PITCH WARS WISHLIST 2020
Hello, Pitch Wars Hopefuls! Welcome to my wish list – I’m so thrilled to have you here.
Let’s begin with introductions. I’m Hoda and this will be my third year mentoring in Pitch Wars. Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to spend three months revising their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents can read a pitch/first page and can request to read more.
This year, I’m mentoring YA!
Let’s begin with the good stuff, shall we?
So, what am I looking for?
Contemporary: I ADORE contemporary. Please send me all your voice-driven and quirky contemporary subs! Make me laugh, cry, or swoon (or all of the above!). Whether it’s light-hearted or more on the darker side – I’ll take it! I’m a fan of romance, but it’s not a necessity. That said, if you have a YA The Hating Game – I want it!
I’d love to see stories with strong friendships (if you’ve got friendships similar to that of Meredith and Cristina, or Meredith and Alex from Grey’s Anatomy – GIVE ME!!!). Conversely, I’d really like to see friendship breakup stories, too.
Contemporary Fantasy: Give me allll the contemporary fantasy subs! Seriously. All of them. This year, I’m only taking fantasy set in our world. This includes speculative fiction, magical realism, and paranormal.
Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense: I’m not one for excessive gore or horror. But got a page-turning mystery that keeps me guessing? A thriller that has me on the edge of my seat? Send my way!
I’m open to NA but might ask you to change it to YA.
Some other stuff I’d like to see include (but is not limited to):
- Diversity/LGBT+ characters
- #Ownvoices (though I will never ask if you share your MC’s marginalization).
- Trope driven, slow-burning and complicated relationships
- Family/sibling relationships
- Enemies to lovers
- Friends to lovers
- Feminist themes
- Morally grey characters
- Flawed/unlikeable characters
- An ensemble cast
- Unlikely allies
- Anti-heroes and villains
Some books I love:
- Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
- Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos
- The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
- Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
- The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
I’m not the right person for:
- Excessive gore
- Anything with animal cruelty
- Rape as a plot device
Still here? Awesome! Let me tell you a little about myself and why you should pick me as a mentor.
I have worked in the publishing industry since 2016. I’ve interned at several literary agencies where I had the opportunity to dive into the slush pile and learn what it takes for a manuscript to stand out. In 2017, I was an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing and was promoted to Editorial Assistant that same year. I had the chance to work with some amazing authors on their books! It’s helped me develop my editorial eye and spot the strength and weaknesses of a manuscript.
I was a mentee in 2017, so I’ve been where you are and can offer any advice you may need as a mentee. What else? I have a master’s in English Literature and am currently doing my PhD. My non-writing related interests include photography, film, and travelling. I speak French, English and Farsi.
Favourite TV shows: Friends, The Office, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Scrubs, Schitt’s Creek, Gilmore Girls, Modern Family, Sherlock, Grey’s Anatomy.
Movies I love: Anything Disney. Love Actually. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Austenland. Crazy Rich Asians. Pride and Prejudice (2005).
Favourite friendships: Cristina and Meredith (Grey’s Anatomy), Meredith and Alex (Grey’s Anatomy), Harvey and Mike (Suits), Sherlock and John (Sherlock), Stiles and Scott (Teen Wolf), Dwight and Pam (The Office), Bonnie and Damon (TVD).
Favourite Couples: Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice), Kaz and Inej (Six of Crows), Lucy and Joshua (The Hating Game), Rick and Evie (The Mummy), David and Patrick (Schitt’s Creek), Pam and Jim (The Office), Rowan and Neil (Today Tonight Tomorrow).
Bonus of picking me as a mentor? Cute dog pics!
MY MENTORING STYLE:
I like to highlight a writer’s strengths (so we can build on them) and weaknesses (so we can work on them). I’m always honest in my feedback; I will let you know when I think something isn’t working, but I will also leave comments on the things I love.
There’s never just one solution to a problem; so when I notice something isn’t working, I’ll offer several possible solutions. We can also bounce ideas back and forth to come up with something together. I’ll always explain why I think a certain change is necessary. Because this is your book, I will never force you to make a specific change. But if you’re reluctant to make any changes at all, I may not be the mentor for you.
There’s going to be two rounds of edits. First, I’ll give you an editorial letter that will address big picture issues. For the second round, I’ll go through your manuscript again to provide line edits. Once we get closer to the agent round, we’ll strengthen your query, synopsis, and pitch.
In terms of communication, I’m pretty flexible so it’ll be whatever you’re most comfortable with: email, texts, video chat, DMs, etc. It’ll really be up to you. I want my mentee to feel comfortable to approach me with questions or tell me when they disagree.
And that’s it! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out on Twitter (@HodaAgharazi). I also have a thread on the Pitch Wars forum; if you’re more comfortable there – click here. Also, check out the other YA mentors below!
Pitch Wars 2020 Young Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists
- Aiden Thomas (Accepts NA)
- Sarvenaz Tash (Accepts NA)
- Chloe Gong and Tashie Bhuiyan
- Abigail Johnson
- Kit Frick and Carlyn Greenwald
- Sonora Reyes (Accepts NA)
- Laurie Dennison
- J.Elle and Emily Golden
- Andrea Contos (Accepts NA)
- Emily Thiede (Accepts NA)
- Amanda Panitch
- Allison Saft and Ava Reid (Accepts NA)
- Emery Lee (Accepts NA)
- Carrie S. Allen and Sabrina Lotfi
- Shannon A. Thompson and Sandra Proudman (Accepts NA)
- Adiba Jaigirdar and Gabriela Martins
- Michaela Greer (Accepts NA)
- Tash McAdam
- ST Sterlings (Accepts NA)
- Maiya Ibrahim and Ayana Gray (Accepts NA)
- Meg Long and Xiran Jay Zhao (Accepts NA)
- Margie Fuston
- Jamie Howard
- Nova McBee
- Amelia Diane Coombs and Sophie Gonzales (Accepts NA)
- Rachel Griffin
- Susan Lee and Auriane Desombre (Accepts NA)
- Ciannon Smart
- Sasha Peyton Smith and Kristin Lambert
- Lane Clarke (Accepts NA)
- Lyndsay Ely (Accepts NA)
- Anna Sortino (Accepts NA)
- Jennieke Cohen
- Bethany Mangle (Accepts NA)
- Sunya Mara (Accepts NA)
- Kat Dunn and Daphne Lao Tonge
- Sheena Boekweg and Alechia Dow (Accepts NA)
- Liz Lawson and Dante Medema (Accepts NA)
- Sarah Dass (Accepts NA)
- Zach Hines (Accepts NA)
- Hoda Agharazi (Accepts NA)
- Dawn Ius and April Snellings (Accepts NA)
- Kara McDowell and Kimberly Gabriel
- Kylie Schachte (Accepts NA)
- Deborah Falaye
- Rona Wang (Accepts NA)
- Becca Mix and Grace Li (Accepts NA)
- Aty S. Behsam (Accepts NA)