Dana Swift started making up fantasy worlds when she was eleven years old and hasn’t stopped since. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned degrees in English and Advertising. While in college, Dana competed as a saber fencer and learned a thing or two about fighting, parrying and how it feels to fall in love with your sparring partner. She currently lives with said husband in Anaheim, California where Disney fireworks provide a nice musical backdrop to late night writing. Her YA Fantasy debut, CAST IN FIRELIGHT will be published by Delacorte Press Fall 2020.
I started my first book when I was fourteen years old. I wrote it in high school and edited it in college. My query journey with it led me to writing conferences, critique groups, and the final understanding that shelving a book doesn’t mean you are giving up on your dream. I started lots of other stories, but the one that I knew had to be written I began in 2016. I queried for about a year, got loads of rejection and even failed to get into programs such as this one. I finally got my agent verbally pitching at a conference. While the two forms of pitching are similar I do think they have their vast differences (I can help prepare you for both). Then in late 2018 I got my book deal with Penguin Random House, Delacorte imprint. CAST IN FIRELIGHT comes out this Fall!
In college I had several creative writing classes where we critiqued our fellow classmates. After college, I joined the DFW Writers Workshop and weekly for two years, I listened to short pieces of writer’s work and gave my feedback. I then taught a class on writing YA at their annual writing conference last June. I’ve also had valuable beta readers and critique partners over the course of my journey and have helped edit writing on every level.
I love stories and I love revision even more than drafting. Helping someone make a story better is a privilege and an honor. This industry is difficult and I’ve had a lot of help getting through it. I want to be a mentor to pass on what others have taught me. Also, I will never turn away someone who wants to talk about the craft of writing.
My editorial style is talking things out and asking questions to get to the heart of the story. I love stories where things fit together, whether that’s character traits or plot twists. When I first started this journey my weakness lay in pacing and plot structure so I’ve spent years analyzing what works and what doesn’t. I connect to character and voice before anything else, but I do think I can help with voice or POV if that is something you need assistance with. However, your story will always be your story and it’s you who has to determine what’s best for it. I’m here to help though and I’m excited to dive in.
- Magical Realism/Fabulism
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
I love fantasy. High fantasy, portal fantasy, retellings, magical realism. I think my knowledge and experience would be most suited for high, magical new worlds, but I also read widely and love romance, contemporary and mystery. If you would describe your book as a mash up between genres I’m invested, especially if it has fantasy elements.
I’m not the best fit for paranormal fantasy (aka werewolves, vampires) just because I haven’t read widely enough recently and so my knowledge is stuck in good old 2005. Though I love fairytales, witches of any variety, fairies, dragons, and wouldn’t mind mermaids if it included a really immersive world.
Romance will always and forever be a yes – subplot or otherwise.
Dystopian and Sci-Fic can be a hard sell for me.
I love humor, but that doesn’t mean I shy away from fight scenes or darker plots. I fenced in college so if you need any help with swordplay scenes I’m here for you. Also my husband is a doctor and I’ve been impressed before with what he knows about fatal wounds (Just saying).
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
Currently, I am editing my own manuscript for publication. The process has been eye opening. Without even meaning to I’ve incorporated new techniques into my editing process. With my good friends I’ve talked for hours about ideas and new directions, so I hope with a mentee we can engage in critique and storytelling on the same level.
I know the pain of lack of communication and feedback and I promise to be available and always get back to you quickly.
My plan is flexible, but I would love to look at the whole manuscript first with developmental/big picture edits and then set up a call, online chat or texting (whatever works best for the mentee) where I can talk through things and answer your questions. I’d imagine we would then get into line edits/smaller edits afterwards. I’m willing to look over rewritten scenes as we go along too. When I say flexible I mean we can discuss what works best for the both of us.
The publishing industry is hard so I would like my mentee to be truly committed to this line of work. We’ll have fun I’m sure, but I foresee putting in time and effort and I hope they would do the same. In this type of process I would also wish my mentee to be open and truly willing to revise and rewrite.
My hope is to become a friend, someone who can answer your questions for years to come.
- Mistaken identities or secret identities (my favorite, especially if romance is involved in any way!!!)
- Sassy, voicey characters
- Characters with agency and perseverance
- Magic systems and magical powers (I like elemental magic, but would love to see unique ideas too)
- Mythology of any time or culture (or you created)
- Any romance dynamic that can be described as banter. This could be enemies to lovers, friends to lovers or just a teasing dynamic.
- Characters forced to work together
- Found families
- Female MC that can do the thing (whether that be a sport, magic or swordplay) just as well as the guys
- Protagonists with interesting fantasy jobs
- Fake Dating
- Superhero esque stories
- Magical creatures (especially if they have personality)
- Empowerment for both genders
DO NOT SEND ME:
- Hard Sci-Fic
- Love triangles
- Cheating in Romance
- Girl hate or “I’m not like other girls” (Though I do think most of the time this element could be edited out pretty easily and if you are willing to make those character changes I might be in)
- Anything that takes a diverse character of any kind and sidelines them, stereotypes them, or straight up kills them.
TV – no particular order
- Avatar the Last Airbender
- Brooklyn 99
- The Good Place
- My Hero Academia
- Young Justice
- Stranger Things
- North and South
Movies – no particular order
- Many, if not all of the Marvel movies
- Knives Out
- You’ve Got Mail
- Calamity Jane
- While You Were Sleeping
- Your Name
Books – age category (ish) order
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
- Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
- True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
- Avalon High by Meg Cabot
- Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
- No Good Deed by Kara Connolly
- Tell me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
- A Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
- Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
- Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Perason
- Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik
- Codex Alera Series by Jim Butcher
- A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez