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Beth Campbell’s #MSWL Madness

In reading everyone else’s MSWL posts and musing about my own, I’ve realized that while I talk about MSWL a lot, I rarely put it all in one place. I tweet about my wants as they occur to me–and as MSWL is a constantly changing beast, that works well for the most part. But not today. Today we go all in.

In 2018, I am most focused on submissions in YA, fantasy, and sci-fi, but before I go into the nitty gritty of what I want for each genre, let’s talk general interests.

I am always on the look out for:

  • Diverse characters. Especially diverse protagonists. Especially characters who are LGBTQ+ and/or disabled.
  • Girls and women in STEM
  • Found families and friends-as-family narratives
  • Well-drawn ensemble casts
  • Unique fantasy and magical systems, or a fresh spin on a familiar system.
  • Recovery arcs for past traumas

In YA, I am looking for contemporary stories with strong hooks–STEM related hooks are always a win–and a touch of magical realism, near-future sci-fi, and alternate world fantasy. Diverse character are very important to me in YA, and I want true diversity of multiple types, not tokenism. In terms of story type: I want to see a wilderness survival story featuring a small, isolated cast. I want a sci-fi set in space with the narrative tone and suspense of The 5th Wave. I want anything and everything you can realistically comp with Tamora Pierce or Scott Westerfeld.

In Fantasy I want a story that sucks me into the world, and I want that world to feel fresh. I love some good horror in my fantasy and a strong sense of realistic grounding, but NOT when that “realistic” element takes the form of cultural violence towards women. I want to see stories with multiple distinct cultures and racial diversity–human races, not a bunch of white people and then elves and dwarves–and I would love to see the main group be POC. I want to see amputees and other disabled characters who live full lives and whose disability is informed, but not “cured,” by the world.  And for the love of God, someone send me a beautiful fantasy featuring two women in love.

In Sci-fi I love stories set on earth or in space. If you have a setting on another planet, I usually want the story to first be grounded in a familiar location. I like interesting tech but not worlds that are tech-obsessed or almost magically technologically advanced. Think the technologically advanced but still old-fashioned feel of Battlestar Galactica. Think cybernetic prosthetics that are not cure-alls–a la automail in Fullmetal Alchemist. In the more specific: I’d love to see a closed-cabin narrative set in a small space ship.

If you’ve got any questions about my MSWL, hit me up on twitter. And remember that this list is just what I’m most excited to see. It’s not exhaustive, and it’s not static. I’d love to see a query from you even if your book doesn’t fit what I’ve described here. I love finding new and unexpected things in my inbox. Getting surprised by a manuscript is probably at the very top of my wishlist.

Query me here.

Category: BlogCampbell

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One comment

  1. I’ve read that twice and you have just described how I want my, still being edited, WIP to read when it’s polished.
    This is my first written work outside of education, I’m confident, but not delusional, it’s still gonna need work when I’ve done everything I can with it.

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