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HEY WRITERS!

I’m Aiden Thomas and this year I will be mentoring for Pitch Wars in the Young Adult age category and I am also taking New Adult Submissions!

ABOUT PITCH WARS:

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to spend three months revising their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents can read a pitch/first page and can request to read more.

WHO I AM AND MY WORK:

I am a queer, transgender, Latinx author who grew up in Oakland, CA and recently moved to Portland, OR. When I’m not writing, I can be found playing video games/yelling at my TV, enjoying nature in the PWN, or being smothered to death by my dog and cat.

Cemetery boys

My debut novel, CEMETERY BOYS, is being released in summer 2020 by Swoon Reads/Macmillan! CEMETERY BOYS is a contemporary fantasy that takes place during Dia de Muertos. The main character, Yadriel, is a gay, trans brujo who accidentally summons a ghost he can’t get rid of. There’s Maya death gods, sunset-chasing joyrides, and lots of delicious food!

Lost in the never woods

My second book, LOST IN THE NEVER WOODS, is coming out early 2021! When children start to go missing in the local woods, eighteen-year-old Wendy Darling must face her fears and a past she cannot remember to rescue them in this novel based on Peter Pan.

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WHY YOU SHOULD SUBMIT TO ME:

Here’s a quick list of my credentials:

  • I have a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing

  • I’ve had 5 short stories published in literary journals

  • I’ve received 7 fellowships/awards for my creative writing

  • I’ve been a Teaching Assistant for first year English

  • I’ve been a Writing Center Fellow where I put on campus wide creative writing workshops

Aside from my own creative writing skills, I have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to critiquing and know how to effectively help you improve your story and query letter! 

COMMUNICATION STYLE:

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Email is my main form of communication! It’s the easiest way to get ahold of me and I can typically get back to you quickly, even if I’m at work. Due to my hearing disability (I’m deaf in one ear), I rarely jump on a phone call because it’s difficult for me to process, but I’m down for video chatting if I can read your lips!

I’m not a “tough love” mentor. If you’re looking for a drill sergeant or someone to really kick your ass, that’s just not me. I like to focus on what you’ve done well and what areas of writing (or in your story) you show success in, and figure out how to integrate that into the rest of your writing.

If I see a problem, I will always give you a solution, and usually more than one. I believe in collaborative work — We’re in this together! I’m not going to tell you what to do and I don’t talk in definitives (i.e. “NEVER do this, ALWAYS do that”).

I am a Google Docs evangelist, and will probably try to talk you into using them if you don’t already! Most of my notes are in-line comments where we get to the nitty gritty, and my edit letter is saved for Big Picture stuff!

 

CW WARNING: My “Not For Me” list is at the bottom of the page and may contain triggering themes.

WHAT I WANT:

#OWNVOICES: I am only accepting manuscripts featuring marginalized characters/voices/cultures that are #ownvoices (i.e. written by an author who shares said marginalizations). If you submit to me, I am assuming your manuscript is #ownvoices. 

Genres & tropes

FANTASY:

  • Contemporary 

  • Paranormal (but no vampires, please)

  • Cultural 

  • UNIQUE Retellings 

  • Dark

ROMANCE: 

  • Contemporary

  • Queer

  • Paranormal (but no vampires, please)

  • High School or College Setting

FAVORITE THINGS:

  • Queer Characters and Themes

  • Trans Experiences (especially ones that focus on what happens AFTER coming out/transitioning)

  • Diversity 

  • Marginalized Experiences 

  • Humor

  • SLOW BURN ROMANCE

  • Chaotic Characters (gimme your Gryffindors and Scorpios)

  • Strong Voice

  • Feminism 

  • Cultural Experiences 

  • Exploring Identity 

  • Sex-Positive 

  • Action 

  • Adventure 

  • Creepy Woods

  • Cemeteries

  • Dorms/Boarding Schools

  • Horror

  • Sports Teams (hi, hello, yes, I love Sports Anime)

  • Found Family

Books & movies

FAVORITE BOOKS: 

  • THE DREAM THIEVES by Maggie Stiefvater (unruly magic and chaotic boys)

  • THE SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller (BEAUTIFUL prose)

  • I HEAR THE SUNSPOT by Yuki Fumino (SWEETEST story with disability rep handled in a respectful way)

  • LABYRINTH LOST by Zoraida Córdova (LATINX MAGIC)

  • RED, WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston (I’m a sucker for a great romcom)

  • ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake (ACTION PACKED MURDER GHOST)

  • WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE by Tehlor Kay Mejia (alternate universe told through a cultural lense)

  • UNDEAD GIRL GANG by Lily Anderson (DEAD GIRLS, MAGIC, MURDER SOLVING)

  • WICKED SAINTS by Emily A. Duncan (magic, gods and creep factor)

FAVORITE MOVIES/TV SHOWS

  • YOUR NAME (if this is one of your comp titles, GIVE IT TO ME)

  • ON MY BLOCK (I literally love everything about this show)

  • HAIKYUU!! (sports anime in GENERAL like yes give it to me NOW)

  • DERRY GIRLS (love the humor)

  • STRANGER THINGS (kids banning together to defeat monsters HELL yes)

  • HILL HOUSE (ya boy LOVES TO BE CREEPED OUT)

  • RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (specifically, Jack Frost)

CW WARNING: My “Not For Me” list may contain triggering themes.

NOT FOR ME:

Books that include:

  • Bigot learning to be a better person at the expense of marginalized people (i.e. character is homophobic, transphobic, mysogynistic, fatphobic and/or racist).

  • Slavery

  • Self Harm

  • Suicide 

  • Eating Disorders

  • Cis-men writers writing the sexual assault of a woman 

Books where the MAIN FOCUS is on (I will take novels where these are things that have affected your character): 

  • Mental Illness

  • Abuse

  • Sexual Assault

 

Questions?

Feel free to reach out on Twitter or check out my AMA on the Pitch Wars forum!

Pitch Wars 2019 Young Adult Mentors' Wish Lists