It’s Pitch Wars time and I couldn’t be more excited! Well, actually, WE couldn’t be. Yup, you heard me right...there are two of us this year!
So, who is my illustrious partner in crime?
It’s none other than the AH-MAZING Dionne McCulloch (who, I have to tell you, is not only one creative and talented dynamo, but so darn funny and pretty to boot!). You’ll find our bios at the bottom of the page so go check out all the awesomeness that Dionne brings to the table.
Okay, onto the wish list: we had a super good chat about what we’re looking for, and we’ve come up with some vital ingredients. First off though, let us clarify our category:
MG (Middle Grade)
If you’re not an MG author then thank you very much for stopping by, but you should pop on over to the YA/NA/Adult blogs (and best of luck from our team!).
Still here? Then you write Middle Grade. Super. One thing to point out right at the start:
- We are looking for a writer who has been thoughtful and careful about their craft. We’re looking for work that you feel is almost ready to submit to agents but needs that final nudge. No first drafts, no mss that you know in your heart are in bad shape but you just want a mentor to fix it, and no unfinished manuscripts. We want the very best you can offer...and then we’re going to show you how to make that baby shine!
Genres we’re interested in:
- Adventure - Imaginative, fun, extraordinary, quirky and fresh adventure stories that fill you with curiosity and wonder. It’ll get brownie points if it’s sailing, jungles or any other outdoorsy pursuit! We don’t even mind a bit of fantasy!
- Humor – Laugh until your sides hurt, kooky, quirky humor that stands the test of time (ala Roald Dahl, David Walliams, Andy Stanton, Laura Dockrill…).
- Nature themes – jungles, woods, mountains, on the sea, on the North Pole, the Serengeti, the souks of Morocco, Antarctica…take us somewhere adventurous!
- Science themes – NOT science fiction. Anything quirky, innovate and new in common science. Sprinkle it in and make us want to explore.
Okay, so those are the broad strokes. So, what do we NOT want?
- Issue books.
- Dark books.
- Books where one/both of the parents have died and this propels the plot.
- We LOVE diversity but not as the only topic of the book.
- Heavy narratives.
- Serious books with a maudlin overtone.
- Snarky, whiney, depressed or otherwise moody characters.
What we will love you for:
- Characters full of wonder and curiosity.
- A fresh, unique tone. A character who has a ton of personality and a great sense of humor.
- Outlandish ideas made plausible.
- Tight word count combined with a light hand.
- If you know Neil Gaiman (or are Neil Gaiman) then this will be a HUGE advantage. ;-)
Right, onto the bios (which will have some hints and tips about our individual likes too):
I’m a YA author, book and script editor who started out producing and writing for television, and am now writing my second novel while paying the bills editing books and film/TV scripts. Prior to TV I was a travel writer, played in a band in LA, and was an intern for President Clinton. I also grew up in India, Costa Rica, Spain and Texas and now live in England. I’ve traveled throughout Europe and Africa, pausing to live in South Africa where I met Nelson Mandela! So… I LOVE an adventure.
And that’s what I’m looking for in our PitchWars mentee… someone with a sense of adventure that bleeds into their writing. Curiosity, playfulness, humor and a stoncking good adventure tale, I’d like the kind of book that you just CANNOT put down until you reach the back cover.
I’m a freelance ghost writer and script writer – working on a feature length animation right now, so SQUEE! I’ve published over 300 different articles/short stories/DVD narrations/etc, and a lot of children’s books for a children’s charity that provides educational materials for 3rd world countries. I interned with two literary agencies (and that was a BIG learning curve) and I also work doing content and copy writing for a marketing firm.
Unlike Super Woman, I have not met Nelson Mandela or Bill Clinton. I have, however, tried stunt riding, swam under a waterfall, taken 7 horses through Europe and been under the Cheese Cutter bridge…oh and I speak reaaaaally bad Greek ;-).
I am very partial to anything reminiscent of Indiana Jones for kids. I’d be intrigued by something like Artemis Fowl for girls. I’d die over a “choose your own adventure” and I’m a sucker for really quirky structure. Fantasy is A.OK for me!