ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRe You RRRRRRReady for Pitch WaRRRRRRRs?
Hello awesome writer people! I am very excited to be mentoring again this year–especially because I love paying it forward. In 2014, I was a Pitch Wars mentee myself and my life forever changed. Not only did I learn how to revise like I never have before, but after the agent round, I had SEVEN offers of representation for agents. Now, I’m represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of the New Leaf Literary Agency. I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with you and your amazing book!
I’ll be mentoring Young Adult! The book that landed me my agents was a young adult contemporary, but I’m also an avid reader of science fiction, speculative fiction, historical and light fantasy that has sci fi elements. Truth be told, I started out writing Sci Fi and I do have one WIP I hope to revive one day. But the aforementioned genres are ones I’ll accept. Here are some books I love in these genres….
Under the Never Sky series
Some Girls Are
Broken Beyond the Meadow
The Fault in Our Stars
The Truth About Alice
The Princess Bride
What I’m looking for in a manuscript:
It makes me both laugh and cry (I love a good funny book, but also one that gives ya the feels)
Books that deal with social issues such as religion, prejudices, poverty, drug use, bullying, eating disorders, etc.
Characters that I want to be friends with in real life
Anything to do with natural disasters (I used to work at an organization that dealt with the aftermath so I feel like I could add a lot).
Where the relationships are deeper between all characters and the main focus isn’t a love interest
Lots and lots of dialogue and action! (I’m a playwright first, so…I’m addicted)
Stories set in the South
A Thriller with a great great thrill! Maybe a teenage Gone Girl?
Maybe a sci fi about genetics!
Plot twist I’ll never see coming
What I probably am not the best fit for (though I’m sure your book is awesome):
Heavy romances (I’m all for kisses and light sexual content, but anything heavy duty in this genre isn’t for me)
HUGE World-buildy Fantasy (love to read them, but I probably won’t be great helping out).
Overly cursing books (the occasional use doesn’t bother me, but if it’s every other word, I’m probably not the best fit)
Anything to do with pandemic diseases (I know…weird trigger. But I worked with the organization battling Ebola two years ago. It bothers me)
Overuse of the mean girl trope. I love a good mean girl, but make her believable and super deep (ie. SOME GIRLS ARE) and not a cartoon villain.
Ghosts. They give me the heebie jeebies. I will not accept any ghosts. Do not even ask.
Alien Invasions. While I LOVE sci fi, I don’t enjoy the alien invasion storyline. If your story has aliens—I could deal. But if they are invading traditional Earth like in THE FIFTH WAVE, I’m not going to want to read it. (Aliens give me the heebie jeebies too). So if there’s aliens, I want them to be in a different kind of futuristic setting.
Rape. I feel bad knocking this one off my list this year because I love these stories when done well and believe they can eb so powerful, but I recently came off a huge revision dealing with similar issues and I don’t have the emotional capacity to do another at the moment.
What I’m looking for in a mentee:
Someone willing to work and is open-minded for notes. Pitch Wars can be a lot of work at times (I had to delete two characters and absorb their roles into other characters. A lot of work, but it totally made my book stronger).
Someone who is friendly and wants a genuine mentory relationship. I’m totally willing to email and Skype with you when I can (please note that due to the new baby, I may have to take calls or video chats later in the evening (like after 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. EST or I can do earlier in the day if you don’t mind the baby hanging out with us). I definitely want to be able to give advice whenever you need it– even after the contest when agents come knocking on your door (I would have been lost without my mentor!).
Someone who truly believes in their story.
Someone who isn’t afraid to communicate (do you disagree with me? That’s totally okay! Just tell me!)
Someone who is ready to work (oh wait…did I mention that already? It was worth repeating…)
A little about who I am…
My background consists of a lot of hodge-podgey things, but mainly I have worked as a published journalist and marketer for more than 10 years. I recently left my job at an international relief non-profit where I predominately wrote marketing copy and used to also travel to disaster zones to cover our work there (so if your book involves natural disasters or disaster relief, I have a lot of background in that). Before that, I worked in social media at another non-profit, was an editorial temp for a national magazine in New York City, and interned at a newswire in Washington, D.C. where I filmed documentaries as well as wrote articles– one article of which landed on the front page of three Texas newspapers (but it was super boring and political).
Now, I’m a new stay at home mom who is embracing life as a full-time writer! I live and breathe all things novel writing and freelance writing (and of course, helping out the ever wonderful Brenda Drake as her assistant!).
Playwriting was one of my first passions before a professor begged me to throw away my Julliard application because he said I’d starve to death and should pursue journalism first. Before that happened, I had short plays performed around the country from coast to coast including a handful at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. when I was 18. My monologue “Baby, Baby” — which partly inspired my Pitch Wars novel THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES (now titled TRUTH, LIES, AND CHILI CHEESE FRIES)– was performed in a studio off broadway in New York City.
I also worked as a writing tutor for three years at the university level, ultimately leading me to be invited to present at the International Writing Center Conference in 2011 where I shared my teaching pedagogies regarding body language while tutoring and how to balance indirect vs. direct methods of mentorship. We also studied grammar mechanics like nobody’s business, so I have a very strange relationship with commas and dangling modifiers. But I will happily comb over your MS for these kinds of grammary things if you want.
But as a general human being/geek, I looooooove:
The TV Show Firefly. You have no idea the depth of my love for that Sci Fi Western!
I collect mugs like a freak. I love inspirational mugs, funny mugs, writer mugs, and location mugs. Yup. Mugs. I love them for mochas, tea, and ice cream…and sometimes wine.
My favorite book and movie is The Princess Bride.
Other books that changed my life: The Giver, Omon Ra, and The Bell Jar (one of these is not like the others)
I’m a HUGE Superman fan. The 90s TV series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” inspired me to be a journalist.
Renaissance Faires (I go every year…dressed up. They nearly hired me once).
I used to play the ocarina…and it had a Triforce on it (I WAS LIKE 12…to 19…hence why they nearly hired me in previous bullet point)
My favorite playwright is Neil Simon.
My favorite play is Chapter Two and The Odd Couple (both original & female version)– both by Neil Simon.
My favorite musicals are Les Mis (way way before the movie ever came out) and Pulitzer Prize winning Next to Normal. Oddly enough, despite my love of humor, these two are DEPRESSING.
My favorite board game is Settlers of Catan.
I love dressing up in homemade costumes for Halloween or Ren Faires or even Chick Fila Days or whatever. My last costume was when I was pregnant and dressed like a bird on an egg. Saved my life! I fell on the dance floor and my inner tube nest bounced the baby to safety (I, on the other hand, was on crutches for a couple of months).
So, in summary, why I’d be a good mentor:
As a former Pitch Wars mentee, I know what this process is like and can totally sympathize. Also, I had a great mentor so I have a bar I personally want to live up to.
As an author with an agent, I have been through different layers and rounds of revisions, and I am happy to do an in depth look at your book with you.
As a journalist, I specialize in brevity and as a marketer I write catchy pitches for a living. I’ll be able to help you tighten up your language in the manuscript as well as polish a dynamic pitch for the showcase.
As a playwright, I specialize in dialogue and stage direction– meaning, I’ll be able to help you make sure your dialogue is authentic and flows, as well as help make sure your actions are described in a way that your reader can accurately visualize them.
As a former professional writing tutor, I have studied the mentor-mentee relationship on an academic level, so I will try my best to help you in the way that suits your needs the most. Also, I know grammar really well and am more than happy to also help you copy edit.
So that’s me in a nutshell. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or tweet me here: @Nikki_Roberti. I try to follow back people with “writer” or “author” in their description. For more info, you can read my PitchWars Mentee bio from 2014 here. I look forward to reading all your cool books and getting to know you. Good luck, everyone! May the pitch be with you! And visit my other fellow mentors in the blog hop below!