Pitch Wars 2017 is here, and I’m so excited to be mentoring middle grade this year!
(If you’re unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, this post by Brenda Drake explains everything you need to know.)
I’m the author of middle grade fantasy novel Rules for Thieves, which was published in June by Aladdin (Simon and Schuster). I’m currently working on the sequel, which will be out next year. My agent is Victoria Doherty Munro at Writers House.
I’m also an editorial assistant at Entangled Publishing. I have a lot of experience reading queries and manuscripts in the submission pile, and I’ve done everything from critiquing big-picture issues to line edits, copyedits, proofreading galleys, writing cover copy, and more! Books I’ve worked on in some capacity at Entangled include The November Girl by Lydia Kang, The Sound of Us, Artificial Sweethearts, and Approximately Yours by Julie Hammerle, Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron, Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson, and 27 Hours by Tristina Wright.
I have a B.A. in English from the University of Tulsa. When I’m not writing and interning, I’m probably doing freelance editing work, playing the flute, watching Netflix, eating too much chocolate, and reading just about everything. I currently live in Oklahoma with my writing assistant/tiny canine overlord. For more about me, see my about page. For more about my books, check out my books page.
WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR:
Middle grade only. As much as I love YA, NA, and adult manuscripts, I’m not mentoring those categories this year.
- Fantasy is my favorite genre, and I love it In all its forms. Whether it’s high fantasy, historical fantasy, or has lighter magical elements in a contemporary setting, send it my way!
- Science fiction, especially if it involves fun adventures (and preferably with a dash of humor). Bonus points for anything about female protagonists in STEM fields.
- Magical realism or anything involving hints of magic in the real world.
- Historical fiction, particularly with unusual settings.
- Mysteries. I love MG mysteries with twisty plots, clever protagonists, and lots of adventure.
MORE THINGS I’D LOVE TO SEE:
- Diverse stories and authors
- Adventures, heists, capers, pranks, quests
- Humor, especially if it’s witty
- Smart, clever, interesting characters
- Ambitious girl MCs (especially if they’re unlikeable)
- Strong relationships, including strong family relationships and strong friendships
- Strong, distinctive voice
- Unique magic systems
- Stories based on folklore or myths
- Rich worldbuilding and unusual settings
THINGS THAT AREN’T FOR ME:
- Anything other than middle grade
- Sports stories
- Stories involving bullying, abuse, and/or suicide
- Animals as main characters
- Novels in verse (I adore them but wouldn’t know how to mentor them)
SOME OF MY FAVORITE MG BOOKS:
This is by no means a complete list, but here are a few middle grade books I love: The Harry Potter series (of course), the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, pretty much anything Cornelia Funke has ever written, the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage, Matilda by Roald Dahl, anything by Ally Carter, The Classy Crooks Club by Alison Cherry, Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee, The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, the Percy Jackson series, the Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin, Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, The Real Boy by Anne Ursu, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.
As you can see, I have pretty wide-ranging tastes! If you have any questions about whether your MS is right for me, feel free to ask in the comments below or reach out to me on Twitter (@Alexandra_Ott).
Whichever mentor you choose, I wish you the best of luck!
Check out all of the other middle grade mentors: