pitch wars

Pitch Wars 2018: Kai’s Mentor Wishlist

Pitch Wars Adult Mentor BadgeHi, Pitch Warriors, I’m Kai! Now I know you’ve got a lot of mentors to sift through, so I’m gonna offer a little tl;dr up front, and then if you’re intrigued, you can keep reading.

[Aside: If you’re not here for Pitch Wars, feel free to skip this post. I promise things will return to cat photos and word count metrics shortly.]


I’m a debut fantasy author with an eye for structure, character arcs, and Cool Stuff. Looking for adult second world fantasy.

Bonus points for:

  • f/f,
  • grim without the dark,
  • honestly anything QUILTBAG,
  • hopepunk / grimhope
  • cool magic,
  • villains you’re uncomfortably rooting for

Candid Pic of the Author Having Her Face Smooshed by a Small HumanAbout Me
I’m thirteen squirrels shoved into a gator suit –

Wait. No. Let’s try again.

This is my first year mentoring and you’ve probably already read my official bio – transient author who’s a jack of all trades and master of none – so let’s skip that. I write fantasy, I read every genre, and my debut The Perfect Assassin – murder! historians! dangerously high heat index! – comes out from Tor in March, 2019.

As for me as a person… I’m a type A Virgo mom with high anxiety levels and a penchant for baking and running. One, unfortunately, does not entirely outdo the other. If I’m not freaking out about a deadline, I’m usually curled up on the couch with two cats and my wife, watching the Great British Bake Off and crying because Sue is so perfect. I also have a small human, who has most recently unlocked Serious Side Eye and “blueberries!”

I still secretly pretend that one day I’ll have time to game again. Although at this rate, that will coincide with Valve releasing Half-Life 3 (see: never).

Why Me
I know my genre like the back of my hand – that is, with relative confidence until someone actually asks me to pick my hand out of a line-up, and then I get all flustered and start to question myself. I did my time in the query trenches (three projects over four years) and also interned at a small agency and read their slushpile, so I’ve seen what agents get and can gently talk you down from the terror cliff that queries always somehow summon.

I’m very good at picking things apart and putting them back together again and making sense out of chaos. Also deadlines. I love deadlines. There’s beauty in having a ticking clock to guide you through uncertainty.

I’ve also, you know, written a few books under contract and deadline, and I’ve gotten my fair share – and given my fair share – of crit. I understand what’s useful and what’s not and I love talking through plot tangles.

What You Can Expect from Me
A thorough yet concise edit letter and lots of ridiculous comments in your manuscript. I won’t shy away from pointing out where the plot loses steam or doesn’t make sense, or where characterization goes off the rails. I’m not one for line-edits, but I will point out anything egregious/repetitive. I’ll also give you deadlines and work with you on a realistic schedule and offer generous heapings of encouragement along the way.

I am absolutely up for hashing out plot problems over chat/email. But fair warning: I can be pretty chatty.

Okay Cool, But What Am I Looking For
Adult, second world fantasy with rich, fully-realized worlds that are just as full of diversity and life and complex choices as our own, where just as much care is taken building the people as it is the magic system(s).

Think: Mistborn, Tiger’s Daughter, and the Traitor Baru Cormorant.

BUT ALSO worlds that are a closer mirror of ours, that are not our own, but could be with just one or two variables shifted.

Think: Amberlough or Vicious.

  • I want blurred lines between protagonists and antagonists, where one could easily be the other if you just switched POV.
  • I can’t do straight up grimdark anymore, but I still love some grim – murder and demons and blood magic are right up my ally.
  • I want hope. If you’ve got hopepunk, GIVE IT TO ME. If not, just enough hope sprinkled throughout or at the end will do. Is grimhope a thing because yes, please.
  • I want queer, preferably f/f, but honestly anything QUILTBAG (and yes, the ‘A’ stands for Ace, not Ally). Also, I want there to be more than just the single queer character/pair – after all, we travel in groups. Just one obvious queer isn’t a dealbreaker, but be aware I will ask for more in revisions.
  • I want magic. Even if it’s just on the margins, I like my fantasy full of the fantastical, thank you very much. If you’ve got a cool magic system like in the Rithmatist or Elantris, yes please. If you’ve got a world that is so real that it might as well be magic (see: Amberlough), I’ll be content.

So basically: magic and murder and mayhem!


What I’m Really Not Looking For:

  • Straight up heroes and villains.
  • Grimdark
  • Anything over 150k words (unless you’re willing to chop hard)
  • Rape
  • Violence toward children (see further clarification in comments)
  • Unquestioned/gratuitous violence
  • Urban fantasy
  • Science fiction
  • Medieval European-esque settings that don’t do something new/fresh/interrogative

I realize I’m being pretty open and vague here (except with the No’s, which are definitely hard no’s), so if you’re not sure, don’t self-reject. If you have any questions, feel free to find me on zee Twitterz (@KA_Doore) or comment below. I reserve the right to come back and update this with clarifications as need be.

Good luck, y’all!
Head on back to the main Pitch Wars Bloghop Master Post or select another mentor’s blog below!






































Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.