Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I've Got A Blank Space Baby (and i'll write your name)

Nice to meet you, where you been?
I could show you incredible things.


(For those who don't know what #PitchWars is - here's the deal: The brilliant amazing possibly super-powered Brenda Drake organizes this awesome contest that connects aspiring writers with mentors (like me!) and then we work together scrubbing and shining the aspiring author's manuscript until it is so stinking sparkly that agents will fight for the right to call it their own. For more info and to be part of the contest YOU MUST go to Brenda Drake's blog. Sound good?)

So this year marks my third go round as a PW mentor... which wow. It's really such an honor to be a part of this amazing contest. 

And adding to that excitement is that this year I am co-mentoring with Demitria Lunetta! Not only is Demitria an amazing author (see: IN THE AFTER, IN THE END, and upcoming BAD BLOOD) and a wonderful friend, but she is a fabulous critique partner as well. If you are a believer in the two heads are better than one theory, well you're in luck because Demitria and I will be working in tandem to make your manuscript shine. (And if you're wondering what kind of manuscripts Demitria will be looking for and how she likes to critique make sure to visit her blog as well!)

And like last year I (along with Demitria) will once again be mentoring... 

Yep YOUNG ADULT!!! Yay!!

So what is going to make me sit up and pay attention to YOUR young adult manuscript?

Magic, madness, heaven, sin

Saw you there and I thought

Oh my God, look at that face

You look like my next mistake

Well... Strong often unlikeable protagonists, complicated antagonists, kick-ass girls, romance, depth and darkness, fun, having my heart ripped out, laugh-out-loud moments, mystery, thrills, paranormal elements, realistic elements, cute puppies, and weirdness.

Your book does not need to have all of those elements. Actually, it definitely shouldn't because my head would explode and I don't think that's something any of us want to see happen. BUT the one thing I MUST have is strong writing. That doesn't mean it has to be literary or lyrical or bursting at the seams with similes (oh please definitely NOT that last one), but it needs to have that certain something that's a mixture of craft and voice and your own personal secret sauce that just makes every page sing.

So basically I am open to everything and I never really know what exactly will grab me. I am definitely NOT turned off by language, sex, or violence - in fact, when it's a necessary part of the story, I believe it's important to include these elements. But your character does not have to drop f-bombs for me to love them.

If you want a good idea of what I like to read check out my Goodreads. I try to keep this updated every few months with what I've recently read. 

So that's what I'm looking for. But this is about more than me falling in love, you need to find a mentor that fits into what you need as well. To that end, let me tell you a bit about myself (besides the fact that I'm a big Taylor Swift fan which you may have already figured out) and my critique style.

Ain't it funny, rumors fly

And I know you heard about me

So hey, let's be friends

I'm dying to see how this one ends

You could say I have a strong arts backgrounds. Or you could say I have two college degrees of questionable worth. I prefer the former. Anyway, from undergrad I have a BFA in theatre and then, after several years of graduate school, I gained an MFA in film and television production.

I am represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. My own books are: ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE (HarperTeen 2013),  (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME (HarperTeen 2014) and the recently released DOWN WITH THE SHINE (yep HarperTeen again). 

Psst... I'm also currently running a Goodreads giveaway for DOWN WITH THE SHINE which you can enter here. Or you could buy the ebook which is currently only $4.99!  

And here are a few places you can find me online:

Twitter: @katekaryusquinn (I'll be tweeting with the #PitchWars hashtag, so make sure you're following me!)

So what kind of feedback can you expect from me? 

You can tell me when it's over
If the high was worth the pain

...Actually let me start with what you won't get from me. 

I am not big on correcting grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other things of that nature. That's not to say that these things are not important - they are. I am just not the person to make those elements shine.

I don't expect you to write like me. Or to write your story the way that I'd write it. Instead, I want to help you write the story in your voice and style, and tell it the way you need it to be told. I will, however, occasionally throw different ideas out. In my screenwriting classes ages and ages ago (see that MFA does come in handy!) my one teacher used to call the process of throwing different ideas out spitballing. Sometimes you use the spitballed idea, but mostly it just helps get your own ideas flowing.

I will never tell you that your story sucks. Or you suck. That doesn't mean I'll only have positive things to say, because ooohhhh trust me I will point out what is not working for me. But I also always make a point of talking about the things that are working oh so very well. Personally, I find the odd "YAY!!" "HEE HEE HEE!" or "LOVE LOVE LOVE!" comments can make an otherwise tough critique go down a lot easier.

Finally, do not expect only a line or two of notes for feedback. As you may have guessed from this blog post, I can be a little long winded at times. And yes, sometimes I do go on and on and on and... Okay, I'll stop now. The point is, I tend it give pretty long critiques with lots and lots and lots of thoughts.  

You can also check out the critiques I did on Brenda's blog (here and here) to get an idea of how I work. I also did a bunch of critiques on my blog last year for folks who submitted to me but were not chosen and you can look through my archives over there to the right ---> for September and October of 2015.

Okay, we're almost done here, but in case some of you are reading this and wondering, "Okay but what if I submit my work to you and don't get picked as your mentee, cause that sort of sucks." 

Well yes, it does suck (although hey if you want to be in this business handling rejection is unfortunately a huge part of it). BUT you might get chosen as someone else's mentee (which is why you get several picks) and that would be awesome! However, some people won't get picked and so Demitria and I had a discussion about what we can do for those writers. Cause let's face it - everyone can benefit from a little extra feedback. So we put our heads together and decided to offer a query and first page critiques which will be posted publicly our own blogs to those who submit to us but are not chosen as mentees. If you're interested in that offer we'll email you once the mentees are announced and let you know how to collect on that offer. (Pssstt... I also offer paid critique services which is another option if you are not chosen for PitchWars. I try to keep my prices low to make it a manageable expense. You can find more about all that here.)

Okay, that's almost it from me except for one more thing...

Brenda Drake puts A LOT like A LOT A LOT of time - her own personal she could be writing time - into making Pitch Wars happen. It is not a small endeavor. Most contests of this scope ask for money just to enter, but PitchWars is free. FREE!! I love free stuff as much - or more (probably more) - than anyone, but here's the thing, if you could spare $3, $5, $10, or even $20 dollars to keep PitchWars going - not just this year but for many years to come - that would be wonderful. AND here's where it gets even better - anyone who donates $20 or more gets a pretty sweet bonus - you'll be able to claim two additional mentor applications. Yeah, that's gonna make refining your list of mentors a whole lot easier, right? For more details on this and how it all works please go to Brenda's blog.  

OOOOOOHHH WAIT. There is actually one last last thing. If you are participating in the Blog Hop Scavenger Hunt and wanting to know where my letter is... well, it ain't here. Instead you'll have to visit my co-mentor Demitria's blog and read about her likes and interests to find it. 

Any questions? Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter cause...

I've got a blank space baby,


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