Real name: Rachel Huffaker Chang
Pen name: Rae Chang
Genres: Fantasy, sci-fi, historical, unique contemporary, literary with a commercial edge, subtle magic realism
A little about me: I’m a freelance editor and the assistant to the lovely Brenda Drake – you know, the fabulous woman who puts on this contest. I’m an enormous nerd who does things like go to Comic Con and dress up as a Dark Jedi and memorize ship schematics in Star Wars and Star Trek. (No joke, my book actually has references to something like 15 fandoms.) I studied 10 different majors and minors in college, so I have a ton of random knowledge/interests. Your MS is weird and quirky, you say?
What I love: Romantic sub-plots with unexpectedly hot guys (particularly enemy-to-lover romances), SWORDS, assassins, food, video games, messed-up shiz with lying protagonists (one of my books was the medieval version of Gone Girl — infer what you like from that), Asian culture (I’m married to a Korean), Hispanic culture (my mom’s from Argentina), the Italian Renaissance, art history, cross-cultural stories, behavioral psychology, fringe science, super creative and quirky protagonists (I compose orchestral music and did dance team, choir, and theatre), stories with mental illness, good grammar, and anything that can surprise me and/or make me laugh.
What I don’t: “Shock” rape/violence, tragedy just for tragedy’s sake, straight-up comedy or romance, fuzzy historical accuracy (I want to murder “The Other Boleyn Girl” — SO LITTLE ACCURACY) , paranormal, high school stories, dystopians that pretend to be sci-fi, erotica, horror (I’m an unabashed wimp), bad grammar, huge chunks of telling, tropes done badly, and anything that makes your protagonist sound like a whiny armchair activist who gets outraged because it’s trendy.
Why you should pick me: I love to edit. I studied it, I do it for a living, and I will not settle for “good enough”. If I pick you as my mentee, I will obsess about your book long beyond the end of Pitch Wars. I will run myself ragged editing, thinking about, and promoting your book.
Seriously, I got so impassioned about a tiny plot point in last year’s mentee’s manuscript that I debated it with her for something like 3 hours and may have cried a little. We resolved it by getting another CP of ours to mediate, and the plot point was solved with a very clever “in between” solution. Then we ate chocolate. But seriously, that’s how I roll. I throw myself in.
Also, there’s that little thing where my mentee from last year scored an agent and three-book deal. I don’t make any promises, but I will work just as hard to try to get you there.
What to expect if you get picked by me: Pain beyond pain, my friends. No, but seriously, I have a very direct style of editing. If I don’t like something, I will tell you without any dancing around the subject. Honesty is my #1 trait, and I expect it in return. (For example, during one editing session with last year’s mentee, I pointed to a line and said, “That line is stupid.” to which she replied, “Your face is stupid.” She’s my bestie and my CP now.)
Also, expect LOTS of hard work. Caitlyn (last year’s mentee) and I worked for over two months on her book and pulled 4-12 hour-long days. (We also sampled many different foods together since we live 2 miles apart.) I will not stop until I can’t possibly make your manuscript any better. In fact, Caitlyn’s agent told us her manuscript was one of the cleanest she’d ever seen.
Lastly . . .
What my mentee has to say to you: “Greetings, Pitch Wars hopefuls! So, you’re thinking of applying to Rae as a mentor? Unless you love hard work, pointed critiques, and the idea of cutting 20,000 flabby words from your manuscript, think again. The name of this blog is no joke; she will make your manuscript bleed.
And then you just might get an agent and a three-book deal. Because that’s what happened to me.” – Caitlyn McFarland
Check out more about her here at http://chmcfarland.wordpress.com, and if you’re not following her on twitter (@CHMcFarland), I will be very disappointed in you.