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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Karyn Riddle and her mentor, Rachel Griffin

Monday, 2 December 2019  |  Posted by Rochelle Karina


Our mentors are editing, 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 5, 2020, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2019 Pitch Wars Mentor and Mentee Teams.

Next up, we have . . .

Karyn Riddle – Mentee



Rachel Griffin – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Rachel, why did you choose Karen?

The title of Karyn’s manuscript (THE INTROVERTS’ HANDBOOK) grabbed me right away and I knew I had to request it! I love the Myers-Briggs and anything to do with personality types. I’m also very introverted, and reading a manuscript that celebrates introversion hit me on such a personal level—I would have loved to find a book like this when I was a teen and didn’t have a vocabulary for that part of myself. I found myself nodding my head through much of Karyn’s manuscript, as well as laughing AND swooning. I reached out to Karyn several times with questions and revision ideas, and her answers were great: thorough and so thoughtful. Every time I received an email from her, I got more and more excited to work with her! She’s an incredibly hard-worker and has so much talent. I’m absolutely thrilled to have her as my mentee!!

Karen, why did you choose to submit to Rachel?

So many reasons! My book is a celebration of introversion with an introvert as the main character. I always suspected this manuscript would have the strongest appeal among fellow introverts, and thus, I searched mentors’ websites and twitter bios for any mention of personality. Sure enough, Rachel lists herself in her Twitter bio as the INFJ personality type (which is very similar to me, an ISFJ). In addition, her wish list included items that aligned with my MS, and she’d had experience as a mentor before. There were other things we had in common that seemed like “signs.” For one, red hair! She has a schnoodle, which was the kind of dog I had growing up. And she lives in the Pacific NW, and I am OBSESSED with the PNW and feel like I’m supposed to be living there. We both use a lot of exclamation points and all caps for emphasis which I love (LOVE!). And there was something about the voice in her wish list blog that made me write in my notes, “she seems awesome” (and she is!)

Rachel, summarize Karen’s book in 3 words.

Celebration of introversion

Karen, summarize your book in 3 words.

The underdog prevails

Rachel, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

I was a 2016 Pitch Wars mentee and this is my third year as a mentor. I’m a co-creator of the revision-focused blog, Be Your Own Mentor, and I write YA contemporary fantasy inspired by the magic of the world around me. In 2017 I got to watch the total solar eclipse from 17,000 feet and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life!

Karen, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

I just want to improve as a writer. I’ve been winging it these past few years and could really use some guidance. And indeed, I’ve learned SO MUCH just in the past two weeks alone. Creating compelling stakes is one of the things I’ve struggled with, and Rachel has already helped me in this regard.

Karen, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your manuscript unique?

By day I’m a college professor. The idea for my manuscript was inspired, in part, by some ideas I had when revising my syllabi a few years ago. Class participation had long been a requirement in my courses, and I started to wonder if that made class success just a little bit harder for the average introvert (i.e., am I stacking the deck against certain students?). As a result, I started creating other ways students could participate, including visiting me one-on-one, emailing questions or links to articles, tweeting, etc. Things an introvert would prefer. My manuscript takes that idea a step further: what if we redesigned a high school and grouped students into a curriculum that’s tailored to their personality?

One of the goals of the manuscript is to celebrate some of the unique skills an introverted high school student might possess. Writing it has posed some interesting challenges, though. For example, it’s not easy to create excitement when the whole point of the MC is that she prefers quiet solitude and time alone. I also have to take care not to insult extroverts in the process of celebrating introverts. I have a VERY extroverted 8-year old son and by no means want this to come off as a criticism of any personality type. One way of accomplishing this is by having my MC fall for THE most extroverted guy in the school, a swoony, sweet boy who’s simply awesome.

Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is February 5 – 10, 2020, and our next Twitter Pitch Party on #PitMad is December 5, 2019! Want to know more about #PitMad? Go here



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