Welcome to G.Z. Schmidt’s #Pitchwars 2018 wishlist! (For those who stumbled upon this by accident and have no clue what this is, Pitchwars is a fantastic mentoring program. Authors, editors, and industry experts help polish one writer’s entire manuscript before showcasing it for literary agents.)



I write mostly Middle Grade, and am represented by Adria Goetz of Martin Literary Management. I started querying my first works in 2017, then landed my agent in 2018. I’ve learned a lot from the query trenches, and hope to pass on the knowledge. My strengths include:

  • Finding plot holes
  • Creating conflict and tension
  • Pacing
  • Making the characters and events believable
  • Solidifying a strong character arc
  • Bonus fact: I got a perfect score on the Writing portion of the SATs!

I have a background in mathematics, and enjoy solving problems using logic and analytics. (If your book has STEM elements, I’d love to see it!) I can visualize information in detail and see things from multiple points of view. This helps when it comes to consistency and story flow.

Outside of writing, I enjoy going to museums, trying new restaurants, and making greeting cards.

Finally, my cat Marie is my unofficial co-mentor. So cat-lovers are encouraged to send their manuscripts in.

“Send me all the stories that contain delicious treats. Chicken preferred.”


I am encouraging but honest. I’m looking for a mentee who is open to critique and suggestions. My goal is to polish your manuscript to its full potential, and to make it stand out in a crowded market. I am attentive to detail, and will challenge you to think outside the box. I’ll point out any inconsistencies in your story, whether it’s an implausible event or someone acting out of character. All the while, I’ll make sure your story stays true to your vision. You’ve worked hard on your story, and I won’t force you to make changes you’re not comfortable with.

You can expect the following from me:

  • At least two rounds of edits:
    • One big-picture edit letter after mentees are picked
    • Detailed line edits before the agent showcase
  • Communication via email or Google Hangouts
  • Feedback on your query letter

Lastly, I’m looking for a mentee who can be a long-term critique partner down the road. Publishing is a long journey, and I want to be there for you after #Pitchwars ends.


I am mentoring MIDDLE GRADE (ages 8 – 12). Above all else, I look for stories with a strong plot, unique voice, and excellent pacing. I enjoy books with plot twists and puzzles, as in Holes and The Westing Game. I also love books that inspire wonder. If it can be a Pixar movie, then it’s highly likely I’ll want it!

I would love to see the following genres:


(especially with a touch of magic!)

  • School and friendship stories like Wonder
  • Coming-of-age stories
  • Lighthearted, humorous stories that make me laugh until my stomach hurts (love the humor in books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, as well as books by Gordon Korman)
  • Character-driven stories with a unique voice
  • I love all kinds of fantasy (high and low)!
  • Magical objects, forbidden lands, haunted houses
  • Unique, unusual worlds with fantastic world-building. The Hobbit is a classic.
  • Stories rich with cultural elements (especially #ownvoices)
  • Impossible quests, terrifying creatures, corrupt kingdoms. I love dark fantasy like The Night Gardener
  • Retellings of fairy tales with a fresh spin like Ella Enchanted
  • NOTE: I’ll automatically compare elves and dwarves to Tolkien’s works, so they have to be done extraordinarily well for me to consider.
  • Well-researched stories that teach me the lesser-known parts of history
  • Character-driven stories intertwined with a rich setting, in the vein of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Wednesday Wars
  • Adding famous historical figures is a plus!

In addition to the list above, I am open to novels with unconventional formats (epistolary, text messages, interwoven illustrations), as well as graphic novels. Also, I love animal narrators! Send me all your animal stories: your mice having afternoon tea, your pigs in the big city, your crime-solving dog detectives.


These are just personal preferences. There are mentors who love these!

  • Sports stories
  • Stories in verse
  • Space operas / aliens
  • Stories with excessive fart jokes
  • Zombies / vampires / werewolves
  • Portal fantasies (unless done really well)
  • Stories that center around the protagonist moving to a new school, new city, etc. (As a side plot is fine, but I’d prefer it not to be the main plot)


Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to reading your story!

View the other mentors’ wishlists below, or return to the main Pitchwars page.


2018 Middle Grade Mentors

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