Grace Li | Pitch Wars


Pitch Wars

Welcome to Grace and Becca’s Pitch Wars wishlist! If you haven't already, please check out Becca’s post first to learn about our communication style and why you should submit to us.

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors or publishing professionals choose a writer to work with for three months to revise their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents can read a pitch/first page and can request to read more.

My name is Grace Li, and I grew up in Texas and went to school at Duke University, where I studied biology and creative writing. Currently, I’m a second year medical student at Stanford University, and I spend my time going on hikes by the Pacific, studying organ blocks, and writing stories about found family, grief, and identity. I especially love retellings; I signed with my agent for a feminist reimagining of the Iliad, and my current WIP is an Asian American Ocean’s Eleven, centering around five college students stealing back looted Chinese art. I’ve also worked as a lit agent intern and a high school teacher, so I’m particularly excited about the mentorship aspect of Pitch Wars -- especially with my comentor, who is one of my longtime critique partners and all-around favorite people.

My co-mentor, Becca Mix, is a Michigander who works in software by day and writes about messy girls, eerie magic, and sticky hope by night. When she’s not working, Becca’s usually reading, hiking through Michigan’s wetlands, making obnoxious tiktok’s, or sneaking new houseplants into the house. Becca has a particular fondness for stories about found family, grumpy mentors, and lost kids finding their way; as someone recovering from a traumatic brain injury, she’s also interested in anything that explores the intersection of health and creativity. Outside of her writing, Becca runs the Chaos Sprinting Club, a discord community of 100+ writers that regularly come together to do writing sprints, collaborate, and procrastinate. You can find her goofing off on most social platforms @mixbecca, or visit her at www.rebeccamix.com.

We read widely in YA/NA, and are looking for YA/NA fantasy, light sci-fi, lit fic, or romcoms. We are also interested in retellings of any genre. We are specifically interested in stories from individuals underrepresented in publishing

Some specific interests (including but not limited to!):

  • Lyrical prose 
  • Queer relationships 
  • The complexity of diaspora
  • Intersectional, feminist retellings
  • Setting as character
  • Morally ambiguous characters 
  • Found families 
  • Enemies-to-lovers
  • Grumpy mentors
  • Stories about abuse survivors
  • Disability representation
  • Mental illness representation
  • Characters that use humor to hide trauma
  • Mythology

  • This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone for its unique narrative structure, beautiful prose, and enemies-to-lovers f/f relationship. 
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang for its immersive worldbuilding, memorable characters, and incisive commentary on conquest and colonialism.
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi for its rich character portraits and its laser-sharp examination of race and Blackness in America, Nigeria, and Britain.
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid for its complicated character relationships, commentary on race and identity in Hollywood, and grab-you-and-don’t-let-go storyline. 
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore for its character dynamics, Katsa’s arc of growth, and the beautiful, vicious worldbuilding. 
  • Rebelwing by Andrea Tang for its pitch-perfect humor, deeply-personal stakes, and effortless handling of the aftermath of revolution and the weight of legacy.
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan for its rich worldbuilding, sparkling magic system, and unapologetically queer romance.  
  • Radium Girls by Kate Moore for its careful use of detail and insight into a forgotten part of history and a style of narrative nonfiction that will grips you by the heart and doesn’t let go
  • Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston for its depth of character, perfectly-executed love story, and its balance between laugh-out-loud humor and more serious themes of grief, trauma, and legacy.
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones for its effortless charm and whimsical, swept-away-by-magic feeling.
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller for its beautiful prose and thoughtful, heartbreaking depiction of war, grief, and love. 
  • Chemistry by Weike Wang for the elegance of its prose, its incisive commentary on Asian American family and identity, and how effortlessly it captures the feeling of being young and unmoored. 
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski for its complexity of character, spare, elegant prose, and thoughtful discussion of power and oppression. 
If you have a book that can comp to any of these, please send it to us!

Movies & TV Shows 

  • Spirited Away
  • The Farewell
  • The Fast & Furious franchise
  • Shrek 2 (Becca: I’m sorry, Grace.)
  • Get Out
  • Crash Landing on You (Grace: Please give me a book that makes me feel the specific agony of Yoon Se-ri and Ri Jeong Hyeok’s impossible love story. Or just any book that has a love interest like Ri Jeong Hyeok, tbh.)
  • One Day at a Time
  • Stranger Things
  • Game Of Thrones But Don’t Talk To Me About Season 8 It Never Happened
  • The Blacklist
  • Jane the Virgin
  • Orphan Black
  • Sense8
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Madoka Magica
  • Gattaca
  • Parks and Rec
  • The Office
  • Avatar The Last Airbender *muffled sobbing* (Becca: If your book makes me feel the way Zuko’s arc in ATLA makes me feel I will literally fistfight the other mentors for it.)

Music

  • Anything that feels like the particular melancholy of the Taylor Swift Folklore album
    • Grace: I would die for something like Exile, Epiphany, or Betty.
    • Becca: I agree, give me Betty, Peace, or This Is Me Trying because *chef’s kiss* and *ugly sobbing*.
  • Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
  • Any Halsey song, but especially Young God and Drive

Video Games

  • Stardew Valley
  • Witcher 3
  • Untitled Goose Game (No idea how you would actually comp a book to this but...we’re interested.)
  • Fire Emblem (But in particular, Fire Emblem awakening)
  • Harvest Moon (The old ones! The new ones are terrible!)
  • Animal Crossing
  • Breath of the Wild (Becca: Add this to the “fistfighting other mentors” list.)

  • Stories that have an all-white, all-straight cast
  • Books about oppression from the POV of the oppressor 
  • Stories that are co-opting a marginalized identity that is not your own
  • Horror (Weird and dark is fine! But straight horror isn’t for us.)
  • Dark, witchy high fantasies that involve blood magic (We love these; it’s just too close to Becca’s current project!)
  • Military sci-fi or space operas
  • On-the-page sexual assault
  • Body shaming
  • Toxic, abusive relationships that are presented as romantic or sexy
  • Books that feature an “I’m not like other girls” protagonist who uses this mindset to look down on/harass other girls
  • Anything over 120k
  • MG or Adult (Only mentoring YA/NA this year!)

Thanks so much for reading, and we hope you submit to us! Head back to the Pitch Wars post to see the complete list of mentors.