Check out my Pitch Wars interview on Brenda Drake's blog, where I talk about my YA sci-fi, ROGUE, and why I chose to submit it to my mentors, Kate Karyus Quinn and Demitria Lunetta.
It's that time of year again!
Pitch Wars fever is stirring in the air, and it's almost like Christmas! I entered Pitch Wars last year, and it was so much fun, I knew I had to try it again. Note: this bio is to be a slight revision of my mentee bio from last year, updated to reflect my new project.
Nice to meet you, Pitch Wars bio wanderer! I'm Allison Castle, a Canadian YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy writer and major geek. For a living, I create digital effects for movies and TV shows. I've worked on series like The Magicians, Zoo, and Once Upon A Time and movies like Sucker Punch, Immortals, and the first Twilight. But my real passion lies in making up my own stories.
I frequent scribophile.com, where I'm a member of a large, dedicated group of writers called the Ubergroup. Sounds awesome, I know. We critique each other every week and I honestly, I would be lost without my CP's. One of them happens to be Pitch Wars mentor Dannie Morin. (She mentors YA, so be sure to check out her wish list!)
Stuff I Love
As for books, some of my favorites are Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (which just so happened to be my main influence for writing a video game story), Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Young Elites by Marie Lu, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Sci-Fi and Fantasy are typically my top genres. World-building, exciting plots, great characters... these are what really suck me in and keep me up way past my bedtime.
I'm a J.J. Abrams fangirl. LOST, Fringe, Star Trek. Star Wars 7! Also, I adore Guardians of the Galaxy and Pixar's Inside Out.
Of course, I love me a good video game. Assassin's Creed, Guild Wars, Mass Effect, Zelda, Final Fantasy, Civilization, Sim City... The list goes on. My husband has also sucked me into his board game addiction. Settlers, Pandemic, Zombicide. We are both gamer geeks at heart.
About My Manuscript
I'll be submitting a YA sci-fi/fantasy blend called ROGUE. It's told from inside a hyper-real virtual game, from the point of view of a Non-Player-Character named Mei. This story has been a lot of fun to write. The video game elements are a combination of all my favorite games I've played over the years. Especially Guild Wars, Legend of Zelda, Assassin's Creed, and Bioware's Jade Empire. It's about strong girls who know what they want, and it's about fighting for your home. The fantasy game world is inspired by the empires of the historic Silk Road, and there's a lot of video game action, a dash of humor and romance, and some darker themes as well.
You can check out my Pinterest page for some novel esthetics. And here's a taste of some of the songs that got me in the writing groove for this story:
"Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift, "Confident" by Demi Lavato, "Are You Happy Now?" by Michelle Branch, and basically the entire Mad Max soundtrack.
Mei's theme songs: "Unstoppable" by Sia, "My Way" by Limp Bizkit
Gamer Chelsea's theme song: "Fat Lip" by Sum 41
My Dream Mentor
What am I looking for in a mentor? I find all reader and crit partner feedback valuable, but I'd have to say anyone who gets my story and has some great ideas to make it shine. I'm not afraid to work hard. Whatever it takes to take my writing to the next level, I'm there.
Wish Me Luck!
Last year, my YA urban fantasy got a few requests from my mentors, but in the end, it wasn't chosen. I definitely feel like I've come back with a new, stronger manuscript, so here's to crossing my fingers and dotting the last of my i's on that pesky synopsis! Thanks for reading my bio, and see you all in August. :)
I mentioned NaNoWriMo the last time I posted here, so thought I'd mention I managed to make it to... *drum roll*
40,053 words on my new novel. Some could say I didn't officially "win", but I'm pretty happy with the progress I made. The plot was pretty much all there. Sure, a ton of details were still missing and most sentences were nonsensical, but that's what edits are for! Now that it's almost February, I'm about 25,000 words into a readable draft. My crit partners have been awesome with getting me feedback, as usual. It's been great getting back into the swing of trading critiques. Some of my new CP's are gamer geeks just as much as I am, so that was pretty much perfect for this project! Only problem is, talking about video games all the time makes me want to go downstairs to play the new Tomb Raider instead of write...
Must... resist... temptation!
The Pitch Slam contest was a blast. As per the Harry Potter theme, I got sorted into Team Gryffindor, with the fabulous LL McKinney as our head of house. I was amazed by the agent turnout as well. Every single pitch (mine included!) got requests. The next round of Pitch Slam is next year in the spring, so I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who's planning on entering a contest around then.
As the contest winds down, and November looms, I've decided to take the plunge this year. Yup, I am finally tackling NaNoWriMo. What once seemed like an insane endeavor for any writer to undertake just made sense to me this year. I've had a new YA sci-fi idea harassing me for a while now, so the timing just seemed to work out. And as the planner type that I am, I've been googling all the NaNo prep ideas and writing down all of the notes about all of the everything. Typically, I find it difficult to get motivated to write every single day so I think this will be the deadline that will kick me into gear and get that first draft done in record time. Wish me luck!
Yup, I'm taking the plunge and entering Pitch Wars this year! I loved reading all the mentors' bios, and now I'm 99.9% sure I've narrowed them all down to my top 5.
My name is Allison Castle, and I'm a YA writer and PW mentee hopeful. I'm a Canadian newlywed living in Vancouver. For a living, I create digital effects for movies and TV shows. I've worked on Once Upon A Time, Sucker Punch, and the first Twilight movie to name a few. But my real passion is creating my own worlds with my keyboard.
I frequent scribophile.com, where I'm a member of a large, dedicated group of writers called the Ubergroup. There, I'm an active member of a YA sub-group called the Kiddie Pool. (Yes, it's a group within a group within a group--an Inception group, if you will.) We critique each other every week and I just love my CP's. Honestly, I would be lost without them. One of them happens to be none other than Dannie Morin, a Pitch Wars mentor (if you write YA and haven't seen her bio yet, what are you waiting for??) I also jumped into the Twitter thing a couple months ago, and am loving it so far. It's great seeing so many twerps passionate about books.
I've been writing seriously for about three years. I have yet to step into the querying game, nor have I entered any writing contests prior to this, so this is definitely my first rodeo. Yes, I'm a little nervous. But also way excited. Even if all I get out of this is some query feedback from a couple mentors, I'll be a happy camper.
Stuff I Love
As for books, some of my favorites are Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Sci-Fi and Fantasy are typically my top genres. World-building, exciting plots, great characters... these are what really suck me in and keep me up way past my bedtime.
I'm a J.J. Abrams fangirl. LOST, Fringe, Star Trek. Star Wars 7!! Also, adore Guardians of the Galaxy and Pixar's Inside Out.
I also love me a good video game. Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Civilization. My husband has also sucked me into his board game addiction. Settlers, Pandemic, Zombicide. We are both gamer geeks at heart.
Music has a huge influence on my writing. Nothing gets me in the writing zone like headphones-on-and-epic-soundtracks-cranked-up. In fact, my Pitch Wars sub was originally inspired by the name of a band. On that note...
About My Manuscript
I'll be submitting a YA urban fantasy called TAKE MY SHADOWS. My hope is that the query + 1st chapter will speak for themselves, so I'll refrain from saying too much here. But I'll tell you my anti-hero MC was born because of the band name Demon Hunter. My ever-growing playlist for this MS now includes Linkin Park, Evanescence, Thousand Foot Krutch, Submersed, Celldweller... so, yes the mood of the story is on the dark side, but there's also action and a healthy dash of romance tossed in. I think it's definitely in the vein of what my top 5 are looking for, so that's really exciting! Can't wait to tell you all more on August 17th.