Welcome #PitchWars Mentors!
If you’re on this page, I’ll assume you’re at least curious about my submission. Let me try to interest you further with some #BoostMyBio kung fu.
Disclaimer: I tried out for Pitch Wars two years ago with this same manuscript. I didn’t make it in, but I believe in this story so here I am again. I’m nothing if not persistent.
You can get a more general picture of who I am via my About page, and if you haven’t yet found me over on Twitter or Instagram, I would love to connect with you there regardless of whether or not you end up working with me.
My 2019 PitchWars Manuscript:
If you decide to request more, I’ve got a twitter pitch, a paragraph pitch, and a one page synopsis ready and waiting for your eyes, not to mention the manuscript itself. For now, consider this intentionally vague elevator pitch:
A YA fantasy retelling of THE GODFATHER set in a matriarchal world ruled by the Bene Gesserit of DUNE.
The Story Behind the Story:
I love the film THE GODFATHER. It’s amazing in so many ways, and Michael Corleone’s fall-from-grace/fallen-angel arc is epic. I’ve wondered for a long time why we never see female characters with equally epic fall-from-grace arcs in books and movies.
Then, in 2016, I was driving home from school, listening to a discussion on NPR about Frank Herbert’s iconic story DUNE, when it struck me that a key plot element in that book was deeply problematic.
The Bene Gesserit, if you don’t know, are “a key social, religious, and political force in the Dune universe. They’re a sisterhood whose members train their minds to obtain superhuman powers and abilities” (wikipedia). They can literally control other people’s thoughts. And yet… the universe is controlled by a bunch of patriarchal houses all fighting for power. How does that make any sense at all? Herbert invented a society of women who have mind control powers, but he put a bunch of dudes in control? I don’t think so. A woman with mind control powers should be seated securely atop the power pyramid!
That’s when the idea for my story, The 42nd Queen, was born. This story is my response to two fantastic and culturally iconic tales, both of which are filled with toxic masculinity and misogyny. The 42nd Queen is an unflinchingly feminist narrative, a reversal of gender power dynamics the likes of which I’ve yet to see in YA fiction. And it gives a female protagonist permission to fall into villainy in a way that, I hope, will be just as tragically satisfying as it was with Michael Corleone as he fell into the trap of a family’s violent legacy of power and control.
Come now, prospective mentor, doesn’t that sound like a story you want to read? Help me bring it to life.
Who You’d Be Working With:
I’m 42 years old, happily married, a mother of two. I pay the bills teaching high school science. Specifically, biology and anatomy electives, including forensics. I’ve got a BS in Biology and an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Writing for Young People. I’m a white, non-binary (she/her), bisexual Zen Buddhist. Neurologically, I’m pretty average. My three great passions in life are science, writing, and fitness.
Me As a Reader and Writer:
I am drawn to dark stuff, both in what I read and what I write. If you’re not into turning over the shiny, pretty rocks to poke at all the ugly stuff living underneath, I might not be the right mentee for you. Give me monsters (especially human ones). Give me flawed characters and let me watch them fail even as I root for them to rise above their own terrible choices. Give me villains who see themselves as heros, villains in whom I see parts of myself. Give me unlikeable characters, questionable morals, Angels who have fallen from grace. I love a good tragedy (the best horror stories are, IMO, tragedies).
The MS I’m submitting (again) is full of dark themes. It’s a villain origin story, and many of the characters in it are broken people doing terrible things.
Books I Love So Much I Wish I’d Written Them:
FIRESTARTER by Stephen King
THE HALLOWEEN TREE by Ray Bradbury
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman
THE SHADES OF MAGIC TRILOGY by V. E. Schwab
THE CONQUERORS SAGA by Kiersten White
THE POWER by Naomi Alderman
THE BROKEN EARTH SERIES by N. K. Jemisin
THE FIRST LAW SERIES by Joe Abercrombie
MONGRELS by Stephen Graham Jones
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis
(Short Story) THE SKIN OF A TEENAGE BOY IS NOT ALIVE by Senaa Ahmed via Nightmare Magazine <– if you haven’t read this story, do. It’s amazing.
I am a driven, goal-oriented person. I’m organized, and I attend to the details of a project. When I set my mind on accomplishing something, I make a plan, I execute that plan, evaluate my strategies, adjust as needed, and continue onward. My students joke that I was a drill sergeant in a former life because I push them hard and don’t accept anything less than their best. I hold myself to those same standards.
Am I going to work hard for you as your mentee? Do I want this? The answer to both those questions is a firm “YES!” And, as far as revisions go, I am SOOOO looking forward to tearing up this manuscript with you. Because it’s not perfect. Not even close, and I need help getting it closer. That’s why I’m trying out for Pitch Wars!
I will be open and receptive to feedback, blunt or otherwise. Writer’s have to have thick skins. They have to be able eat their egos and make room for the opportunity to transform their WIP into something great. And I want the MS I’m submitting to be great. Can you help me do that? If you think so, let’s do this!
Thanks for stopping by, prospective mentor. Hope to be hearing from you again real soon!