Are you ready for this? WELL OF COURSE you're ready for this!
Psst--do you read my blog and don't know what Pitch Wars is? Well, it's a contest hosted by the illustrious Brenda Drake, designed to connect un-agented writers with mentors. Authors apply, cross their fingers to get selected, and end up getting their pitches and full manuscripts shined up for perusal by agents. Yay! I'm here as a mentor this year to guide one special author through all the hoops, as well as providing cheerleading and moral support. Sound great? That's because it is!
If you want to apply to a mentor or four, head to Brenda's Blog and read the full rules, signup directions, and important dates!
About Me: Accepting Adult and New Adult Applications!
Hey there. I'm Julie. I write everything except screenplays and stage plays: that includes novels, short stories, essays, rants, and bad poetry. I dabble in a whole fudgy mess of genres, but I usually end up writing stories in the speculative fiction field--fantasy, science fiction, and anything sort of weird. I do like writing YA fiction, but I primarily write for grown-ups, and have completed nine novels and one nonfiction book. Here's what I've been reading!
Personal Trivia: I'm a music nerd and a soprano. I love musicals. I sometimes pretend to be an artist (I have a comic about being an author!). I like baking bread and cake. I edit freelance. I always wear two different colored socks. I have no desire to get married or have kids. I've been a vegetarian for over 15 years. I have appeared in most of the types of media known to man, including movies. I live by myself like a cool hermit. I am a fun-size tiny adult. I live in Florida. I love nostalgia. I have Rapunzel hair. I enjoy playing Dance Dance Revolution. I love babies. I hate onions and will react violently if you try to make me eat them. I'm always too busy to take on any more projects, but I'm always taking on more projects. (Apparently I love pain.)
My fiction agent is Michelle Johnson of Inklings Literary, and she has my fairy tale retelling trilogy on submission to major publishers. My nonfiction agent is Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, and she represents my book about asexuality (and--update--she sold it). Huzzah! I'll be accepting applications for the Adult and New Adult categories this year. I can't wait to hear from you.
Preferences: ANYTHING WITH BELIEVABLE AND COMPELLING CHARACTERS.
Genre preferences and concepts include the following:
- Fantasy in modern settings.
- Softer science fiction.
- Characters struggling with identity.
- Cerebral characters who still have heart.
- Romance that doesn't become a character's sole reason for living.
- Queer characters.
- Characters who are recovering from a huge change or blow, coming of age, or transitioning to something new.
- Characters with history--they didn't start living on page one (unless they were born on page one).
- Alternate realities with natural worldbuilding that doesn't take over the story.
- Lots of dialogue. Artfully rendered so you can always tell who's talking even if you don't use cheap tricks.
- Invented religious beliefs or spiritual beliefs that are solid and have weight.
- Mythology, folklore, or fairy-tale-derived inspiration.
- Longish books that aren't self-conscious about taking their time. I'll wait. You're great.
- Characters with agency, full personalities, and compelling motivations.
It's fine to have stories that depend on suspension of disbelief because of magic, pseudoscience, and supernatural happenings. But as soon as you ask me to believe in a character who behaves in an internally inconsistent, nonsensical way to forward the plot, I'm outta here.
I am not the best mentor for you if any of these describe your book:
- Major plot and action is geared toward a romantic relationship, without much else to it.
- Men use women as accessories to the point that the ladies don't seem like characters.
- Traditional "quest" stories that feature an adventuring party.
- Historical fiction that depends heavily on knowledge of the period to figure out what's going on.
- Alternative historical fiction that changes the outcome of an event only to lead to a majority group (such as white people, men, or straight people) becoming The Oppressed under a new world order.
- Dystopias with weak what-ifs at their heart.
- Steampunk. I'm afraid I just don't get it. (I won't rule it out entirely if you promise your characters are awesome, though.)
- Fantasy plots involving a person from our world traveling to another world and Saving Everyone because they're special.
- Fantasy or alternate-world plots that primarily focus on warring clans and battle strategy, with a war hero at the forefront.
- Magic with cutesy or poorly conceived systems, or incredibly complex magical "rules" that are dumped on the reader through tiresome recitation.
- Plots depending heavily on a Chosen One or a prophecy.
- Plots depending on the "star-crossed lovers" trope to manufacture all or nearly all of their angst.
- Plots revolving around something really gruesome, gory, or horrifying. (Sorry, not a huge horror fan. Though I kinda like if you can horrify me with something psychological.)
- Plots revolving around saving a trapped or kidnapped person (usually a woman or child).
- Stories that are only compelling if the reader is intrigued by erotic situations or the "hotness" of a protagonist/love interest.
- The world, plot, and concept are clearly more important to the author than the characters.
- The story and characters are only there to frame a spiritual or religious message, a political agenda, or a supposedly revolutionary philosophy.
- Characters do things--solving mysteries, winning fights, finding love, assuming responsibility--without experiencing any personal growth or change.
- Your book is done. Honestly, actually done. It's not a first draft. It's not a second draft. You would never describe it as "rough around the edges." It's been read by your test readers and it's polished. It's ready to be agented. It's ready for professional feedback.
- You have written an Adult or New Adult book in any genre (though you know I'm personally partial to science fiction and fantasy). Its characters run the show and I won't be able to see any puppet strings.
- You have fantastic language skills. You don't struggle with awkward prose or stilted dialogue or frequent typos or punctuation glitches. (Or if you do, I won't be able to tell.)
- You're serious and you want it badly. You didn't enter this contest thinking lol okay whatever. You have a passion for writing and a matching drive to get it out there.
- You want my feedback. (Sounds obvious, but sometimes when I work with authors, they argue with my comments and defend their work instead of trying to improve.) You welcome criticism and you'll be dedicated to applying it.
- You're already almost there.
I judged the "Come and Get It" contest last year with Cupid, and if you'd like to see examples of my critique in the feedback I gave to entries, they are still available to read here and here.
I also love new writer friends. Even if you're not applying to me--or even if I don't pick you--feel free to be my pal on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.
And who are the participating agents, you ask? THESE FABULOUS FOLKS!
- Louise Fury - Bent Agency
- Suzie Townsend - New Leaf Literary
- Nicole Resciniti - The Seymour Agency
- John M. Cusick - The Greenhouse Agency
- Sarah LaPolla - Bradford Literary Agency
- Victoria Marini - Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency
- Jessica Sinsheimer - Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
- Pam van Hylckama Vlieg - Foreword Literary
- Quinlan Lee - Adams Literary
- Jen Udden - Donald Maass Literary Agency
- Emily Keyes - Foreword Literary
- Brianne Johnson - Writers House
- Carly Watters - P.S. Literary
- Lana Popovic and Natasha Alexis - Zachary Shuster Harmsworth
- Molly Jaffa - Folio Literary Management
- Evan Gregory - Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
- Stefanie Lieberman - Janklow & Nesbit Associates
- Rena Rossner - The Deborah Harris Agency
And here's the rest of the party--click to meet the others before deciding who to apply to! YOU CAN ONLY PICK FOUR!
|1. Cora Carmack||17. Fiona McLaren||33. S.P. McConnell|
|18. Tina Moss||34. Veronica Park|
|3. Heather Webb||19. Joy McCullough-Carranza ||35. Trisha Leaver|
|4. Elizabeth Briggs||20. Mónica Bustamante Wagner||36. Lori Goldstein|
|5. Agent Assistant Lioness||21. Sarah Henning||37. Rin Chupeco|
|6. Susan Spann||22. Mina Vaughn||38. Evelyn Ehrlich|
|7. Marieke Nijkamp||23. Skylar Dorset||39. Lindsay Currie|
|8. Shelley Watters||24. Meredith McCardle||40. Naomi Hughes|
|9. Erica M. Chapman||25. Jen Swann Downey||41. Laura Tims|
|10. Jennifer Malone||26. Jaye Robin Brown||42. Julie Sondra Decker|
|11. Veronica Bartles||27. Gail Nall||43. Diana Gallagher|
|12. Brent Taylor||28. Dannie Morin||44. Sarah Nicolas|
|13. Molly Elizabeth Lee||29. Elizabeth Penney||45. Nazarea Andrews|
|14. Lindsey Sprague||30. Natalie Knaub||46. Shannon Duffy|
|15. Megan Whitmer||31. Jessie Humphries||47. Pitch Wars Host|
|16. Michelle Painchaud||32. Stephanie Garber|
Psst: Secret letter is Y!