Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pitch Wars Mentor Bio 2017

Hey hey potential mentees! I'm so excited to be doing this again and I can't wait to find my next mentee. 

A bit about me. I currently write YA and my debut YA contemporary novel, THE GIRLS OF MARCH, is coming out from Sky Pony. I was a 2014 Pitch Wars mentee, mentored by the awesome Emily Martin. I was a 2016 mentor and I am so freaking proud of my mentee, Tosha Sumner and her beautiful book, which is now represented by an agent. I live in Utah with my husband and one good dog and one naughty dog. I’m an attorney and lover of horror movies, pie baking, and hiking. My agent is the fabulous Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary. 

Some of my recent and all-time favorite reads are, in no particular order:

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Pet Sematary (I know it’s not YA but still) by Stephen King
Remember Me by Christopher Pike

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys

My mentoring style:
I will provide my mentee with an edit letter of my overall thoughts regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript. I will also go through the entire manuscript, marking up line edits as I go. I am up for bouncing ideas around, helping restructure plots, or reading a second time after my mentee has done a revision (assuming we have time!). A lot of it will depend on my mentee! 

I also subscribe to the philosophy that when a reader thinks there is a problem with a story, they’re usually right. When a reader thinks they have a solution, they’re usually wrong. This is your story, I am just trying to help you make it shine! So when I see a problem, I’m going to point it out and usually offer 2-3 potential solutions. If you disagree with my ideas, that’s totally okay! I’m mostly suggesting them to see if they spark with you, or if they inspire you to start brainstorming a different solution. The main thing is that we find the solution that YOU need for your story.

My editing experience:
In addition to feedback on pacing, plot holes, and character arcs, I have a good grasp on basic grammatical issues. I was an editor and proofreader for my college newspaper, so I will also keep an eye out for little errors as I read through for big-picture problems.

Random bonus skills?
Why yes, I DO have some random bonus skills! If you have a manuscript dealing with legal or political issues, I’m your girl. Seriously. Even if you want to totally abuse the Rules of Evidence, I will help you think of a good way to do that. (CONVICTION, one of the books I listed above, killed at cleverly abusing the Rules of Evidence. And Ethics, now that I think of it...)

My wish list:

I am mentoring YA and I would LOVE to see manuscripts along the following lines:

·                 I adore contemporary! Give me friendships both positive and toxic, sibling relationships, parents who exist, and mundane realities like after-school-jobs. I also like a dash of romance--and more than a dash is lovely as well ;) If you can make me laugh, you are golden. If I laugh AND cry, I’ll definitely want to battle some fellow mentors over you. Fluff, serious, that lovely mix of both—I love it all, with one caveat…
  • I am not the right fit to mentor a super dark contemporary YA novel. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read them, but it is not my strength as a writer or mentor. If you could comp to Living Dead Girl or Girl in Pieces or similar, there are better mentors in the contest for you than me.
·                 I would be completely obsessed with a political thriller or mystery. I miss Veronica Mars in my life, I’d love to meet a teenaged Olivia Pope. Is there a young adult Big Little Lies out there somewhere? If so, I want to read it. And dudes, do you remember that Christopher Pike where the girl fakes her own death to frame her friend/boyfriend for her murder? That happened in TWO DIFFERENT BOOKS and I loved it both times! #old
·                 I love horror. Scare the pants off me, please! I would seriously shank some of the other mentors for an old-school Fear Street-style manuscript. Evil cheerleaders in contemporary can be overdone, but you can never have enough evil cheerleaders in horror.
·                 I would be super into a retelling of classic literature that hasn’t been done before. (I love you, Jane Austen and Peter Pan, but I’ve read a lot of you lately and I need a break.) The Odyssey in space! Jane Eyre in the wild west! LGBT Moby Dick! Gender-swapped Vanity Fair! If you have a retelling (even a loose retelling) of a story that not everyone will automatically remember, gimme gimme.
·                 I would love to help a writer with a historical novel (I am a big history nerd). My personal strengths are post-colonial American and European history, but any area of the world would be fascinating to me. If you have a historical novel set in an era or place that hasn't gotten a lot of love in YA before, I would adore the opportunity to help you shine it up. 
·                 I love sci fi, fantasy, and horror elements in an otherwise contemporary or historical setting. Does your book have a touch of sci-fi or magic in it? I am all over that. Think Firefly the TV show, Holly Black’s White Cat trilogy, Game of Thrones. (Sure, there are dragons and White Walkers, but as of book 5/season 6, they only matter 15% of the time, amiright?)
  • Note: I do not want high fantasy or hardcore sci fi. Repeat: I do not want high fantasy or hardcore sci fi. If you have a question about where that line is, ask folks on the twitter feed, ask your CPs and betas, or drop me a line in the comments section. Don't waste one of your precious spots sending to me when there are better mentors in the contest for you, my friends!

What I want to see in a manuscript, regardless of genre? Voice, a diverse cast, a strong sense of place and time, and a unique perspective or angle (whatever that may be!). It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be promising!

Questions, comment, concerns? Hit me up in the comments section or on Twitter @ruthanne_snow

Love you guys!

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  1. How are you with zombies, multi-POV, and anime-themed writing?

    1. I'm cool with zombies, if you've got a new angle (some stuff is overdone) and multi-POV is great when its done well! I don't know too much about anime so it would be entirely dependent on whether I connected to the voice and concept. Hope that helps!

  2. I have a shelf of Christopher Pike books downstairs, including REMEMBER ME. It's my favorite! Also, I see your point about the faked death, and I accept your challenge ;).

  3. Hi Ru! I'm taking you up on your offer to check on sci-fi elements, because you are high on my list at the moment... A teenage girl builds an android in her barn with her father. (Retelling of a Classic children's book and movie.) The android is central to most of the novel. Book is 1/2 her in school, 1/2 at home with android and Dad. Too much sci fi?

    1. I think if it's still character-driven, that sounds fine.

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