Pitch Wars 2021 Manuscript Wish List

Kiana Krystle 

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Dear Future Mentee, 

 

When I found out I was chosen as a Pitch Wars mentor, I felt like an expecting mother. I don’t know who you are yet, but I already love you with my whole heart. The idea of you alone has brought so much light into my life. I can’t wait to watch you grow and become the best writer you can be. I am committed to nurturing you and helping your story shine. As a mentor, I hope you see me as your biggest cheerleader and best friend. I will always be there for you every step of the way, and I hope you will trust me with any questions you have. I can’t wait to begin this journey with you! 

If you aren't familiar with Pitch Wars, Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns select one writer to work with over the course of three months to revise their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents read your pitch/first page and potentially request more if interested. I am very grateful for the opportunities I've had in the writing industry, and I would love to give back to the community in any way I can. I am incredibly honored to mentor Young Adult and New Adult for Pitch Wars Class of 2021.

If you are curious to know a bit more about me, I am an Asian American author with a love for lush, whimsical prose and fairytales. My pronouns are she/her and I currently live in San Francisco, CA. I am a former editorial intern at North Star Editions and a literary fellow at BookEnds Literary. I love all things cottagecore, sea themed, and romance. My debut novel, DANCE OF THE STARLIT SEA, is scheduled for publication in Spring of 2023 by Peachtree Teen, and my agent is Naomi Davis. 

 

The Writing Community has helped me so much throughout my career, and I would absolutely love the chance to give back in any way I can. With my experience, I hope to offer insight on publishing from an agent/editor’s view, as well as a writer’s view. If you are interested in working with me, please check out what I can offer and what I am looking for.  I have also provided an accessible version of my wish list without photos here

 

                                                                                                                                              Best Wishes, 

                                                                                                                                              Kiana

WHAT MY MENTEE CAN EXPECT FROM ME

Because of my internships and fellowships in the publishing industry, I have had the chance to learn from multiple editors, agents, and marketing professionals. I would like to share what I've learned about the ins-and-outs of publishing and hold your hand as you navigate the industry. I hope that my relationship with you will transcend past Pitch Wars and last throughout your career. As your mentor, I aspire to make your manuscript, query, and pitch shine. In addition, I hope to help you create your author brand and strategize ways to build your platform in the writing community. 

 

As a mentor, I promise to be nurturing, open, understanding, and empathetic. Sharing your writing is vulnerable, and I never want to make you feel insecure with me. Our craft is always evolving, and I am here to help you grow, not to judge you. I understand you will make mistakes and meet road blocks, and that’s okay. We will figure out how to get through it together. It is my goal to make your writing shine, and at the end of the day it is your vision I want to uplift, not mine. Any suggestions I make are considered options, never rules. You know your story best, and I want to help you tell it in a way that feels good to you. However, all I ask is that you consider why I am making those suggestions before rejecting them.

 

I will offer two rounds of revision during the mentor process. The first pass will be a traditional edit letter. In this letter, I will specifically touch on your plot, characters, voice, tone, setting/world building, dialogue, and pacing. I will analyze each element in depth and highlight what works and what can be improved. From there, we can evaluate what areas need to be further developed. Afterwards, we will create a custom revision plan together. You can contact me at any point during the process through your preferred method. I am open to video chat, call, text, DM, email, you name it. 

 

Once your revision is complete, I will read your manuscript over one more time and send it back with track changes for spelling/grammar. I will also provide a second edit letter analyzing the same elements as before to compare how they have improved, or see how they can be developed even further. Finally, I will help you come up with your pitch, synopsis, and query letter before the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase. 

WHAT I EXPECT FROM MY MENTEE

I am looking for a mentee full of passion. I want someone who knows the heart of their story and cares about it fiercely. If you have a message in your heart that’s begging to come out but you don’t know how to get there, I want to uplift your voice. 

 

If you enter a partnership with me, I expect you to be hardworking, driven, and committed.  If you want to reap the benefits of Pitch Wars, you have to put in the work. Please know I will always be proud of you no matter what, as long as I can see you’re trying your best and that you care.

 

I don’t expect you to agree with every suggestion I make, but I ask that you are open to this process. Feedback is inevitable, and if you work with me, I will be completely honest with you 100% of the time. While I am always kind in the way I present critique, I understand that receiving feedback is vulnerable no matter what. I ask that you keep an open mind when entering the process, and trust that I have your best interest at heart.

WHY YOU
SHOULD PICK ME

Due to my fellowship at BookEnds Literary, I have learned a fair amount about the behind the scenes of agenting, editing, and marketing. Additionally, I interned at North Star Editions under the supervision of the Managing Editor of Fiction, which allowed insight on manuscript evaluation and the acquisitions process. On top of my experience, I am an emerging author with my debut novel scheduled for publication. I feel very blessed with the opportunities I've had, and I would love to share what I've learned to help prepare you for your future.

In addition to my background in publishing, I have created a solid author brand for myself and believe I can help you with self-marketing and creating a lasting community. It is very important to network in this industry, and I have spent the past year building connections and making meaningful impressions. Not only do I want to help you become the best writer you can be, I want to help establish who you are as an author. 

MY SKILLS

World Building: I have an intense passion for creating authentic atmosphere. I was trained to unlock the limbic system, which helps create a visceral experience for your audience. I believe any story can be heightened with specific sensory details that evoke sensations within the reader. It is my goal to help make your writing pop off the page. I want your readers to feel like they are living in the story with your characters. 

Character Development: One of my greatest strengths as a writer is creating believable characters with strong motivations and desires. What makes a great character is dimension, which includes flaws,  passions, beliefs, misbeliefs, motivators, quirks, and more. If your characters are not fully developed, it can impact the entire pacing and plot of your story. It is my goal to help establish your characters' desires and explore how their fears prevent them from getting what they want. By doing this, it creates high stakes and tension. 

 

PacingThe first thing I notice about a story when evaluating manuscripts is the pacing of the story. Sometimes, the inciting incident takes too long to develop. Other times, a book will start really strong, then drag in the middle. One of my strengths is creating tension and riveting pacing. You want your reader at the edge of their seat, begging to devour every next page. This can be achieved by increasing stakes, motivations, and character agency, which I hope to develop with you.

MY MANUSCRIPT WISH LIST 2021

Click button  above for my Manuscript Wish List Pinterest Board

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#TeamGoddess

Here’s the fun part! Let’s dive into what I’m looking for. Across the board I am hoping to uplift marginalized communities. I personally have a deep love for lush, lyrical writing with a literary bend. While I am a huge fantasy lover, my taste leans more towards light fantasy or contemporary fantasy. Think of Studio Ghibli films or Disney Princess movies. I adore anything that feels like a fairytale. I am also open to select contemporary romance and historical romance as well. 

Overall, I love charming, poetic, descriptive stories. I have a soft spot for anything glittering, romantic, and full of heart. I am on the lookout for characters with complex emotions and a lot of passion. If you have anything that comps CARAVAL or STRANGE THE DREAMER, I want it. I am also a fond lover of yearning and sweeping romance. Please see my Manuscript Wish List down below for more details.

SPECIFIC WISH LIST

YOUNG ADULT

  • Light-hearted, cozy, cottagecore stories reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli film.

  • Whimsical magical realism that reflects one’s culture.

  • Fantasies with forbidden romance. Think of a fairytale version of  Romeo and Juliet, but with a happy ending. Something similar to “Love Story” by Taylor Swift. 

  • Anything sweepingly romantic, glittering, glamorous, and magical. 

  • Traditionally “feminine” sapphic romances. Think, if Barbie movies were gay, queer Pride and Prejudice, or if Disney princesses were in love with each other.

  • Faeries 

  • Mermaid/pirate stories set at sea.

  • Anything related to the sea or with a seaside setting. 

  • YA retellings of classic romances like: The Titanic, The Notebook, The Great Gatsby, and Pride and Prejudice.

  • Books about the stylish “upper class” and high society like Gossip Girl or The Clique.

  • Contemporary romance with a cute and quirky aesthetic that reflects the joys of first love and the youthfulness of being a teenager, similar to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. 

  • Anything comparable to The Princess Diaries.

  • Feel-good contemporary beach reads with the summer vibes of Mamma Mia or Monte Carlo.

  • Protagonists that feel like Disney Princesses. 

  • Fairytale, ballet, musical, and opera retellings.

  • Paranormal Romance

  • Gods and Goddesses

NEW ADULT

  • Magical realism and light fantasies comparable to Circe by Madeline Miller, Gods of Jade and Shadow by Sylvia Moreno Garcia, and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab.

  • Lyrical, thought-provoking, queer romances similar to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

  • Dark academica or romantic academia stories set in college.

  • Magical secret societies. 

  • Glamourous romances with a 1920s backdrop, similar to The Great Gatsby.

  • Jack and Rose from the Titanic but with a happy ending.

FAVORITE FILMS/SHOWS

  • Howl’s Moving Castle 

  • Spirited Away

  • The live-action Cinderella (2015)

  • Mamma Mia

  • Phantom of the Opera

  • Pride and Prejudice 

  • Briderton

  • The Princess Bride

  • Princess Diaries 

  • Tangled 

  • Princess and the Frog 

  • Fantasia 

  • The Little Mermaid

  • Sleeping Beauty

  • The Great Gatsby 

  • The Titanic 

  • The Notebook 

  • Gossip Girl 

  • Gilmore Girls 

  • Legally Blonde

  • Marie Antoinette 

  • The Labyrinth

  • Monte Carlo

  • Jennifer's Body

FAVORITE BOOKS

  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

  • Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic

  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber

  • Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scotts Fitzgerald 

  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

  • A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

  • Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier 

  • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Sylvia Moreno Garcia

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab 

  • Circe by Madeline Miller

  • Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin 

  • Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

  • Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez

  • Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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TROPES

  • Found family

  • Forbidden love

  • Enemies to lovers (specifically knife to throat kissing)

  • Friends to lovers

  • Sapphic yearning

  • Yearning in general

  • Slow burn

  • Dreamscapes

  • Temptation

  • Fated death or curse

  • Angel/demon love story

  • Two cinnamon rolls in love

  • Hot villain love interest

  • Soulmate reincarnation

IF YOU CAN COMP

  • Folklore/Evermore

  • The Phantom of the Opera

  • Hades and Persephone

  • Lana Del Rey songs

  • Draco Malfoy ♡ ♡ ♡

  • The Nutcracker Ballet

  • Swan Lake

  • Tangled

  • Prince Zuko ♡ ♡ ♡

  • Barbie or Disney Princesses

  • Bridgerton

  • Sofia Coppla or Wes Anderson

CHARACTERS

  • All the angst

  • Tender hearted survivors

  • Ballerinas

  • Singers

  • Faeries

  • Mermaids

  • Witches

  • Princesses

  • Sapphic cuties

  • Vintage bombshells

  • Show girl or performer

  • Sensitive little angel

  • Musicians

  • Angels

  • Goddesses

NOT A FIT FOR

  • Graphic depictions of violence, rape, or sexual assault.

  • Physical bullying or bullying that leads to suicide.

  • Bullying anyone in marginalized communities.

  • Hate crimes 

  • Murder mystery/thrillers 

  • High Fantasy like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.

  • Sci-fi 

  • “Save the Kingdom” stories 

  • Animal abuse 

  • Psychological horror

SPECIFIC INTERESTS

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  • Pastel Danish aesthetic 

  • Cottagecore

  • Glittering fairy balls 

  • Baking/cooking 

  • Stories with perfume magic 

  • Love letters

  • Rococo aesthetic 

  • Marie Antoinette 

  • Disney

  • 1950s Hollywood 

  • The 1920s

  • The Regency Era

  • Spring/Summer 

  • Persephone or Aphrodite vibes 

  • Healing crystals, tarot, moon spells 

  • Astrology 

  • Woodland creatures 

  • Faeries, mermaids, witches

  • Megan Fox

  • Lana Del Rey

  • Ballet

  • The sea

  • Angels

  • Goddesses

  • Twin flame connections 

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PITCH WARS 2021 YOUNG
ADULT MENTORS' WISH LISTS  

  1. Mary E. Roach (Accepts NA)

  2. Amelia Diane Coombs (Accepts NA)

  3. Diana Urban

  4. Susan Bishop Crispell (Accepts NA)

  5. TJ Ohler (Accepts NA)

  6. Laurie Dennison (Accepts NA)

  7. Justine Pucella Winans (Accepts NA)

  8. Zoulfa Katouh and Molly X Chang (Accepts NA)

  9. Sonora Reyes (Accepts NA)

  10. Abigail Johnson

  11. Rosiee Thor and Emily Grey

  12. Carlyn Greenwald (Accepts NA)

  13. M.T. Khan (Accepts NA)

  14. Sarvenaz Taghavian

  15. Emery Lee

  16. Margie Fuston (Accepts NA)

  17. Aashna Avachat (Accepts NA)

  18. Allison Saft (Accepts NA)

  19. Fiona McLaren

  20. Jessica Lewis

  21. Brianna Bourne (Accepts NA)

  22. Jamie McHenry

  23. Meg Long and Rochelle Hassan (Accepts NA)

  24. Laura Weymouth (Accepts NA)

  25. Natalie Crown and Angelica Monai (Accepts NA)

  26. Skyla Arndt and Alex Brown (Accepts NA)

  27. Charity Alyse and Cimone Watson (Accepts NA)

  28. Emily Thiede and Lauren Blackwood (Accepts NA)

  29. Anna Sortino and Annika J. Cosgrove (Accepts NA)

  30. Jenny Perinovic and Kyrie McCauley (Accepts NA)

  31. Carrie S. Allen and Sabrina Lotfi

  32. Jamie Howard and Meredith Tate (Accepts NA)

  33. KL Burd (Accepts NA)

  34. Jennifer Yu (Accepts NA)

  35. Hoda Agharazi and Lyssa Mia Smith (Accepts NA)

  36. Em X. Liu and Grace D. Li (Accepts NA)

  37. Carly Heath (Accepts NA)

  38. Kiana Krystle (Accepts NA)

  39. Sarah Underwood and Kat Dunn (Accepts NA)

  40. Joel Brigham (Accepts NA)

  41. Dante Medema and Liz Lawson (Accepts NA)

  42. Aty S. Behsam and Maedeh B. Saaina (Accepts NA)

  43. Kylie Schachte (Accepts NA)

  44. Gabi Burton (Accepts NA)

  45. Aaron Cole and Tamara Cole (Accepts NA)

  46. Hannah V. Sawyerr and Olivia Liu (Accepts NA)

  47. Bethany Mangle (Accepts NA)

  48. Lane Clarke (Accepts NA)

  49. Sunya Mara (Accepts NA)

  50. Karen Bao (Accepts NA)