2018 Pitch Wars Mentor Wishlist

Jenna Lincoln
Action, Adventure, Chills, Romance – I am your mentor for all YA genre fiction. Send me your tropey goodness and I will help you shine your MS brighter than a freshly washed and waxed U.S.S. Enterprise. Can genres cross over and mix? You bet. Who doesn’t like a little kissing in their science fiction or some laughs in their horror?

I love all things science – one of my hobbies continues to be collecting science news articles for story ideas. But I also love gritty urban fantasy, a lá my favorite show, Supernatural, and magickal creatures. Adventure horror is another a favorite. [I play D&D and lately have been enjoying LitRPG’s as a guilty pleasure.] Send me your monsters. Bring on the mayhem. Fist fights, sword fights, laser battles? Yes! Explosions, plagues, disasters? I’m all in.* 

By day, I work in schools, so I have a strong interest in seeing all the students I teach represented in YA fiction. The cast of SpiderMan: Homecoming is a good example of what I mean, although, I also like to see characters specifically representing the LGBTQ+ community.

This is my second year as a Pitch Wars mentor, after many years of coaching teachers and mentoring new writers. Maybe it’s my work with middle school and high school students, but I most definitely understand that even the toughest outer shell protects a soft, gooey inside. I’m specific but constructive, intense but kind. I want you to develop and learn to trust your creative instincts. As your mentor, my focus will be both on you, the writer, and your book.

Thank you future/potential mentees for all your wishlist requests and thoughts on Twitter. I will take new adult genre fiction as well as YA. Romance in the MS is not a necessity. In response to questions about tropes, the only one I truly dislike is “love triangle.” As for subgenres I wouldn’t be the best mentor for, psychological horror – because I want monsters and/or action in my horror. And high fantasy, Game of Thrones-style isn’t a good fit for me either. I don’t want to hold dozens of families, clans, and regional history in my head while simultaneously memorizing the names and motivations of a massive cast. Not saying this isn’t good stuff. It’s just not the right match for me as a reader, writer, and mentor.

Please @ me on Twitter or use the comment page on this blog to send a question! I’m happy to clarify. Future/potential mentees have a lot of fabulous choices!



*Exclusions: narratives including rape, incest, or any type of sexual assault





2018 Young Adult Mentors

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30 thoughts on “2018 Pitch Wars Mentor Wishlist

  1. Are you interested in portal fantasy, or would that not be a good fit for you?
    What about dual third-person POV?

    Thanks for being a part of PItchWars!

    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      Hi there, portal fantasy is so interesting. I’d love to know more. My last two books were in dual, third person. I like it for the opportunities it provides for character voice and interiority. Let me know if you have additional questions! 🙂 Jenna

  2. Hi Jenna! Would you be interested in contemporary fantasy? Focus on a queer witch on a quest, includes paranormal/urban fantasy elements (vamps and werewolves etc). Thanks for mentoring, you seem really awesome!

    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      Hi Trisha, you had me at “queer witch on a quest.” I really like contemporary fantasy for YA and honestly wish we had more choices for the readers who want it the most. Finishing a book and putting yourself into Pitch Wars means that YOU, Trisha, are the awesome one. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Cheers, Jenna

  3. Is light sci-fi something you’re interested? Think: near future kids with super powers forming an after school club and learning their powers to fight an eco-terror organization with some stranger things twist toward the middle.

    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      I love ALL sci-fi and have since I was 10 years old. 🙂 My books are YA military sci-fi, but that wasn’t something I intentionally sat down to write.[Looking back, I blame the military thing on my martial arts classes. Also, uniforms…] I think lighter, near future, sci-fi would have a lot of appeal to YA readers. Cheers,Jenna

  4. Hi Jenna! How would you feel about a story with a first-person, present-tense POV? It’s a Sci-Fi with a MC that has “another voice in their head”. Thanks for doing this!

    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      Hi Matt, first person, present-tense is a great way to hide “things” from the reader and the main character. Sounds like it’s the right fit for your story. I’m open to any PoV choices that work with the story, but I would also say that PoV is sometimes a necessary round of revision. My first book was dual PoV and it had to be changed to single PoV, third person tight for the sake of the story. *sigh* Those changes are a lot of work, but completely worth it once you see the effect on your book. Cheers, Jenna

  5. Hello, I hope this question isn’t too late, but do you have any absolute do-not-dos or triggering material you’d rather avoid?

    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      Hi there, Yes, my exclusions are at the very bottom of the post. *Exclusions: narratives including rape, incest, or any type of sexual assault. I’ll be answering questions here until the mentee submission window closes on 8/29. Cheers, Jenna

  6. Hi Jenna –
    I have a book about a half-blood girl with social anxiety trying to escape her parents’ war – light scifi with otherworldly elements, extensive world-building.
    Would that be a good fit?
    (And yes. Uniforms. Not usually how I try to sell my work, but…)

    Not sure if this matters at all – but it’s a standalone that would thrive best in a series. Is that an issue at all?


    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      Hi Lane, all those elements check boxes on my wishlist. I’m totally serious regarding my love for and commitment to genre fiction. Standalone vs. series – either way is good for me. To love SF/F is to love worlds and characters growing and changing over time. But, I would never shun an excellent standalone as a reader, writer, or PW mentor. And, since you mentioned them…I am a total sucker for uniforms. Why? Dunno. All my best, Jenna

  7. Christina Henson says:

    Hi 🙂 Are you okay with an MS that doesn’t have Romance as a big element? Below is a summary of MS:
    Releasing her binded magic to save her only friend, troubled-teen Krista accidentally alerts magic-hungry beings to her whereabouts. Being more of a punch-first-ask-questions-later gal, Krista is surprised to discover she’s a gifted healer meant to world hop and help people. She accepts destiny to protect Universe so her location’s camouflaged. A deranged Fairy breaks into veil-jail, steals beasts and makes them hunt her powers. Plus, meeting a guy she may want to kiss instead of hit—that’s…unsettling.
    Seeing Auras + Healing + Portal Fantasy + Magic + Mythical Beings – Big Romance

    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      Hi Christina, yes, I’m completely fine reading an MS with or without kissing in the story. I certainly know YA readers who are “enough with the kissing already” sorts. I can’t reply to your summary because I know the rules say “no direct pitches” but I can say you have a lot of interesting elements in there. 🙂 Cheers, Jenna

  8. Jenny Landmann says:

    Hi, I had a quick question about your exclusions. one of my side characters alludes to attempted sexual assault while talking to the main character. It’s not graphically explained, and there aren’t even really any details. It’s not a main plot point or anything. But would that count you out?

    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      Hello, that’s a good clarifying question. My exclusions refer to books where sexual assault, incest, or rape form the central plot of the story and/or the core of the character arc for the protagonist. So the example you mention in your question wouldn’t make your MS an auto-reject for me at all. 🙂 Jenna

  9. Elisa Stryker says:

    Hi! How do you feel about genre-blending such as Science Fantasy and stories which focus on curing a man-made virus? Also are you for or against anime/manga styled writing?

    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      Hi Elisa, I blend science fiction and fantasy in my own writing, so it would be weird if I said “don’t send me that.” The man-made virus trope is a fav, especially the way it shows up in books like Feed by Mira Grant. My daughter writes her fanfics exclusively in the manga/anime style so I’m not only familiar, but comfortable, with that style of writing and storytelling. Cheers, Jenna

  10. Hi Jenna,

    Would you consider a coming-of-age rock opera? A classical singer turns frontwoman of a punk band lead by a control freak guitarist. They chase stardom while riffing through the turbulence of their senior year of high school. This novel is on the mature-end of YA; breaking into the world of rock music is not a trip through Disneyland ; )

    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      Hi Ali, the mature end of YA is great by me. I tend to hang out there myself. Although I can’t respond to a direct pitch here, I love the ideas you’re putting together. Cheers, Jenna

  11. Khalia Moreau says:

    Hello Jenna,
    I was wondering if you would consider a post-apocalyptic MS involving demons and an opposing military organization? The focus is mainly on the group of humans as they try to survive.

    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      Hi Khalia, that sounds like a lot of things on my wishlist. And because of my Supernatural love, the demon angle is particularly interesting. All my best, Jenna

    • Jenna Lincoln says:

      Hi AJ, The submission window for #pitchwars2018 closes tonight at 10PM EST. Every single shred of information you need to participate can be found here: https://pitchwars.org/ Yes, I do like Greek mythology, but I guess that wasn’t specifically on my wishlist. Good clarification. All my best, Jenna

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Jenna Lincoln