June CL Tan writes science fiction and fantasy inspired by her childhood in multicultural Singapore where she was raised on a diet of classic books and wuxia movies, caffeine and congee. She holds an MA in Cinema Studies from NYU which means she spent a lot of time musing about Bruce Lee and Shanghai cinema of the early 20th century. When she is not writing, she can be found wandering the streets of New York City in search of everyday mysteries and miracles.
Like most writers, I’ve been writing since I was a kid. And like so many, I never thought that it was something I could pursue for real, especially since I grew up in an Asian society where the arts were not valued. I stopped writing right before college and then #adulting hit and I found that I no longer had time. Several years later, after a personal incident occurred, I decided to carpe diem it and reach for that childhood dream of becoming a published author. So, I silenced all the naysayers and made time for writing. Prior to getting into Pitch Wars, I wrote 2 complete books that will never see the light of day simply because I believe that with each book, you get better. So no looking back for me, though of course, ideas and words can be revisited. I finished another book and took part in DVPit. Unfortunately, my queries and full requests didn’t result in offers of representation, but this only means that I understand the sting of rejection and how to cope with it. Then, I applied for Pitchwars 2017 and was selected. During the agent round, I received 6 offers of representation and eventually signed with my agent.
I was a Pitch Wars 2017 mentee and rewrote half (or more?) my book in two months, so I know what a deep revision actually takes for a writer. My mentor was Morris Award winner and author of STARFISH, Akemi Dawn Bowman. I received a good number of agent requests during the agent round of Pitch Wars and signed my agent through this mentoring program. Prior to that I pitched my book during DVPit April 2017 and received full agent requests after querying. I’ve been both CP and Beta-reader to several authors, including published ones, and have helped others through their querying process.
Outside of publishing, I taught English & Literature for a few years in Singapore where I also wrote a few English assessment books for elementary-grade students. I went to NYU for graduate school to study film, leaning toward the more theoretical aspect. This equipped me with a keen eye for storytelling and structure in the visual form, and I’ve found it useful in the writing medium, too.
Writing is often perceived as a solitary process. But it doesn’t have to be. Often, writers feel alone in their struggles, unsure of whom they can turn to for questions or to vent frustrations, be it about their writing process or WIPs, or even the industry itself. I relate to these feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, and would like to offer whatever help I can to fellow writers.
When I was starting out, I realized that community was extremely important, not only for solidarity, but also for a writer to understand how the industry works. This is especially important for authors of color and marginalized authors as the parameters are different, and the gates that keep you out are often higher and sturdier. I’m grateful to everyone who has and is still helping me along the way, and would love to pass it forward.
I’m especially interested in working with marginalized and diverse authors, and this will be my focus for AMM. So send me your stories plucked from non-western cultures, your myths and legends that have not gotten the attention they deserve, your twists on stereotypes and tropes…
Send me stories that have been buried because of systemic discrimination and hegemony, and we’ll work together to help them see the light. 🙂
- Own Voices
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
Please see my anti-mswl & mswl, as well as the “faves” section – this is probably the best way to know if your story fits my taste!
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Freestyle in chat
I believe in honest and constructive feedback, if you prefer a mentor who will gush about everything in your book, I am not for you. This does not mean that all I’ll do is criticize. It just means that while I will cheerlead and encourage you, I will also point out the places where improvement can be made. The point of a mentorship program is to “level up”. And in order to do that, I strongly believe that critique – AND the ability to accept criticism – is vital.
An edit letter that includes:
– big picture feedback + more detailed commentary/questions on elements of your story (eg worldbuilding, plot, characters, etc.).
– This will serve as the main “guide” to your revision.
– My in-doc comments will be full of questions to push the story forward and/or “pull out” the essence of a scene and/or clarify any confusing elements.
– After you have absorbed the feedback, thought about it, and decided what is most salient to the story you wish to tell, we will then have a discussion to clarify any questions you may have.
– NOT all suggestions have to be taken verbatim. Your vision will remain yours.
– I would prefer to work out a certain timeline/schedule with you so that we’re both on the same page. This timeline should be something you are comfortable with since you are the one doing the work.
– Depending on the need and what we decide based on the 1st round of revision, there may be a 2nd edit letter, though it is more likely that we will tackle specific elements of your story as you progress.
– I will also help you with your query + synopsis (1-2 passes) when we get to that stage, and also point you to resources if needed.
– I don’t do line edits in terms of correcting your prose as I believe that everyone has a different writing style and do not wish to impose mine on anyone. That said, I’m open to discussing should you be unsure about anything. And if I catch typos are grammatical errors, I will point them out.
NOTE: I value honest & clear communication – there is no such thing as a “stupid” question, ask if you’re unsure or if my notes are unclear. I’m also very fond of bullet-pointing things 😉
-Unafraid of critique and tearing their story apart if needed
-Eager to improve
-Someone who is serious about being a published author
-A good sense of humor helps!
-Imaginative & unique magic systems, settings, and worlds
-Cool technology; hard-ish science is fine with me if you can make it relatable/understandable like THE MORTAL COIL
-Retellings are fine but only if the tales are from non-western cultures OR it’s a western fairytale retelling in a different world, e.g. FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS
-Diverse protagonists/characters who are front and center of the story and not some sidekick inserted for “cookies” or humor
-Male povs are welcome
-Morally gray characters & anti-heroes are welcome
-#squad goals like SIX OF CROWS
-Found families and messy ones
-I’m generally fine with love triangles if they are executed well
DO NOT SEND ME:
-White savior narrative
-Kill/bury your gay side-kicks
-Sexual assault as a plot device for another character’s emotional growth/arc
-Colonialism & Imperialism, unless there is interrogation and/or subversion
-Toxic or fragile masculinity
-Girl-on-girl hate that is inserted to make the female protagonist look good (or the “not like other girls” trope)
Movies: Star Wars (in particular Episodes 1-3 and The Last Jedi), Marvel movies (in particular Homecoming, Black Panther, Winter Soldier, Infinity War), Gattaca, Mad Max: Fury Road, Trainspotting
Shows: Futurama, Goblin (K-drama), Westworld, Black Mirror
Authors & Books: Neil Gaiman, Leigh Bardugo, Jeanette Winterson, Philip Pullman, Irvine Welsh. WARCROSS, AND I DARKEN, THE CRUEL PRINCE, THE QUEEN’S THIEF series, THE HUNGER GAMES.
Anime: Tokyo Ghoul, Bleach, Your Name, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
I think you get insight to a person/writer through the characters they relate to and/or like. So here are mine from some fictional universes:
ATLA: Azula, Sokka
MARVEL: Killmonger, Loki, One-eyed Thor, Valkyrie, Thanos (yeah, yeah…shush)
STAR WARS: Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, Luke Skywalker (in The Last Jedi)
FMA Brotherhood: Greed
Bleach: Rukia, Gin, Aizen