#TeamThrowingRocks Pitch Wars 2019 Wish List – Part 2!

Hi there! Welcome to Part 2 of the #TeamThrowingRocks Pitch Wars wishlist!! This is the part where we’ll talk about our favorite extra lil’ somethings, the things we DON’T want, and what you can expect from us as co-mentors.

Did you somehow find yourself here without reading Part 1? You’ll want to head on over to Aty’s website first to learn more about what genres we’re expecting, otherwise this won’t make a lot of sense. Now…


Is your story #OwnVoices?

(Leonardo DiCaprio saying “we need you”)

  • #OwnVoices stories are super important for us, and will be a priority.
  • We especially love #OwnVoices stories about marginalized characters that re-purpose “overdone” tropes, like Portal Fantasy or The Chosen One! Something like L.L. McKinney’s A Blade so Black.
  • With all that said, we will never ask you to specify or validate your identities–we respect that not everyone has the privilege of being public with their marginalizations.
Does your story feature LGBTQ+ romance?

(anime boys looking longingly into each other’s eyes, “I really was born to meet you”)

  • We want queer stories of all kinds, but especially between girls, and especially characters who identify as bi/queer/pan/any type of multisexual! (FWIW, both Kylie’s and Aty’s books features #OwnVoices bisexual main characters.)
A “found family” story?

(Stephen Colbert wearing a giant headset, “I like it”)

  • Give us families unbound by blood. We both fall for this trope every. damn. time. Give us your ragtag crews, your bands of misfits and scoundrels, your bruised and discarded anti-heroes who have found their way together to love and care for each other in a mixed up, senseless world.

(White man aggressively yelling “WE NEED YOU”)

Does your story take place in Asia, Africa, or Europe with genuine, correct cultural references?

(Tiny children in a classroom “We really like it. We want more.”)


(Leonardo DiCaprio in a suit “We need you pal.”)

Books that deal with intersectional feminist themes, especially romance, fantasy, and sci-fi??

(Black woman saying “We always need you.”)

Interracial friendship and/or interracial couples?

(Jack Nicholson grinning and nodding like a creep)

Characters with mental health issues?

(Michael Scott being EMOTIONAL, tearing up and smiling)

  • Especially where it’s not the entire plot of the story, but rather a fact of their life as they move through the world fighting dragons, doing academic decathlon, talking to ghosts, or what-have-you.
  • Especially especially in SF/F!!!!! Heidi Heilig’s For a Muse of Fire is a great example.
Literally all the body-positive shit!!!!

(Aidy Bryant dancing, loving life)

  • We want your unapologetic, unashamed characters feeling good in their skin, finding love, killing it out there in the world. If your book can make us feel like a Lizzo song, send it on over.
  • Again, extra bonus if their relationship to their body is not the main plot!

(Dark Kermit wearing a Sith Lord hood, “DO IT.”)

  • We love happy stories, but we also love sad stories and bittersweet endings! Well, our team name should say a lot. I mean, throwing rocks at characters?? Yup. That’s what we’re all about!
  • BUT REMEMBER: go ahead and break our hearts, but be sure to patch some pieces together at the end. There should always be at least a dim light of hope…

(Anime boy looking wistfully into the distance, “There is always hope.”)

Aty’s special weakness…

(Director Christopher Nolan, drawing the batman symbol in chalk)

  • THIS GUY! Christopher Nolan is one of her favorite writers. If you have a story that’s like a Christopher Nolan movie, meaning you play with the concept of time, create unforgettable gray characters and/or make incredible plot twists, ATY WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER.


We’ve thrown A TON of information at you, so here’s a quick, handy list of our faves…

A few of Kylie’s favorite stories:
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufmann & Jay Kristoff
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
  • House of Salt & Sorrows by Erin Craig
  • A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney
  • Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
  • Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • Girls of Paper & Fire by Natasha Ngan
  • Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
  • Uprooted and Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  • The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie Mclemore
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray
  • For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
  • The Summer of Jodi Perez by Amy Spalding
  • Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Deathless by Catherynne Valente
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
A few of Aty’s favorite stories:
  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  • Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
  • A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab
  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
  • Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • Wilder Girls by Rory Power
  • Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Batman: The Killing Joke (Graphic Novel) by Alan Moore
  • Wonder Woman: Year One (Graphic Novel) by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott
  • V for Vendetta (Graphic Novel) by Alan Moore
  • Monster (Graphic Novel) by Naoki Urasawa
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (Graphic Novel) by Hiromu Arakawa
  • Noragami (Graphic Novel) by Adachitoka
  • Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul (Graphic Novel) by Sui Ishida


This DOES NOT mean there is anything wrong with your story, it’s just not right for us.

  • Memoir
  • Natural disasters
  • Inspirational
  • Western
  • Cozy Mystery
  • Epistolary or novels-in-verse
  • Historical: Fantasy or sci-fi with historical-inspired settings are great, but straight historical is not our area of expertise.
  • Sci-fi or Fantasy with an intense focus on worldbuilding (think Tolkien).
  • Fantasy based on/inspired by Medieval Europe is not a hard no, but we’re looking for someone who’s done their research and found a fresh take on it. If you can find an ultra-specific facet to dive deep on, or if you want to write about women/queer people/POC in Medieval Europe (they existed, by the way!) yes, we want that.

(Stepen Colbert sitting in a chair, shrugging and saying “That’s it?”)


  • During the first round of edits, we’ll mark up issues with your plot, character development, and anything else that needs larger-scale revisions.  We’ll provide you with an edit letter with our suggestions to make your story better. We will definitely tell you what needs work, but we will also GUSH about what we love!!!
  • You’ll have some homework for your novel, like character charts, scene maps, outlines, etc.
  • Once first round edits are complete, we’ll do another round of revisions, including a line edit. We’ll also work on your pitch and query closer to the agent round.
  • We will always make sure we’re on the same page before sending you any feedback. We may offer several different ways to tackle a problem, but you will never receive conflicting information from the two of us.
  • Your story, your vision. If we make suggestions you don’t agree with, we will work with you to address the underlying issues while still preserving the things you care about.
  • We’ll be in touch via Twitter, emails, and some other applications we all agree on. We’ll be in constant communication.
  • We will obviously, surely, most definitely stalk your Twitter. Be kind to everyone. Encourage people, and you will be encouraged. We cannot work with anyone who displays or supports bigotry, racism, sexism, or any other discriminatory behavior.

(A younger white woman refuses to high-five an older white man, “I don’t think we’re those kind of people”)


  2. SYNOPSIS. Please have your synopsis ready. If we like your story, we will ask for a synopsis immediately.
  3. CONTENT WARNINGS. Please include CWs in your query for sensitive topics, especially sexual assault, animal death/mistreatment, eating disorders, self-harm, or child abuse. We are open to these stories, but like knowing what to expect. If you’re unsure what merits a CW, ask us on Twitter.
  4. ART OF YOUR GRAPHIC NOVEL. Aty (the art expert) will provide feedback on directing, coloring/shading, and paneling your graphic novel, but Pitch Wars is not going to be your art class. Consider the level of professionalism you would expect from a work.
  5. NOT BEING CHOSEN DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE NOT A GOOD WRITER. In the end, no matter how much we love your stories, we can only pick ONE mentee. Never forget that gathering enough courage to take part in the first place is huge, and you are awesome no matter what.
  6. You have questions? Do not hesitate to write to Kylie or Aty

(Young Bill Murray wiggles his eyebrows and points at you, “YOU’RE AWESOME”)

Want to go back to the main Pitch Wars site? Click here. But don’t forget to check out all the other amazing YA mentors!

Pitch Wars 2019 Young Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists