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- #PitchWars is here ALREADY? WHAT?
What is Pitch Wars?
- Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, professional writers, and 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.
HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
QUICK SUMMARY OF #TEAMMINDHUNTERS WISHLIST
- Here’s a quick summary of the following wishlist:
- We are #TeamMindhunters, Aty S. Behsam and Maedeh B. Saaina, and this year we are mentoring YA.
- Aty is an author, artist, translator, editor, and Maedeh is a university lecturer, artist, and writer.
- This year we’re looking for the following genres: Polished Contemporary/Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Mystery/Horror Young Adult or New Adult novels or graphic novels.
- We do accept NA.
- We do accept graphic novels.
- We do accept Fairy Tale Retelling.
- We do accept stories about sports, especially if they feature women, and/or LGBTQA+ characters.
- We’re very close, which means we also work closely on our mentee’s book.
- You can ask questions/communicate with us through Aty’s Twitter / Maedeh’s Twitter and Aty’s Instagram, and Maedeh’s Instagram. Once we pick our mentee, we’ll communicate through Twitter, Instagram, and email.
- The following is the details of #TeamMindhunters’s wishlist:
Warning: The following wishlist features the word “dark” approximately 95846548 times. That says a lot about us, doesn’t it? lol
Let’s get down to business!
WHO ARE WE AND WHY YOU SHOULD SUBMIT TO US
- We’re both writers, artists and both writing mentors and teachers. Aty has been teaching writing, and mentoring writers for years, including Pitch Wars 2018, 2019, and 2020, and Maedeh has been mentoring writers for years, and has been a story critic for even longer. Maedeh’s experience helps recognize strong and weak points in stories, and Aty quickly finds ways to fix the problems. Maedeh also has super sharp eyes for story elements, details, and logical plot development, and Aty is good at working on your characters and relationships.
- Aty was a mentee in 2017 with her book COUP DE GRACE, and Maedeh helped polish that book. We understand the pressure and the commitment on your end, and we understand the love you hold for your stories. So now we can help you.
- If we pick you, it means we care about your book. A lot. We’re going to cheer on you, help you, and cry with you whenever you need. We can also send you cat, bunny, goose, and parrot pictures. Aty has two cats and Maedeh has… multiple species in her house lol
- We’ll be your creative partner. We’ll show you ways to fix things when you’re feeling trapped, and make the best parts of your book shine even brighter.
- Actually we have multiple writing and art projects together. Daryan manga, White Satin comic, and even novels on the way. (You can follow Aty’s Instagram, and Maedeh’s Instagram for more info.)
- We have multiple mentee success stories, and we’re proud of them! Both in our country and in PW, Aty has had the pleasure of watching her mentees succeed. They are all amazing storytellers. Two of Aty’s PW mentees found agents. Aty’s 2019 PW mentee Ann Fraistat’s book is coming out in Spring next year, so don’t forget to follow her work. Also follow Aty’s last year PW mentee Melanie Schubert because she’s awesome. Maedeh is mentoring PW for the first time, but you shall see her skills soon.
Now, the actual wishlist. Aty has never been able to keep this short, but this time Maedeh will try to make that happen (Future Aty: hahahahahaha). So without further ado, let’s move on to…
WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR
- Polished Contemporary/Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery Young Adult or New Adult novels or graphic novels.
- For Contemporary, we want stories that deal with the real world issues. We’re especially interested in stories that feel personal and show cultures and lifestyles that are under-represented. We want stories that show different corners of the world, and characters that open our minds to different ways of thinking. Is your story dark? We’re all in! Is your story a comedy? OH YES. Is your story dark and funny? Give us! We want stories with good characters, clear goals, and stakes. We want stories that subvert expectations and give us nice twists. Think, Booksmart.
- We want all the tropes, but also healthy relationships that defy the rules and tropes of the setting. Give us enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, star-crossed lovers, strangers to lovers, bad boys/girls/non-binary characters falling for the unlikely person, all the angst and yearning! Give us “we’re supposed to be enemies but we’re also really in love” or “why am I still thinking about you?” Give us the slow burn romance. All types of pairings, every sexuality, and gender identity.
- 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 friends to lovers, strangers to lovers, baddies 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.
- Huge bonus points if your story has
- LGBTQA+ ROMANCE
- Multiracial couples
- Same-sex couples in the Middle-East
- One or both of them being immigrants or refugees
- 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).
- Give us big creep and light on jump-scares. Actually, give us nightmares, and ghost lol. Also delusions and nightmares that turn out to be real. And no, Maedeh is not about to kill Aty for asking this.
- If you have horror with strong social commentary, Like Jordan Peele’s Get Out, YES.
- If you can mix mystery thriller with horror in a subtle way, we’re so in.
- Actually, as you can tell by our team’s name, we love Mindhunter, both the book and the series. If you can give us the kind of psychological mystery thriller mixed with a touch of uneasiness that is subtle yet very creepy, oh gosh OH GOSH WE WOULD LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
THRILLER, MYSTERY, CRIME
- We want fast-paced, dark commercial stories with big twists. Think YA Jason Bourne.
- We want Mafia stories with romantic subplots, smart detective stories with dark, angsty plot, and characters walking the thin line between right and wrong.
- You got a YA murder mystery? We love Aty’s last co-mentor Kylie Schachte’s You’re Next. If you have something similar, give us!
- We also would love a dark, gut-wrenching time-travel/crime story like the anime Erased [Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi].
- We want stories with characters from different background working together to solve the problem. Think YA Mad Max: Fury Road
FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION
- As for FANTASY, we want everything but high fantasy. If your fantasy goes beyond Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and reaches J. R. R. Tolkien’s works, we’re not the right mentors for you.
- Give us your monsters and creatures, your whimsy, beautiful, chilling tales, and your creepy, mysterious settings. We accept contemporary fantasy, fantasy settings based on real world locations, or speculative fiction that mixes real world with fiction. We want fantasy horrors like Akihito Tsukushi’s Made in Abyss.
- If you have magic, make it unique. Give us the sort of magic that not only colors the plot, but also seeps into characters and their development. If your magic system affects the world, the plot, and the characters directly, and if you have a setting that is well-thought and features realistic class systems like Avatar: The Last Airbender, send it, IT IS THE LAW.
- We would love to see magic that deals with unique trades and skills–clockmaking, woodworking, food–anything special and highly specific turned into enchantment. Give us interesting cultures and worlds that feel strange yet so real.
- 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. We love lyrical whimsy or anything that can comp Hayao Miyazaki’s works. We love Miyazaki a lot.
- Victoria Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians are some of our favorites, too.
- We want to be entranced by your prose and the aching loveliness of the magic, but we also want to explore The Dark Side™ .
- If you’re sending us Fairy Tale Retelling, please keep it fresh. Just swapping characters with no interesting twists is not really for us. We want creepy, beautiful, chilling fairytale retellings–the looser the interpretation, the better.
- Bonus points If you are retelling tales that are from your own country.
- We also want dark comedy fantasy that deal with real issues and high stakes even though they make us laugh with great comedic moments or characters, like Adachitoka’s Noragami.
- FOR HISTORICAL FANTASY, if you have fantasy that’s based on or inspired by Iranian/Persian culture/settings/tales, send it over. Think Hiromu Arakawa’s The Heroic Legend of Arslan. The author is Japanese, but did her research and wrote a great story and awesome characters based on a novel inspired by an old Persian tale.
- For NON-PERSIAN Historical Fantasy, we only accept stories about your own history. If you have a historical fantasy that does not take place or feature MCs of your own culture or ethnicity, we’re not the right mentors for you. We’d make an exception for Persian Historical Fantasy, because we would be able to help you with history and culture. If neither you nor we wholly know and feel for the history of your story, we can’t better it.
- For Science Fiction, we want both fast, action-packed, gripping, witty, adrenaline-fueled, freaking fun, and slow, sinister, creepy, chilling sci-fi. We love Wilder Girls by Rory Power or Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.
- Give us machines and complicated concepts that speak of human condition like Yoko Taro’s Nier: Automata.
- Give us androids falling in love, machines understanding humanity, science-born creatures falling for the wrong person and changing the whole plot because of it. Give us unlikely friendships and make-believe families. Give us an awesome psychological sci-fi thriller like YA version of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Give us space sci-fi with complicated plots about friendship and humanity. Space wars are totally awesome.
- If you have a Sci-Fi/Fantasy with an interesting cast of characters and a plot about moral values and humanity, we need it! Just like every year, if you have something like Hiromu Arakawa’s beautiful manga Fullmetal Alchemist, just give it to us. Please?
- If you have a Dystopian novel, make it unique, and no Dystopian with heavy reliance on diseases. Rather than the scientific process of the apocalypse or the diseases, etc, we’re more interested in reading stories that focus on strong characters and well-written relationships. Think, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Or Neil Druckmann’s The Last of Us.
- For Graphic Novels, we want stories of all genres. We’re looking for unique characters and well-executed concepts.
- Please send us COMPLETED chapters, not just the MS without the actual artwork and/or only with concept arts.
- Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist, Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, Adachitoka’s Noragami, Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul, and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s Saga are some of our favorites. They hurt the right way!
- Also, our favorite superheroes are Batman and Spiderman. Just saying.
- Actually if you’re going to give us superhero novels or graphic novels, think Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Important Notes & Huge + Points
- If you’re an Afghan woman, we are reading your submission first.
- This year we’re accepting novels that have romance, and stories that don’t. Meaning that your story doesn’t have to feature any romance to be valid for submitting to us, but we’d also love it if it does. Either way, we just want a good story.
- Female leads! That says it all.
- LGBTQA+ leads.
- MUSLIM CHARACTERS.
- Stories with male leads addressing toxic masculinity, and/or crossing gender barriers.
- We’re particular suckers for anti-heroes. Give us anti-heroes to hate to love and love to hate!
- Don’t forget Trigger Warnings if your story needs them.
- HUGE BONUS POINTS if you have a well-developed, highly intelligent villain/antagonist like Johan Liebert in Naoki Urasawa’s Monster. Give us complicated, realistic villains. Villains and antagonists whose motivations are understandable, even if their ways are questionable, are always our thing. Especial bonus point if your villain is female. We need more well-written female villains and antagonists.
- Give us the ones we can identify with, and love, but we know are wrong in their methods and have just fallen too deep into the dark side. The ones who were once good, but now have lost their way.
- REMEMBER THAT DARK AND LIGHT GO HAND IN HAND! Look, we love happy stories. But an all happy story is not our thing. Conflict is our thing. We write dark, gritty Young Adult with a lot of conflict, and we want to help our mentee. That said, we also love our silver lining! Where there is darkness, there should be light. Bittersweet endings are also our thing. So keep this in mind if you want to send your dark stories: in the end …
- WE WANT DIVERSE NARRATIVES AND STORIES, WRITTEN BY MARGINALIZED WRITERS WHO HAVE A DIRECT EXPERIENCE WITHIN THESE COMMUNITIES
- We want stories taking place in Asia or Africa, or with genuine, correct references to Asian and/or African culture, written by Asian or African writers.
- We want stories with black/POC main characters, by black/POC writers.
- We want stories with LGBTQA+ characters, written by people from LGBTQA+ community.
- We want stories featuring disabled characters, written by disabled writers.
- We want stories of characters going through things that the writers has felt to the core of their heart.
- We want to work with marginalized writers of all groups.
WHAT WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR THIS YEAR
- The “Not Right For us” part
- It DOES NOT mean there is anything wrong with your story, it’s just not right for us if it’s in the following list.
- High Fantasy
- Hard Science Fiction
- Historical [except your own history/Persian Historical fantasy]
- Natural disasters
- Stories that are dark all through and have a “bad”/dark ending.
- We can’t believe we’re saying this, but please don’t send us Corona stories… 🙂
- Stories that rely heavily on the depiction of diseases.
- (Trigger Warning) Plots ending with suicide. Also please no stories that use rape as a plot point or plot device.
HOW WE EDIT AND COMMUNICATE
- In the first round, we will mark up the issues with your plot, character arc and development, opening and ending, relationships, and issues that would need to be revised. We’ll provide you with an edit letter with our opinions and suggestions about how we can make your story better. You will have in-line notes with our opinions and edits, about what we think works really well and what we think should change. It’s totally up to you what suggestions you follow, as it is your story, and we’re only here to help you. You will have some homework for your novel, like forms and charts to fill in for your characters, making scene maps, outlines, etc, depending on your story. We’ll work on your novel in another round of edits after you made the revisions, then a line edit, and we’ll also work on your pitch and query.
- We’ll be in touch via Twitter, Instagram, and email. We’ll be in constant communication. We’ll also video chat to discuss our approach to revisions and possible rewrites, if you’re comfortable.
- We will try not to stalk your Twitter. But we will stalk your Twitter. Be kind to everyone. Encourage people. Then you will be encouraged as well.
- THIS YEAR WE DO ACCEPT NEW ADULT. Just a reminder!
- READ THE WISHLIST CAREFULLY BEFORE SUBMITTING. Please don’t waste one of your mentor slots by submitting something we won’t be the right fit for.
- PITCH WARS IS MORE THAN A CONTEST. Many writer friends are just waiting to meet you and become your CPs and that is the greatest gift Pitch Wars gives everyone who enters every year. Find yourself a CP who cares about your work as much as you care about theirs. Find friends who help you, read for you, give you courage and strength in your writing journey. That’s the magic of Pitch Wars: It connects hearts.
- BE READY FOR SOME HARD WORK. It’s all about teamwork. A partnership. If we pick you, we are partners.
- PLEASE REMEMBER THAN NOT BEING CHOSEN DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE NOT A GOOD ENOUGH WRITER. In the end, no matter how much we love your stories, we can only pick ONE mentee. It doesn’t make us happy to say no to many good stories. It’s about falling in love with that one MS, that one MC, that one writer. Never forget that gathering enough courage to take part in the first place is huge, and you are awesome no matter what. Also, you can always find so many awesome writers through #PitchWars tag.
- You have questions? Do not hesitate to write to Aty on her Twitter or Instagram or Maedeh on her Twitter or Instagram
- You are awesome. Never forget that.
Don’t forget to check out the wishlists of the amazing YA mentors this year:
Pitch Wars 2021 Young Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists
- Mary E. Roach (Accepts NA)
- Amelia Diane Coombs (Accepts NA)
- Diana Urban
- Susan Bishop Crispell (Accepts NA)
- TJ Ohler (Accepts NA)
- Laurie Dennison (Accepts NA)
- Justine Pucella Winans (Accepts NA)
- Zoulfa Katouh and Molly X Chang (Accepts NA)
- Sonora Reyes (Accepts NA)
- Abigail Johnson
- Rosiee Thor and Emily Grey
- Carlyn Greenwald (Accepts NA)
- M.T. Khan (Accepts NA)
- Sarvenaz Taghavian
- Emery Lee
- Margie Fuston (Accepts NA)
- Aashna Avachat (Accepts NA)
- Allison Saft (Accepts NA)
- Fiona McLaren
- Jessica Lewis
- Brianna Bourne (Accepts NA)
- Jamie McHenry
- Meg Long and Rochelle Hassan (Accepts NA)
- Laura Weymouth (Accepts NA)
- Natalie Crown and Angelica Monai (Accepts NA)
- Skyla Arndt and Alex Brown (Accepts NA)
- Charity Alyse and Cimone Watson (Accepts NA)
- Emily Thiede and Lauren Blackwood (Accepts NA)
- Anna Sortino and Annika J. Cosgrove (Accepts NA)
- Jenny Perinovic and Kyrie McCauley (Accepts NA)
- Carrie S. Allen and Sabrina Lotfi
- Jamie Howard and Meredith Tate (Accepts NA)
- KL Burd (Accepts NA)
- Jennifer Yu (Accepts NA)
- Hoda Agharazi and Lyssa Mia Smith (Accepts NA)
- Em X. Liu and Grace D. Li (Accepts NA)
- Carly Heath (Accepts NA)
- Kiana Krystle (Accepts NA)
- Sarah Underwood and Kat Dunn (Accepts NA)
- Joel Brigham (Accepts NA)
- Dante Medema and Liz Lawson (Accepts NA)
- Aty S. Behsam and Maedeh B. Saaina (Accepts NA)
- Kylie Schachte (Accepts NA)
- Gabi Burton (Accepts NA)
- Aaron Cole and Tamara Cole (Accepts NA)
- Hannah V. Sawyerr and Olivia Liu (Accepts NA)
- Bethany Mangle (Accepts NA)
- Lane Clarke (Accepts NA)
- Sunya Mara (Accepts NA)
- Karen Bao (Accepts NA)
Click here to view all Pitch Wars 2021 Mentors’ Wish Lists. To view the wish lists by genre, visit this link.
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