What is Pitch Wars?
If you’ve clicked on this link by mistake, maybe you’re wondering what Pitch Wars is. Pitch Wars is an annual writing mentorship program where authors apply with a finished, unpublished manuscript. Mentors (like me!) go through every submission we receive and choose one manuscript to work on for three months. Together, we’ll do a thorough revision, and work on a pitch and query letter.
Hello, Pitch Wars hopefuls! This is my first year mentoring, and I am so excited!
I am accepting YOUNG ADULT FICTION in the following categories: mystery, thriller, contemporary, science fiction, fantasy, survivalist and spy stuff
In February, there will be a showcase of all the mentee’s novels. Agents and publishers use the showcase as a chance to read the authors’ pitches and first pages. If they like it, they can request to read more. However, the best thing about Pitch Wars isn’t the showcase. While a chance to get your book in front of agents and publishers is, of course, awesome, the real joy of Pitch Wars comes from the process (working on your manuscript with someone invested and excited!) and community—I highly recommend getting involved in the forum, and the twitter events. To find out more, check out pitchwars.org
So now, the fun part! My wishlist. Firstly, I’m only accepting young adult fiction. At the end of my wishlist I’ve included some information about me, so once you know what I’m looking for, you can see if you think we’d be a good team.
Regardless of genre, I’m looking for taut prose and a compelling narrator. I’m usually most interested in the upper age bracket of YA but this is not a hard and fast rule. I like a fast pace that won’t let me put the book down and forget about it (ADHD life). Give me your imperfect teens (I’m a highschool teacher...) with a lot of personality and attitude. The queerer, the better.
Mystery/ Thrillers Make me throw the book on the floor and yell ‘WHAT’
One Lie Too Many, A Line in the Dark, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Patron Saint of Nothing
Survivalist Fiction I built my first ‘apocalypse box’ when I was seven
I Am Still Alive, A Map for Wrecked Girls, Beauty Queens, Hatchet, The Rule of Three
Spy Stuff Teen spies is an all time fave. Especially if you have queer teen spies, I WANT!
C.H.E.R.U.B, Henderson’s Boys, Alpha Force, Alex Rider, Young Bond
Sci Fi Anything with a lot of heart, but also explosions and or punching
Gideon the Ninth, The Twelve Fingered Boy, Starswept, Red Rising, The Girl with All The Gifts, Skyward
Fantasy Give me your complex worlds and your original magic systems
Children of Blood and Bone, Steelheart, Lightbringer, Night Angel, Dreadnought
Contemporary I like a multi-plot contemporary with prose that makes me gasp
The Astonishing Color of After, American Street, I’ll Give You The Sun, Bone Gap, The Hate U Give
Girl in a beanbag chair holding a book says "These things are great. It's like TV in your head!"
Extras I would love to see in all of the above
As queer as all get out
Representation (especially own / adjacent voices) for any marginalized group
Plot twists: The unpredictable but satisfying kind
Disaster teens: I, myself, was a deeply disastrous teen and hold a soft spot in my heart for idiots with impulse control issues
I’m not a good fit for...
Retellings of any kind
Coming out narratives as the main plot
Stories that revolve around a romance - I’m not romance adverse, but it’s rarely enough for me to connect to a story. If your twitter pitch would need to reference a romance, I’m probably not the best mentor for it. Edit for clarity: Your story having a romance is no problem. Your story BEING a romance is not for me.
Love triangles that don’t end in polyamory (if they do please make that clear in the synopsis)
Stories with passive protagonists- I like my main characters active, not only responding to events but also making decisions (whether they’re good or bad in the long run)
Blaine from Glee: Thank you, but no, no thank you.
If you’re still reading, now you have an idea of what I’m interested in, so I should probably tell you about myself so you can see if you’re interested in working with me.
I’m a Welsh-Canadian author and teacher living on unceded Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territory in Vancouver, Canada. I’m queer and trans and I use neutral pronouns (they/them). I’m married to the best person ever, and our wedding was featured in Rock n Roll Bride Magazine! I have three black belts in Karate and once ran away with a knife thrower and joined the circus.
I’ve lived on four continents and travelled extensively on six due to a decade of itchy feet. Now, I’m settled in British Columbia. I teach high school Computer Science, and English (usually not at the same time), as well as writing young adult fiction. I wrote my first novel (what is now WE ARE THE CATALYST, Psionics #2) in 2013 when my wife dared me to write a book while we lived in the Chilean desert. I enjoyed it immensely and never stopped writing. One sci fi series and a few anthology publications later, I signed with my agents, Elle Thompson and Dr. Uwe Stender of Triada US. I’m currently on submission with a trans led YA murder mystery/ contemporary. I also write hi-lo fiction (high interest, low reading level for teens who struggle with reading) with Orca Books. My debut hi-lo, BLOOD SPORT, was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection for 2020.
I’m a recipient of the Shoot for the Moon fund for trans writers, and the founding mentor and managing editor for the Gender Generations project (previously known as the Trans Tipping Point Project).
What you can expect from me as a mentor
Heaps of exclamation marks, gifs, and enthused yelling. I have never once been described as a ‘calm’ person. I’m silly, excitable, enthusiastic and encouraging. If you’re looking for a drill sergeant, that’s not me. I will be on your team, your biggest fan and your best cheerleader, but I won’t kick your ass. You gotta be willing to kick your own ass.
I have challenges with audio processing so I work best with people who are comfortable using email/text based communication, or video—not voice only phone calls. I respond very quickly (but not in the morning—I’m so far from a morning person it’s comical), so if you feel pressured by swift responses we might not be a good fit.
Sarge from Starship Troopers haranguing a hapless cadet with a red X overtop
Cheerleaders from Bring It On cheering with a green checkmark overtop
My strengths as a mentor
Pacing, dialogue, plot development, and keeping your stakes clear and front and centre.
What I’m looking for in a mentee
Someone who believes in their work, and is willing to put in the time and effort to make it the best it can be. Someone who is a good communicator—I want your questions, concerns, even just your random thoughts floating around—I’ll help you best if you talk to me. Someone who is open to discussion and changes they may not have considered yet. I’ll never force a change on you, but I’ll want to talk about your reasons for saying no if you’re not feeling something. I want to work with someone who sees Pitch Wars not just as a possible route to publication, but an opportunity to develop their best work, and build a community.
All Time Faves
Movies - Resident Evil, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, The Shallows, Old Guard, Wrong Turn
TV Shows - Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Leverage, Supernatural, Grey's Anatomy, Person of Interest
Books - Red Rising, Lightbringer, Night Angel, Protector of the Small, Gideon the Ninth
I’m very friendly :) If you have questions or just wanna say hi, you can find me on instagram and twitter @tashmcadam
To see the rest of the YA wishlists for Pitch Wars 2020 go here, or use the list below.
JLH in I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER: What are you waiting for?
Dr Evil "please come love me"