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Sione Aeschliman (pronounced see-OWN ASH-lemon) is an editor with a Master’s degree in English and over sixteen years of editing experience who gets massive amounts of satisfaction from helping authors achieve their goals. She's a co-founding RevPit Editor, co-host of the Novel Approaches podcast with r.r. campbell, and a member of the EFA, AWP, and Willamette Writers. She lives in Portland, Oregon with an adorkable dog named Milton. This is Sione's third year with RevPit, and she's beyond excited to geek out on the hashtag, read her submissions, and work on another amazing book!
I'm particularly passionate about character-driven narratives that explore important questions about being human in ways that are fresh, accessible, deeply connecting, and entertaining. For this year's contest I'm looking for two types of manuscripts:
- YA, NA, or A #ownvoices in any genre. #ownvoices means that the author and at least one of the book's protagonists share one or more marginalized/diverse identities. You do not need to indicate in your query letter which of your protagonist's identities are #ownvoices (though you're welcome to do so if you're comfortable with it), but if your ms doesn't contain any speculative fiction elements, it would be helpful if you mentioned that it's #ownvoices so I know it fits my MSWL.
- YA, NA, or A with a speculative fiction element, including but not limited to sci-fi (& all its subgenres), fantasy (& all its subgenres), science fantasy, magic realism, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, surrealist, absurdist, satire, alternate history, horror, paranormal, new weird, etc. Literary speculative fiction and mss that have a "lite" speculative fiction element are extremely welcome. I'll get hearts in my eyes if there's also a mystery, caper, or thriller element in your spec fic novel! Examples: Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty, Artemis by Andy Weir, Witchmark by C.L. Polk.
If you have questions about whether your ms is #ownvoices or speculative fiction, feel free to DM me on Twitter. And if your ms is YA, NA, or A #ownvoices speculative fiction with mystery, caper, or thriller elements, I am SWOONING. Please submit it to me! *grabby hands*
I have broad tastes in literature, and the books I've chosen to work on for contests in the past few years reflect this: women's fiction, science fantasy, biopunk scifi, Buddhist sci-fan, fabulism, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. That said, I'm usually not the best fit for:
- Shifters, vampires, dragons, or zombies—unless it's literary spec fic and/or done really differently from what's already out there.
- Fairytale retellings—unless it's a dramatic twist, e.g. in a totally different setting or rewritten from an #ownvoices perspective.
- Slash & gore horror. Some gore is okay, as long as it's not the focus/point of the story.
- Stories wherein the only stakes are survival.
- Stories wherein the MC's main goal in life is to find romantic love or be a parent. There's nothing wrong with it; I just can't relate. And I LOVE romance books where the MCs have ambitions outside of the romance.
- Eroticized non-consensual sex. None of this, please! If it's important to the story, I can handle books that contain rape or allusions to rape, but I don't want to see non-consent presented as sexy or erotic.
How can a manuscript’s first five pages make you sit up and take notice?
There are lots of great ways to hook me, but I've noticed I'm more likely to be hooked if the first five pages are rooted in a scene with a goal and stakes (doesn't have to be dramatic, just present); convey a strong sense of voice, emotion, and setting; and the first inciting incident related to the primary conflict has either already happened, happens in the first five pages, or I can see it coming soon.
What can writers expect from working with you during #RevPit, including communication?
We will decide together how to approach the editing process and how we want to communicate, but I normally start with a high-level critique of the full ms and use a mixture of email, Word documents, and voice or video chats to deliver feedback. It depends of course on what the manuscript needs, but I generally like to get through two rounds of editing on the full ms, plus a polish of the first five pages and the query letter in preparation for the showcase. Based on past years, I anticipate putting in 40-50 hours of editing over the 5 weeks. In other words, you can expect that I will work my butt off for you! I also promise to partner with you to help you achieve your vision for the book in a way that meets readers' expectations, communicate clearly and in a timely manner about the editing process, and meet the deadlines we agree on.
What do you expect from writers during the #RevPit revision process, including communication?
In order to make the most of our 5 weeks together, you will need to be to be ready to dive back into editing the big-picture elements of your manuscript, be willing put at least as much time and energy into your work as I do, communicate clearly and in a timely manner about your expectations and your process, ask questions when my suggestions don’t resonate so we can brainstorm alternate solutions, and meet the deadlines we agree on.
What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?
Reading the heck out of books (of course), going to surf-punk shows at dive bars, more reading, eating delicious foods (Italian, Mexican, Thai, & sushi among my faves) with my favorite people, taking walks with Milton, even more reading, traveling with my awesome mom.
What published book did you love in 2018, and what did you love about it?
So many! The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan was gorgeously written and hooked me from the first paragraph. The "unreal" short stories in The Unreal and the Real by Ursula K. LeGuin were so immersive and thought-provoking and wonderful that I didn't want to read anything else for weeks. The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy by Christopher Citro was exactly the kind of humorous, heart-touching, and bizarre poetry I love. And The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking gave me some excellent food for thought about how I want to structure my life.