Pitch Wars 2017: Peter McLean

I’m very excited to be a mentor in Pitch Wars 2017!


Thank you for considering me as a potential mentor. I’ll be mentoring in the adult fiction category and accepting submissions mainly in Science Fiction and Fantasy (SFF) including Urban Fantasy, with some interest in Crime and Horror. There’s a more detailed Wishlist below but if you fit into the SFF category, please read on!

Who am I and why should you care?

I’m the (that word was in Scavenger Hunt red, by the way…) author of the Burned Man series of urban fantasy/crime novels – Drake, Dominion & Damnation published by Angry Robot Books, and the forthcoming grimdark fantasy Priest of Bones which is due to release October 2018 from Ace/Roc at Penguin Random House.

I live in the United Kingdom and am represented by Jennie Goloboy of Red Sofa Literary.

What will you get?

If I select you, you’ll get a full edit letter covering developmental edits for your entire book –structure, pacing, characterisation and plot. I’ll be happy to discuss this with you over email, social media or (timezone permitting) Skype if needed.

Once you’ve revised the book based on these edits, I may do a line edit depending on timescales and whether I think it needs it or not, but I’m not guaranteeing this due to my own workload. I will however work with you to get your submission package as polished as can be for the agent round, including your query letter and synopsis.

What am I looking for?

I’ll look at anything from the Adult SFF category, and also some subgenres of Crime and Horror. What follows is my personal preferences to help give a better idea of what I’m most likely to pick, but ultimately what I want is a well-written book that grabs me and refuses to let go. The better the book, the more chance there is of me going outside my given preferences.

What defines a “better book” for me is almost always the characters – you can have the best plot in the world but if I don’t care about the characters I’m not going to care what happens to them.

One other thing I’ll say – I like the dark stuff, the darker the better. I have no taboos whatsoever, no “auto-reject” plot events. That doesn’t mean I want you to be sick and twisted for no reason, though. Be sick and twisted for a good reason and I’m in.

So, genre wishlist in more detail:

Science Fiction:

This is a mixed bag for me. I’m really not a good fit for hard SF where the science is everything but I’ll look at anything else – I especially like space opera and cyberpunk. I enjoy reading mil-SF but I’m not the best qualified to help you write it, although I know a mentor who is! SF/Horror crossover is fine, and if anyone has a near-future crime or spy novel I want to see it. Think Alastair Reynolds, William Gibson & Dave Hutchinson rather than Asimov.


This is my bread and butter and I’ll look at all of it. Send it to me! I prefer Heroic and Grimdark to Epic, but it doesn’t have to be. To give you an idea of my tastes, I love David Gemmell and Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch and Mark Lawrence. I’m not big on Sanderson, portal fantasy or fantasy romance.

Urban Fantasy:

If it’s actual urban fantasy, send it to me! If it’s paranormal romance I’d really rather you didn’t. I know there’s a very blurry line between the two sometimes but a simple rule is this – if you can take the romance out of the story altogether and still have a complete and exciting story, it’s urban fantasy. If the romance is the story or at least the bulk of it, it’s paranormal romance.


There’s such a blurry line between dark urban fantasy and horror that I’m including horror here, but I’m probably a tough sell for this. I don’t want splatterpunk gore or torture-porn, I find that very dull, but a good occult or demonic horror might well catch my eye. Think more Hellraiser than Hostel and you’ll be on the right lines.


I enjoy it, but my own work is all fantasy with strong crime elements rather than the other way around so I’m not a genre expert here. I do love a good gangster story though!

Other Points –

As I said above, I have no taboos. Violence, sex, swearing, it’s all fine. I love a good creative swear myself. Gore for gore’s sake is boring to me though, so don’t overdo it without a good reason.

Character voice is very important to me – I like first person and limited third, the closer the better, but I’m not overly keen on omni. I find present tense a bit painful to read so I’m probably not a good fit for that. Don’t write in second person, just don’t…

One last thing…

I outlined above what you’ll get from me so I suppose it’s only fair to say what you won’t get, just so we’re all on the same page – I’m not here to pat you on the head and tell you the book is perfect just how it is. It isn’t, and you know it isn’t or you wouldn’t be here.

I’ll put a lot of work into this for you, and I’ll expect you to do the same. Sound fair?


I’m happy to answer any questions from prospective mentees but you’ll get a quicker response if you contact me on Twitter rather than here – @PeteMC666

Linky for the rest of the mentor blog-hop follows:






































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