Mentor Shelly Page

shellypage.com
@shelly_p_writes

AGENT
Rebecca Podos, Rees Literary Agency

WRITES
Contemporary Fantasy, Horror, Mysteries/Thrillers

ON SUBMISSION

BIO
Shelly Page is a writer, attorney, and homeless youth advocate. She lives in Los Angeles where she dreams up grand adventures for queer characters. She draws inspiration from the hundreds of books in her home and from her own experiences as a Black queer woman.

PUBLISHING BACKGROUND
Although I’ve been writing stories since I was ten-years-old, (mainly scribbles in sparkly notebooks and one self-published novella) I started to take my writing more seriously in 2019. After months of research and learning terms like “plot points” and “character arcs,” I drafted my first YA contemporary fantasy and began querying in April 2020. Despite lots of interest (I queried 80 agents and about 40% requested pages) I didn’t get any offers of representation. The main reason for the rejection was that while my prose was lovely, the story needed more development. I also was told portal fantasies, like the one I wrote, were hard to sell. So, I pulled my manuscript from the remaining agents, and rewrote it from scratch. I boiled it down to one question. What is this story really about? In the meantime, I read more craft books and learned the importance of beta readers. I participated in DVPit in October 2020 and had an offer of representation two weeks later. I ended up receiving 3 agent offers and went with the one I felt would be the best fit. My agent and I did 3 rounds of revisions before the manuscript was ready to query. We queried for 6 months. In the meantime, I read more books and wrote a new YA contemporary fantasy, one that was more grounded. I later decided querying the second manuscript would be better since it was more in line with market trends and would yield better results. It was a decision I didn’t make lightly but felt was right. I’m currently on submission with my second book.

EXPERIENCE
I have a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from Columbia University. I also have a law degree and have published several legal articles on homeless LGBTQ+ youth. As an attorney, I read and write every day as part of my job. I’m a fast, attentive reader with an eye for how to make a piece of writing shine. I’ve informally mentored several writers at various stages of their publishing journeys–from reviewing first drafts to reading query letters, to standing in solidarity while on submission to publishers. I’ve learned to tell when a manuscript is “ready” based on in-depth feedback I received from agents while querying and from my own agent throughout our multiple rounds of revisions. I’ve reviewed query letters, synopses, and pitches for writing friends who are now agented and have provided editorial feedback on manuscripts that are now on submission to publishers.

OVERVIEW
I absolutely love helping writers reach their goals! I know how hard to navigate this industry is and was thankful enough to have several authors in my corner throughout my journey. Without them, I would not have gotten this far. My hope is to provide the same support for my future mentee. Also, I love reading, especially #ownvoices stories. If you’re a BIPOC and/or queer writer, please consider submitting to me! Your stories deserve to be told and celebrated. It’s so rewarding to see how much a manuscript can improve with pointed feedback. I’m excited to help a newer writer take their story to the next level and hope to be there for them through all phases of the publishing journey, even after AMM ends.

I’m looking for stories written by BIPOC and/or queer writers. YA contemporary fantasy has my heart, but I also love horror, thrillers, mysteries, or any combination of the aforementioned. Scare me and simultaneously make me fall in love. I’m looking for stories with strong prose and a unique MC I love or love to hate. I like romance (any trope but I’m a sucker for true enemies-to-lovers), twists, found families, villain-origin stories, unreliable narrators, and tropes with a queer-spin.

MENTORING GENRES
Young Adult

  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
  • Horror

In general, I love character-driven stories so if your character’s poor decision-making (as a result of a flaw) drives the plot, then send it! I’d like to see LGBTQIA characters, messy characters, and even messier relationships. If you submit Horror, I’m a fan of complicated characters, interesting family-dynamics, slow-burn, huge twists, and nail-biting terror. If your story is Contemporary Fantasy, I prefer grounded fantasy (one location) with unique magic systems. Bonus if the setting can be classified as a character. I’m also down to read about vampires, werewolves, and other scary creatures! If your story is a Mystery/Thriller, I like isolation thrillers, small town cozy mysteries, boarding schools/dark academia. I also like unreliable narrators, amateur sleuths, and unpredictable twists. Finally, I would enjoy stories that are a mix of all the above!

 

I WILL PROVIDE:

  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)

WORKING STYLE
I will read your entire novel and do a developmental edit, separating my comments into larger categories like “Pacing.” I’ll also leave comments at the end of each chapter with my thoughts on how it could be improved (or not!) Finally, I’ll leave some in-line notes where applicable. These will be encouraging but constructive. I always focus on the positive first and then offer suggestions for improvement. However, at the end of the day, this is your story and I don’t want to change it so if any suggestion doesn’t sit right with you, we’ll come up with something else!

IDEAL MENTEE
My ideal mentee is someone who is willing to revise their manuscript, possibly extensively. Ideally, they will be eager to learn and unafraid to ask questions. (I like to think I’m super approachable and easy to get in touch with so please don’t be shy!) They should have a strong writing voice as my focus will mainly be on development as opposed to line-edits. They should be self-motivated, driven, and receptive.

SEND ME:

  • I’d love to have creative plots and strong characters written by diverse writers.
  • I’m interested in villain origin stories, slow descents into madness, sapphic romance subplots, whodunits and whydunits.
  • I like unique settings and unpredictable endings.
  • I like dark magic, eerie forests, strange visitors, amateur investigators, and ride-or-die best-friends.
  • I’d love to see ghosts, ghouls, vampires, werewolves, eco-horror, and anything in the supernatural genre.
  • I want gays saving the world and/or BIPOC main characters.
  • Give me messy girls with big hearts and a taste for danger.
  • Also, a little humor makes everything better.
  • Finally, I prefer single or dual-POV stories, although multiple POVs are okay, so long as they are distinct and necessary.

DO NOT SEND ME:
I’m not a good fit for fae stories, urban fantasy, stories centering on homophobia, racism, sexism, transphobia, ableism, rape, or suicide (I don’t have the emotional capacity this year!). I’m also not a good fit for talking animals, political espionage, retellings, historical fiction, or heavy gore.

FAVES

Books:
Cemetery Boys
The Hazel Wood
This Poison Heart
The Taking of Jake Livingston
Truly Devious
Wilder Girls
Mexican Gothic
These Witches Don’t Burn
What Big Teeth
The Dead and the Dark
The Devouring Gray
House of Hollow

Movies/TV Shows:
Halloween
The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Bly Manor
The Conjuring
Scream
Lovecraft Country
Us
Supernatural
Stranger Things
True Blood
Crimson Peak