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Yvette & Marith's Pitch Wars 2021 Wishlist

(aka "Are you the X to our Y & Z?")


You are probably here because you read the first part of our wishlist. If so, welcome back! If you stumbled upon this and haven’t read the info about Pitch Wars, then please hop over to Yvette’s blog to find out more about our mentoring process.

You’re here because you feel like you’re the X to our Y and Z, which is awesome!

Read on for the kind of manuscript we are hoping to mentor this year.

What we want (Part 2 of 2)

Send us literary speculative fiction! We are looking for voicy, soft genre fiction that stays grounded in our world. Our sweet spot is a story with a speculative twist that is told in a unique narrative style.

Plot and character must strike a balance in the literary speculative book we’re looking to mentor. The story needs to go somewhere even if it is literary. In other words, we can’t get so lost in the richness of the prose that nothing actually happens. The story must have an emotional center. It could be sad, bleak, funny and/or adventurous, but whatever the genre, style, or tone, we need to be invested in the characters. The main character (MC) can be either likeable or unlikable but must be relatably human at their core.

Keira Knightly saying "I'd like you to forgive me."
GIF of Keira Knightley in Never Let Me Go saying, "I'd like you to forgive me."

The genres we want:

  • A speculative element like time travel or odd/special/superhuman ability

  • Post Apocalyptic

  • Dystopian

  • Retellings

  • Horror

  • Soft sci fi

  • Contemporary fantasy

  • Historical fantasy

No matter the genre, we are open to and would love to see books with diversity (BIPOC, Neuro/Dis, and LGBTQIA+ rep).

We are accepting New Adult, but please note we want to help you break into the Adult market, so you may be asked to age up your characters and/or simply call it Adult.

(GIF of Sonoya Mizuno & Oscaar Isaac tearing up the dance floor in Ex Machina)

Some clarification on “fuzzy” genres

We are not using the term “SFF” as something we are looking for. The reason for this is that while Marith is a SFF author, Yvette is not, so we want to find a book with a blend of our interests and expertise. We understand that literary speculative fiction IS well-written genre fiction in many instances, so if you’re still fuzzy about the “SFF” stuff we actually want, read on...


We want stories that unsettle and spook more than gross us out. YES to psychological horror, especially if in a creepy house, school, museum, laboratory, village, or forest.

Examples: The Changeling, The Shining, Mexican Gothic, Her Body and Other Parties, The Haunting of Hill House, The Vegetarian, Black Swan.

(GIF of Natalie Portman in Black Swan looking in a mirror)

Soft Science Fiction

We prefer a story in which the alien is visiting our world rather than us visiting theirs. We’re not looking for a sweeping sci fi epic that explores other worlds and beings as its main focus. The purpose of the alien/monster/creature should be to propel the MC on their personal journey. YES to post apocalyptic, dystopian, and time travel books. Genre blends like horror/sci fi are ok too!

Examples: Dark Matter, 11/22/63, The Dog Stars, Girl with All the Gifts, Station Eleven, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Southern Reach Trilogy, The Road, Severance, Never Let Me Go, Ex Machina, Story of Your Life/Arrival

Human walking next to heptapod alien
GIF of Jeremy Renner and a heptapod walking in Arrival


Mysticism and magic are gold so long as your book’s setting is still grounded in our world. We love historical and non-western fantasies. Myths and retellings are great too.

Examples: Piranesi, The Djinni and the Golem, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, The Bear and the Nightingale, The Poppy War, She Who Became the Sun, City of Brass, Song of Achilles, Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Night Circus

(GIF of Ofelia and fairy in Pan's Labyrinth)

What we don’t want

While we love these kinds of books/stories, they are just not the genres we will be mentoring for Pitch Wars:

  • No second world or high fantasy (Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones)

  • No far future or space opera (Children of Time or The Expanse)

  • No otherworldly science fantasy (The Locked Tomb or the Broken Earth Trilogies).

  • No cyberpunk or steampunk

  • No hard sci fi (sorry, Andy Weir!)

  • No romance or subgenre of romance (a romantic subplot is fine)

  • Urban fantasy is ok too but no supernatural love interests, such as vampires, werewolves, angels, or faeries.

Please observe the following for our comfort level:

  • No erotica

  • No gratuitous violence, torture, rape, or graphic scenes of sexual/physical abuse

  • If you have a cult or cultish element, the more realistic and well-researched, the better


That’s everything! Pretty simple, right?

Elmo: My two favorite letters of the alphabet are 'E' 'Z'
GIF of Elmo: "My two favorite letters of the alphabet are 'E' 'Z'."

With so many mentor wishlists to cull through, probably not. We do hope you find a great match and look forward to reading your submission at the end of the month!

If our wishlist raised any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or catch one of us on Twitter.

You can check out the other Adult mentors’ wishlists below, or head back to the Pitch Wars post to see the complete list of mentors.

Pitch Wars 2021 Adult Mentors’ Wishlists

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