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Hi. We Want Your #PitchWars YA MS!

Hi Everyone!!

It’s Pitch Wars! WHOOOOOOOO!!! This year I’m teaming up with my CP and awesome BFF, Brenda Drake! We will be accepting in the YA category and can’t wait to read your beautiful words ;o)

Dean excited

I’m so excited for Pitch Wars this year! I actually joined the party a little late, but I’m so glad my co-mentor Brenda Drake  asked me to participate! I’m so proud of my mentee, Whitney Taylor from last year. I had a blast working with her and reading her amazing words. There were many times I uttered the word, “Wow.” I absolutely love her voice and writing and I’m seriously excited that she signed with the wonderful Maria Vicente at P.S. Literary Agency! YAY!

Previous years I worked with more amazing writers. I even had a sister duo! Leah and Kate Rooper were so much fun to work with and their MS  JANE UNWRAPPED was just sold to Entangled Teen Crave!! I also had an excellent experience with my very first mentee, Linda Budzinski. You can read our story here. You can also find her awesome novel THE FUNERAL SINGER here!

reading-icarlySo a little about me… 

I’ve been writing for over 9 years in total–3 years in pursuit of publication. I’m going to recycle some of my bio info from last year because it hasn’t changed. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? #clicheoftheday

My writing is represented by the amazing Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis. I had the pleasure of meeting her this year and I am incredibly proud and happy to call her my agent. She’s patient, kind, communicative, creative, and just the best.

A little about us (Brenda and me)…

We met during National Novel Writing Month 2010. And I knew instantly that she was a friend for life. Brenda is so talented and smart about her writing and plot choices. She won’t settle for the ordinary and instead pushes for the extraordinary! Which is why I’m so so so happy and lucky to have her be my co-mentor this year!! She knows a lot about world building, description, plot, voice, query writing… I could go on and on. So this year you get both of us! YAY!

My history in publishing…

I began in publishing as an intern for the incredible Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Louise taught me a lot of what I know about the industry and writing/editing. I was also an associate editor at Entangled Publishing where I had the opportunity to work with some amazing authors and editors including the talented Liz Pelletier and Stacy Abrams. I’ve learned a lot over the years about publishing, queries, voice, and most recently, story structure that I’m eager to share with my mentee(s). I’m a blog contributor for the YA Misfits and All the Write Notes. I love the Detroit Lions and University of Michigan football, alternative music, going to concerts, singing, reading, good movies, and playing my guitar (when I can). Lorelai Gilmore in her brainMy spirit animal is Lorelai Gilmore.

What I’d love to see in the YA category… (Brenda too!)

This is always the hardest part for us. The truth is… I don’t know. I know what my tastes are like. I love YA contemporaries, a great sic-fi or thriller. I love stories about football, music, love interests who antagonize each other then fall for each other. DIVERSITY – Multicultural, QUILTBAG, disabilities – physical or mental, whatever you got. There has to be TENSION and STAKES, CONFLICT. A good romance is always fun to read. That doesn’t mean have them kiss on page 14. Have them almost kiss a few times then kiss somewhere around 60% or so, then tear them apart [insert evil laugh]. I want to stay up late reading your story. Dave frustratedTorture me. Make me angry at you for not giving me what I want right away. Make me CARE about your characters. MAKE ME LAUGH. Castiel laughingI love laughing so if your MC is funny AND has emotional baggage that’s a total win for me. Please no verse or lots of world building. And keep the info dumps in those beautiful brains of yours. Nothing really scares me off except people eating people. Horror – yes, Thriller- yes. Fantasy – yes, Sci-Fi – yes. I do love Dystopian but agents are shying away from it right now, so… unless it breaks the mold completely, I would submit something else. Same for paranormal romance. As I say every year, GREAT WRITING trumps anything I write in this bio.

STILL VALID —> My ideal love interest –  Stiles Stilinski from Teen Wolf (if you’re not watching it, you’re missing out) – Why do I love him? Stiles is goofy, funny, sweet, loyal, smart. He’s kind of the whole package, folks. He makes you love him. Also, throw in some Mr. Darcy and you’ve got a dangerous combo.subtle Dylan

My mentoring style…

I’m pretty blunt when it comes to editing. I will say exactly what I think is missing and what I believe will help, even if it’s something that seems ridiculous (like changing your love interest – it happened, ask Linda). This doesn’t mean you need to change anything. Feel free to tell me no. If I strongly believe something will help your story, I will push you to try to think differently. That’s our role–to guide you through this process. Many have pushed me to explore other opportunities in my stories. Sometimes I listened, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I was wrong and ended up changing it later. I will mostly point out big picture stuff; motivations, plot holes, structure issues, character arcs. As I say every year I do Pitch Wars, this will be a partnership. I want to work with you to make your story the best it can be.

Some of my favorite books:

GOING TOO FAR by Jennifer Echols (really, anything by her)
The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare
SECOND CHANCE SUMMER by Morgan Matson (anything by her, but this is my favorite)
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp
THIS SHATTERED WORLD by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey
SHUTTER by Courtney Alameda
THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
HOW TO LOVE by Katie Cotugno
DEFY by Sara B. Larson
JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta

Quick Tips…

QUERIES – Read your query and pages out loud. Read it as a reader would on the back of the book. Would you want to read your story? What is it about your story that you like best? Use that.

PAGES – Your first line should introduce your voice as well as the tone of the MS. Make sure you snag us right away. Don’t bog us down in description and info dumps; it’s okay if we don’t know your MC yet, we shouldn’t! Just make them interesting and unique enough that we keep reading.

That’s all I got for now, feel free to find me on twitter @ericamchapman if you have anything specific to ask. I’m thrilled to join the Pitch Wars team for the fourth time! Be sure to check out the awesome agents and my amazing fellow mentors to see what they’re looking for! GOOD LUCK!!!

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Stay cool, rockers!


10 Responses to “Hi. We Want Your #PitchWars YA MS!”

  1. Am making my way through the PitchWars blog hop after a slight delay caused by a crazy thunderstorm and power outage. You give some great advice for querying here, even for writers not ready for PitchWars this year. Thanks so much for mentoring. Love this event! There are so many supportive people in this writing community. 🙂

    • Thank you so much!! I completely agree, this community is a great one. I’m proud to be a part of it ;o) And I’m glad you have your power back. It sucks when it’s out like that for sure!!

      Good luck to you ;o)

  2. Dominique Goodall says:

    Not submitting to you for #PitchWars – but Stiles is my man <3

  3. Ann Marjory K says:

    I was so glad to see your name back on the mentor list! Last year, your comments were so helpful to my MS (it was the superhero one) and me as a writer.

    In fact they, combined with the other mentor comments, played a big part in rewriting the entire thing. It’s so much stronger now. I’m entering it again this year. 🙂

  4. Aww, thank you!! That’s so great to hear. I’m so glad to have played a part in getting your MS to where you want ;o) I remember that one. So much fun! Good luck!!

Leave a Reply to Dominique Goodall