My Pitchwars Carnival of Dreams (a.k.a My Wishlist)
If you dare... Step inside my carnival of strange, fantastic, magical, deadly, otherworldly, and wondrous things.
Let’s strike a bargain-- or have a chat if the latter term puts you more at ease.
My name is N.E. Davenport, and I’m mentoring Adult Science Fiction/ Fantasy for Pitchwars this year. In addition to that, let’s get the humdrum, business-y stuff out of the way first, shall we?
What is Pitchwars?
Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to mentor. Mentors read their mentee's entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for an agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the showcase and their query letter for submitting to agents.
Now, back to that bargain I mentioned. *Cough* I mean chat. Oh, you’d like to know more about me? Very well. It isn’t an unreasonable request when entertaining a chat with a shadowy stranger.
As I said, my name is N.E. Davenport. I also go by Nia Davenport. I’m a SFF and Contemporary writer. I write in the Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade age categories. My debut novel, THE PRAETORIAN TRIALS, is an Adult Fantasy that comes out in Fall 2022 with Harper Voyager. I am represented by Caitie Flum at Liza Dawson Associates. I’m currently toiling away on my debut novel edits, an MG fantasy, and a YA romcom.
Now, back to that bargain I mentioned. Must we keep up the charade of calling it a chat? I prefer to call a dragon a dragon. I’m seeking a Pitchwars mentee! I’d be elated if you considered submitting to me.
What would I exchange a king's ransom to see?
Novels aimed at adults. If your novel fits nicely into the Adult/ YA Crossover category that's alright too. But please no novels that are true YA. I love YA and devour tons of YA books a year, but I don’t want to see any books that are truly YA and simply labeled as crossover novels. Your book should be geared towards adults, it should examine topics through an adult lens, and your main character should be grappling with the challenges, conflicts, and joys that come with living an adult life. Some examples of adult SFF books I love that also have crossover appeal are Jay Kristoff’s NEVERNIGHT chronicles, S.A. Chakraborty’s DAEVABAD TRILOGY, Pierce Brown’s RED RISING books, R.F. Kuang’s THE POPPY WAR series, and Nicky Drayden’s TEMPER.
I also adore the aforementioned books for the following reasons:
They have rich, vivid, sprawling worlds.
They have nuanced and intriguing characters with a ton of agency and clear, compelling motivations, wants, and goals.
I’m a sucker for good warring/ fighting/ stabby scenes, and all of the books above have this too.
They all have ensemble casts, and the secondary characters are just as intriguing, compelling, fleshed out, and richly drawn as the main character.
I really like kickass, deadly MCs that aren’t afraid to get into a brawl when people piss them off or commit wrongs against them. I also like assassins, mercenaries, soldiers, lethal royals, merciless immortals, and any other variety of powerful, deadly characters. GIVE THEM TO ME!!!!!
Do I also like romance in my SFF? YES, PLEASE! In fact, it’s super, super hard for me to fall in love with a story that doesn’t have a romance subplot. I’m not saying that I can’t and don’t ever find myself enjoying stories without a romance component, but it is usually rare. With that being said, if the romance doesn’t end in a Happily Ever After or Happy For Now, then it isn’t for me.
I’m also looking for diversity in setting and characters. I very much want to see #ownvoices novels.
Intrigue, romance, blood feuds, brewing wars, grudges to settle, and vengeance to enact are all FOR ME.
I’m also a sucker for mythology, lore, and staggering, sweeping magic.
My all time favorite Adult SFF books are NEVERNIGHT (Jay Kristoff), THE POPPY WAR (R.F. Kuang), CITY OF BRASS (S.A. Chakraborty), THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS (N.K. Jemisin), A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN (Sarah J. Maas), and HOUSE OF BLOOD AND EARTH (Sarah J. Mass' new Crescent City series book). If you can comp your novel to any of these, please send it my way!!!!
I also really, really, REALLY enjoy adult fantasy romance and adult paranormal romance. BUT, it has to be a story that delivers a unique world, unique characters, and unique twists on PNR. If your novel is the adult version of Twilight, sorry, but it is not for me. Neither are books that are like the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter books. They are both great, but I want to see something new and unique.
With that being said, if you can comp your book to L.A. Banks’ VAMPIRE HUNTRESS LEGEND in terms of identity of the main character, diversity of cast, and the vividly drawn world….I CANNOT SHOUT HOW MUCH I WANT TO SEE IT!!!! PLEAAAASSSEEEEE.
So what would I NOT like to see?
Any novel that excludes people of color, ignores them, uses them as props, or uses them as plot devices.
Any story that deals with racism, enslavement, brutality, or oppression toward the Black diaspora and isn’t written as a nuanced, thoughtful, careful portrayal by a person of the Black diaspora.
If your novel has a romance subplot that doesn’t end in a happy ever after or happy for now, it isn't my cup of tea.
Any story that deals with a terminal illness in any form.
A manuscript full of typos and grammatical mistakes. Please make sure your submissions are polished.
A manuscript that is a first draft.
A manuscript that isn’t Adult SFF.
Please don’t send me any hard sci-fi or books about zombies.
Why should you sub to me?
I promise I will be your greatest cheerleader! I’ll work hard with you to revise your story and polish it up into the best, strongest version that YOU want it to be. I want you to work hard and gain the tools you need to elevate your story to the next level, and in the end I want it to be a story that YOU love and that YOU are proud of. I will always make suggestions and lend help according to your vision for the story first. It will never be about me. It will always be about you.
I’m a huge developmental editing person. I’ll be focusing on your plot, tension, pacing, characters' motivations, needs, wants, and desires, character arcs, and overall worldbuilding. I want to make sure all of these things are working spectacularly independently and as a unit to make your book as strong as possible.
I’m not huge on copyediting, and honestly a handful of grammatical mistakes won’t hurt you. So if you are looking for someone to return intense copy edits, I am not that person.
What’s my contact style?
Twitter DMs, email, Zoom/ Google Meet, and texts all work for me! We can absolutely schedule a phone chat or Zoom/ Google Meet chat to go over your edit letter and other important things/ questions if you like. For any smaller, minute things I communicate best via DMs, texts, or emails. I understand the terrible feeling of being accepted into a mentor program then having minimal contact with your mentor. It feels like striking gold then being stranded on an island all by your lonesome. I promise not to do that. I’ll stay in touch with you regularly throughout the Pitchwars process, and it’s my hope to not only gain a mentee but to also gain a friend!
So, now that we’ve chatted about all that. Do you accept my bargain? My mentorship and infinite cheerleading in exchange for your wondrous, fantastical, manuscript? If this is a bargain that seems acceptable to you, submit to me to be your Pitchwars Mentor!