I'm so excited to be a Pitch Wars middle grade mentor for 2020. I'm open to middle grade sci-fi, contemporary, and fantasy, as well as graphic novels and illustrated novels.
I have a particular interest in writers who identify with traditionally marginalized communities.
Wait... What is Pitch Wars?
What I'm Looking For
|commissioned illo of my MG Hana Hsu when it was a WIP © Kathryn Ault Noble|
- adventure and myth like Pearl Dragon by Yoon Ha Lee
- a ragtag band of misfits or antiheroes (a MG version of Firefly or Dark Matter!)
- kids in peril in space like Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson
- dystopian environmental themes like Dry by Neal Shusterman
- a cool, thought-provoking premise (some favorite adult sci-fi books: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller, and anything by Ted Chiang; favorite movies/shows include Blade Runner, The Expanse, BSG, Altered Carbon, The Good Place; if you have a MG version of any of these, send it over!)
|illo from my cool AMM mentee © Annette Hashitate|
- immigration stories like Front Desk by Kelly Yang and Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai
- graphic novel memoirs like New Kid by Jerry Craft, Real Friends by Shannon Hale, Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
- entertaining environmental stories like Hoot by Carl Hiassan
- STEM-themed stories with heart like The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty or The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller
- MCs with passionate interests like Lupe Wong Won't Dance by Donna Barbra Higuera and Stand Up Yumi Chung by Jessica Kim
|© Sylvia Liu|
- non-European myth- or folklore- based stories like When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller, The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez, by Adrianna Cuevas, or any book from Rick Riordan Presents, such as Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, by Carlos Hernandez
- fairytale retellings or stories that feel like folklore, like Sweep by Jonathan Auxier or The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson
- moody vibes like The Umbrella Academy or Stranger Things
- contemporary stories with fantastical elements (magical realism, fabulism, urban fantasy) like Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
- magical circuses (Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury is an all-time favorite)
- sweet and fun magic like Savvy by Ingrid Law or The 11:11 Wish by Kim Tomsic
- steampunk like The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby or The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
- dragons, zombies, mermaids, cryptids, ghosts, witches (bonus points if they're misunderstood)
- I am less likely to connect with: some portal fantasies,* a series of adventures without an emotional driver,** dream worlds, fairies,*** talking animals.****
Themes I love in all genres: found family, band of friends, family and friendship dynamics, puzzles & mysteries
What I'm Not Looking For
- historical fiction (1980s to present is fine; if I was alive, it's not historical!)
- certain types of fantasies (some portal fantasies, fairies, dream worlds, see above)
- stories with themes and topics too close to what I'm currently working on (to avoid conflicts of interest), which include Chinese myth-based fantasy and sentient AI
Find out more at my main website enjoyingplanetearth.com.
- Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation (Razorbill/PRH 2022) (upper MG sci-fi): in a near future where teens' brains are connected to the multiweb, a girl uncovers a high tech conspiracy that may involve her mom at the helm.
- Manatee's Best Friend (Scholastic 2021) (contemporary MG): a girl must overcome shyness and an accidental viral video to save her manatee and dolphin friends while making new friends of her own
- A Morning with Grandpa, illustrated by Christina Forshay (Lee & Low Books 2016) (PB): a young girl and her grandfather teach each other yoga and tai chi, but each are bad at the other thing
What a Mentorship Would Look Like
I've been lucky to have mentors and teachers who've helped me throughout my writing career and I want to give back and help others achieve their writing dreams.
Writing novels can be hard and lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve learned you can build a community that will help you grow as a writer and be there for you through the wonderful highs and frustrating slogs and disappointments. Having a professional a bit ahead of you in the creative journey believe in your work wholeheartedly and spend time to work with your whole novel is an incredible gift. Sometimes that’s all you need to push you to the next level, and I hope to do that for someone.
How I Mentor
As a mentor I will help achieve your story vision. I'll provide an edit letter gushing about the things I love and sharing big picture feedback (character and narrative arcs, themes and conflicts, plot holes, pacing, etc.) and craft tips and line edits if needed. We'll tailor communications to your preferred style (whether it's email, phone calls, or carrier pigeons) and figure out a revision plan. I'll do a second round read/review and work with you on your query and pitch for the Agent Showcase.
I was incredibly lucky to work with Sylvia as my mentor. She is a skilled editor, a patient teacher, and an incredible champion. Sylvia's approach to revisions is very logical and organized. She taught me many new skills, such as reverse outlining, and had specific suggestions and creative ideas when I got stuck. Her eye for detail will keep you on your toes! Be prepared to work hard but know that she is also a genuinely kind and empathetic advocate for you. -Annette Hashitate
My Ideal Mentee
- I love your story
- Your writing holds significant promise in premise, voice, and craft
- I have a clear vision how I can help elevate the manuscript to the next level
Pitch Wars 2020 Middle Grade Mentors' Wish Lists
- K.C. Held and Shana Targosz
- Jessica Vitalis and Julie Artz
- Erin Entrada Kelly
- Rochelle Hassan
- George Jreije and Long Quan Nguyen
- Lisa Moore Ramee
- Sofiya Pasternack
- Sylvia Liu
- Rebecca Petruck
- Rajani LaRocca and Remy Lai
- Reese Eschmann and Christina Li
- TJ Ohler
- Darlene P. Campos
- Gail D. Villanueva
- Chad Lucas
- Shakirah Bourne
- Eric Bell
- Kim Long and Jennifer L. Brown
- Adrianna Cuevas and Sarah Kapit