Monthly Archives: September 2020

Pitch Wars Wish List 2020: Simple Text

Category : Uncategorized

  • Detailed, complete Wishlist Page (with gifs etc.) here.


  • Here’s a quick summary of the following wishlist:
  • I’m Aty S. Behsam, writer, artist, translator, and this year I’m mentoring YA. I accept NA, and I’m looking for the following genres: Polished Contemporary/Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Mystery Young Adult or New Adult novels or graphic novels.
  • You can ask questions/communicate with me through Twitter, Instagram, and once I pick my mentee, we’ll communicate through Twitter, Instagram, and email.
  • You can find the simple text version of this wishlist page here.
  • The following is the details of my wishlist:
  • [GIF: anime girl is excitedly jumping around and that is literally me.]
  • #PitchWars is finally here, so, as usual, let’s all take a moment to PANIC AND GET EXCITED AT THE SAME TIME!

What is Pitch Wars?

  • Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, professional writers, and industry interns choose one writer each to mentor. Mentors read the entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript, pitch, and query shine for the agent showcase. If you want to learn more, check out the Pitch Wars website.
  • [GIF: Kermit the frog is screaming on a table… I swear to God.]

  • Warning: The following wishlist features the word “dark” approximately 95846548 times.
  • Now… let’s get down to business!

Here’s who I am and why you should submit to me:

  • I’m a writer, artist, translator, editor, and a full-time writing mentor and teacher. I have been teaching writing, and mentoring writers for years, including Pitch Wars 2018 and 2019. The experience helps me quickly recognize strong and weak points in stories.
  • I was a mentee in 2017 with my book COUP DE GRACE. I understand the pressure and the commitment on your end, and I understand the love you hold for your stories. So now I can help you.
  • If I pick you, it means I care about your book. A lot. I’m going to cheer on you, help you, and cry with you whenever you need. I can also send you cat pictures. Yes. I have two of them.
  • I’ll be your creative partner. I’ll show you ways to fix things when you’re feeling trapped, and make the best parts of your book shine even brighter.
  • Both my 2018 and 2019 mentees have success stories, and I’m proud of them! They worked so hard, they’re so talented and such amazing storytellers, and they made it. My last year’s mentee Ann Fraistat’s book is coming out in Spring 2022, so don’t forget to follow her work.
  • [GIF: Kermit the frog is jumping up and down, and funnily enough that is also me.]
  • Well then. Since I’m trying (TRYING) to keep this short for once (spoilers: I will fail), without further ado, let’s move on to…
  • [GIF: Japanese lady Marie Kondo politely says, “This one sparks joy.”]
  • Polished Contemporary/Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Mystery Young Adult or New Adult novels or graphic novels.


  • For Contemporary, I want stories that deal with the real world issues. I’m especially interested in stories that feel personal and show cultures and lifestyles that are under-represented. I want stories that show different corners of the world, and characters that open my mind to different ways of thinking. Is your story dark? I’m all in! Is your story a comedy? OH YES. Is your story dark and funny?
  • [GIF: John Legend singing “Show me”.]
  • For Romance, I want all the tropes, but also healthy relationships that defy the rules and tropes of the setting. Give me enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, star-crossed lovers, strangers to lovers, bad boys/girls falling for the unlikely person, all the angst and yearning! Give me “we’re supposed to be enemies but we’re also really in love” or “why am I still thinking about you?” Give me the slow burn romance. All types of pairings, every sexuality, and gender identity.
  • [GIF: Paul Rudd saying “Give me it. Give me it! C’mon give me it!”]
  • Huge bonus points if your story has
    • Multiracial couples
    • Same-sex couples in the Middle-East
    • One or both of them being immigrants or refugees
  • [GIF: Stephen Colbert smashing stuff with a hammer and saying “Give me the fucking thing!”]
  • In Thriller, Mystery and Crime, I want fast-paced, commercial mystery with big twists. I want action thrillers like YA Jason Bourne books and movies, or dark, strong stories like Mad Max: Fury Road. I want Mafia stories with romantic subplots, smart detective stories with dark, angsty plot, and characters walking the thin line between right and wrong.
  • [GIF: Loki shouting “Tell me!”]
  • I would adore a dark romance sci-fi like Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. And honestly, I would kill for a dark, gut-wrenching time-travel/crime story like the anime Erased [Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi]. But make it Young Adult.
  • [GIF: from the anime Erased, a little boy is watching a little girl standing alone under the snow, her red coat being the only color in the shot.]
  • If you happen to have the YA version of Neon Genesis Evangelion or an awesome psychological sci-fi thriller like it, featuring a same-sex couple, please, I NEED IT.
  • [GIF: from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinji and Nagisa smile at each other, ahem, because these boys love each other *sobs*]
  • As for Fantasy, I want everything but high fantasy. If your fantasy goes beyond Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and reaches J. R. R. Tolkien’s works, I’m not the right mentor for you.
  • Give me your odd monsters and creatures, your whimsy, beautiful, chilling tales, and your creepy, mysterious settings that take part in the story like an active character. I want scary fantasy stories full of heart; Young Adult version of Akihito Tsukushi’s Made in Abyss, and anything that can comp Hayao Miyazaki.
  • [GIF: Made in Abyss beautiful setting, where people live around a huge hole in the ground, which they call abyss and explore at great costs]

  • I also love contemporary fantasy, fantasy settings based on real world locations, or speculative fiction that mixes read world with fiction. You see, what I really want in fantasy is … again … characters to love!
  • [GIF: Kermit the frog is chilling and drinking his tea]
  • Send me your story if it’s a dark comedy fantasy, like Adachitoka’s Noragami manga.
  • If you have magic, make it unique. Give me the sort of magic that not only colors the plot, but also seeps into characters and their development.
  • Extra bonus points for fantasy that’s based on or inspired by Iranian/Persian culture/settings/tales. Think Hiromu Arakawa’s The Heroic Legend of Arslan. The author is Japanese, but did her research and wrote a great story and awesome characters based on a novel inspired by an old Persian tale.
  • [GIF: from the anime The Heroic Legend of Arslan, awesome Persian girl in a sword fight with a Persian man who happens to be Aty’s crush *sobs*]
  • For non-Persian Historical Fantasy, I only accept #OwnVoices stories. If you have a historical fantasy that does not take place or feature MCs of your own culture or ethnicity, I’m not the right mentor for you. I make an exception for Persian Historical Fantasy, because I would be able to help you with history and culture. If neither you nor I wholly know and feel for the history of your story, we can’t better it.
  • [GIF: Kermit the frog and Christian Bale are sitting in their cars and looking at each other through the windows. Don’t ask.]
  • I want compelling stories with an interesting cast of characters, and a plot about moral values and humanity. Think Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist manga. If you have something like this, I’m 100000000% the right mentor for you!
  • [GIF: from the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, epic fight between two alchemists]
  • If you have great characters who have a say in the plot, and setting that is well-thought and features realistic class systems like Avatar: The Last Airbender, send me your story, IT IS THE LAW.
  • [GIF: from Avatar: The Last Airbender, MC is flying with two other great characters]
  • For Graphic Novels, I want stories of all genres. I’m looking for unique characters and well-executed concepts. Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist, Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, Adachitoka’s Noragami, Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul, and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s Saga are some of my favorites. They hurt the right way!
  • [GIF: Adam Levine motioning for you to give me your story. I’m not making this up.]

Important Notes & Huge + Points

  • I’m looking at novels that have at least a little bit of romance. Your genre doesn’t have to be romance, and the story doesn’t have to be all about romantic relationships, but if you’re submitting to me, your story should have a taste of romance in it–a pinch of love spice is all I need, even if the couple don’t really become a couple! If a romantic relationship is one of the driving forces in your story, whether the genre is romance or not, I’m the right mentor for you.
  • [GIF: from the anime Yuri on Ice, Victor and Yuri share an intimate kiss and MAKE HISTORY.]
  • Female leads! That says it all!
  • Stories with male leads addressing toxic masculinity, and/or crossing gender barriers. Huge bonus point.
  • I’m a particular sucker for anti-heroes. Give me anti-heroes to hate to love and love to hate! Huge + point if they have big development. MAKE ME SUFFER, I’M ASKING YOU TO!
  • [GIF: Kermit the frog evil-laughing]
  • Give me complicated, realistic villains! Villains and antagonists whose motivations are understandable, even if their ways are questionable, are always my thing. Especial bonus point if your villain is female. We need more well-written female villains and antagonists. The ones we can identify with, and love, but we know are wrong in their methods and have just fallen too deep into the dark side. The ones who were once good, but now have lost their way.
  • [GIF: Kuvira from The Legend of Korra, playing with a piece of metal with her metal bending abilities.]
  • Give me the dark and light together! Look, I love happy stories. I do. But an all happy story is not my thing. Conflict is my thing. Dark stories give me the kind of pleasure that happy stories just don’t. I write dark, gritty Young Adult with a lot of conflict, and I want to help my mentee. I love my characters suffering…
  • [GIF: from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, Nagisa [white-haired pretty boy], saying with a sad face, “I’m sorry, this wasn’t the happiness you desired.”]
  • But keep in mind that I also love my silver lining! Where there is darkness, there should be light. Bittersweet endings are also my thing. So keep this in mind if you want to send your dark stories:
  • [GIF: from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, Nagisa [the same white-haired pretty boy], saying, “There is always hope.”]
  • #OwnVoices novels hold a special place in my heart. I want stories taking place in Asia or Africa, or with genuine, correct references to Asian and/or African culture, written by Asian or African writers. Stories with black/POC main characters, by black/POC writers. Stories with LGBTQA+ characters, written by people from LGBTQA+ community. I want stories featuring disabled characters, written by disabled writers. I want stories of characters going through things that the writers has felt to the core of their heart. I want your #OwnVoices story. I want to work with marginalized writers of all groups.


  • [GIF: Evil Kermit appears in front of Kermit the frog]


  • The “Not Right For Me” part
  • It DOES NOT mean there is anything wrong with your story, it’s just not right for me if it’s in the following list.
    • High Fantasy
    • Hard Science Fiction
    • Horror
    • Historical [except OwnVoices/Persian Historical fantasy]
    • Regency
    • Fairy Tale Retelling
    • Suspense
    • Inspirational
    • Memoir
    • Natural disasters
    • Erotica
    • Western
    • I can’t believe I’m saying this, but please don’t send me Corona stories …
  • [GIF: Christopher Nolan and Al Pacino casually having tea and staring at each other blankly without a word.]


  • In the first round, I will mark up the issues with your plot, character arc and development, opening and ending, relationships, and issues that would need to be revised. I’ll provide you with an edit letter with my opinions and suggestions about how we can make your story better. You will have in-line notes with my opinions and edits, about what I think works really well and what I think should change. It’s totally up to you what suggestions you follow, as it is your story, and I’m only here to help you. You will have some homework for your novel, like forms and charts to fill in for your characters, making scene maps, outlines, etc, depending on your story. We’ll work on your novel in another round of edits after you made the revisions, then a line edit, and we’ll also work on your pitch and query.
  • We’ll be in touch via Twitter and emails. We’ll be in constant communication. We’ll also video chat to discuss our approach to revisions and possible rewrites, if you’re comfortable.
  • I will try not to stalk your Twitter. But I will stalk your Twitter. Be kind to everyone. Encourage people. Then you will be encouraged as well.
  • [GIF: Stephen Colbert and Kermit the frog rejoicing. I’m doing the same.]

Final Notes:

  1. THIS YEAR I DO ACCEPT NEW ADULT. Just a reminder!
  2. READ THE WISHLIST CAREFULLY BEFORE SUBMITTING. Please don’t waste one of your mentor slots by submitting something I won’t be the right fit for.
  3. PITCH WARS IS MORE THAN A CONTEST. Many writer friends are just waiting to meet you and become your CPs and that is the greatest gift Pitch Wars gives everyone who enters every year. Find yourself a CP who cares about your work as much as you care about theirs. Find friends who help you, read for you, give you courage and strength in your writing journey. That’s the magic of Pitch Wars: It connects hearts.
  4. BE READY FOR SOME HARD WORK. It’s all about teamwork. A partnership. If I pick you, we are partners.
  5. PLEASE REMEMBER THAN NOT BEING CHOSEN DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE NOT A GOOD ENOUGH WRITER. In the end, no matter how much we love your stories, each of us can only pick ONE mentee. It doesn’t make us happy to say no to many good stories. It’s about falling in love with that one MS, that one MC, that one writer. Never forget that gathering enough courage to take part in the first place is huge, and you are awesome no matter what. Also, you can always find so many awesome writers through #PitchWars tag.
  6. You have questions? Do not hesitate to write to me on Twitter.
  7. You are awesome.
  • [GIF: David Bowie singing “You Are Awesome” and rightfully pointing at you and you alone]


Don’t forget to check out the wishlists of the amazing YA mentors this year:

Pitch Wars 2020 Young Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists

  1. Aiden Thomas (Accepts NA)
  2. Sarvenaz Tash (Accepts NA)
  3. Chloe Gong and Tashie Bhuiyan
  4. Abigail Johnson
  5. Kit Frick and Carlyn Greenwald
  6. Sonora Reyes (Accepts NA)
  7. Laurie Dennison
  8. J.Elle and Emily Golden
  9. Andrea Contos (Accepts NA)
  10. Emily Thiede (Accepts NA)
  11. Amanda Panitch
  12. Allison Saft and Ava Reid (Accepts NA)
  13. Emery Lee (Accepts NA)
  14. Carrie S. Allen and Sabrina Lotfi
  15. Shannon A. Thompson and Sandra Proudman (Accepts NA)
  16. Adiba Jaigirdar and Gabriela Martins
  17. Michaela Greer (Accepts NA)
  18. Tash McAdam
  19. ST Sterlings (Accepts NA)
  20. Maiya Ibrahim and Ayana Gray (Accepts NA)
  21. Meg Long and Xiran Jay Zhao (Accepts NA)
  22. Margie Fuston
  23. Jamie Howard
  24. Nova McBee
  25. Amelia Diane Coombs and Sophie Gonzales (Accepts NA)
  26. Rachel Griffin
  27. Susan Lee and Auriane Desombre (Accepts NA)
  28. Ciannon Smart
  29. Sasha Peyton Smith and Kristin Lambert
  30. Lane Clarke (Accepts NA)
  31. Lyndsay Ely (Accepts NA)
  32. Anna Sortino (Accepts NA)
  33. Jennieke Cohen
  34. Bethany Mangle (Accepts NA)
  35. Sunya Mara (Accepts NA)
  36. Kat Dunn and Daphne Lao Tonge
  37. Sheena Boekweg and Alechia Dow (Accepts NA)
  38. Liz Lawson and Dante Medema (Accepts NA)
  39. Sarah Dass (Accepts NA)
  40. Zach Hines (Accepts NA)
  41. Hoda Agharazi (Accepts NA)
  42. Dawn Ius and April Snellings (Accepts NA)
  43. Kara McDowell and Kimberly Gabriel
  44. Kylie Schachte (Accepts NA)
  45. Deborah Falaye
  46. Rona Wang (Accepts NA)
  47. Becca Mix and Grace Li (Accepts NA)
  48. Aty S. Behsam (Accepts NA)

Click here to view all Pitch Wars 2020 Mentors’ Wish Lists

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