Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pick me! Pick me for your PitchWars Mentor!

This is my first year being a PitchWars' mentor. But not my first contest rodeo. If you direct your submission (using the correct contest form from Brenda Drake's website) to me on August 18th, I'm not afraid to wear a funny hat for you!

Let's get the bio out of the way. Here's all about me:

Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, Sun versus Snow, PitchSlam, and New Agent.

Her epic fantasy, Kindar's Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story,Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant's Bookshelf Press in their anthology,Summer's Double Edge. She's repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

I've also done quite a bit of editing and have done many, many query critiques. I know what makes a good query and a good first chapter. I can help you make yours into a polished specimen of beauty.

My CPs call me the Queen of Plot Holes. I hate filtering with a passion. I love to eliminate crutch words. Editing is not work, it's an art form. 

I should perhaps mention that Query Kombat 2014 ended in June and already SIX entries have gotten agents. Should I make that bigger? 

SIX entries got agents so far!

So what am I mentoring?

I'll be mentoring MG! Yay for MG!

My MG manuscript about silly hamsters landed me the wonderful Sarah Negovetich. I've done a lot of reading in that age category for my day job. It's sort of my expertise during contests. My co-hosts send the MG my way.

I love the voice of middle grade. I love that middle grade can be silly and that the subjects are lighter. I love to see an MC finding their place in the world. I love that MG usually involves a happy ending!

But what sort of MG do I want you ask?

Broadly speaking, I prefer the genres of fantasy, humor, adventure, mystery, thriller, and some types of contemporary. Historical fiction is a must see for me. I'm not keen on science fiction, but 
I'd look at light science fiction. I'd look at about any genre in MG.

I'm most drawn to something with humor. But not necessarily all the time. A unique concept will catch my eye. Voice, voice and more voice.

I'm not as interested in stories about heavy family squabbles or dark subjects. Parents divorcing. Addiction problems. Abusers. Those are probably not for me.

I like an underdog who is scrappy but not negative.

I like a hint of romance for upper MG.

I like a cozy mystery.

I like historical set in Western Europe or early America, but I want to see any sort of historical.

Diverse characters are great. But they also have to be interesting and three dimensional.

If your story involves bullies, it had better have a new twist on them. The same goes for fairies, werewolves, vampires and zombies.

If I've picked you before in another contest for an agent round, you're better off trying someone else. (Probably.) I like to give new people a chance. 

I like a first chapter that shows me something about your MC's personality. Make sure your first chapter has a mix of action and exposition. Don't talk at me the whole time. Let your character do something also.

Some older MG books that appealed to me: Anna of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, Little Women, Eight Cousins, Narnia, Chronicles of Pyrdain by Lloyd Alexander.

New MG books: Princess Academy, School of Fear, The Path of Names, The Golden Door, Harry Potter.

If you want to have fun, send your submission to me! I love to interact on twitter. I will give feedback on all my submissions and will be requesting more pages if I like yours.

 And did I mention that SIX from Query Kombat have agents so far? Thanks for considering me!

And here are the links for the rest of the mentors. 

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  1. Looks like I get to be first to post! I think it goes without saying that I love your wish list! My MG is set in the late 1800s with ghostly adventures, humor and a vein of sci-fi (Steampunk, to be horribly specific, though it's not the main focus)...and there's this extremely subtle hint of a budding young romance hiding in there as well. So excited to see your wish list!

  2. Hi Kendra! I'm excited for August 18th! History has always been one of my areas of interest.

  3. Middle grade rocks. The MG characters see the world through fresh eyes, with one foot stepping toward independence and the other rooted in the known. So many possibilities, so many stories and so little time.
    Plus, I believe it is such an importance bridge age for developing a life-long reader, especially the boy reader. Thanks for participating as a mentor to MG and offering your expertise.

  4. I'm so glad you are doing MG! You are going on my "possible 4" list.

  5. Hi, Michelle! Love the Star Wars emoji. :)
    I have an Upper MG Fantasy book that I'm entering into Pitch Wars, and I was wondering if what you're looking for in a first chapter is a "deal breaker" ?


    1. Nothing is a deal breaker. It really depends on the story and the voice.

  6. Would you be interested in a MG historical set in the U.S. in 1938, or is that not one of your keenest historical interests?

    1. I'm going to look closely at any historical, but it will still depend on the plot and voice or if the query and chapter grab me. Yes, a 1938 MG would interest me.

  7. Hi Michelle,
    A question: will there be entry forms on Brenda's site on the 18th? Or just contact info for where to send pages/query? I'm new to this contest and trying to figure out the logistics...
    Thanks much!

    1. I'm new to it too. But I believe (don't quote me) there will be a form this year. That could just be a form that you copy and use when you email. Not sure. I am sure that all the submission info will be on Brenda's blog soon. Everything will be explained there.

      I am sure that you can't personalize your query letter this year.

  8. Hi Michelle!

    I was wondering if you consider chapter books to be MG and would you consider them? It's definitely the older edge of CB (but obviously still young MG). Think humorous adventure story - Magic Treehouse meets Dan Gutman's School Daze, with just a drizzle of American History.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. The Pitchwar rules say no chapter books. It would have to be longer than a Magic Treehouse word count. But it never hurts to try is my motto.

    2. You can enter chapter books in the twitter #Pitmad special coming up in September.