Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pitch Wars Mentor Post!



Totally Professional Pitch Wars Mentor Bio/Wishlist

Hey, Pitch Wars 2014 peeps!

What. Is. Up. I am SO stoked for Pitch Wars this year. Pitch Wars is super close to my heart, mostly because this is the contest that got me my publishing contract for NEVER, NEVER with Spencer Hill Press. It's an amazing contest where you get to meet unbelievably awesome people, become part of a community, and get a real shot at finding an agent or editor. That rocks, right? And you probably already know that, which is why you're here. So let's get this thang started by me pimping myself out and telling you why you want ME to mentor you.

SECTION 1: YO! PICK ME! -or- Hello. My Resume.

So. The bio. I'm from Colorado, where I live with my husband, two little boys, and two awesome hound dogs. I am represented by the fabulous Bree Ogden of D4EO Literary, and my debut novel (did I mention that? Ya know? My Captain Hook POV Peter Pan retelling, NEVER, NEVER that you can coincidentally conveniently find out more about right HERE? Did I? Okay cool) is coming out in September of 2015 from Spencer Hill Press.

I taught writing classes for a couple years, and I'm in the middle of getting a bachelor's degree in Writing, so that's kinda fancy. Plus, I just started freelance editing, and I've been beta-ing and CP-ing for peeps for quite a while.

You want me if you want to get a DETAILED crit. I'm gonna go in-depth into your manuscript, and figure out where it shines (and I'll tell you everything I love. I love to freak out over amazingness in a manuscript), and where it could use work, on a major plot/character/world level as well as in the little things. My specialty is character and relationships, and I'm good at making those suckers deep. I'm also a total grammar freak, and will be going in looking for those things as well. I'm constructive, and I love to make you feel good about the things that are working in your ms, but I'm also a Candor, and I'm gonna tell you what needs to be done on a surface level as well as in-depth to get that MS in SHAPE.

I've been pretty successful in the past with contests; they are my bread and butter. So I'll be able to help you not only to get your ms shining, but also to sharpen that pitch.

Further, EVERYONE who submits to me is gonna get personal feedback. Might be in-depth, might be just a line or two, but you're gonna get feedback for sure.

Cool? Cool. Let's not talk about me anymore. Let's talk about BOOKS.

SECTION 2: WISHLIST, BABY! -or- Things I'd Like to Find in My Inbox

I'm mentoring YA and NA this year. There are a few things that transcend what I want in each genre, things I want to find no matter what:

*Passionate characters: I want characters that care about something, someone, characters with stakes.
*Give me diversity, guys! Of all types. Diversity is awesome and stuff.
*Did I mention characters? I want to care about your character. That's it. Make me care and we're good.

Now, down to the nitty gritty.

Let's talk about genres I want, then we'll break it down into some more specifics in separate category-wants.


*Realistic (And a million sub-genres of this): I'm into Contemp right now, in a major way. So I'm gonna prefer realistic stuff, generally. Within that big genre, I'll probably love a lot of stuff. Thrillers, straight-up contemp, psychological horror (character-driven), geek fic (yeah I just made that up, but I love ALL THINGS GEEKY), survival stories, retellings.

*Fantasy: I'm in a fantasy phase right now--I'm very much into it. But I AM going to be super picky here. I'll do fantasy if it's a retelling, magic realism or a VERY character-driven, close POV fantasy like Game of Thrones, Graceling, Anansi Boys, American Gods, Vicious, the show LOST, or a realistic fantasy/sci-fi like Jurassic Park or Outbreak or, ya know, that kind of stuff.

*Retellings: Hi, I'm Brianna, and I have a retelling problem. I love them hard.


* I love sci-fi. Like LOVE it. But for this particular contest, I'm not looking for it. (Unless it's barely sci-fi, as mentioned above.)
*No hard sci-fi OR fantasy, especially distant POV, dryer-voiced, etc.
*Genre Mystery
*Light NA Contemp Romance
*Cancer stories (Personal issues. Can't do cancer stuff. If your story has a strong cancer A plot or subplot, PLEASE don't sub to me. If I decide to mentor your project, then figure out halfway through someone is dying of cancer or has recently and it's a big thing, I'm gonna be unhappy. And cry. And not in the way you want me to.)

Now, let's break it down further. Specifics by category and books/movies I love/would kill to see. Please remember, I am only mentoring YA and NA. If your ms is MG or Adult, awesome, but sub to one of the amazing MG or Adult mentors! Thanks!


In YA, I love extremely dark to extremely light and everything in between. (I know. So helpful, right?)

In anything, dark to light, I love geek fic, foodie stuff, the arts, and travel/bucket list stories.

--On the Lighter Side--

*Funny, awkward, cringe-worthy, embarrassing stories. YES, PLEASE.
*Romance! Not a MUST in all YA subs, but if your book is light/funny, I, like, 99% need romance.
*Fave stuff like this: Easy A, Mean Girls, How to Love, anything Sarah Dessen, The Beginning of Everything

--Middle of the Road--

*Gray, between dark and light, with HEART.
*Characters I fall in head-over-heels love with
*Fave stuff like this: Eleanor and Park, Jellicoe Road, The Breakfast Club, Friday Night Lights

--The DARK Side--

*Very dark comedies, a la Fargo, Grosse Pointe Blank, Heathers, The Big Lebowski. 
*Dark and twisted antiheroes or flat-out villains. Oh my gosh. I LOVE VILLAINS. Send me ALL the villains. Like Breaking Bad.
*Psychological Thrillers, like Dangerous Girls.
*I don't care if there's romance or not. 
*Less abuse/bullying/sad dark, more crazy WHAT JUST HAPPENED freaky dark


Most of what I want in NA is dark. Like, crazy killer dark rather than abuse, similar to YA. This list is gonna be similar. There is SOME light stuff I'd be VERY interested to see in NA though. 

--The Lighter Side--

*Geeks. Bring on the GEEKS. I play D and D, I cosplay, (you can find photo evidence of this on Twitter ;)) I game, bring me anything geeky and I will LOVE IT OK.
*Foodie Stuff. Especially in NA. Culinary school? UH YES.
*The Arts: Give me something set in film school, a dance company, an orchestra (I'm a musician, and have been in orchestras. I can totes help with this.), anything like that. (But oh man please film school.)

*Lots of repeats from the YA list to come here*
*Psychological horror/survival: Especially, like, something in an abandoned ski lodge or something. Or the wilderness.
*Give me screwed-up, disillusioned characters in dark situations, like True Detective. Freaking Rust Cohle. Freaking True Detective.
*Weird stuff. I want bizarre, dark, weird, awesome stuff.
*Stuff where the setting is crazy, atmospheric. Think Louisiana swamps, Alaska, that kind of thing.
*Very dark comedies, a la Fargo, Grosse Pointe Blank, Heathers, The Big Lebowski. Anything the Coen brother would do, I WANT THAT YESTERDAY.
*Dark and twisted antiheroes or flat-out villains. Oh my gosh. I LOVE VILLAINS. Send me ALL the villains. Breaking Bad kind of stuff? AW YISS.

SO, that's about it! Any questions at all, let me know! Find me on Twitter and @ me (@briannashrum) and I'd totally love to answer any questions you have! 

Let me be your 

Yes. I did just intend to subtly imply that if you pick me, you can become Darth Vader.


(Head here for more info on how to submit!)

And back to your previously scheduled programming. Or, ya know, bloghopping.

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Easy-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.


  1. Hi Brianna,
    Would you be interested in a NA that is full of funny, cringe-worthy events?


  2. Ooh! Yes, definitely. I love funny!

  3. OMG! My husband's text tone for me is Darth Vader breathing! ha ha! :)

    1. HA! Marriage: you're doing it right.

    2. His friends and coworkers always ask him if I know he has that text tone for me, like I'd be offended or something! Once he changed it to something sweet, and I made him change it back.

  4. Hi Brianna,

    My novel is contemporary but set in a world that is not our own (ie. different continents and a different history) and I have been calling it contemporary fantasy, though the alternate world is the only 'fantastical' element. So, I was wondering if this is too fantasy for your interests.

    Katie B.

    (BTW, I am a different Katie than your first commenter, though I laughed when I saw that but just wanted to be clear.)

  5. Hi Brianna,
    My character is fresh out of college. Her characterization is true to NA, but the story doesn't take place in college. Since this is on the cusp of NA and Adult what would be the best way to query my novel?


    1. That's a tough call. I think NA is branching out of having to be set at college, more just about that general stage of life. Like, most people would consider the show FRIENDS to be NA, even though it's not set in college. I think this one is your call--what do you believe the experiences/themes are truer to? NA or adult?

  6. Almost every NA I've read is heavy with romantic relationships themes. This is a thriller with speculative fiction elements and a wee bit of romance. You are on my mentor wish list, but I also have a couple adult mentors as well. My understanding is the form only allows one choice. Does this even sound like something that you would be interested in?

    1. That might be a question for Brenda Drake--I *think* you're right and that the form does only allow for one category. NA Thriller sounds great to me! It obviously all comes down to the execution, but certainly is intriguing! But go with your gut--if you feel the story is NA, go NA. If you feel it's Adult, there are some amazing adult mentors to sub to as well! :)

    2. Thanks Brianna! I will post the question to #AskMentor session on Monday. :)

  7. Hi Brianna. This is my first Pitch Wars and I'm just trying to figure out the ropes. Excited! Would you be interested in Romeo and Juliet in modern Belfast?1st person YA, 2 POV, grief, family issues, and sectarianism? Thanks for considering!

  8. Brianna,
    I've written about college kids mind hacking, think War Games meets Inception. It's set in the real world in the fast approaching future. I consider it light sci fi and think it's just the sort of realistic sci fi you're interested in, but I wanted to double check. Thanks, Ruth

    1. OOH. Hackers? Those comp titles! That does sound super good!

  9. Hi Brianna,

    I would love to submit to you, but I wasn't sure if you would go for an alternate history with subtle steampunk elements. Also, I don't know if this would apply as paranormal, but the romance is between a gay teen and a boy who isn't technically human, but is NOT a vampire/werewolf/anything that goes bump in the night. Would that still count as paranormal to you?


    1. Hmmmm tough call. I love alternate history and diversity. It depends on what the guy is--is he a creature you would consider paranormal? If not, it could be super interesting! I say go with your gut as to whether you think it's paranormal. It's hard to tell from a short pitch, you know?

    2. Oh ALSO, you should definitely take a look at Jessie Devine for this sub. Sounds right up his alley :)

  10. Hi Brianna,

    Would you be interested in a post-apocalyptic setting, or is that too sci-fi for you? It's post-nuclear war, no zombies or fantasy elements or super advanced tech. The story is a YA dark comedy with a rather villainous main cast. I'm really interested in submitting to you but wanted to make sure the story fits what you're looking for right now!

    1. I LOVE POST APOCALYPTIC. And dark comedy. I was just thinking about how much I wanna see a dark comedy

    2. Awesome! I'll be sending it your way very soon. :) Thanks for the quick response.