First a little about us!
Claribel Ortega got her start editing student’s often times hilarious ads and ramblings on the back page of SUNY Purchase’s Independent Newspaper. From there, she became a small town reporter, where she enjoyed going to board of education meetings and texting the town mayors about the line at Starbucks. Today she’s busy turning her obsession with eighties pop culture, magic and video games into books. She lives in New York with her motorcycle-riding poet boyfriend & her suspiciously intelligent yorkie, Pancho Villa. She is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary. You can find her at claribelortega.com as @claribel_ortega on Twitter or making promo gifs for authors and anyone else who will pay her at GifGrrl.com.
Kat Cho writes Young Adult Sci-fi and Fantasy. Mostly ownvoices and mostly involving as much angst as possible (don’t @ me). She has been a mentor or judge in other events such as Author Mentor Match and WCNV. And She is a volunteer coordinator for DVPit. She is agented by the amazing and lovely Beth Phelan at The Bent Agency. Her current MS is a contemporary fantasy based on the Korean myth of the gumiho. She believes the writing world is a community and loves to share thoughts and advice as a contributor over at Writer’s Block Party or on her Youtube vlog. You can also find her on Twitter as @KatCho.
So we’re writing this to let any potential mentees out there know what we’re into. What stories catch our eyes? What characters make us swoon? Stay tuned to find out!We love a wide-range of fantasy including historical, urban and epic! We are lovers of diverse stories that tell tales that aren’t centered around Western/European origins. We are fans of strong ensemble casts and strong ladies. But, instead of just rambling on, let’s just give you a quick bullet list of some stories we’d love to see (this is not at all comprehensive as we both like being surprised by stories we never knew we’d love).
So, without further ado, here is our Pitch Wars Wishlist:
- Ownvoices Fantasy (especially set in worlds inspired by non-Western/Non-European cultures)
- Retellings with a twist (Think The Star Touched Queen’s retelling of Hades & Persephone)
- If your book is like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (think emotion/characters/relationships)
- Hamilton told from the POV of the Schuyler sisters
- Books that take place over a short period of time (like a weekend or day) think Breakfast Club
- If your book reminds me of a Miyazaki Film send it to me yesterday
- Enemies to lovers
- Misfits/unlikely groupings, Ragtag group of friends or enemies to friends, on a quest or heist, and Multi-POV
- Anti-heroes, villains journey (think FOTL, Young Elites, Vicious)
- Bad-ass girl gangs
- Serial killers in a fantasy setting! (Claribel loves murder)
- Street smart characters
- Strong friendships
Wish List in video format cause we’re extra like that:
Things on our oh-no-no list aka don’t send these to us
- We don’t really do pure contemporary (usually)
- Suicide, cancer, or child abuse
- Abusive relationships presented as romantic
- Books about race or oppression from the perspective of the oppressor
For your reference, here are some of our favorite Books:
- Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
- Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
- Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
- The Jackaby Series by William Ritter
- Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
- Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
- The Millennium Series by Stieg Larson
- The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
- Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
- The Inspector Gamache Series by Louise Penny
- Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan & Cliff Chiang
- Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
- Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter Series) by JK Rowling
- Redwall by Brian Jacques
- Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
- Black Cat by Holly Black
- Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
- Darkest Minds Trilogy by Alexandra Bracken
- Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
- Blood of Eden Trilogy by Julie Kagawa
And for another peek into our tastes, here are some non-book favorites:
- Musicals: Les Miserables, Hamilton, Rent
- Anime: Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Cowboy Bebop
- Movies: Spaceballs, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pacific Rim, Star Wars (IV, V, VI, VII, Rogue One), Moana
- Badass TV: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica
- Funny TV: Psych, Happy Endings, Parks and Rec, Brooklyn 99
- ALL things Miyazaki, Ghibli: Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Ponyo
- K-Dramas for dayz: Oh My Ghostess, Gaksital, Heirs, School 2013, Shut Up Flower Boy Band, Goblin
- Video games: Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy (especially VII aka the best RPG of all time, FIGHT ME) Just Dance,The Sims, Harvest Moon, Super Paper Mario, Street Fighter, Grand Theft Auto
- Murder Podcasts
- The 80s
- Movies: Amélie, Beverly Hills Cop, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Pacific Rim, Coming to America, Pretty in Pink, Wonder Woman, The Goonies, Guardians of the Galaxy
- Watching YouTube makeup tutorials while eating ice cream then passing out
- TV: How to Get Away with Murder, Brooklyn 99, Empire, Twin Peaks, GLOW
As for our future mentee, both of us really believe in revision. We actually have permanent residency in Revision-town. It’s a quaint little place with cute cottages and pools of our tears. Wine fountains and cheese fountains are equally present. And there’s a nice little path you can take to the top of a mountain where you can scream your frustrations into the uncaring sky. Anyway…what we mean to say is we’re not afraid of revisions and neither should our mentee. Revisions are meant to tighten and polish the MS. At the same time, we also don’t think the path to successful querying is perfection. We’re looking for a story that has potential (and we believe that’s what agents are looking for too).
Our future mentee should be ready to work hard. We want someone who is as kind as we are but as ruthless in making the cuts and changes necessary to make their book the best possible. We want someone who will keep an open mind and be willing to discuss big changes if they arise.
We believe your story will always be yours, we’re just here to collaborate with you and provide guidance and internet hugs and GIFs.
Good luck everyone and we can’t wait to read your submissions!
Go here for the links to all the other mentor wishlists!