Claribel & Kat’s Pitch Wars Wishlist!

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It’s HERE! That time of the year when Pitch Wars is starting up and we are finally able to share our wishlists! Claribel Ortega and I are co-mentoring as #Teamoji this year and we are so stoked! Send us all of your YA fantasies and spec fic so we can devour them! (Nom nom nom)
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First a little about us!

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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!tumblr_mdrkk5Rivo1rfzj10o1_r3_500.gifWe 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).

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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)
  • Fairies/Elves
  • Dystopian
  • 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:

Claribel’s Faves:

  • 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

Kat’s Faves:

  • 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:

Kat’s Faves

  • 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

Claribel’s Faves

  • Food
  • 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
  • Puppies
  • 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!

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Go here for the links to all the other mentor wishlists!

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Pitch Wars Prep Care Package

Hello internet-peeps!

I assume you’re here because you’re considering submitting your manuscript to Pitch Wars! And as a mentor this year, I am so excited to read the entries once they roll in. However, there is still almost a month until the submission window opens. So, I figure there’s a lot of stress-prep going on. And I’m hoping to relieve some of that stress with some helpful guides to help you prepare your submission and your brainz for Pitch Wars.

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The first thing I’ll give you is a bit of advice. While Pitch Wars is a great program that provides both mentorship and platform, it is not the end-all, be-all of pitching your work to agents. I did not make it into Pitch Wars the year I applied and I just used that experience to learn and grow as a writer until I got my agent. So all parts of the Pitch Wars experience can be valuable. (Also the fact that you finished and polished a whole book is a huge accomplishment. You’re all awesome!)

So, what do you need for Pitch Wars? A Manuscript, a query, a synopsis (optional), wine (less optional), and a support system!

Manuscript:

Note: you should have a complete and polished MS ready for Pitch Wars. But I’ll provide you some resources I’ve used in my own writing journey for those last minute touches.

Susan Dennard and the Revision Process

The For Writer’s Section in Susan Dennard’s Blog

Before querying & sub: cutting word count, filler words, & line-edits

Can Your Scenes be Seen?

Pitchwars Mentor Blog

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer

Query:

Some quick advice from me:

  • Comps are NOT a requirement. They’re there to provide some quick insight into what your story is about, the tone/themes of your story, and/or the audience you seek to reach. If the comps you’re trying to include only confuse these facts, considering not having them.

Writing a Query Letter

Query Letter Success

Query Tracker Success Stories

Writer’s Digest Successful Queries

Query Shark

Synopsis:

How to Write a 1 page Synopsis

6 Steps for Writing a Book Synopsis

How to Write a Novel Synopsis

Wine

Support system:

Adventures in Revising(2): CPs, Beta Readers, or hired editors?

#CPMatch on Twitter

Bonus Advice:

Online Contest Pitching: Querying and Pitching in the Public Arena

Conference Report: BookExpo & BookCon!

My conference report of my time at BookExpo & BookCon this year!

Writer's Block Party

Last weekend I was lucky enough to go to the amazing BookExpo and BookCon events in the New York City Javits Center with a few other WBP contributors: Melody, Foody, Meg, Ashley, and Christine!

IMG_20170602_161450.jpgBookExpo is the largest industry publishing event of the year. There are select tickets for bloggers, but it’s mainly for publishers, agents, authors, and industry professionals. 

Following BookExpo is BookCon, an event that’s open to the public and catered more towards the fans. (This is the first year it was two days!). 

The best thing about both BookExpo and BookCon is that it combines business, community, fangirling, and events (both during the day and after hours) in a giant mixing pot. Add some superstar authors and celebrities, their biggest fans, and stir!

IMG_20170603_123400 The epicness that is Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo

I’d been to BookCon last year, so I thought I was prepared for what…

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My Podcast Debut! (88 Cups of Tea)

Hey guys, I am so excited to share the first ever podcast interview I’ve ever done! It was with 88 Cups of Tea one of my ABSOLUTE FAVES! And I am still pinching myself because I can’t believe I had this amazing experience. It was for their celebratory 88th episode (congratulations Yin and Moonlyn!) and I was one of the lucky listeners picked to interview. Previous episodes of 88 Cups of Tea included interviews with greats like Leigh Bardugo, Jenny Han, Alexandra Bracken, Renee Ahdieh, and V.E. Schwab! So I am so star-struck by this podcast and Yin (the amazing host!)

I’d say definitely check out all the episodes and listen to all 8 amazing listener interviews on this super fun episode (I’m around the 1:37:40 point)

 

And visit their website for the show notes and their archive of all the episodes: HERE

#KatInKorea: Vlogging my way thru Korea

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Hey guys! The time has come for my vlog’s purpose to be truly realized! I’m vlogging my way through Korea with my cousins. So you can go to MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL to check it out. Here’s the playlist that I’ll update with the newest videos when they’re posted!

Also, look for some easter eggs of Rebel Seoul giveaway previews throughout the vlog!

UPDATE: My Korea trip has ended 😭 so all of my vlogs have been posted. I’ve gotten some interest in haul videos so stay tuned for those! 💸

Online Contest Pitching: Querying and Pitching in the Public Arena

Writer's Block Party

Most of you are probably familiar with the concept of online pitch contests. But for those who aren’t, in recent years, events have sprung up around the internet with the goal of helping writers connect with agents and editors who may be interested in their work. Kat Cho and Christine Herman, two of our Writer’s Block Party contributors, have both participated successfully in several online contests. (That’s us! It’s weird to write about yourselves in the third person, but we’re doing it).

Kat signed with Beth Phelan of the Bent Agency after last year’s inaugural #DVPit in April 2016 and will be a Pitch Wars mentor in 2017, while Christine was a Pitch Wars 2016 mentee who signed with Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency after they initially connected through a #PitMad tweet. Since a spring and summer full of pitch contests is just around the corner, we’ve…

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