Hi, I’m Scott, and this is my fifth year in PitchWars. I’ve been a middle grade hopeful three times, and a young adult hopeful once. I’ve also been a middle grade mentee.
I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area, but I’ve been exiled to Utah for more years than I can count. It’s all my fingers and pretty much all my toes worth of years. I try to get back as often as I can, slipping in under cover of night like a ninja in a film noir, if there were ninjas in film noirs. Films noir. Whatever.
I’ve also lived in Austria and worked a summer in Germany. I speak German and Weanarisch.
This is me, the time I decided to try wearing a man bun:
Something doesn’t quite look right. Maybe I should have shaved first.
What I love about Pitch Wars
Even after being a mentee–which I loved–my favorite thing about Pitch Wars is the community. I have a lot of fun participating in the feeds and encouraging other hopefuls (and being encouraged by them), especially those who share my #pitchwarsmg blanket fort and lunch table.
Based on my experiences, I’ve written the Unofficial Pitch Wars Survival Guide, one way I’m paying back the community that has meant so much to me. It’s available for download free on my website. I hope other hopefuls find it useful.
My submission: The Historie of Henry the Fifth Grader
This year, I’m submitting my contemporary middle grade retelling of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V plays. It’s an idea I found in a short note in my idea file from 2008. When it became time to start a new project at the end of 2017, that note captured my imagination. It feels like a weird choice of plays to retell in MG, but the challenge sounded fun. The end result is a lot different than my original note.
So what’s it about?
Now that he’s ten, Henry “Hal” Bolingbroke V wants to choose his own path and his own friends. But he’s a fifth grader at a school named after his great-grandfather, where his dad teaches and his mother works, so choice takes a back seat to expectations. Especially since Hal’s afraid if he disappoints his father, his dad will fall out of love with him like he did Hal’s mom.
Hal is elected captain of the ragtag school kickball team his dad coaches. Despite his parents’ disapproval, he’d much rather hang out with his older friends, who often get into trouble. Hal’s world changes, though, when his father is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Hal turns away from troublemaking and leads his team toward the championship tournament, determined to make his dad proud before it’s too late.
This is how I imagine the kids on Hal’s team. Hal’s in the top left corner.
One of my favorite writing accomplishments was the time one of my poems, “Buying Baseball Cards,” was put on display at the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Library and was featured in a lecture by the Hall of Fame librarian at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s really a middle grade poem.
Most of the time, I work from my Schreibwinkl, my home office.
This has become my favorite place. I’m surrounded by pictures of writers, illustrations, quotes, and other things that inspire me.
Books are, of course, an important part of my hideaway.
My favorite part of PitchWars is hanging out with all the writers. I’m looking forward to meeting more hopefuls this year.
I like to read fairly widely, from kidlit to classics to medieval and ancient.
But I’m subbing a MG story, so here are some of my favorite MG books I’ve read recently, in no particular order (unless alphabetical is “particular”):
- Chronicles of Prydain
- The Evil Wizard Smallbone
- Fiendish Deeds
- Half Magic
- The Inquisitor’s Tale
- The Last Boy at St. Edith’s
- The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
- Mrs Smith’s Spy School for Girls
- My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights
- The Nest (the creepy one about the wasps)
- Never That Far
- The Night Gardener
- OK For Now
- Out of the Dust
- The Riverman
- A Tale Dark & Grimm
- Treasure at Lure Lake
- The Wednesday Wars
There are so many more.