Yvette Yun is a college English professor in Hawaii. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, where she wrote her first memoir, and a PhD in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where she wrote her first novel. She is a 2017 #RevPit runner-up, a 2019 Pitch Wars mentee, and successfully received offers of representation participating in #DVpit in 2017 and 2019.
I got really serious about becoming an author in 2017, when I finished my PhD and first novel. I found an agent pretty quickly, after about two months of querying. Being on sub, however, was a slow nine-month torture. I shelved that novel in 2018, and my agent dropped me in 2019, just about the time I’d completed my second novel. Crushed about being agentless and lacking confidence in that manuscript, I nearly shelved it before querying it at all. Fortunately, that manuscript got me into Pitch Wars 2019, where I had a fantastic mentor and found my current agent. I felt better about my chances on sub in early 2020, but after a string of rejections I decided to revise it and will go back on sub in early 2021.
I love all genres of creative writing and have switched focus from poetry in high school to short fiction in college to nonfiction for my MFA to the novel for my PhD. I have published work in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Thinking I’d be an editor one day, I interned and worked in publishing during and after college. Alas, the 9-5 office life wasn’t for me, so I switched to teaching middle and high school, dabbled in travel writing (I blogged for AOL and published a guidebook to Colombia), and am now a full-time college professor in Hawaii (I teach composition, literature and creative writing). I’m fairly isolated out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, so finding similarly passionate writers locally has always been a challenge. I found most of my writing buddies and critique partners through writing communities like #RevPit, #DVpit, and Pitch Wars, so I’m really looking forward to being a part of AMM8. Even if you don’t “get in,” I encourage you to reach out to fellow AMM8 writers. They are on the same journey as you, so reach out to each other and share your work. Most importantly, don’t give up!
I want to help fellow authors and love making new friends in the writing community. AMM8 is a great opportunity for me to offer my insights and guidance on the publishing industry, which I believe has been lacking in ethical mentorship on many levels. As your mentor, I hope to help you navigate your way through the writing and submission process. Publishing is not one-size-fits-all, so my journey will not be yours. However, I have over a decade of college-level teaching, creative writing, and publishing experience and many tools from my journey that I hope will help you.
First and foremost, congratulations on even considering participation in AMM8! You’re taking an important step as a writer and, if you do apply (which I hope you do!), entrusting the mentors you choose with your book baby. If you do apply to be my mentee, I expect you to be ready to make a reasonable time commitment and remain open-minded about the mentorship process.
I’m a busy mom (my daughter will be 2 years old in April) and professor, but I’ll put in the effort for you if you can do the same. As a #RevPit, #DVpit, and Pitch Wars alum, I’ve been around the writer’s block (I guess that one too) and believe I can help you navigate the wild publishing world.
Things I write/feel capable mentoring:
- difficult relationships
- strong sense of place
Things I’m looking for:
- complex & diverse characters
- original writing
- momentum (the story needs to pull me forward)
Things I’m not into:
- video games
- heavy SFF
- explicit sex
As your mentor, I would never determine what is or isn’t important in your creative work. Your writing is precious to you in ways I will never know, so I’ll always defer to you when it comes to improving your work. Of course, I will try to challenge you by asking questions or opening up new possibilities that you might not have considered. As a teacher and parent, I know that my word is never golden, so I hope my feedback will at least get your wheels turning.
- Novel in Verse
Family drama, #ownvoices, experimental = unclassifiable indy mashup outside of existing genres
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Email correspondence
I really enjoyed my experience with my Pitch Wars mentor (Kathleen Barber), so I’ll try to model her working style. I’ll send my edit letter to you and then answer any lingering questions by Zoom, phone or email (I prefer email). I’ll ask you determine a realistic timeline for completion and expect you to stick to it. I’m here for any rough patches you encounter in the revision process. After the developmental pass, I’ll do a loose line edit (I’ll respect your voice and won’t change wording or sentence structure). I’ll help you with your query letter and strategy and anything else you need along the way.
My ideal mentee is so passionate about their work that there is no IF but WHEN. They power through, even in the toughest of times (like now, honestly, cuz – insert eye roll – 2020). I’m looking for someone with grit and something that I can’t put down. I don’t finish most of the books I start. Those DNFs typically lack one of these: complex characters, original prose, and momentum (the story needs to go somewhere).
- real world problems (with very light speculative elements is okay)
- relationships that are falling apart
- travel/journeys/road trips
- real events in fiction
- unbelievable stuff that’s true
- nerdy fun facts disguised in dialogue/narration
- quirky sidekicks
- breathtaking one-liners that end a paragraph or chapter
- unique voice that doesn’t lose the plot
DO NOT SEND ME:
- high/urban fantasy
- space opera
- technical sci-fi
- pro-gun sentiments (responsible use of guns okay)
- XXX (nothing over-the-top explicit)
- suicide central to the story
- unnecessary violence
- physical abuse on the page
- white supremacy
- police/lawyers as main characters (I don’t know enough about what they do)
- politics (especially anything Trump is a hard NO)
Activities: traveling, surfing, singing/acapella music (I was in an all-girl group in college)
Books: The Dog Stars (Heller), Nothing to See Here (Wilson), Song of Achilles (Miller), Educated (Westover)
TV: Survivor (I’ve applied three times!), Vikings, Alias
Movies: Amelie, Moonlight, Arrival