#PitchWars, Episode II; Attack of the Blogs

A short time ago, relatively close by...

It's #PitchWars time again! Which means I get to write a whole blog post about myself to see if mentors want to take me on!

So, let's get started!

My name is Hayden Sharpe (although that's just a pseudonym, and you can find my real name pretty easily on this site). I'm 21 years old, a native New Yorker, and I've got two completed novels under my belt. I'm going into my senior year of college, and I hope to get a career in publishing after I graduate.

So a few things to know about me:

  1. I am always a fan of a good sense of humor. So if you like snarkiness and sarcasm, I'm the mentee for you. I was raised on Looney Tunes and I'm a fan of Christopher Moore's absurdist fiction.

  1. I have surprised my critique partners with how good I am at taking criticism. So hit me with your best shot, I take everything as advice to help better my craft. That's all I want out of life. I want to write, and I want to write well.

  2. I am a feminist. I like to think I'm moderate, but I lean to the liberal side. Especially with the shit going on in the country right now. (PS: I swear like a sailor, but I am capable of keeping it in check, I promise)

  3. My favorite books have been mostly character driven, with great worldbuilding. As of right now, one of my top books is City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. I'm reading The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and I don't know why I didn't start these things sooner. Damn.

  4. I'm a big Broadway theatre fan. I was raised seeing Broadway shows; my parents tried to take us to see about one a year. Now, I'm trying to see more. I love Fun Home, Pippin, Waitress, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, Next to Normal, Rent, Les Mis, and, of course, Hamilton. Which I have seen. Don't ask me how many weeks of my salary I spent. But I saw it with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Philipa Soo, Daveed Diggs, and Renee Elise Goldsberry, and I regret nothing.

  5. Favorite Movies: Disney/Dreamworks (basically anything animated), Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Deadpool, MCU movies (mostly the Captain America ones. Steve, Bucky, and Peggy are bae.), Ella Enchanted, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, This Means War, Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Hook, anything Mel Brooks, etc etc etc. I love watching movies. Favorite TV shows: Firefly, Sense8, How to Get Away With Murder, Shadowhunters, Star Trek, Galavant, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Agent Carter, Forever, Castle, Friends, etc.

  6. I love people, and I love making friends. If you pick me as your mentee, I will want to be your friend. I will ask how your day is, I'll ask how life's going, etc. I'm not in this just to try to get an agent. I'm in this to make friends while I do.

Enough about me. What about you?

What I'm looking for in a mentor is someone who won't take it easy on me. I want to improve my writing, however I can. I want someone who wants to help a writer out, someone who knows the side of the industry I haven't yet seen. I want someone who understands what it's like to write a novel, and can understand the emotional journey it puts a person on. Overall, I'm looking for someone unafraid to give it to me straight.

So... what have I done?

Cover of Charmante, copyright me.

Charmante is a mature YA fantasy novel, clocking in right now at around 90,000 words. Charmante flips traditional fantasy roles on their heads, with the aggressive, openly bisexual, sarcastic Averill Charmante driving the plot.

The last thing a princess expects on her wedding day is to have to save her prince from certain death. But when Averill Charmante’s fiancé is abducted from the ceremony, that is exactly what she must do.

When Averill sets out, still wearing her wedding dress, she knows two things for certain. First, her fiancé, the softspoken Prince Vale, cannot escape on his own. Second, Rostion, the elven mage who took him, must die. Her quest is a simple one: rescue Vale, no matter the cost. Each choice she makes is driven by her mission. For Vale, she’ll face mountain spirits and mages who have lived in hiding for centuries. For Vale, she’ll even rescue his intolerable sister when she’s captured by elven bandits.

As the sole heir to her kingdom’s throne, there must be a limit to how far Averill can go to save her fiancé. If she dies, or is captured, she’ll throw the already unstable continent into further political chaos. But if she lets Vale perish, the entire continent could be doomed.

Honestly, the reason I wrote Charmante is because I wanted to flip fantasy tropes on their heads. Averill Charmante's name is a pun; her name is literally "Princess Charming" and she has to go and save her demure prince from certain death. I wanted to write a story with no love triangle, because I can't stand reading about them. "Will they? Won't they?" I much prefer to read about the characters figuring out a way to stay together, rather than get together. Averill and Vale are already together, and they've been together for a while. Charmante is about their struggle to stay together, and alive.

Charmante is definitely character driven. My side characters have their own lives and motivations, and I like to think that their voices shine through, that each one is more than just a stereotype. I could talk about my characters all day, but I'll just focus on the two main ones: Averill Charmante and Vale Hartwell.

Averill is snarky, snappy, a bit promiscuous, and just overall one of the most fun characters for me to write. I have no idea how that much sass came from my head. She's bisexual and speaks her mind, no matter what. Her approach to things is "daggers first." She's essentially the female version of Rick O'Connell from The Mummy. (I watched it after I finished the first draft, and oh goodness their dynamic is Averill and Vale in a nutshell.) Averill's favorite 'superhero' would probably be Deadpool.

Vale is not your traditional fantasy prince. He's quiet, intellectual, and very shy. He's demisexual,

which leads to some uncomfortable encounters. He's good with words, however, and manages to keep a civil dialogue going with the villain. He's the male version of Evie from The Mummy. He's more of a Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon type of guy.

So, that's me, that's my story, those are some of my favorite gifs. And this, my friends, is #PitchWars. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Raise a glass to freedom.

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