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  • Writer's pictureLane Clarke

Pitch Wars | Wishlist

hi Hi HI! Welcome to my Pitch Wars Wishlist!

I’m so excited to be mentoring in the YA category for Pitch Wars this year! I will also be accepting NA manuscripts. I can’t wait to find a new and important voice to help get across the finish line. In the past, I have helped a few manuscripts along the way to finding representation and I’m really looking forward to (hopefully!) doing that again (in a more structured environment because who can’t use a little structure these days eeeek!)

Here are some things I’m good at: I majored in English Lit in college, which did nothing for my writing (sorry Jane Austen) but I can read entire books overnight, which I think will come in handy for our fast and furious pace. I’m a lawyer, so I’m frighteningly detail-oriented and I love a good deadline. My revision style is about finding the core of the story you’re trying to write and building out from there. Sometimes this might only take a few changes that will make the book sing. Sometimes this might be a massive overhaul or complete rethinking of the plot. I’m tough but cracking the heart of your book open will be totally worth it! I might not be the best mentor for anyone who can’t take tough and honest critique in the middle of a compliment sandwich. 

Other fun stuff: I am currently working on edits for my YA contemporary debut novel, LOVE TIMES INFINITY, releasing in Summer 2022 with Little, Brown/Poppy! Oh, and I'm really proud of all of you for making it this far!

Life is a Highway (My Plan): 

I will have read my mentee’s full manuscript before choosing and already made some big picture notes, but I will be reading it for a second time with more detailed notes and editorial idea written up in a full edit letter that will address what needs work (and what was done really well! Good writing is as much about learning how to fix things as it is about expanding on what you already do well!) Edits will cover character motivation and development, relationships between characters, world-building, dialogue. Anything! I do not particularly subscribe to any kind of traditional act structure, but pacing will be hugely important in the revisions process. I’m always open to discuss any ideas you have for tackling these edits, but I’m also happy to send you on your way and let you hash it out until you feel it’s ready. At this point, I will read the manuscript again for last round edits and to determine if the changes addressing the edit letter work. I can be as much or as little collaborative as you want, but I will encourage you (and challenge you) every step of the way. My goal is to make you a stronger writer overall, for this manuscript and for many more to come!

I am Very Online, so I respond quickly to emails, tweets, DMs, and carrier pigeons. I’m also happy to jump on the phone or even Zoom, where we all probably live now. 

NOW FOR THE FUN PART!! Here's my wishlist

I’m casting a somewhat wide net because I never really know what I will be totally surprised by. My main criteria is that I completely fall in love with the manuscript. Here are some specifics on what I’m really, really looking for, though if your manuscript isn’t detailed below and isn’t on my Do Not Send list, I’m open to it! I will be prioritizing manuscripts by marginalized writers, though your manuscript does not need to be specifically labeled as #ownvoices. That is completely up to your comfort level.

What I would really love to see: 

  • Contemporary - my first love. Give me your coming-of-age stories, first love romances, anything set in the real world. I tend to like books that are a bit heavier in subject matter, but I might be surprised by something light and fun! 

  • Historical fantasy - think Cleopatra as a vampire. I want you to bend history into something deliciously new 

  • Paranormal - I love vampires, soft grim reapers, and banshees!! I’m not big into ghosts, zombies, or angels vs. demons.

  • Retellings - Especially from lesser known fairy tales or mythology 

  • I’d love an end-of-high school book where college isn’t the next step

  • Voice! Voice! Voice! Even if you’re book is not in my wishlist, if it has amazing voice send it! I fall in love with voice before anything!

  • Found Family 

  • Villain Origin Story - think season 1 Vanya on The Umbrella Academy

  • Romance - I love love and I want some TENSION!

  • Friendmance - the only thing I love more than a romance is a friendmance, I absolutely love when friends are just totally in platonic love with one another 

  • Friendship breakups 

  • BANTER - I love when characters roast each other

  • Grandmothers!! - If your book has a grandmother as a major character, I want it! 

  • Complicated family relationships 

  • Non-US settings 

  • Small town settings 

  • Virginia settings - I live here and I’m obsessed with it 

  • Character-driven narratives - I love quiet books that are about emotional arcs 

  • Stand-alone fantasy (PLEASE!!)

  • Contemporary with surprising speculative elements - think They Both Die at the End

  • Purple prose - Sue me! I love when I can tell a writer genuinely loves language 

Please don’t send the following to me: 

  • Death or abuse of a child (basically if a child is physically hurt, it’s not for me)

  • On-page sexual violence 

  • Opressor-opressed romances (think master-slave or Nazi romances)

  • Gore or body horror 

  • Police brutality 

  • Mysteries - I love them but probably would not be a good editor for one

  • Second person POV

  • Novels in verse - they are my favorite to read but I would not be a good editor for one

  • Speaking animals as main characters - think Eragon

  • Bigotry 

YA books I’ve really enjoyed recently and some Evergreen Favorites

  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

  • The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

  • Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford 

  • Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson 

  • Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

  • More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

I can't wait to read your work! If you have any questions, find me on twitter (@lanewriteswords)

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