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Welcome to #TeamThrowingRocks (Kylie Schachte and Aty S. Behsam)’s #PitchWars 2019 wish list!
Before anything, let’s take a moment to freak out because Pitch Wars is finally here!
What is Pitch Wars?
Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to mentor. Mentors read the entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript, pitch, and query shine for the agent showcase. If you want to learn more, check out the Pitch Wars website.
Awesome, right? RIGHT?
Now … let’s get down to business!
Here’s who we are and why you should submit to us:
- We were both PitchWars mentees in 2017. Kylie with her debut book YOU’RE NEXT, and Aty with her book COUP DE GRACE. We understand the pressure and the commitment, and now we can help you.
- We have a lot of experience building up people’s writing, regardless of what stage they’re at. Kylie is a tutor and mentor to high school students, and Aty has been teaching and mentoring writers and artists for years.
- We’re each other’s CPs, and we have a great working chemistry. It helps that we both love to make our characters suffer– I mean– anyway … we get each other! So our mentee can rest assured that we’re a fully functional team!
- If we pick you, we will love your book baby like it’s our own, and we will cheerlead, kick your ass, or join your pity party–whatever you need–at every step of the way.
- We are not here to tell you that we know the one perfect solution for your story.We want to be your creative partners, respect your vision for your book, and help you bring that out in the most authentic way.
- We’re animal lovers, so we can send you pictures of our pets when you’re sad or ready to light your manuscript on fire (it happens to all of us).
- Say hello to Kylie’s adorable dog Clementine and Aty’s adorkable cats Haise and Arima!
You’re still here? Good.
Before we get to the “want” part, a tiny note about our team’s name, #TeamThrowingRocks …
- Someone once said that an author’s job is to put their characters up a tree, then throw rocks at them. No matter how much we love our characters, it’s the struggle that makes a good story! We both write dark, gritty Young Adult with plenty of conflict, and we’re here to help our mentee up the ante and tell the most powerful story they can.
- So with that said…
WE ARE LOOKING FOR:
- Polished Contemporary/Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/Adventure Young Adult novels or graphic novels.
- Below is an overview of what we want in each of those categories, but don’t forget to check out Kylie’s website for more details!
- For Contemporary, we want moving stories that deal with the real world we live in, like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Far From the Tree by Robin Benway. We also love stories about kids who are really into their thing: organic chemistry, baseball, volunteer EMT, show choir, model UN–give us all the teens with passion and drive! Kylie would also love a rowdy sex-positive teen comedy like the movie Booksmart!
- Aty wants a strong voice and characters to root for, but she’s a particular sucker for anti-heroes.
- For Romance, we love angst and yearning, and all the lovely tropes! Think The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. We also want sex-positive romantic comedies like Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemud-Broka, or a YA Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston ). Give us star-crossed lovers finding their love in each other’s intelligence, tolerance, and beauty (think YA version of Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman). We love “we’re supposed to be enemies but we’re also really in love” trope a lot. Just saying.
- Give us friends to lovers, strangers to lovers, bad boys/girls falling for the unlikely person, sloooooow burn, “I am bound by duty/honor, but this devious wildcard has shown up in my life and I will never be the same.” OH NO, THERE’S ONLY ONE BED, and excessive use of nicknames until a Soft™ moment.
- Truly we want all the tropes, but we also want the tropes turned on their head!
- We are super interested in all types of pairings, every sexuality, and gender identity.
- For Science Fiction, we want action-packed, gripping, witty, adrenaline-fueled, freaking fun sci-fi, y’all! Kylie loves The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Firefly. Aty just wishes OH SHE SO WISHES someone would send us the Sci-fi, YA version of The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum. We both absolutely love Mad Max, or anything that resembles the Fast & Furious franchise but make it sci-fi! We’ll also take your sinister, creepy, chilling sci-fi, like Wilder Girls by Rory PowerorKazuo Ishiguro’s dark romance sci-fi Never Let Me Go.
- If you have the YA version of Neon Genesis Evangelion or an awesome psychological sci-fi thriller like it, ATY WOULD KILL FOR IT. For real.
- As for Fantasy, we want EVERYTHING.
- Fantasies with settings based on real world locales (think Leigh Bardugo’s Ketterdam and Ravka in the Grishaverse, or Julie C. Dao’s East Asian-inspired Forest of a Thousand Lanterns). Creepy, beautiful, chilling fairytale retellings–the looser the interpretation, the better. Fantasy (& sci-fi for that matter) that’s BIG on heart, intimacy, and empathy as the main point of the story (with the epic adventure and magic as the backdrop), like Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman. Give us strong female leads! We also love lyrical whimsy, like Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, or anything that can comp Hayao Miyazaki. We love Hayao Miyazaki. A lot.
- We would love to see magic that deals in unique trades and skills–clockmaking, woodworking, FOOD–anything special and highly specific turned into enchantment. For contemporary fantasy, Kylie loves ultra-specific settings–the Everglades, a strip mall suburb in Southern California, a refugee camp in Greece. Aty wants dark, compelling stories in creative settings with an interesting crew of characters, think Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. Huge bonus point if your story is a dark comedy fantasy, like Adachitoka’s Noragami series.
- Also extra extra bonus points for fantasy that’s based on or inspired by Russian Jews, Iranians/Persians, or Muslims. Kylie is Jewish and of Russian ancestry, and Aty is Persian and Muslim. Just give us fantasy with Jewish, Muslim, Russian, and/or Persian characters in general. Like, if you can comp Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, you must give it to us (it’s the law!)
- Other favorites include Victoria Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (the books and the series).
- In Horror, give us your dark stories that walk the thin line between death and beauty, like Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul, and anything gothic-inspired (horror, fantasy, romance–we want it all). Kylie has a really overactive imagination, though, so subtle horror that’s big on the creep but lighter on the jump-scares is her sweetspot. The Diviners (if you can comp it, hand it over) and Sawkill Girls are favorites, but both books also gave her nightmares, so anything more than that is probably too much for her poor lil’ heart. Aty wants ghost. That’s it. That’s what she wants. Also delusions and nightmares that turn out to be real AHHHHH
- In Thriller & Mystery, we love fast-paced, commercial mystery with a BIG VOICE. A Study in Charlotte, One of Us is Lying, and Trouble is a Friend of Mine are some of our favorites. Mystery that blends hijinks, banter, and dark comedy. Kylie also believes American Vandal is a perfect TV show and if you can comp that, please slide into our inbox nownownow. Aty loves Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Give her freaky twists like that and she is hooked! Also, once again, she really wants a YA Jason Bourne book. She’d kill– um– die for that. You know how Jason is always several steps ahead of his enemies because he’s smart and knows how to make things happen so he scares the hell out of higher-ups? THAT SPARKS JOY!
- In Magical Realism and Fabulism, if you have lovely, lyrical writing that places magic in our real world without explanation or reason, we would very much like to read it. Favorites include anything by Anna-Marie Mclemore, and The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton.
- We want to be entranced by your prose and the aching loveliness of the magic, but we also want to explore The Dark Side™ .
- For Graphic Novels, we want stories of all genres. Give us amazing story with memorable characters like Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist.
- If you have a historical graphic novel with awesome art like Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond, or colorful, unique story and art like Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s Saga, we want it!
- Give us sport graphic novels like Haruichi Furudate’s Haikyu!!
- Give us unforgettable, masterfully written antagonists like Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, or villains as main characters like Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s Death Note. We want exciting thriller graphic novels like Alan Moore’s Watchmen, or anything by Alan Moore really!
Okay, that’s the overview, but if you want to know more about the extra special somethings that make our hearts sing, the things we are definitely not accepting, and our mentoring style, you’ll have to head on over to Kylie’s site.
- You definitely want to check that stuff out. Please don’t waste one of your mentor slots by submitting something we won’t be the right fit for.
- Once you’ve checked out her site, don’t hesitate to reach out to Kylie or Aty on twitter if you have any questions!