Pitch Wars


Hello Pitch Wars! You’ve reached the wishlist of Lacee Little & Bronwyn Clark, MG mentors. We are so honored you have taken the time to consider us as mentors. First of all, you’ve written a book! Whether it’s your first or fifteenth, we hope you’ve taken time to consider how amazing that is. 

Before you get too far in our wishlist (we know there are a lot to read) here is a brief run down of the sub-genres we’re most excited to work with. 

Contemporary: 

Kelly Yang (Front Desk); Lynda Mullaly Hunt (Fish in a Tree); Leslie Connor (The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle; All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook); Lisa Graff (The Great Treehouse War); Eric Bell (Alan Cole is Not a Coward); Stacy McAnulty (The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl); Karina Yan Glasser (The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street)

Historical: 

Jacqueline Kelly (The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate); Gennifer Choldenko (Al Capone Does My Shirts); Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (The War That Saved My Life)

Mystery: 

Kate Milford (Greenglass House); Sheila Turnage (Three Times Lucky); Laura Marx Fitzgerald (The Gallery; Under the Egg); Varian Johnson (The Parker Inheritance); Jonathan Stroud (Lockwood & Co); Siobhan Dowd (The London Eye Mystery); Robin Stevens (Murder Most Unladylike)

Light Magic: 

Natalie Lloyd (A Snicker of Magic/The Key to Extraordinary); Lisa Graff (A Tangle of Knots); Kelly Jones (Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer); Anne Ursu (BREADCRUMBS); Rajani LaRocca (Midsummer’s Mayhem); Claire Fayers (Stormhound); Ingrid Law (Savvy); Tracey Baptiste (The Jumbies) 

Lyrical fantasy:

Kelly Barnhill (The Girl Who Drank the Moon); Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon); Taherah Mafi (Whichwood); Anne Ursu (The Real Boy); Erin Entrada Kelly (Lalani of the Distant Sea

Light Sci-fi: 

Rebecca Stead (When You Reach Me); Jennifer L. Holm (The Fourteenth Goldfish)We enjoy stories that don’t lean heavily on sci fi elements, but have them sprinkled throughout. Strange and unusual sci-fi twists (like at the end of When You Reach Me) are definitely welcome. 

What we want most is a story with heart: a mc who discovers who they are and what they will fight for. Characters who will reach out a hand to MG readers and help them discover how to fight the monsters in their own life. What really gets us excited is a complex character who has much to learn about both themselves and their world. 

A few ingredients we love in stories (no manuscript needs to have all of these): old houses, boarding schools, hidden clues, witches, ghosts, stories with a strong sense of setting (feel the wind and smell the leaves and see the colors), hidden rooms, baked goods (food in general really), a mystery, cozy magic, small towns (Gilmore Girls vibe with magic), families with a secret, towns with a secret, secrets in general, kids who have unusual or strange hobbies they are passionate about, any kinds of pets or animal friends (but PLEASE don’t kill them), kids solving mysteries with unusual skill sets and abilities, families living in unique places, mcs obsessed with music or art or dance, magical settings that are firmly set in our world (or a version of it!) and show interesting twists on everyday objects and locations, kids that are more comfortable talking to trees than people, and definitely any kind of #ownvoices of the above. We promise to treat your story with respect and help you make it more your own. Every kid deserves to see themselves in every kind of story.

Our Pitch Wars Past: 

We’ve both been Pitch Wars mentees–Lacee in 2015 and 2016 (interview and entry), and Bronwyn in 2017 (interview and entry), which means we understand the joy and chaos that is Pitch Wars. 

In addition to being Pitch Wars mentees, we both have experience on the other side of the mentor relationship as well. Lacee was a Pitch Wars co-mentor in 2018 with Juliana Brandt (interview and link). Their mentee recently announced a book deal with Penguin Random House! Bronwyn was an Author Mentor Match mentor in 2019 (bio and pick announcement). In addition, we have active critique partner relationships and have spent many years learning how to help writers refine their manuscripts. Lacee is represented by Michelle Witte of Mansion Street Literary and Bronwyn is represented by Lydia Silver at Darley Anderson. 

Our Editing Style: 

We want to help your story become more “yours,” meaning digging deep into what your ms is all about (its heart and soul!) and make that clearer on the page. To do that, we’ll first help you fill out an integrated plot and character arc chart that looks at how the individual elements of story showcase your theme. If you don’t know your theme, don’t worry, we’ll help you with that, too! One of our favorite aspects of story-telling is making sure your characters and their journeys resonate with readers, and having a strong grasp of all the elements of your manuscript is a key component of that. 

We will do two revisions after this, one for big picture edits to make sure all those elements line up perfectly and do what they’re meant to do. This will involve a close reading for the ‘connectedness’ of your manuscript, that the plot and character arc point toward what exactly you’re trying to say or show.  

After you’ve made revisions based on those notes we will read through the manuscript on a line-by-line basis, checking for flow and writing style. All the little things that can sometimes trip up a beautifully executed story! 

Please know that first and foremost our feedback is rooted in kindness and honesty. Both of us are dedicated to helping other writers along this journey. We understand the writing and publishing world can be full of ups and downs and lots of waiting. 

We will help you learn about big picture issues (pacing, story structure, character development) and smaller things like infusing your manuscript with atmosphere—which will make your story come alive! Revision is something we’re familiar with; we’ve both had projects that didn’t end up the way we wanted them to. 

But having a community around you makes the tough times (and learning the craft of writing) a whole lot easier. We both have fellow writers holding our hands through it all. We want to pay that forward to another writer. While we will give you honest feedback, we will also be your cheerleaders! 

We will be there for you! We will remind you of the incredible thing you are doing by writing a manuscript. It is an act of bravery to put yourself out there like that. We see you, and we think you are awesome! So, even if you are feeling like this about your story:

We will help you take your story to the next level so you can feel this:

Because you CAN do this! 

We know it takes guts to enter Pitch Wars and allow others to read your words. We encourage you to take the time leading up to the big mentee announcements to find your people! Get some new critique partners and beta readers. Learn from mentors on the Pitch Wars website and Twitter feed. And if you submit to us, know that we are so very honored that you would even consider allowing us to work on your project with you. 

If you have any questions don’t be afraid to approach us on twitter (@laceelh, @_BronwynClark) or our AMA board on the Pitch Wars forum. We will both be participating in the #pitchwars MG twitter chat on September 16, and Lacee will be participating in the #pitchwars video chat on September 21. 

Pitch Wars 2019 Middle Grade Mentors’ Wish Lists

  1. K.C. Held
  2. Kit Rosewater and Ash Van Otterloo
  3. Amanda Panitch
  4. Graci Kim and Karah Sutton
  5. Sarah Suk and Julie Abe
  6. Erin Entrada Kelly
  7. Rebecca Petruck
  8. Adrianna Cuevas and Sarah Kapit
  9. Kim Long and Jennifer L. Brown
  10. TJ Ohler
  11. Eric Bell
  12. Lacee Little and Bronwyn Clark
  13. Jessica Bayliss
  14. Shakirah Bourne
  15. Sean Easley
  16. Nicole Melleby and A.J. Sass
  17. Julie Artz and Jessica Vitalis
  18. Maria Frazer and Meera Trehan
  19. Rajani LaRocca and Remy Lai
  20. Nicole Panteleakos