Pitch Wars

Welcome + About Me


Hi future best friend,

Presumptive I know, but since at least one of you will end up being my mentee (and my new best friend) I don’t find it presumptuous at all. I’m Michaela if you didn’t already know and I’m mentoring Young Adult this year. This is my first year mentoring but I’ve never felt more ready or more excited about anything in the history of my relatively short life. (This is almost not an exaggeration.)

A little about me, I currently reside where I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve spent the better part of my life here except for the three years following my birth that I lived in Philadelphia and the 4 years I spent galavanting in New York City for college. I attended Columbia University and received my bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Fun fact: I was a D1 track athlete (kind of) in college. I say kind of because I was perpetually injured and when I did run It was most certainly nothing to write home about.

I’m currently an editorial intern with Page Street Kids, working exclusively with Young Adult content. I spend a lot of time reading and analyzing manuscripts and writing detailed reader reports. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t and how collaborative editors work with their authors. Additionally, I offer freelance editorial services, blog, and occasionally post Youtube videos on my Youtube channel, Bae Radley. When I’m not reading or editing, I’m most certainly watching one of the many crime dramas I adore.

General Story Elements I Love


I am a diverse and broad reader so narrowing down what’d I like to see from an MS was/has been incredibly difficult so bear with me.

In general (regardless of genre) I expect any MS subbed to me will have a diverse cast of characters. It’s 2018 and your world should reflect our own (especially if it’s contemporary). But diverse readers deserve to see themselves in your contemporaries and your fantasies. (I would have died to see a black Bella Swan as a teen. Or for Jacob and Leah Clearwater to have switched places tbh). Diverse readers deserve to see themselves as the love interest.

Also going to make it clear no trope is dead for me especially if it features a diverse MC. I love tropes and will never put down a tropey story because it is…too tropey lol. I’d also love to see detective-esque stories across genres. A detective in a fantasy setting? You betcha. A YA Dexter? Most certainly. Sherlock Holmes retelling, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!? A black or bi-racial MC struggling with respectability politics? Um my life so please!

Send me your friends to lovers stories, your revenge stories, your enemies to lovers, your good girl/bad boy turned on its head, your sappy cutesy stories, your dark demented sociopathic MCs, your atmospheric spooky stories. Your tropes turned upside down and inside out. I want them all ( with minor exceptions see below).

Note: I will also be accepting NA on the condition that we rework it to fit YA parameters. If you think you’re NA is better suited for Adult, please refer to the Adult mentors accepting NA. If you are willing to make adjustments ( and your NA is not overly sexual in nature) I am more than happy to work with you! (The same genres and themes apply!)

Before getting into specific genres I wanted to provide a list of general story elements I enjoy. I hope this is helpful to anyone unsure of what genre their MS lies in but wants to know if I’d be interested in elements in their story. If your MS features some of these elements and overlap genres (i.e YA contemporary mystery fantasy) throw it at me, please. If you get to the end of this wishlist and still aren’t sure, ASK. The best ways to contact me will be listed near the end.

•Unreliable Narrators
•Morally grey characters
•Villians
•Girls with interesting hobbies
•Romance
•Sex Positivity
•Body Positivity
•Mixed Media
•Political/ Activist teens
•Witty and/or comedic banter
•Plot twists
•Realistic friendships + friend groups
•Retellings
•Multiple POV with a distinct voice
•Inquisitive protagonists
•A diverse cast of characters (inclu. disabled + neurodiverse characters)
•POC characters in tropey stories
•Food ( MC's that bake, cook, competitively eat, mukbang I'd love all the above)
•#OwnVoices
•Love triangles
•Character-driven
•Genre-bending MS
•Gender and sexual identity diversity ( F/F please)
•Messy Messy Messy Families
•Betrayal

What I Want


YA Contemporary:

I am accepting all subgenres of contemporary. So that it’s clear I am a complete and utter sucker for contemporary fiction. My ideal contemporary MS would put me through the ringer, I want to laugh, swoon, and be devastated. If all those things happen in the same MS, it will rip me to shreds in the best way. ( If you’ve read The Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck you know what I’m getting at). I love dark contemporaries and even issue books if they are well-written. I prefer contemporaries with romance, the gooier and messier the better, but can do without if there are strong and realistic friendships taking center.

I would also love to see an unapologetically angry black girl. Black girls don’t get the space to be angry without ridicule or fear of being stereotyped. I want an MC that’s not afraid to be angry or vulnerable.

Below are some elements I would love to see in a contemporary MS subbed to me and a few relevant comps ↓

Contemporary Elements I LoveContemporary Novels I Love
•Character-driven stories
•Diverse MCs
•Good mental-health rep
•F/F
•Speculative elements (witches,futuristic,paranormal, light sci-fi,...etc.)
•Well-rounded interesting side characters
•ROMANCE (all types)
•Plot twists
•Mixed Media/Interesting narration styles
•Toxic friendships
•Love triangles (would love to see unconventional triangles)
•Conspirarcy theorist MCs
•Friend break-ups
•Neurodiversity
•Girl Gangs

•Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
•A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck
•Things I'm Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni
•History is All You Left Me and They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
•The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
•Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
• Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
•Dear Martin by Nic Stone
•The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis
•Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
•To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
•When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
•The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Non-Bookish Contemporary Things I Enjoy:

•Set It Up (Netflix Movie)

•Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix Series) would love a YA of this!)

• The Big Sick (Movie)

• Insecure (HBO Series)

• Younger (TV Land Series)

YA Mystery/Thriller

It is a universally known truth that Michaela Greer only watches crime dramas on tv with the odd exception for raved about dramas. (See: Insecure and Younger) I live for a good mystery with twists, turns, suspense, and inquisitive teens. I like dark, spooky, and atmospheric thrillers and dramatic mysteries. The more unreliable the narrator the better or if no the narrator someone close to them.

Below are some elements I would love to see in a mystery/ thriller MS subbed to me and a few relevant comps ↓

Mystery/Thriller Elements I LoveMystery/Thriller Novels I Love
•Anything Sherlockian
•Speculative
•Noir/Neo-Noir
•Unreliable Narrators w/ hidden agendas
•Political mysteries and thrillers (I'm a political science major ya know)
•Southern
•Mystery solving friend group (If scooby doo is comp send that right here, right now!)
•Magical realism
•Cults
•Spies
•Murderous ladies
•Psychological thrills
•Strong inner voice
•Tackles an Issue (A BLM mystery thriller what!? Gimmie)
•Atmospheric
•Boarding schools
•One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
•Little Monsters +The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
•This is Where it Ends by Marieke Njkkampf
•Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
•The Window by Amelia Brunskill
•Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristine Terrill
•A Study in Charlotte + Series by Brittany Cavallaro
•Bad Girls With Pretty Faces by Lynn Weingarten
•Because She Loves Me by Marc Edwards (Not YA)

Non-Bookish Mystery/Thriller Things I Enjoy:

•Black Swan (Movie)

• Primal Fear (Movie)

• A Beautiful Mind (Movie)

• Procedural Crime Dramas: Bones, Castle, Law & Order Franchises, CSI Franchises, NCIS: LA, Criminal Minds, The Catch, Elementary, Ghosted (supernatural crime drama!), Bull, Lie to Me, Lucifer, etc.

• The Family (ABC TV Show)

• IZombie (CW Series)

YA Horror

Now look, I’m a big ass baby. The Conjuring made me cry. I stopped accepting dolls into my life at the tender age of five. I still double check behind all of my selfies for daemons. ( I legit don’t even feel comfortable typing or saying the word daemons properly) I have a no chair policy in my bedroom because it is a legitimate top-five fear of mine that I will awake in the middle of the night to someone sitting in it. (My ex-tried to push this boundary… and you see I called him my ex at the beginning of this sentence. Okurrr.) Rocking chairs will never be a thing in any nursery or house of mine. Yet… I love horror. Is it diagnosable to love being terrified? Is there a word for that somewhere? Because I absolutely eat it up. It goes without saying I want all the horror you’ve got. I love supernatural and speculative elements. I’d also enjoy anything with a dose of psychological mischief.

If you’re MS isn’t all out horror but is still creepy, spooky, and extremely atmospheric I’d absolutely still be interested in it.

Below are some elements I would love to see in a horror MS subbed to me and a few relevant comps ↓

Horror Elements I LoveHorror Novels I Love
•Murderous teens
•Ghosties/daemons/witches (Paranormal again!)
•Southern gothic (I am a southern belle after all)
•Multi-POV with at least one POV being unreliable
•Unreliable narrators w/ hidden motives
•Speculative (clearly)
•Twists + Turns
•Murderous friendships
•The literary equivalent of found footage
•Revenge (again!)

•Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
•Bad Girls Don't Die + Series by Katie Alender
•There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
•The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Berube
•The Merciless + Series by Danielle Vega

Non-Bookish Horrifying Things I Enjoy:

•Inscidious Series of Movies

•Paranormal Activity Series of Movies (especially 2 and onward)

•What Lies Beneath (Movie)

•Splice

•Devil ( A YA Devil comp would be scary awesome)

•Let Me In (Movie)

•Supernatural (CW Series) Not exactly horror but I was unsure where else to drop it)

YA Fantasy 

There’s no better escape than to completely exit your own world and enter into a new one. I’ve read more fantasy in the past year than I ever have. I am desperately eager to get my grabby hands on the right fantasy manuscript. I’m am especially interested in contemporary/urban and high concept fantasies. If you’re fantasy features elaborate magic systems, I would prefer the story be centered around how the characters deal with this rather than the system itself. It is the latter I am not the best mentor for you. I love fantasies set in non-western settings and if anyone has written a Wakanda inspired fantasy yet I want it.

Below are some elements I would love to see in a fantasy MS subbed to me and a few relevant comps ↓

Fantasy Elements I LoveFantasy Novels I Love
•Alternate histories
•Political
•Dark
•High Concept
•Multi-POV
•Character Driven
•Strong Villians
•Complicated romances (give me love rhombuses)
•Tropey but with a diverse cast of characters
•Mystery
•Comedic elements
•Three Dark Crowns + Series by Kendare Blake
•And I darken by Kiersten White
•Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
•The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
•The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
•The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
•Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
•Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
•Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne
•Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children + Series by Ransom Riggs

Content Warnings


I will be accepting MS’s with the following elements but I would appreciate a content warning in your query, if possible.

•Sexual assault

•Rape

•Depictions of suicide

What I Don’t Want


If I could accept everything…I would. But I want every hopeful mentee to use their four picks to the fullest so, while I enjoy reading certain elements or genres, I know I am not the best mentor for them. If you have questions about your MS (perhaps because it is a blend of genres I want and ones I do not) please reach out. Fat chance I’m interested!

So don’t send me:

•Space Opera
•Books featuring animal abuse
•Time Travel/Portal Fantasy
•Pirates
•Mermaids (But Sirens YES!)
•Christian fiction
•Hard Sci-Fi (exception dystopian sci-fi like Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast )
•Epic Fantasy
•(Western) Medieval Fantasy
•Elves
•Fae/Fairies

Ideal Mentee


Thanks for hanging with me! If you’ve made it this far there’s a chance you are my future mentee so let’s get into what my ideal mentee looks like.

My ideal mentee is confident in their MS’s premise, willing to work hard, creative, outgoing, and ready for battle.

One of my biggest pet peeves as a freelance editor is writers who aren’t excited about their work. It is okay to not know how to execute certain aspects of your story. It is okay to not know how to make certain things flow, to even feel down about some sections (that’s what I’m here for). What does not work for me is you not believing in or not being excited about your MS. My ideal mentee believes wholeheartedly in their MS’s potential. Because If I choose you, I will. Any suggestion or edit I provide will because I am excited for your MS and I need you to match my energy. Match my excitement.  I will shout from the rooftops my love and adoration for your ideas, word, characters. I want a mentee that feels the same about their work.

It goes without saying that I need a mentor ready and willing to work hard. The next few months won’t be easy. I’m a goofball but I will push you. If you aren’t prepared to work hard and with me (not against me) than I please ask that you move on. I am creative and out-going so I think a mentee who is much of the same (and maybe a tad bit silly) will benefit the most from our partnership and our forever friendship.

My Mentoring Style + Revision Plan


As your mentor (and personal hype woman) my job is to help you execute the book you set out to create. I will be helping you transfer whatever wonderful creative thoughts you have swirling in your head to the page in the best way. Together, we will produce the best version of your story for the agent showcase. Everything that happens to your MS during Pitch Wars will be collaborative. Through every stage of the editing process I will provide a lot of strong suggestive feedback but at the end of the day it is your book and I will respect and work to find a solution that works best for both of us and the MS. I will never try to change your vision for the story.

As an editor (and your future mentor) I am extremely thorough. You can guarantee an edit letter from me will be long and intense. I am excellent at strengthening weak characterizations and making dialogue pop. I am personally a fan of character-driven novels so voice is extremely important to me as a reader and an editor. I am good at parsing out issues with pacing and tension. Increasing the internal and external tension upon characters is one of my main priorities when drafting developmental edits. Additionally, the impact of emotional or terse plot points is a large focus. There’s nothing worse than beautifully written emotional scenes that don’t hit because of things that lacked in previous parts of the MS. I will be on the prowl to identify and brainstorm ways to make sure we make readers cry, yell, or smile uncontrollably.

It will be difficult and grueling but as your mentor (and new best friend) I will never let it get the best of you. At the end of the day, I am a goofball and a person who well understands the stresses of revision and I will always do my best to keep it fun, interesting, and encouraging throughout. You can fully expect me to love your characters and your story as much as you do.

A cursory plan for your revision is as follows:

My Revision Plan
Development Edit: I will provide a comprehensive edit letter addressing big-picture edits designed to strengthen your MS on the macro level as much as possible.

Developmental Edit Round 2: If possible, I would like to squeeze in another read to make sure the MS still flows and nothing was lost during the first round of edits.

Line Edit: I will provide in-line comments and addressing prose, dialogue before the agent showcase.

In addition to copious email correspondence, texts, and Twitter DMs, I would like to schedule a few Skype/ Google Hangout calls but this is absolutely not mandatory. If you feel better about making voice calls or sticking strictly to email contact that is completely fine.

•One early on to discuss the MS in general and our plan of attack.

•Another after the edit letter is received and digested. I would love to answer any initial questions you make have while both looking at MS.

•Finally another closer to the agent round.

Don’t ever feel uncomfortable reaching out to me with questions, comments, or virtual screams.

Questions?


If you still don’t know why you should sub to me, I have an unofficial kitten co-mentor name Maro who will supply cute pictures of himself during the roughest of revision times. He says “You’re Welcome.”

We’ve reached the end of this wishlist + informative post but if you still have questions I want to hear them? Think I may be interested in your MS but aren’t quite sure. Ask me ( Don’t directly pitch your MS to me because I think that’s against the rules but you can ask me if I’d be interested in comps you didn’t see listed.)

While I did my best to make all the bulleted lists in this wishlist comprehensive they are by no means exhaustive. There are things I am sure I forgot that I love and if you are curious whether or not I’d be interested in some aspect of your MS that you don’t see here, please reach out. I’m more than happy to answer questions, clarify, elaborate, gush, throw grabby hands gifs at you

If you just want to reach out and say hey and get to know me more I welcome that too. My preferred forms of contact right now are in the comments on this post or on Twitter at @bae_radley (publicly please not through DM at this time)

I look forward to getting to know everyone that stops by and (hopefully *fingers crossed*)  reading your words. Good luck with the Blog Hop and make sure to check out all the excellent YA mentors this year below or at https://pitchwars.org/pitch-wars-2018-mentor-blog-hop/

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