Hello Krakens, Bees, and Potential Mentees!
Without further ado, welcome to PART 2 of our wish list—this time with even more krakens, bees, and gifs. If you’ve missed part 1 of our #PitchWars wish list, check out Kim’s blog post here!
If you’ve stumbled across this page by happy accident, Pitch Wars is an intensive mentoring competition ending in an agent round. You can read all about it here.
Scroll on to find Tropes We Love, What We’re Not Looking For, What We’re Looking For in A Mentee, and so many gifs!
TROPES AND OTHER THINGS WE’D LOVE TO SEE IN YOUR MANUSCRIPT
AN EMOTIONAL ARC!
This isn’t a trope, but we LOVE a good inner journey for your main character. In almost all of our favorite stories, the main character is fighting two battles: an internal one and an external one. Whether your MC conquers the kingdom or the spelling bee**, we’d love them to be figuring out something about their place in the world, their friendships, or their families. So send along stories of siblings figuring out how to get along as they rid their middle school of aliens or a kid dealing with a friendship breakup during the National Crossword Puzzle Championship.
**That wasn’t even supposed to be a bee pun. THEY JUST HAPPEN.
Here’s Moana’s inner journey in GIF form. Should she do what is expected of her OR should she chase her own dreams?
OH! And don’t freak out if you don’t have one or if you feel your character’s inner journey/emotional arc is a bit slight. That’s why we’re here! If you’re willing to put the work in to revise and add an inner journey or expand on your main character’s emotional drive, please sub to us and we will work on it with you!
🔥 DRAGONS 🔥
We love friendly dragons, fierce dragons, and lady dragons toppling the patriarchy. Let’s put it this way— if you have a book with dragons, and you don’t sub to us, we’re going to find out, and this is going to happen:
ENEMIES WHO HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER
Make these two do a class project together. Have them run the Hogwarts Newspaper. Where is that sequel?
Send us your girl bosses leaders, your leaders, your unapologetic feminists!
(Apologies to all readers. This is the part of the wish list where Kim couldn’t convince Jennifer to use a “reasonable amount of Harry Potter gifs.” Jen did not understand the assignment.)
Everything from food trucks to restaurants to picnics to bakeries to secret ingredients to long-lost recipes that need to be re-created, food stories are our jam. (BWAHAHAHAHA! Jam–get it?) It could be magical food, like that secret ingredient extracted from red toadstools that make wishes come true. (You have heard about that, right?) Or non-magical mouthwatering culinary dreams, like a kid competition Chopped Jr. or MasterChef Jr.
Jen’s going on sub with a book that is basically an ode to Italian food, and in Kim’s books, food often plays a critical role.
So yeah, we’re here for the food.
KRAKENS & BEES
OK, this might seem obvious, but if you have a manuscript that features krakens and/or bees and you DON’T sub to #TeamKrakenBee, we will die of embarrassment. Actual footage below:
WHAT WE’RE NOT LOOKING FOR
Portal fantasy will be an uphill battle for us, simply because there is a lot of it out there. We’ve read so many of them at this point, and it’s very hard to stand out in a crowded market. Unless there is something totally weird or unique about it, we probably aren’t interested. And here’s an unfortunate tip—after reading a lot of them in a row, agents and publishers tend not to be interested either. It really does have to have a unique concept to make our ears perk up.
Sick/dying/diseased kids, parents. Not for us. Jen needs to stop crying on the subway. It is becoming a problem.
Animal main characters. UNLESS it’s a sidekick to a human.*
(*This is the Phib exception, named after Diana DeBolt’s frog, Phib, in her Cinderella retelling. Diana was Kim’s mentee in 2017. If you have an animal sidekick and wish to sub to us, make sure to thank @DianaDebolt and the snarky Phib.)
Graphic novels. We love these, but we don’t know what to do with them! There are other awesome mentors actively looking.
If you are NOT a person of color, a book with a POC as the sole main character will be a tough sell for us. Please read this for a breakdown on the lack of POC authors in publishing.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR IN A MENTEE!
We want to fall in love with a story. Voice, yes. Concept, yes, and then . . . a mentee who has a polished manuscript, but is open to revising and even gutting characters or sub-plots if it makes the manuscript better. Declining a suggestion/revision because it’s too much work is not acceptable to us. Please do not sub to us if you really are not open to considering massive revisions or changes.
The revising period this year is nearly four months. If you’re entering to just change a few commas or move a couple paragraphs around, you don’t need Pitch Wars. Just go ahead and query!
(For example, last year as a mentee, Jennifer rewrote about a third of her manuscript. She removed one subplot, added two more, cut six characters, and reworked her MC’s emotional arc. It was a journey.)
Pitch Wars is for writers who are seeking developmental help with their manuscript, whether it’s pacing, plot, character arc, or overall structure. We want a mentee who will listen to our suggestions and then run with them. We’ll shine a light on things that need revising, whether that’s adding an inner journey, an outer journey, a plot element, solidifying the emotional aspects, or whatever the fix is. We’re not going to tell you what to write. We’re going to tell you why something isn’t working. We are so happy to brainstorm revision ideas with you, but the story is yours. We’ll never say: you must revise this way.
We love helping writers. Outside of Pitch Wars, we are critique partners. We bounce revision ideas off one another. As our mentee, we want you to join our team.
Basically, you are awesome for writing a book, and you are awesome for wanting to improve your manuscript! We will never forget that this is YOUR journey and your book. While we will make suggestions, we are open to discussing each and every one with you. If you disagree, prove us wrong! In the end:
Finally, all we can say is:
Sub to us!! If you have any questions about our wish list or seek clarification, hit us up on twitter @KimLongMG and/or @itsjennylbrown. #TeamKrakenBee Don’t be shy!