Ren's 2020 Pitch Wars Wishlist!
Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose a writer to mentor, then spend three months helping the mentee revise a manuscript until it’s ready to query.
Pitch Wars kicks off soon! The application window opens from September 27th to October 1st, 2020! Mentees will be announced in early November, and in February 2021 there will be an Agent Showcase where agents can read a pitch & first page and can request to read more.
Check the Pitch Wars website for all the dates, details and how to apply.
I'm so excited to be back for my second year as a Pitch Wars mentor in 2020! I’ll be looking for Adult Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction. Read on to learn more about me, what you can expect from me as a mentor, & what I love to see in a manuscript!
Ren Hutchings is an SFF writer and postgraduate Publishing student who currently lives in Ontario, Canada. She has spent most of the past few years working in game dev while plotting twisty space novels. Ren has previously worked as a creative producer and managed communications for a non-profit arts council. She graduated with a BA in History before completing a year of grad school in archaeology, indulging her lifelong passion for nerding out about the past just as much as the future.
She loves weird mysteries, pop science, elaborate book playlists, and pondering about alternate universes. In 2020, she’s been surprised to discover how much she misses reading on public transit.
Ren is represented by Bridget Smith of JABberwocky Literary Agency.
✨ My PITCH WARS WISHLIST! ✨
I love all flavours of sci-fi, from sprawling space opera and galactic intrigue to small, intimate narratives that take place on a single ship. I like alternate universes and parallel worlds, and science-fantasy crossovers that explore the coexistence of technology and magic. I love weird magic systems, strange artifacts, and fantasy with historical and mythological influences. If you have a story with time travel in it, definitely send it my way!
I’m open to pretty much any fiction with a clear speculative twist. Send me anything paranormal or supernatural, ghost stories, futuristic horror, or high-stakes post-apocalyptic adventures in the vein of Fury Road. Dystopian & apocalyptic fiction, especially cli-fi, feels incredibly relevant right now. I’d love to see a story that shows not only how the world collapsed, but how it begins to claw its way back.
Please send me your submission if you have anything like this...
✨ Character-focused space opera
✨ Lush worldbuilding & complex intrigue
✨ Quirky magic systems & mysterious artifacts
✨ Quests with a squabbling, sarcastic party of misfits
✨ Intense, high-stakes space adventures
✨ Emotional time travel stories & alternate histories
✨ Collisions of advanced tech & theology
✨ Mythological rellings with a twist
✨ Hopeful stories of post-apocalyptic recovery
✨ Secret societies, thief guilds & fantastical heists
✨ Fantasy in a historically inspired setting
✨ Anything that feels like a Guillermo Del Toro movie
✨ Characters with extraordinary skills or superpowers
✨ Tongue-in-cheek, humorous contemporary fantasy
What I'm NOT looking for: Please do not send me stories containing on-the-page sexual assault, graphic violence, or very descriptive gore.
FAVORITE CHARACTER TROPES & RELATIONSHIPS
Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, underdogs who won’t give up, grumpy characters who are actually soft, cinnamon roll characters who are actually tough as nails, anti-heroes, bitter enemies forced to cooperate grudgingly, group casts of mismatched crew, quippy banter, rivals-to-friends & ride-or-die besties. I’m always here for that one character with an obscure or seemingly useless skill that turns out to be essential :)
I love a dash of romantic tension (especially if it’s a queer romance) but I’m also interested in stories that explore non-romantic relationships. Send me stories with sibling bonds, strong friendships & found families!
MORE ELEMENTS I LOVE!
Androids, artificial intelligences (good, evil or undecided), immortality, ‘god in the machine’ themes, inventive magic systems, treasure quests, space archaeology, mythological or historical references, tech/magic mashups, post-Earth human civilization, uploaded minds, wormhole travel, time shenanigans of any kind, memory-hacking, reality-bending, simulation theory, theological & existential pondering.
Diverse voices in SFF
I would love to see manuscripts from writers with diverse backgrounds, and I’m committed to uplifting marginalized voices of all kinds that have been underrepresented in SFF. As a queer reader myself, I’m especially drawn by books that give nuanced, expressive portrayals of queer characters.
New Adult manuscripts
I am accepting new adult manuscripts in any genre that’s represented in my wishlist above. However, if you’re chosen as my mentee, we will be revising with an aim to pitch your book in the Adult sphere. If you have a crossover manuscript but think your book can skew older, and you’re willing to revise it to make it more solidly adult, please submit your pitch to me!
✨✨✨ MY Mentoring Style
As a mentor, I’m detail-oriented and editorial, but I’m also a big-picture puzzle solver who can break open deeper plot changes. I have a lot of experience editing multi-POV stories and non-linear narratives, and I’m not afraid of an unconventional story format. I’m a great fit if you have a complicated book that needs a little untangling! I’ll work best with a mentee who’s open-minded and receptive to feedback, and who loves to solve problems collaboratively by bouncing ideas back and forth. You can expect frequent communication from me, whether it’s a quick check-in with some encouragement, an impromptu chat to help you dig into something you’re stuck on, or a meme that reminded me of your book :)
My ideal mentee is someone who has a strong belief in their work & a clear vision of what they want to accomplish during the revision period. You’ll be committed to working intensively on your project, and prepared to revise heavily on a tight deadline. We’ll be a good match if you’re looking for a mentor you can talk to, who you can consider a friend, and who will get really, really excited about your characters.
I am open to communicating in whatever formats work best for you, including email, video or audio chats, text/whatsapp & DMs. We'll work together to create your revision plan and set our deadlines for each step. (We can always update these flexibly if things change, and we'll catch up regularly to make sure you feel confident about hitting those dates.) Your well-being is a priority & I will work my hardest to give you all the support you need.
NOT SURE IF YOU SHOULD SUBMIT?
DO IT! If you don’t see your book described exactly here, but you feel I’d be a great mentor for you, give me a shot anyway! If you have a character-driven SFF story of any kind, I’d love to see it. I never know for sure which books I’m going to fall for.
I’m incredibly excited to see your stories in my inbox. Thank you so much for trusting me with your words… and good luck!
Have a Question?
You can find me on Twitter as @voidcricket! I’ll also be participating in the SFF #AskMentor Twitter chat on September 23rd, 8pm EST, so you can pop some questions onto the hashtag!
PS. You can choose FOUR mentors or mentor pairs to submit to, so make sure you check out all the other amazing mentors and their wishlists, too!