I am so privileged to be working with Ellie! Ellie writes YA and MG, and I am consistently impressed by her talent, her voice, her self-awareness, and her willingness to challenge herself. She is the best mentee I could have ever hoped for. Ellie is busy revising now, and you are all going to adore her amazing MG contemporary fantasy, The Dreamon!
I am not open to submissions this year, but there is a plot twist…I will also be taking the YA blog hop scavenger hunt winner as my mentee!
Some interesting things about me:
- I’ve lived on opposite sides of the US, in Jacksonville, Florida, on the Atlantic Coast and Monterey, California, on the Pacific.
- I’ve always loved books, and I still think of myself as a reader first and a writer second. I read and write YA, and I am a huge fan of Harry Potter, big, twisty paranormal like Cassandra Clare’s novels, fantasy like Graceling by Kristin Cashore or anything by Rae Carson, anything by Holly Black, contemporary like John Green, only more like Paper Towns than TFIOS, lighter fare like Stephanie Perkins or Jennifer E. Smith, and darker things like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin or The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
- I’ve had a long writing journey, and I’m no stranger to online contests. I was a Pitch Wars mentee with a YA fantasy in 2012. That manuscript had tons of positive feedback, but I finally put it away for something new. My second, a YA magical realism, was a finalist in too many contests—The Writer’s Voice, Pitch Slam, Pitch Plus Five, PitchMas, An Agent’s Inbox. My current manuscript, a YA contemporary, landed me an agent the old-fashioned way: through the query slush. I am repped by the amazing Danielle Burby at Nelson Literary.
- The most important thing I gained on the contest circuit was a community of writers who have helped me, supported me, laughed, cried and celebrated with me. The people are the real prize, and I am so grateful to Brenda and all the others who volunteer their time so generously to help fellow writers. I have gained lifelong friendships and been rewarded with access to so many beautiful manuscripts before they’ve hit the shelves. I was also an SCBWI critique group leader for three years. If you write YA or MG, I highly recommend connecting with SCBWI. I’ve looked forward to being a Pitch Wars mentor since I was chosen as a mentee, and I can’t wait to celebrate my TeenPit mentee’s amazing journey with her! And I hope I get the chance to work with YOU, too! So hurry up and complete the scavenger hunt!
Whether you end up with a mentor or not, reach out. Make connections. Take advantage of this opportunity to come together with other writers who share your passion.
One place to start is on social media! I'd love to connect with you, and I tweet @lauriedennison and Instagram @laurie.a.dennison. My mentee Ellie tweets @EllieFirestone1, and you can check out her website www.elliefirestone.com.
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