• Saara El-Arifi

Pitch Wars Wishlist

Accessible version here.



What is this all about?


Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to spend three months revising their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents can read a pitch/first page and can request to read more.

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[GIF description: Bilbo prancing, saying 'I'm going on an adventure!']

Who are you?

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  • Adult (or new adult) Fantasy or Sci-Fi writer

  • Looking for support to traditionally publish your novel

  • Willing to work hard on polishing a manuscript

  • Able to take criticism and compliments in equal measure

[GIF description: Frodo looking forlorn, saying 'I can't do this alone']

Who am I?

Author of The Final Strife, the first part in the Ending Fire trilogy, an adult fantasy series set in a Ghanaian/Arabian alternative world. The series was sold in two six figure deals in the US and UK and is out in June 2022 with Del Rey (Penguin Random House) and HarperVoyager UK (HarperCollins).


Though this is my first time mentoring in Pitch Wars I have a great track record of mentoring through other organisations, guiding mentees through the publication process from inception of the idea to selling at auction. Being so close to publication myself, I’m also able to lift the curtain on what happens once you get that life-changing deal (hint: it’s 90% editing).


[Image description: Saara El-Arifi dressed as Black Gandalf for Halloween 2013]

What submissions I do and don't want


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Do send me:

  • A unique magic system

  • Self-aware of tropes and either subverting them, or presenting them differently

  • LGBTQ+ themes

  • A novel that celebrates diversity (there MUST be more diversity than LOTR, it's not hard)

  • Action packed and pacey

  • Character growth with a strong voice

  • Authors from underrepresented backgrounds


[GIF description: A Black Rider raising their sword]
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Do not send me:

  • Young Adult

  • If you have not got BIPOC as part of your cast as compelling, fleshed out characters, don’t send

  • Unfinished manuscripts (‘but are they ever truly finished?’ YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN)

  • Unnecessary sexual violence that is not handled with nuance

  • A novel in verse

  • Second person narrative, or ‘chose your own story’

  • Anything not SFF


How we'll work together


[GIF description: Frodo jumping into Gandalf's arms with glee]
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The magic happens when we work together, and boy, is it going to be fun. I make myself quite accessible to my mentees, but I ask in turn that you are committed to working hard, giving your manuscript the respect it deserves.


I will spend a considerable amount of time editing your manuscript but it is up to you to use my edits as a tool. I’m a collaborator first and foremost and we’ll work through the issues in your book together.



What comes next?


If I select you, then get ready, we're going to BOSS this. If I don’t choose you, do not be disheartened. Novels are subjective and it is entirely down to the reader whether they like it or not. KEEP GOING. The only difference between the novels that get published and those that don’t is that the author gave up. Don’t give up. YOU GOT THIS.

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[GIF description: Sam turning to Frodo and saying 'Yes, Mr Frodo. It's over now.]