PitchWars 2020 Wish List

Zach Hines
3 min readSep 8, 2020



My name is Zach Hines. I’m the author of NINE from HarperTeen, which I describe as a “YA alternate world dystopian speculative fiction novel with horror elements.” (Phew.) I’m also a screenwriter and TV writer. I’ve developed television for HBO and AMC networks. I’m also a former journalist. For ten years, I was based in Hong Kong, where I reported on politics, lifestyle, travel and urban planning issues. I was raised in rural West Virginia.

my book


Age ranges, I’m accepting both YA and New Adult fiction.

Genre-wise, let me explain…

· Sci-Fi. Think “High Concept” rather than space opera. Things like the Maze Runner, I Am Number 4, Divergent will work for me.

· Dystopian. I like any and all dystopias, particularly those with weird twists

· Near-Fi. Think of this as “grounded scifi”, an extrapolation of our current world just a minute or two into the future

· Weird. My fave “weird” author is Jeff VanderMeer of Borne and Annihilation fame. Those are adult books, but my favorite purveyor of the young adult weird genre by far is A.S. King. All of her books are magical. I’d love to find anything like that.

· Horror. Any and all types of YA/New Adult horror

· Young male POVs. I often write for the perspective of boys and would love to see submissions from this perspective, regardless of genre.

· Socio-economic diversity/poor backgrounds. I will consider stories from the perspective of the poor, the working class, and the struggling.

· Rural perspectives. Likewise, I will accept stories from rural perspectives, regardless of genre, including contemporary rural stories.

In terms of mentoring/guidance, I’m a “big picture” kind of guy, who will focus on achieving a relatable/fresh perspective POV for your story, and help steer it toward a brisk YA-friendly pace. I love twists, but I love strong and intriguing perspectives more. I’m also commercially minded, and like to think of what SELLS.

My preferred working style is to do a few phone calls to discuss big picture notes, but I also enjoy writing “edit letters.” I will give line edits, but it won’t be copyedits. I’ve worked in Hollywood and as a magazine editor so I’m very experienced giving and receiving notes. I know that at the end of the day, this is your story. And it’s your voice that matters. All of my notes will be in service of enhancing what is special about your story, and helping your voice rise to the forefront. That said, I will also happily provide notes that can shape your work into a commercial product, one that will appeal to agents, editors, marketers and readers…

Thanks for reading. I was once a struggling novelist trying to figure out how to get my foot in the door. Many fantastic minds helped me along the way, and I’d love to pass on whatever wisdom I was able to glean on my journey. Good luck!


Head back to the Pitch Wars post to see the complete list of mentors!