Angel’s Pitch Wars 2018 Wishlist

PW2018-Mentor-Adult

Hey! You done clicked on the link to get here and that’s a pretty big first step towards getting to your goal – having a fighting fit and agent-ready MS.

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Formalities – name’s Angel (Ayn-jel –  only my grandmother called me Ahn-hel) Luis (I can’t help you if you don’t know how to pronounce this one) Colón (like Cologne) – knowing’s half the battle.

I’m a writer – surprise! I love em-dashes and cursing, so if the latter isn’t your bag, I get it. I may not be quite your mentor type but if you don’t mind some rough edges, we should be good to go.

I’ve been writing since I was a kid but I’ve been writing for money (or what passes for money) for about 5 years now. I still very much have a dayjob, a marriage, a podcast, a few deadlines, and children – so don’t fret, I’m totally underwater as a default and can manage a little more weight. Horror’s my first love but I actually focus on crime fiction – think Westlake with a little Ted Lewis and then slap on some Tarantino-isms with the occasional Hunter S. Thompson lunacy (my BA is in journalism after all).

I’ve been published in a few dozen web and print zines. I have four novellas, a short story collection, and an upcoming novel all to my name. I’ve studied under writers like Suzie Vitello, Chuck Pahlaniuk, and Craig Clevenger. I’ve been agented and not agented. That’s right, we’re on the same journey as I’m about to start querying my own MS in the next few weeks. With that in mind, a bit of expectation setting…

You ready?

Seriously, because there’s no turning back now.

OK.

There are absolutely no promises on a return for all the work you’ve done and are about to do. I need to state that plainly. I am no fan of romanticizing the craft either, but yes, this needs to be an obsession. People who know me always hear me say this: being a writer is becoming a professional reject and an amateur success. This is not a bad thing! This is how you grow and become a better writer; how you take your abilities and make them as bulletproof as possible…

…and maybe still not do the things you planned.

Ugh, now we’re all down in the dumps. Look at me. What a curmudgeon. At least that part’s out of the way. As a mentor, though, my job is to work as hard as I can with you to take what you’ve put work into and make it sing. Best case scenario: we get you an agent and the next phase begins for you. Worst case: you learn how to go through an editing phase and how to build a query (and maybe a synopsis too). I’m a marathoner and if there’s something I like to take with me from that part of my life, it’s this: every time you work, you end your session a better writer for it. Put the words in and keep your mind open –  you’ll benefit in ways you’ve yet to consider.

So what the hell do I want?

If you see above, I’m accepting Adult (and some NA) subs.

First and foremost, I want some diversity. Yep. That’s right. I’m one of THOSE writers (I mean hell, have you seen my name).

That doesn’t mean I need you checking off boxes or scrambling to change your protag’s surname. I want new perspectives on old tropes. I want to see the world as it is: filled with more than one type of person. I want genre mash-ups that shouldn’t work on paper.

Got a trans cozy? Toss that my way.

Gay scifi romance? Let’s go!

An indigenous peoples-focused horror novel? OH HELL YES.

I want to see what I normally don’t see. See Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s “Certain Dark Things” (Mexican Narco-Vampires, what?) or Chris Irvin’s “Ragged” (Fargo meets Wind in The Willows) or just about anything from Steve Erickson and George Saunders. I want it weird, I want it different, and I want it bold. I want stories that pop and end as strong as they start.

I want your best regardless of genre or sub-genre. Ultimately, those labels are for marketing and never indicate the quality of work.

So what do I NOT want?

I draw the line at transgression for transgression’s sake. No rape. No dead babies/kids (not many people can pull that off and frankly, I have my doubts any first-time writer can), and no edge-lord takes or memes. I’m probably not your guy for hard fantasy either but if its on the light side and not a 100,000 word opus with a quarter of the content about the lineage of your main character, I may be able to swing it.

One add: I did mention genre mash-ups as appealing BUT if you can’t narrow your work down to at least two or three? Probably not for me. An erotic sci-fi horror comedy doesn’t sound as interesting as it sounds unfocused.

If we get past all those hurdles, expect me to go with a concept edit first to make sure we’re making sense and your narrative is going someplace. From there, then we can play the line edit game to make sure you look extra spiffy (think bow-tie versus clip-on). From there, we work on your query and, ugh, synopsis. To be honest, those last two are the PITS – they never get easier. We’ll get through it together, though.

Meet all this criteria? Can you handle a little tough love? Able to remember I might take a little longer than 15 minutes to email you back? Then submit, my friend.

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Best of luck,

PS: To get yourself over to the main Pitch Wars wish list post click HERE.

Angel Luis Colón