Nearly a year ago, I started #MoMoLives, my entry in the 2016 version of Pitch Wars. I conceived it as a middle grade contemporary story based on true events, where a young teenager is drawn into his older brother’s plot to hoax Bigfoot sightings to revive their hometown’s ailing economy. I included a real monster in the story, but only as an afterthought – the focus was on the main character’s relationships and feelings of guilt due to his lies and deceptions.
In February of this year, I entered it in Sun vs Snow, and was fortunate enough to be selected for the agent round in that contest. The agent round and initial rounds of queries I sent on by own weren’t encouraging, so I decided some changes were needed. I concluded that I’d rushed the editing process, so I got an awesome new critique partner to work with, and decided to convert #MoMoLives to more of a horror story. The revised story features the actual monster more that the original did, and there are some deaths and other mayhem added. The main character’s relationships and guilt are still major components, but no longer the sole focus of the story.
Horror is a more restrictive genre, at least in terms of the number of mentors and agents receptive to it. At the same time, there are probably fewer middle grade horror stories out there, so the field shouldn’t be quite as crowded. My future books will be more science fiction oriented, some aimed at middle grade and some for young adults. At this time, I’m about halfway through a middle grade re-write of my first novel.