (deserts, islands, jungles, underground, in the sky, ALL THE PLACES)
  • Mermaids
  • Steampunk, industrial, or futuristic settings/elements in a fantasy world
  • Dragons in a non-western medieval setting
  • If you’ve been told your concept is overdone, but you know you’ve done it with a unique twist or if it’s told from a marginalized perspective, please send it to us!

Books/Movies/Media

These are books (a couple are adult, but still fit the purposes of this example) movies and other media, that have similar tones, settings, pacing and character arcs to what we’re looking for:

  • Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom
  • An Ember in the Ashes
  • The Cruel Prince
  • Jade City
  • The Poppy War
  • For a Muse of Fire
  • Wintersong
  • Children of Blood and Bone
  • Girls Made of Paper and Fire
  • Girls Made of Snow and Glass
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
  • Caraval
  • Wild Beauty
  • The Girl From Everywhere
  • Everless
  • The Night Circus
  • The Lunar Chronicles
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Star Wars (the characters. the stakes. the family drama. kylo ren.)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Kubo and the Two Strings

What We Don’t Want

Although there are some things we enjoy to read, as mentors we believe we may not be the right fit for them. Be sure to scour other mentor wish lists to find the perfect match for your manuscript.

  • Any genre that isn’t fantasy
  • New adult
  • Medieval-esque royalty (unless done in a really unique way, or from a marginalized perspective that doesn’t usually get the chance to be featured in royalty stories (PLEASE send these books to us) [Examples: Girls Made of Snow and Glass, Children of Blood and Bone, Girls of Paper and Fire]
  • Werewolves
  • Contemporary fantasy
  • Urban fantasy (unless done in a really unique way, or from a marginalized perspective that doesn’t usually get the chance to be featured in urban fantasy stories, or in cities we haven’t seen a lot of in urban fantasy before) [Good Examples: Heroine Complex, Dactyl Hill Squad, Labyrinth Lost, Not Your Sidekick]
  • Portal fantasy
  • Damsels in distress
  • Graphic novels
  • Toxic relationships depicted as romantic
  • Science fiction
  • Dystopians

If you’re still unsure whether your book is something we would be interested in, feel free to tweet @ us and ask (without pitching your book).

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How We Mentor {Revision Plan}

Our Relationship with You:

-We are easily accessible and plan to be available to chat whenever you need it.

-We can talk via social media, phone, text, or email (edit letters will be sent through email, but general correspondence can be through many mediums).

-We are happy to do a group chat with you prior to sending the first edit letter to discuss your vision for the story and what you think the core of it is, as well as going over all general ideas for edits so you know what to expect from us. We are also happy to help you come up with a plan to tackle edits after receiving each edit letter, if that’s something you would like. We will be available for any questions you have regarding the editing process.

What Our Editing Notes Will Be Like:

-We practically live in fantasy. Our advice will be focused on expanding world-building, deepening characterization, plotting and scene-level development, pacing, and strengthening stakes-driven, attention-grabbing stories.

-Our first edit letter will be for big picture edits. This will focus more on plot and character development, expanding the world, and deepening the story’s emotion and meanings.

-Our second edit letter will be for more focused aspects of your story. This will include line edits, streamlining any scenes that still need work with pacing, enhancing the effectiveness of your prose, assisting with concise wording and a solid rhythm, and enhancing clarity on the scene and sentence level.

-We will encourage the use of deadlines to provide our mentee with exposure to working under a specific timeframe.

Our Ideal Mentee:

-POSITIVITY AND AN OPEN MIND – Every time that edits seem impossible to tackle, remind yourself that you’re doing it to make your book better and to reach your dreams of getting published. It’s worth all the hard work, and you made it this far. As your mentors, we believe in you and will be here no matter what! We will always point out the things we love in your book, but you should also believe in your writing. Many, many writers feel doubt and fear while revising or drafting. The important thing is to push onward and to want the best for your book!

-READY TO WORK – Our ideal mentee loves their book and is excited to put in the work to make it the best it can be. We both know the value of hard work, having rewritten huge chunks of our novels and editing for months, killing many darlings along the way, and we can both say that this is 100% worth it if it’s what’s best for your book. If you feel like you don’t want to change much in your novel (which is completely valid, it’s your book and you can do what you want with it), then we are probably not the best fit. We will not force you to change anything, but we will make the suggestions we think are best, and this may include cutting scenes or characters you love if that’s what will make the book shine. All we ask is that you keep an open mind regarding this.

A good way to deal with revising a novel is to think of 1-2 things (relationships, world details, themes, symbols, whatever) that you refuse to change because they’re the core of what the novel is about (for example a sibling relationship, or the character’s backstory), and tell yourself that EVERYTHING ELSE is up to be changed. If you focus on those couple things that the story is truly about, then cutting other things will hurt less, because you KNOW what the story is truly about and you’re working to polish that core of it into the best possible book it can be.

-TRUST – You know your book better than anyone. Keeping that in mind, if you become our mentee and you disagree with something in our edit notes, we are open to talk about it! We’ll re-center, focus on the vision for the novel, and see how the edits can best help that vision come out. You shouldn’t be afraid to cut or change things, and you should know we have your novel’s best interests at heart, but we also want you to feel comfortable defending certain aspects of your novel and talking them through with us to see what the best solution is, because sometimes you just need to talk it out to figure it out. If a disagreement ever comes up, it’s not a point of contention; it’s just another step toward finding the solution. With this being said, our ideal mentee is someone who will feel comfortable talking about their book, what they want it to be, what works/doesn’t work, and who is open-minded about changes.

-RELATIONSHIP – We are open to talk about anything and we hope our friendship and writing-relationship can continue long after Pitch Wars is over! Writing friends are the best friends to have because of the passions we share and the dreams we chase.

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Connect With Us

Also, check out our query and synopsis tips for some pointers before the submission window opens!

We are so so excited to get started and find the third member of Team Venom!

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3 thoughts on “#TEAMVENOM PITCH WARS 2018 WISHLIST

  1. You say you prefer fantasy not set in our world. Does this mean you are not the best fit for portal fantasy? (Chronicles of Narnia, 100 Cupboards).

    Like

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