Our mentors are mentoring, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase starting on February 10, 2021, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2020 Pitch Wars Mentor and Mentee Teams.
Next up, we have . . .
Meg Kuyatt – Mentee
Eric Bell – Mentor
Eric, why did you choose Meg?
Meg’s manuscript is engaging, powerful, timely, and beautifully written. Told in verse, it’s the story of a girl who’s told she has to follow the rules of being a “normal person,” which involves hiding her autism. As she comes to understand she’s not alone in the world, she begins to learn what it means to stand up for herself and expresses herself through poetry. How important is that nowadays?
This sounds wonderful, and I love books in verse! Meg, what makes you excited to work with your mentor?
Right away from Eric’s first emails, I felt comfortable with him. Like we were already friends, and that just made me so psyched to get to know him more. I could really open up with him and be honest about my writing journey. His enthusiasm for the project and his thoughtful comments make me feel less daunted about editing. I think that’s perhaps the most critical thing with a partnership and edits—having someone who is there to push your work to be the best, but also makes you feel like this whole crazy thing is possible.
Yes, not only is Eric talented, but he is so kind. I’m glad you two connected. So Meg, summarize your book in 3 words.
Autism isn’t scary!
This is a story that needs to be told! And Eric, summarize Meg’s book in 3 words.
Autism isn’t scary! [Eric’s note: Meg said it better than I could, so I just copied her!]
Ha! Yes, I think she said it great too, and I’d have a hard time doing better. Eric, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
I run a virtual MG/YA writing workshop. Check out my website link for more info!
That’s great! Everyone go check it out on his website. The link is above under his pic. Now Meg, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
Partnership. Hope. Encouragement. My writing journey has been a long one, and I’ve been in a season of struggling and discouragement. I love to teach and mentor, but sometimes I need help too! Being invited to work with Eric makes me feel hopeful that this work isn’t all for nothing. So already, I’ve gotten something that can’t be taken away from me! By the end, I hope my manuscript is as strong as it can be. I hope that I’ll feel confident as I jump back into querying. I hope that maybe even I’ll find the right agent through the process, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
I agree. Writing can be a long and lonely venture, and it’s much better when you have someone to guide you. Meg, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?
I’m a poet and YA writer who’s now starting to fall in love with MG! I’m a creative writing instructor by day, and a procrastinating writer…the rest of the day! I love to write about video games, and run the Magfest MAGES Library blog, which posts articles analyzing video games https://super.magfest.org/mages-blog. I’m also really bad at answering questions about talking about myself…lol!
My manuscript is unique because it’s in verse, and it’s based in my emotional experiences of being on the autism spectrum. I don’t see much in the way of ownvoices ASD representation, especially not from female POVs. It’s also unique in representing a high functioning ASD perspective. A lot of people have known me my whole life but don’t know I’m on the spectrum—in part because so much of what I deal with is internalized, in part because I don’t meet the stereotypes of what people often think of when they think of autism. In this story, I really want to show what that internalized struggle feels like, of how overstimulation can feel like a thermometer that’s slowly building, and you can put up with all of it for a while and seem “fine” until a certain threshold is crossed. I also wanted to critique how people on the spectrum can be treated differently, and even be feared at times, because they’re not well understood by those around them.
I get the struggles of procrastinating–it can be a battle. I can’t wait to see the journey of this book. Good luck!
Thank you Meg and Eric for the interview!
Check out the upcoming LGBTQ+ middle grade short story anthology Eric will be featured in, THIS IS OUR RAINBOW slated for fall 2021 and add it to your Goodreads.
And also Eric’s latest release, ALAN COLE DOESN’T DANCE:
To heartwarming cheer, Alan Cole came out to his school. But now what?
In this follow-up novel to Alan Cole Is Not a Coward, Eric Bell deftly explores with nuance and humor how the first step to complete self-acceptance may mean actually putting your feet on the dance floor. This laugh-out-loud and poignant tale is perfect for fans of Gary Schmidt and Jerry Spinelli.
Alan Cole has a problem: Ron McCaughlin. Ever since Alan revealed he’s gay, Ron has been bullying Alan with relentless fury. Alan can’t tell his parents why he’s really coming home with bruises—because they still don’t know the truth about him.
Yet buoyed by the support of his classmates and with his friends Zack and Madison by his side, Alan thinks he can withstand the bullying and—just maybe—break through to Ron.
But all things come to a head when Alan’s father asks that he take June Harrison to the upcoming Winter Dance. Never mind that Alan has two left feet, does not like girls, and might be developing feelings for a new boy at school.
This resounding tale about friendship, family, and the many meanings of bravery will leave readers rooting for Alan and his gang of proud misfits once more.