Pitch Day with Agent Saba Sulaiman!

Saba Sulaiman

The pitching is now closed but the comments are priceless. Read though and learn loads about pitching. Thank you so much to Saba for putting in so much time and effort and giving us this fabulous opportunity!

Today agent Saba Sulaiman of Talcott Notch Literary Services is here to help us celebrate our 2 year anniversary! We’re so pleased to have her as our special guest. So what are we doing to celebrate? We’re inviting you to post your pitch right here in the comments of this post. Saba will be offering feedback or requesting on those pitches that pique her interest! So, go ahead and post that pitch.

Here are the rules:

  • Only pitch work in the genres that Saba represents: Adult, New Adult, Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Nonfiction
  • Pitch completed work only
  • Post your pitch in the comments of THIS POST today, Tuesday, February 3, 2015. Saba will be perusing your pitches from 9am – 5pm EST.

Pitches are to consist of:

  • Title:
  • Word count:
  • Genre:
  • Pitch: 100-words maximum. (Remember a pitch needs to show the conflict, what is at stake for the main character, and hook Saba into wanting to read more!)
  • Excerpt: The first 100-words of your novel. (If the 100th word is in the middle of the sentence don’t worry, just finish it out.)

Incase you missed it, you can read our interview with Saba here.

Have fun and good luck everyone!

221 thoughts on “Pitch Day with Agent Saba Sulaiman!

Add yours

  1. Title: RESCUE ME

    Word count: 85,000

    Genre: Contemporary LGBT m/m

    Pitch: Tired of popping pills, Jimmy quits his meds and lands on psych ward. His husband Jacoby’s had enough and has to decide: catch Jimmy one more time or give up and get a divorce.

    Excerpt: I nearly spilled my coffee when the back door slammed open and my husband came barreling through the kitchen. His black boots dripped snow all over the laminate floor I’d just finished mopping.

    “It’s legal, Jacoby! Iowa finally came to its senses and made it all legal!!”

    His shoulders heaved, his hands trembled and his pupils were so dilated, the blue nothing more than a thin strip. He was a former drug addict and those were usually warning signs. Rather than worry, I put my mug on the counter and snatched his phone, wondering what had him so damn excited.


  2. Title: TRACKED

    Word count: 85,000

    Genre: YA Sci-Fi Thriller

    Pitch: On a planet ravaged by chemical fires, seventeen-year-old Merilee has two identities. And the attention of two different boys. She must decide which side of her is real. And fast. Her heart is on the line. But so is her life. Neither an alias, nor a secret, underground network can protect her from The Alliance of Global Security for long. The TAGS are tracking her for leading a double life, and if caught, they will inject a dose of mid-wiping serum from the same lab her mother worked for before she died.

    Excerpt: Breathless, I run through damp grass toward a soaring column wrapped in licks of smog. Arena-1’s tip pierces a sky the color of crushed plum.

    Perfect day to forget your double shift, Merilee.

    Cassia is waiting. Her first treatment was today. Will she be different now? A lump forms in my throat. I need to be there for her. I promised.

    Thrown over one shoulder, my standard-issue TAEP backpack jabs me with each step. I hug it close to me – inside is Cassia’s gift for her tracking party. A waft of steamy air assaults my nostrils. Ugh. Toxin-neutralizer.


    Word count: 60,000
    Genre: YA Contemporary


    Stardom under local Friday Night Lights should be a thrill for sixteen-year-old Hunter Kingsolver. That is, if he loved football and trusted Coach.

    Hunters’s fed up with that elephant-on-the-chest feeling that asthma causes, and he’s sick of going from school to practice to work with no time for Zoe. Plus, he suspects Coach would risk anything to win this football season—someone supplied the tainted drugs downing players.

    After a teammate nearly dies Hunter determines to find the source of the drugs—even at the cost of alienating Coach Hart and the man’s connections to a Division One scholarship.

    Excerpt :

    On this perfect-for-swimming late summer afternoon, I’d just spent two miserable hours grunting, sweating, pounding, passing, running, crawling, and “yessir”ing. No, not basic training. Freakin’ football practice.

    Hot and humid hated me. Asthma sucks. An elephant, sitting on my lungs, had stolen the breath I needed on that field.

    Once inside the cool building, I finally breathed, and the stars in my head quit blinking. Sweet. But not for long.

    The briny smell of hundreds of boys missing urinals slapped me in the face once I got to the locker room bathroom. I splashed my face and head with cold water time after time as I hung over the sink.


    1. I liked the pitch, but your opening gave me pause — even though I’m all about strong voices, I see a lot of these types of whiny, “life sucks” openings, so I suggest you find another, more imaginative way to begin your story. Your pitch is very strong, though, so feel free to query me if you ever decide to do a revision on your opening pages.


  4. • Title: *Lone Girl*
    • Word count: 38,000
    • Genre: MG adventure


    In this modern retelling of *Island of the Blue Dolphins*, a scheme to host a secret sleepover turns into a nightmarish adventure when 12 year-old Madeleine is left alone in a suburban town that has been mysteriously evacuated overnight. On her own for years and unable to communicate with the outside world, Maddie grapples with adolescence, overcomes natural disasters and wild animals, and invents clever ways to survive with her devoted Rottweiler, George. She wrestles with the meaning of life in the face of endless solitude and learns in the end that being alone is the greatest challenge of all.


    Madeleine Albright Harrison crammed the last bite of a Twinkie into her mouth and hid the wrapper deep in her pocket. She would have to remember to throw it away later. Reaching into her backpack, she fished out her cellphone and switched it to vibrate before tucking it into the pocket of her jeans. Why hadn’t Emma or Ashanti texted yet to let her know about their weekend plan?

    “Shoes off before you come in!” her mom hollered as Maddie came through the kitchen door. “I mopped today.” She wiped orange mystery slop off the baby’s face. “Maddie, I know you have different rules at your dad’s house, but could you just try a little harder to make an effort?”


    WORD COUNT: 140,000
    GENRE: NA High Fantasy

    MISTS OF AVALON meets FACE ON A MILK CARTON when this medieval princess turned modern Miss discovers she’s out of time…literally. Crysta’s aunt wants her dead, and she’ll destroy two worlds to get her wish. She’s trapped in her aunt’s murderous plot, creating ashes-to-ashes on a global scale.

    Crysta just wants to survive this dramafest and find a career while avoiding Mr. Tall, Dark, and Irritating. But when family and friends get caught in the crossfire of her deadly, new life, she must decide which lines you cross to save the world. And how much she’ll sacrifice for her destiny.

    FIRST 100-WORDS:
    Pounding hoof beats echoed in Crystianna’s ears, thudded in her chest. Her mount raced forward. The wind tore around them as horse and rider flew toward the tree line. Grass and the warm scents of summer filled the air.

    She glanced back and saw her brother, Damien, bent low over his saddle, a white mane flying across his face. Devilish eyes met her glance with a challenging gleam.

    Clouds of dust and dirt drew her eye to the thundering mass of wild horses coming up behind them. Her brother’s grin spread. He had whipped the beautiful creatures into a frenzy, daring her to race with them across the open field.

    Thank you to the hosts and Ms. Sulaiman for your time and attention.


    Word Count: 110,000
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Lockrey Margathom, daughter of the clan chieftain, struggles with the limitations of her life: the all-encompassing religion that rejects her for being half-nymph, the clan leaders who ignore her because she is a woman and the man who will marry her to become chieftain, but will want nothing more from her than an heir. When she discovers a demon will destroy her world, she realizes it is her fate to give her life to save Mavornia… unless she decides some worlds need to die.


    The mist seeped into the chamber through hairline cracks around the window. It hovered motionless, then oozed across the flagstones and passed the embers in the fireplace, which flared and died. As it crawled upon the pillows where the young woman slept, she shivered beneath her quilt and rolled onto her back.
    The weight of blackness inched its way across the contours of her lithe form, pinning her down. At her golden face, it paused, savoring the moment. It would cut her life force and if she was the supposed ‘Redeemer,’ the war would be won before it was fought.


  7. Title: SUN AND BONE
    Word Count: 80,000 words
    Genre: YA Psychological Thriller with Romantic Elements


    Already struggling with OCD, sixteen-year-old Eve Thomas panics when her brother contracts a genetic illness their religious sect won’t treat. After hearing about Eve’s crisis, resourceful eighteen-year-old migrant worker Mana Aquino offers to sneak medicine to her brother, but only if she’ll help him discover why his sister disappeared near the sect leader’s mansion years ago. If Eve accepts, she’ll deceive the people she loves to expose a crime that could destroy her home. If she says no, her beloved brother’s as good as dead. Gated meets The Butterfly Clues with a dash of Eleanor & Park.

    First 100:

    Dying children can’t shock me.

    Whether I’m stabbing them with a kitchen knife or they’re burning in a house fire. Whether it’s me or a disease or a natural disaster doing the killing. It happens every day in the dark corners of my obsessive mind.

    Though I’m ninety-nine percent sure I would never act on these thoughts, for a few seconds I see myself suffocating my six-year-old sister instead of helping Mama wrestle her into the kitchen chair. While the Attendants stand by, waiting to fill a vial with Theresa’s blood, I blink four times to make the image retreat.


    Word count: 94,000
    Genre: YA fantasy

    As a dragon army invades Naya’s homelands and plans to kills all mages, the young mage must get an exiled dragon to betray his own kind. Only if he blends his magic with hers can she stop the enemy.
    But when his life flame jumps into her hands, the decision becomes Naya’s: Keep his power and use it to save everything she cares for, or return it and let her new friend live and make his own choice.

    “Who can give me an example of herbs used in Communication Magic?”
    Naya glanced around at the other students in Mage Mariyana’s schoolroom, but none of them raised a hand to answer the Mage’s question.
    What had Mariyana called those feathery leaves the other day? She tried to remember the strange name. Amm—
    “Ammorana leaves,” Mariyana said, “will enhance your reach when you need to Communicate over long distances. Surely you have heard of that before.”
    Naya had not, and she wrote the information down. Darla had taught her a different name for that plant. Then again, they had used it only for Healing.


  9. Title: Family Pictures
    Count: 76,000 words
    Genre: up-market magic realism

    Mick has a secret family.

    By day, he’s a loner who works in a restaurant. He spends evenings with his family of photographs, who share their lives and love him unconditionally like nobody ever has.

    When a beautiful coworker befriends Mick, he tries to ditch the family and join the real world. Instead, two more photos find their way into his home. The people in the photos begin to cross into his life, threatening his budding relationship. He knows the family can’t be real, but one of the pictures, a small child, desperately needs his help in the real world.

    First 100
    Mick was fixing dinner when the photos started bickering.

    “It’s my turn to choose tonight.” Troy’s little boy voice carried into the tiny apartment kitchen. “And I pick Bingo.”

    Mick plucked hot dogs from a skillet with a pair of tongs.

    “Bingo?” That would be Nicole. “Troy, you’re like a kid from fifty years ago. Besides, it’s not your turn. It’s Grandma’s.”

    Mick opened a can of peaches and drained them into the sink, hoping Grandma wouldn’t take sides.

    “I think Bingo sounds nice,” she said.

    Mick rolled his eyes. He pulled tater tots from the oven and dumped them onto a plate with the hot dogs, which he carried out to the table along with a beer.


    1. Very intriguing premise, but I’m not seeing how this is “upmarket” — the term usually refers to commercial hooks with very literary writing. You wouldn’t want to mislead an agent this way, because it might lead to an automatic rejection, even though you have a good concept. But I’ll take a look at it. Go ahead and send me the query + the first ten pages of FAMILY PICTURES to ssulaiman@talcottnotch.net — and be sure to include SUB IT CLUB PITCH PARTY in your subject line. Good luck!


    Word count: 50,000
    Genre: MG High /Fairy Tale Fantasy

    THALIA, a 13-year-old modern muse, is on a mission: saving the discarded characters from rough drafts and lead them in an adventure of their own, even if she does not fit with them. Feeling betrayed, her CREATOR almost changes her into a Flat-Stanley character when she claims her independence. As a peace offering, she agrees to steal Beauty’s mirror; the one that shows people’s souls and past. But that’s without counting on the evil Winter Queen who wants her muse powers to rewrite the world of fairy tales, and heteroclite characters who think her a snob.

    In the library, high on the dusty top shelf to the Collected Works of Shakespeare.

    Thalia squeezed between the rough drafts of her creator mixed with pages of classic stories. She kicked the manuscript. Of course, he was rewriting classics.
    Being small helped. Being as clumsy as a butterfly without its wings didn’t, especially when her creator chased her with the sharp spear of a quill pen.
    There it was, the reinvented story of the Winter Queen. The pages, cold and sleek, smelled of dusty drawers dipped into glue.
    “Muse powers come to my help!” she whispered in vain.


    1. Re: the opening — I like that you’re drawing us into the scene, but somehow, the writing feels a little disjointed? Maybe it’s just me. Also, I like fairy tale retellings, but not the kind where there are elements from multiple stories. Confession: I had to look up the word “heteroclite” — you might want to use a simpler word.


  11. Thank you for this opportunity!!

    Title: The Red and the Scarlet
    Word Count: 84,000
    Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

    Sense and Sensibility meets Mulan as two siblings escape massacre with only dreams. 18-year-old Fyr has goals: to keep sickly brother Asaan alive, get revenge on the man she remembers in the killings, and fulfill a “prophecy.” However, the pseudo-historical script she follows promises supernatural “Blue People” will invade. Fyr isn’t about to let that happen, even if she faces arrest.
    But she is arrested, by the same politician she wants dead, only to be invited into his society. Trapped and labeled as scandalous, Fyr must fight racism and rising affection for her enemy to keep Asaan safe, and escape before the Blue People attack.


    When Fyr was struck, and Vladyslav scarred, the world was shivering.
    A blanket of clouds lay across the trinity of nations, and fingers of chill dragged into hearts and bones. Windows were shut, as were jackets. The breath of a hundred furnaces and the smoke of a thousand lungs rose to mingle with the skies.
    Nevertheless, a handful of bourgeoisie gathered outside the Vlalonnan King’s palace, hoping to warm souls and fill their purses. Ignoring winter’s slaps on their cheeks and voices, they sang.
    They looked up expectantly at the massive windows, where they hoped to see the king deigning to pay them mind, or preferably, cash.


    1. SENSE and SENSIBILITY meets MULAN? Loved that! But you sort of lost me with everything else — there was too much going on in the pitch, and the writing in your excerpt felt slightly overwrought for my taste. I’m getting a lot of images, but not enough of a core narrative thread to tie them together and propel the story forward. I hope that makes sense!


    Word count: 40,000
    Genre: MG Science Fiction

    Pitch: When Suzy accidentally turns her hamster into a 250-foot monster, she has to save Chicago from him before the National Guard starts firing.

    Excerpt: Among the torn wrapping paper and ribbons, Suzy lifted the lid off the box to uncover her destiny. Sometimes destiny looks like…

    “A rat?” Suzy looked up at her parents.

    “It’s a hamster,” her mother said.

    Suzy knew it was a hamster—which basically was a rat—but that wasn’t the point. Throughout Christmas morning, her little brother, Jimmy, received everything he had desired. Suzy had only two things on her list. Instead of the magic kit she wanted, she got a chemistry set. And now…

    “We have everything you’ll need to take care of him.” Her father pulled out a clear plastic ball from behind his back.


  13. Title: THE LEDGE
    Word Count: 34,000
    Genre: MG, survival adventure
    Pitch: Thirteen-year-old Bryce has been dreaming of this backpacking trip for a year, but his big brother, Jack, isn’t cooperating. As they set out together, sibling rivalry clouds their judgment, and all of Bryce’s plans for an epic adventure go downriver. The boys must work together to survive the wilderness—and each other. But when a climbing accident leaves Bryce unconscious and hanging between life and death, their family’s secret, and root of their strained relationship, may never see the light of day . . . and Jack may not be strong enough to rescue them both.

    Excerpt: I imagined this day for a year. Plotting and planning. Most nights, picturing it in my head as I fell asleep.

    Now, I flipped on my video camera, ready to catch some cool, wilderness shots for my YouTube channel. But my stomach twisted as I pointed my camera at the faded, metal sign in front of me, half the letters pock-marked by bullet holes.

    Lily Lake Trail Head: 16 miles
    Caution: Bears

    I rewound what I knew about bears. Make noise to keep them away. Roll into a ball if attacked. Couldn’t be much worse than dealing with my big brother, Jack.


  14. Title: FIVE TO THE PULSE
    Word Count: 109,000
    Genre: Adult Literary/Magical Realism

    Arthur is a tailor who can read his customers’ inner turmoil in their clothes. His wife bakes “aha!” moments into their treats. He’s worn thin and wants to close their shop. His wife will only let him retire after one last summer of stories. What follows is a CHOCOLAT meets VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD mash-up of five rudderless souls who resist Arthur’s help: an A-List caterer, a hapless house flipper, a widowed trial lawyer, a Hollywood tour guide and the young daughter of a domestic servant. They each suffer a similar ailment: they’ve lost one of their five senses.

    100 Word Excerpt:
    Some people like nothing more than to stick their sniffers in other people’s affairs, to eavesdrop, pry, and wander out of their own lane. Others are content to mind their own business. I’ll give you one guess which category claimed my wife.
    I had plenty to do without getting involved in Magda’s antics. Memorial Day orders lined my rack: grass-stained khakis, shirts splattered with barbecue sauce, spring dresses that needed taking up a few inches for summer.
    I crept down from the bedroom and listened for Magda at the bottom of the stairs. Pink pastry boxes lined her countertop, ready for delivery.


    1. “His wife bakes “aha!” moments into their treats” — this confused me. And then “His wife will only let him retire after one last summer of stories” — what stories? I assume the ones that he reads in his customers’ clothes, but it isn’t very clear. You want to keep your pitch as simple and as easy as possible to follow, especially because agents make conclusions about how the writing will be in the submission.


    ◾Word count: 130.000
    ◾Genre: Historical Fantasy

    ◾Pitch: A Lakota man, veteran of the Indian Wars, tries to come to terms with his brother’s death in Jazz Age Chicago. A midwife receives a haunted coin and has to re-accept the gift she forsook on the chip from Ireland to solve its riddle. The owner of a black-and-tan speakeasy fights the voice resurfacing from his past and driving him mad.
    They meet by chance one night, not knowing each have the power and knowledge to help the others. Coincidence? Or is someone or something playing games?

    ◾Excerpt: Michael felt it as a hand gently resting on his shoulder. It stayed him.
    He turned. There, Blood stood still on the busy street many steps behind him, hands in the pockets of his jacket, eyes downcast, brows creased. His head snapped up and he whirled to face the straight throughway cutting away from Lake Michigan.
    Michael frowned. A hitch between his shoulder blades nearly made him work his shoulders. He too looked, but all he saw was more traffic and more people hastening to the shops before they closed for the night. So he listened. The whistle of the “L” pulling from the station


    1. You have an interesting setup in your pitch, but it’s still too vague for me — I need to know more about the action of the novel, not just about who the characters are before they meet. Especially if this is a fantasy. I need to know how the fantasy elements of your book manifest themselves, otherwise it becomes difficult for me to get excited about reading the pages.


    Word Count: 80k
    Genre: NA Paranormal

    Ami and Luke are assigned to arrange “coincidences,” from reuniting lovers to toppling empires. Their next job is way out of their comfort zone: stopping a bio-terrorism attack in San Francisco while every clue points in the opposite direction. Ami also wants to escape the friend-zone with Luke. While breaking into Federal buildings and illegal laboratories, they must figure out how to stop the outbreak, thwart lurking FBI agents, and figure out how to handle their feelings for one another. With so many lives hanging in the balance, they’re going to need more than a coincidence to pull it off.

    100 Word Excerpt:

    There are no coincidences. I should know. I make them happen.
    The trail was hot, humid, and smelled like rotting foliage. But even with the dense jungle vines and interlaced trees overhead, we could see the evidence of the culture’s ancient ruins, crowning the top of the hill.

    Somewhere amid the stairs and stone, my partner followed his mark, getting ready to uphold his end of our job.

    In front of me, my marks trudged along: an older woman, her backpack filled with extra water and every possible contrivance she might need for her afternoon outing; and her son, who peered into the dense foliage like he half expected someone from the past to jump out at him.


  17. Title: THE EMERALD EYE
    Word count: 78,000
    Genre: Adult Mystery

    Riding into a “Dublin Da Vinci Code,” a Texan Stephanie Plum must fend off an army—the Irish Republican Army—and a charming pirate, to uncover a Celtic treasure and reclaim her good name.

    Named for the gun, Colt Ryder makes her living as a hired one. After almost not saving the day at the Royal Wedding, the Texan aims to redeem herself as part of the advance team for the Queen of England’s historic visit to Ireland in 2011. On a security sweep of Dublin Castle, Colt finds a letter igniting a hunt for the Irish Crown Jewels.

    Colt Rose Ryder was fixin’ to lose an eye.

    And the fascinator she wore was not going to help. Although the contents of her Flashbang bra holster just might.

    While the rest of the security personnel disappeared beneath the shade of English Field Maples, Colt stood out as bright as a bluebonnet. She didn’t usually sport headgear shaped like a flying saucer, but at least her ridiculous half-hat came equipped with a camera, mic, and receiver. She should ask Win to upgrade her Stetson.

    As a redhead from bleached-blond Texas, Colt was used to standing out. She just had a hard time standing still.


  18. TITLE: The Water Still Rules
    WORD COUNT: 75,000
    GENRE: YA Fantasy

    For seventeen-year-old Aelia, life is a play of hide-and-seek to protect the last Soultree on Earth – and the magic inside it – in the hopes that one day it will grow strong enough to aid her in freeing her enslaved nation. But when she gets captured and thrown into a gladiator school, all her hopes of doing that evaporates. They say escaping is impossible, but staying means hurting the very people she swore to protect. Spartacus meets Throne of Glass.

    Sweaty hands catch my wrist, and I curse myself for taking the easy way and coming to the market. The crowd is ideal for getting lost in after bumping into my victims, and vanishing with whatever their pockets hold, but the merchants – like the one holding on to me – do tend to get nosy. A man passes me by, carrying an ugly-faced barracuda bigger than my upper body thrown over his shoulder and waves at the merchant holding on to me. I flinch as the smell of the fish reaches my nostrils.
    A raspy voice calls from behind, “What’s the hurry, girl?”


    1. As pitches go, this one’s very good. There’s enough detail, the stakes are clearly stated, and I like the comp titles you included. That being said, I’ve seen a lot of projects like this in our agency inbox, so the concept doesn’t really stand out very much for me, unfortunately. Keep trying, though!



    Word count: 37,000

    Genre: MG, science fiction/humor

    Pitch: A socially awkward twelve-year-old boy, obsessed with winning the science fair, pushes his experiment to the brink of death and back again.

    My throat tightens as I remember all of the times I’ve fallen short of winning the science fair, and the past three years mock me with second place ribbons. The fact that my dad is a well-respected chemistry professor in the Midwest doesn’t help matters, either. Sometimes the pressure of being his son is too much to handle, and his disappointment slaps against me like a wet towel snapping at the back of my legs.

    “Tell me about Geronimo and Edgar.” The pointy nosed agent interrupts my train of thought.

    “You think it’s my fault don’t you?” My pulse quickens, and the vein above my right eye twitches.


    1. You need to give me more details in your pitch — what about this boy makes him socially awkward? How was he on the brink of death? I like that you leave me wanting to know more, but you don’t want to leave it too vague, because it’s the tiny details that really make your project stand out. It’s a delicate balance, but as long as you keep it short, you can make your pitch feel fresher and more appealing if you add some more descriptive detail to it.


  20. Title: WHITE TRASH
    Word Count: 52,000
    Genre: Contemporary/YA/Thriller
    Pitch: His father is in jail, his mother is an alcoholic, and his little brother is a pint-sized Goth freak. Considered nothing but white trash by his small town, Talon Cooey is determined to make something of himself and a better life for his little brother. But instead of vying for that baseball scholarship, Talon is forced to work to help support the family. Only now, supporting the family is the least of his problems. Although his dad is in jail, his dad’s drug dealer is out, and now Talon and family are in danger.
    Excerpt: I’d read somewhere that serial killers begin by killing small animals. There were already a few neighborhood pets and woodland critters buried in my back yard. I used a stiff brush to scrub the blood and dirt from beneath my fingernails. Through the kitchen window I glanced across the yard. From here I could just make out the fresh mound I’d dug in the garden along the back fence. The rising sun and mist did a perfect job of casting an eerie glow over the scene. Some asshole was leaving dead animals on our porch. Just another lousy chapter that was the saga of our lives.


    1. I’d work on polishing your pitch. You begin consecutive sentences in similar ways (although/but instead/only now/although) — vary your sentence structure more, and tie it up more neatly. This is the first thing most agents read, and you don’t want to give them a bad impression of your writing, so revise, revise, revise!


    Wordcount: 38,000
    Category/Genre: MG Fantasy

    Pitch: When a quiet summer at the cottage turns into an epic battle between mermaids and pirates, 11-year-old Alistair must let go of worries that he’ll never measure up to his adoptive family in order to invent something that can save them all.

    First 100 Words: It’s an ill wind that blows no good, and the breezes blowing through the open car windows were decidedly ill – as ill as the expression on Alistair Newport’s face. His feet were on a cracked leather suitcase, and his elbow was in Bethany’s ribs. On Bethany’s other side, Rupert was sleeping with his face squished up against the glass and drool pooling on the shoulder of his blue polo shirt, and on her lap lay a rumbling black kitten with a crooked ear and one wild eye.
    “Are we almost there? I’m going to be sick if we don’t stop soon,” Alistair said.


    Word count: 73,000
    Genre: New adult/women’s fiction

    Pitch: Uptight New Englander Kate Kleider transfers to easygoing Southern California for the sake of her rising career. Her collection of pants suits doesn’t fit the culture of boobs, bikinis, and bonfires.

    Kate’s perfect world of being single, bird watching and jigsaw puzzles begins to unravel when she receives an invitation to the ex-love of her life’s wedding. She’s hesitant about going alone until laidback surfer Jamison Rigby enters her life. Although they are cultural opposites, an attraction grows, and he accepts her invite. As the wedding nears, Kate receives news that will test their unconventional and budding relationship.

    First 100 words:
    Oh no.
    Among the bills and junk mail I spied a glossy tan envelope with a blue anchor watermark. It had to be chock-full of bad news. I should’ve waited to open it because I was running late, but my fingers didn’t agree with my logic. Seven stories down in my apartment building parking lot, my boss Glenn was sure to be honking his horn and cursing my name. Instead of taking the time to pull my hair back into its usual braid, I slid my fingers under the flap of the envelope. The dreadful contents scattered on the counter and I picked out the frilliest insert and began reading:


    1. Great use of detail in your pitch! But I’d shy away from classifying your project as both New Adult and Women’s Fiction, because they are two very different genres. I’d do some research before settling on one — this kind of genre-lumping doesn’t give the best impression to agents, who are looking for writers who really know their market.


      1. Thank you for your critique. After further review of the two genres, I’ve concluded this is straight-up women’s fiction. Shall I post again, or does the storyline not grip you?


  23. Title: MIND WITCH
    Word count: 80,000
    Genre: YA Fantasy

    Mind witch Zéphyrine’s mission to brainwash a country into submission would’ve been easy if she hadn’t fallen for their Prince and befriended the mad girl she has to destroy.

    First 100 Words:
    When you’re a mind witch, people are your playground.

    Zéphyrine repeated that mantra in her head over and over, not because it was comforting, but because it was true.

    People had been a playground for the last six months, which Zéph had spent in a now-destroyed city, playing maid to a noble family and the girl whose mantle she was to take. When it came to conquering countries, preparation was as essential as brute force. Knowing the original person from inside out was not only recommended, it was mandatory.


    1. Your opening is punchy, but it almost reads like a pitch, and that can be a little jarring — does that make sense? I like fresh openings that have impact, but the writing in your project shouldn’t read like cover copy. It should have some more weight, something to make your readers feel as though they are being anchored into your story.


    Word Count: 31,000
    Genre: MG/Horror

    Pitch: Agnes tries holding on to her dad’s memory by playing his imaginary games of being a rescued princess and escaping Groges. But after her mom inherits an 1840’s manor with secret passages and hidden rooms, Agnes fears a ghost of an eight-year-old girl could injure her family.
    Her twelve-year-old brother thinks Agnes needs to grow up and she begins to question her own sanity. With nothing but her imagination for a weapon, Agnes must unravel the mystery behind the young specter before someone gets hurt. DOLL BONES meets Disney’s THE GLASS CHILD.

    Excerpt: Agnes understood inheriting the dilapidated Galli Manor from her grandfather—a grandfather she hadn’t known existed—was supposed to be good fortune, but she felt certain if she put one foot on the aged steps her future would end with a decayed board through her chest.

    For the love of chocolate—RETREAT!

    She stepped back with her mother, brother, and a non-related lanky lawyer gazing at the ghastly stairs. The wrought iron spindles stretched like boney fingers across the railings to hold smoky lighting globes. Several of them were broken, making Agnes worry about slicing her hand if she tripped walking up the staircase.


  25. Title: SKINNED
    Word Count: 82,000
    Genre: YA/SF

    In seventeen-year-old Payton’s world, the rich no longer inject Botox or Fillers to stay young. They graft animal skins on their bodies. But Payton reacts inexplicably to Animal DNA, growing protective animal aspects when she is stressed. The Movement craves to exploit her DNA and sends a tall, dark and handsome infiltrator to gain her trust.

    Manipulated by this agent, Payton soon has blood on her hands. But when she discovers The Movement is fertilizing teens with Animal-Human hybrids, she wants out. But betraying them might just get Payton killed or worse, knocked up with a monster-baby herself.

    First 100: Release
    I never thought about the strength of a chimpanzee or the roughness of its fingers until the first time Jimmy touched me. That was only seven days ago but standing next to him now, hidden behind this Imask, it feels like we’ve always been connected.
    “Remember why you’re you doing this,” Jimmy says.
    Your eyes, your hair, the cute mole on the back of your neck. “The animals,” I say hoping he can’t see my ears reddening.


  26. • Title: Die Once a Hero, Die Twice A Fool
    • Word count: 70,000
    • Genre: YA Sci-Fi
    • Pitch: From a simple love triangle a rift exploded into an interplanetary conflict. One man’s obsession with family honor quickly becomes a threat to exterminate an entire planet. Rejected as a member of the government Andre Volger vows to have his revenge. Two decades later a new breed of fighter enters the conflict, young men who will end the war quickly if Volger cannot eliminate them first. He prepares his son to assume the mantle of leadership and finish what he started so many years before. Can the Armellans ride their new fighter jockeys to victory? Only time will tell the story.

    • Excerpt: Russ Connery watched his best friend and fellow academy classmate rub the baseball prior to his next pitch. It was nice to have a day away from the rigors of academy training. Sure they were part of the vanguard that could halt the annihilation of the planet, but they were also twenty year olds who craved some fun. Andre Volger wanted nothing but the destruction of his former home and every living creature therein. But Russ, T.J. and their classmates threatened to restore balance to the scale with their avionics brilliance. Russ knew their lives would matter in this fight.


  27. Title: The Woman I Was Supposed to Be
    Genre: Memoir
    Word Count: 57k
    Pitch: The Woman I Was Supposed to be tells the story of growing up one of eight home schooled children in a closed Evangelical community in Texas. My parents, reeling from their own complicated childhoods, tried to give us the kingdom of heaven on earth. The reality couldn’t have been more different. We lived in a culture of fear and sexist stereotypes and when my father had an affair, our world came tumbling apart. The Woman I Was Supposed to Be is the story of my journey of self-discovery–to find my own life with out fear and to wrench the definition of womanhood from the patriarchy and redefine it on my own terms
    Excerpt:On the wall behind my mother’s chair was the spanking spoon. The spoon was two-feet long and wooden with the words, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them,” written in my mother’s handwriting on the bowl. There was a long crack that ran through the Proverb from where the spoon was broken on my older sister Jessie’s behind. My dad glued it back together, so it bore the scar of her punishment that served as further warning.
    On the wall, surrounding the spoon were laminated pieces of paper.


    Word count: 92,000
    Genre: Women’s Fiction

    Pitch: Astrid just had the best day of her life with Theo, the man of her dreams, but a day later has completely forgotten him. As she recovers from an accident and rebuilds her life, in between the headaches and nightmares, she struggles to differentiate between memory, fantasy, and reality. She’ll risk her sanity navigating a maze of eccentric Boston nightlife in search of Theo, who can help her recover lost memories. If he really exists.

    I have the weirdest taste in my mouth. Metallic, like I’ve been sucking on pennies, and spicy—no, not spicy. Stinging. Blood. What the—? I move my tongue and feel tiny pebbles. They’re sharp and cutting my gums and the insides of my cheeks. Teeth? No. Glass.

    I turn to spit out the pieces of broken glass, but my neck is encased in something that makes it impossible to move. I push them out of my mouth with the tip of my tongue and they roll down my chin on a trail of saliva and blood.

    I open my eyes and see I’m in some kind of… storage room?


  29. Title: CODE OF SILENCE
    Word Count: 84,000
    Genre: Psychological Thriller


    An email from the grave pits Dr. Andrea Flores’ past against her future, outrunning the murderer of her nephew, all while trying to find the key he left with her son.

    The email contains a confession, stolen Flashcom software, a silent video, and a warning (“Don’t tell anyone”). Jay worked—and died—at Flashcom. And Andrea knows what most don’t; surveillance isn’t silent to a deaf man who can lip-read. Someone like Jay. As she unravels the message, her worst nightmare from the past comes to light—one that will break apart her family. But even worse, embedded in Jay’s message is tracking code making Andrea and her son the killer’s next target.

    First 100 Words:
    Andrea slipped into the empty exam room and slid the phone from her lab coat to check again. Still no response. Three weeks without a word, and then a text message last night that made no sense. Shit. Should she? No. He’d kill her, but she didn’t care.
    The backless stool squeaked and rolled into the paper-coated table when she sat down. She bit her lip and tapped her sister’s name. “Hey. How’s it going?”
    “Andrea?” Surprise filled Nina’s voice. “What’s up?”
    “Can’t I just call to say hello?” Andrea tried to force a smile, but failed.


    Word Count: 65,000
    Genre: YA Contemporary

    When Cassidy’s crush is snatched away by her bully, Sierra, she turns to a 12-Step Confidence Intervention Program to end Sierra’s time in office once and for all. With her confidence building, Cassidy makes a bet with Sierra: if Cassidy can find a date, Sierra will forfeit going to Homecoming with Cassidy’s crush. If Cassidy fails, Sierra will pick Cassidy’s date to Homecoming and she’ll have to wear a loser sign that’s sure to clash with any dress. With the gloves now off, Cassidy must stand up to everyone trying to hold her down in order to win the bet.

    How could walking into class still be scary after all the years I’d been in school? Factor in elementary school, middle school, and high school, first period would be the forty-seventh time I would walk into a classroom for the first time.

    Yet, my heart still raced. Sweat formed on my palms. I silently hoped I wouldn’t have to shake anyone’s hands, which was an incredibly stupid thing to think. Who shakes someone’s hand on the first day of school? It wasn’t eighteen-eighty-five. Maybe a high five? No, it also wasn’t nineteen-eighty-five.

    “You’re over-thinking it.” Veronica put her arm around my shoulder and gave it a little squeeze.


    1. I like how straightforward your pitch is. It’s easy to follow and tells you what you need to know, without it being boring or too overwritten. That being said, I tend not to like books with underconfident protagonists, especially in YA. But do query widely!


  31. • Title: Jenny, Why Do You Run?
    • Word count: 65,000
    • Genre: YA
    • Pitch: For Jenny Drake life seems to be perfect. She is the consummate Valedictorian candidate, beautiful, smart, athletic, namely the girl every guy wants. But at home the contradictions are very stark. She thinks her mother is crazy. Her dad is likely cheating on her mother. Her brother is accused of raping a girl. All Jenny wanted was to enjoy her senior year, but now she must navigate some treacherous waters. Her best friend Tara is a strong ally and may be able to get Jenny through, but a new nemesis that knows too much about her brother’s situation threatens to ruin her.
    • Excerpt: Jenny wanted so badly to sleep in today. Her muscles were sore form track practice the day before. Who knew defending a state title would require so much work. Not that she minded it, it just was something else added to her already consuming schedule. She was glad to her mom’s call. This would be a good day, one when she was coherent perhaps. With dad away still on his business trip the water heater would still pump out cold liquid. That meant her brother could not hog the hot water. Another plus. Jenny knew her optimism was annoying, but necessary in this house.


    GENRE: YA Contemporary
    WORD COUNT: 79, 000

    For as long as she can remember, Sasha Laurent has been a jewel thief. But now she dreams of going to college. Maybe if she didn’t spend her days searching for the next big heist she could even find a boyfriend. First she has promised her brother Raj to pull off one last job. Despite meticulous planning, the heist goes horribly wrong. Not only have she and Raj been set up, but Sasha is mistaken for the identical twin she never knew existed. She is left with a terrible choice: turn herself in for a crime she didn’t actually commit or allow her sister to face charges for a theft she knows nothing about.

    My brother Raj and I stood amongst the trees at the edge of Signora D’Agnelli’s driveway watching her limousine disappear into the dusky evening. When we could no longer see the taillights, Raj shot me his sly grin. Instead of forcing a smile in return, I picked up one end of our ladder. He grabbed the other end and we jogged up the gravel driveway towards Signora’s villa.

    A breeze swept in off the sea, filling the air with a marshy, damp scent. In autumn, the terrain on the Italian coast was perpetually wet, but by the time anyone thought to scout around for footprints in the muddy earth, Raj and I would be long gone.


    1. This sounds more like a thriller than a contemporary submission to me. I’d be very careful in stating your genre, because many agents overlook great books based on their genres. I’m definitely intrigued by your story, though, so go ahead and send me the query + the first ten pages of VANISHED to ssulaiman@talcottnotch.net — and be sure to include SUB IT CLUB PITCH PARTY in your subject line. Good luck!


  33. Title: What We Always Forget
    Word Count: 100,000 (4th draft still in progress, looking more for input than representation at this moment)
    Genre: Contemporary YA/NA crossover

    I wish I could tell you this is a love story. Because, well, that’s how it starts.
    From the moment Nick Tanner first sees Grace Greening, he’s hooked.
    5 years later, Grace Greening has disappeared. She vanished two years earlier, just after Nick realized he wasn’t in a love story at all. Just after he realized he was in something much darker, and more complicated.
    WHAT WE ALWAYS FORGET is a Contemporary Young Adult/New Adult crossover novel that intertwines the past story of Nick and Grace, a tale of young love overcome by the manic depressive disorder that shrouds Grace’s personal history, and the present story of Nick, June, the young girl with Down’s syndrome he’s been hired to teach life skills to, and Jennifer, his zanily fragile younger sister, as they journey to find answers about what really happened to Grace.

    First 100:
    As you might expect, I took it as quite a surprise to be awakened in the middle of the night by a dead woman at my door. Well, no, let me clarify, not a dead woman. She wasn’t a zombie or a mummy or a ghost. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. This person was very much alive, unwrapped and opaque. It’s just, for the last three years, I had thought she was dead.
    “Nick! I can’t stay long. I have something for you.”


    1. This sounds too much like back cover copy. The first two sentences are unnecessary, for example, and the last sentence is way too long. I’d focus on Nick — he’s had this experience, he’s now looking for answers, and his past informs his present in some way. You don’t have to mention secondary characters in your pitch.


    Word Count: 58,000
    Genre: YA romantic thriller


    In London a sixteen-year-old girl is stalked, held hostage, becomes involved in espionage and falls in love.

    Dru Stone’s trip to London is not going as planned. Not only is she being stalked by two men, she witnesses a murder on the London Eye. When the killer holds Dru and her geeky love interest, Darcy, hostage in her hotel room, the teens find they must work together, not only to save themselves; but to keep a secret government file from falling into the wrong hands.
    (This is the first in a series of four International Intrigue stories.)


    Dru heard the BMW before she saw it. She peered down the slope leading into the underground garage and noticed the black vehicle racing towards her and her friend, Andy. Her green eyes widened with fear. The driver wasn’t going to stop!
    An hour earlier…
    The bell above the side door of The International Computer Software Company jingled as a man wearing a tan overcoat and a red silk scarf walked inside. The scarf hid most of his face, and his black felt hat dipped strategically over his eyes. His piercing black pupils peered out from behind dark rimmed glasses as he took a quick glance around the room.


  35. • Title: The Family Secrets
    • Word count: 90,000
    • Genre: Adult Mystery
    • Pitch: Two decades have passed since the fateful night a girl lost her life to protect a family’s reputation. Cast away like so much garbage the girl’s story ended in a dark hole. Now a brilliant young forensics genius is about to not only discover her body, but a terrible string of lies and secrets about a family considered beyond reproach. To complicate matters for Charlie Ritter she is falling in love with the eldest grandson of the Demarco family. Can their love withstand the torrent of lies and untoward deeds she will uncover? Will she be able to determine who murdered Leila Paulsen and why?
    • Excerpt: Charlie Ritter removed her sunglasses and collected her long blond hair in them and slid them back on her head so she could see to drive. She loved her convertible and did not care if it made her hair a mess. She was not the vain type, and the warm sun and rush of air were tonics to her soul. The beyond rigorous semester she completed in the nation’s foremost forensics program had worn on her, but she had completed it with her perfect GPA intact. Now she would enjoy the eight week summer break with her aunt and uncle near the big lake they loved.


    Word count: 71,000
    Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance


    After her high school sweetheart dies in a tragic car accident, nineteen-year-old Scarlet leaves Seattle for college in Iowa. Moving on is easier when she meets greaser Dex, a James Dean lookalike with a penchant for reading Edgar Allan Poe, who has a tendency to carpe a bit too much diem. But when she learns he’s keeping a secret about his health, Scarlet must decide if she can survive another relationship with a boy living on the edge of death.


    Hot as balls.

    Summer in Iowa is: Hot. As. Balls. And I don’t even have any, so it isn’t even fair for me to make that comparison. But if I had ’em, they’d be sweaty.

    A month in Iowa and I should know by now that wearing a gray t-shirt on humid day like today is an awful idea, my mistake now evidenced by the damp circles taking up residence around my pits. As I trudge across campus, I pause to readjust the folding table under my arm, grimacing in disgust as the wet fabric sticks to my skin.


    Word count: 65,000
    Genre: YA Southern Gothic

    Cursed. Grotesque. Hidden. Sixteen-year-old George has never left the plantation. Mama says the locals wouldn’t understand his wings, horns, and tail. If they discover him, they’ll kill him.

    That’s what Grace, a hoodoo priestess, intends to do when she sneaks onto the plantation, but all she finds is a scared teenager. George promises to help Grace track down the real monster—a Boo Hag, a skin-changer, who haunts the marshes—if she helps him escape. Their hunt will not only unlock the mysteries of the Sumerlin Curse, it will present a way to break it.

    Mama says the Lord punishes wicked boys who disobey their parents.

    He will punish me if I cross the fence.

    The fence circles the entire house. A wall of boards squeezed together, flat trees choking off my view of the outside world. Or the outside world’s view of me. The boards are taller than Clarence, with spaces between them just thick enough to wedge a fingernail through. When I smash my nose into their splinters, I catch a whiff of sulfurous marsh, salty ocean, and the hundreds of animals roaming the forest beyond—but that’s only on the outside.


    1. This is a pretty great pitch. It’s concise, impactful, easy to follow, and there’s a certain aura to it that informs the subject matter. That being said, I’m not really itching for any Southern Gothic these days, so I don’t think this is the project for me, but do continue querying!

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Title: JAILBREAKER
    Word count: 83,000
    Genre: YA SCI-FI Thriller

    Pitch: In 22nd century Philadelphia, residents possess chips in the base of their skulls, allowing heightened brain function. But with innovation comes problems– like brain hacking people with programmable commands. When 17-year-old Luke wakes up covered in his boyfriend’s blood, he knows he’s been hacked. But proving his innocence isn’t easy, especially when your boyfriend’s father is the mayor. Not only will Luke have to rely on criminals of underground Philly if he wants to prove his innocence, he’ll discover things about himself, and the world around him that makes him question free will, and everything he’s known—literally.

    The chances of getting caught or getting out unseen are equal.
    It’s not the best mantra to have circulating through my mind on this exceptionally warm October afternoon but the repetitiveness of the thought calms me. My right hand, curls around a porcelain cup of steamy hot brown sludge, tapping gently against the curves while my left picks at the corners of the peeling white linoleum table. Ripping a fleck off, I place it on the nail of one finger and use my thumb to flick it across the floor. My eyes scan the black book of poetry I picked up absentmindedly, waiting for her or him to appear–whoever came first.


    Word Count: 80,000
    Genre: YA Adventure


    Nuri thought jailbird parents, diabetes, and Jewish guilt were problems; until she kissed a girl, who turned into a frenemy. Then she kissed a boy, who turned into an undercover CIA operative. Now students are disappearing from Covington Prep, she’s getting hazed, her diabetes is spiking, and she missed Rosh Hashanah. When her parent’s safety in prison is threatened, Nuri’s forced to help the CIA, learning all of her relationships have been built on lies. She must decipher the truth among the facades, maintain her parent’s safety, keep her diabetes in check, and outsmart the CIA, old-school MacGyver style.


    My parents got busted and I’m the one who ended up doing time. Didn’t that just figure. I wasn’t even the miscreant in the family, which I’m sure sorely disappointed my folks. I had high expectations to live up to, after all, criminal masterminds ran in our gene pool.
    Mrs. Delacorte’s French manicured nails burrowed a hole in the crook of my elbow, jerking me to a stop. Silence swallowed the remnants of her clacking heels on the tile as we reached our destination. This had the makings of a horror movie. Her dilated pupils glared at me from inside their hazel halos.


    1. Hmm, lots of stuff going in your pitch, but I have to say, it is pretty intriguing. But again, I’m not particularly drawn to this kind of voice, where the protagonist feels irate, crabby, and misunderstood. I see way too much of these kinds of openings in my YA submissions, so I encourage you to think about approaching your opening in another way.


  40. Title: Halymenia Hypnea
    Word count: 37000
    Genre: MG Eco-fantasy
    Pitch: In a sea already extinct of mermaids, an ailing reef forces young Oceaner Haly Hypnea to abandon her home and tail for dry sand and legs. She refuses to walk until the day a shrimp net captures her little sister. Haly then challenges herself to reach the fishery before the next big trawl because, if she can’t convince the shrimpers to change their practices, more than the coral will die. A cross between Ingo and White Dolphin, with a hint of Emily Windsnap, Halymenia Hypnea tells her own fish-out-of-water story of friends, family, and survival.

    First 100 words:
    On the first morning of summer vacation, Grandpa told me that learning to walk was like riding a bike – once you learn you never forget. But I didn’t know what a bike was. And I didn’t have any legs.

    That afternoon, dolphins carried us Oceaners down the reef, past our home coral, to the brightest outcrops. Purples, oranges and pinks pulsed around us. Seahorses peeked out of the meadows, tinted back to blue and yellow, and clicked around us. Red algae streamed and danced up from the floor in all their shades. The party felt like a real carnival.


    Word count: 80,000
    Genre: Adult Superhero Fantasy

    Pitch: Wrought with jealousy and manipulated by Electri-City’s most influential man, Norm “Run-of-the-Mill” Stevens slanders his revered brother, Heroic Man, and must come clean to the city to repair the relationship.


    I popped open a can of Fizz Beer and took a good, long swig. The stuff was cheap as hell, and non-creatively-named to boot, but there wasn’t much more a twenty-four-year-old guy like me could afford with a crummy mailroom job. And I had to celebrate my impeccable achievement somehow.
    Raw energy—along with the insufficient buzz and flavorless taste of the beer—bolted through me as I stared at the electricity grid model on my bedroom desk. After four years of nonstop, grueling, though at times invigorating work, my masterpiece was finally complete. And finally—oh thank God, finally—I could prove my genius to the C.E.O. of Electrifirm and get the hell out of the mailroom once and for all.


    Word count: 48,000
    Genre: MG fantasy/adventure

    Pitch: When 12 year-old Laima is caught snooping around the House atop Wrickety Hill and the resident witch, Giltina, makes her an offer, she takes it. She joins Giltina at the WITCHRY convention to become her replacement. Only once she’s there, Laima realizes becoming a witch isn’t all she thought it would be. It means switching skins. It means curing like gherkins in caskets for years. It means finding children, betraying them, and turning them into slaves. Laima must choose—become Giltina’s replacement or use her newfound abilities to stop Giltina, risking the wrath of the entire witching community.

    Excerpt: Laima raised the stick over her shoulder, ready to swing. The new kid had snuck the wiffle ball past her once. No way would she let it happen again.
    “C’mon already.” Laima shouted, brushing away long wisps of her raven hair. Some days, winning made her feel better about things, like she had a say in the way things turned out. Other days, she just liked to push herself, to see what was possible. Whether it was climbing the old oak tree the fastest, or being the first to venture into the wilds of her tiny New England town to hunt for ghost-town ruins, it didn’t much matter to her, as long as it was an adventure.


  43. Title: FARB
    Word Count: 77,000
    Genre: Adult Romance

    Jenna O’Brien longs for the romance of the nineteenth century, when love and marriage meant forever. She’s a natural for her new job as a Civil War living history interpreter. She soon falls for Andrew, a seasoned reenactor, who prefers her in full accurate garb — including a corset and crotchless pantaloons. Jenna knows deep down Andrew is only playing a game, but if she doesn’t risk a 2014-style commitment, she’ll miss out on the old-fashioned modern man who’s been sitting across the campfire all along.

    First 100 Words:
    I was ten minutes—and 150 years—late to work.
    I’d been late before, to other jobs: an oversleep here, a flat tire there. Today, though, had to be the World Record of Tardiness.
    I catalogued what I knew about 1864, and it was nowhere near as much as I should. A time when men were men and women were property. America had been at war with itself for three gory years. No antibiotics, or Diet Coke, or Chris Hemsworth.
    Or phones. My phone sat in my locker now, ringing. I wasn’t allowed to answer it, even though I had to know what happened between my friend and the guy with the neck tattoo.


  44. Title: Night Terrors
    Word Count: 80,000
    Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
    Pitch: When Lexy discovers her nightmares are memories of a previous life as an infernal assassin, she must relearn the art of death or face it herself by the hand of one of her vengeful resurrected victim.
    Excerpt: I’m a girl-shaped pogo stick and the earth is my trampoline. Up, down. Up, down. With every impact of my soles against the pavement, shocks race up my shins and jar my knees. Judging by the looks I’m getting from bystanders and passersby in the quad, though, maybe I should try a different approach to staying awake. This is probably enough, anyway. The six cups of black tea and the pack of cherry pop tarts sloshing around in my stomach might come back up if I keep going. Blood’s racing, heart’s pounding, sweat is turning to ice water, trickling between my shoulder blades.


  45. Title: I WANT YOU TO WANT ME
    Word Count: 80,000
    Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

    TRISTAN AND ISEULT gets the rock star treatment when biochemist Eden Sinclair unwittingly wears a lab-engineered pheromone perfume to a club and attracts world-famous musician Adam Copeland. Self-doubts compound when she explores his massive online fandom. And with the snakes at the tabloids digging through Eden’s trash for secrets and half-truths, it’s only a matter of time before rumors of her company’s pheromone testing shake Adam’s confidence in her as well. Eden might be banished from the tour bus forever if she can’t find a way back to the unspoiled trust they found in the beginning.

    My pen tapped out the drum beat to the Cheap Trick earworm on the radio. I glanced around to make sure I was alone, then grabbed an Erlenmeyer flask, and belted out the chorus into my makeshift microphone. With the countertop centrifuge spinning out a white noise, I imagined a stadium crowd cheering for me. I closed my eyes, and the blinding white lab fell away. I stood on stage in the spotlight.

    “I’m beeeegging you to —”

    “Eden?” came a voice from the outer hall.

    I swiveled my stool toward the door, anticipating the arrival of my first imaginary fan.


  46. Title: RIVETED
    Word count: 68, 000
    Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi

    The unfinished men burn with an irrational hatred of the mechanical people who share their city, a crumbling alternate-1950s metropolis with futuristic technology. No one notices that the unfinished men aren’t quite real. No one sees the city is breaking down.

    Johnny Rivet notices, and he wants to know why. As one of the robots known as the boltedkindred, Johnny has the curiosity to seek out reasons for the cold war separating him from his human friend, Rebecca—and try to stop it. If he can’t, the city might literally fall apart if the unfinished men don’t burn it down first.

    There was a time when the only questions I’d been preoccupied with were the tiniest mysteries of the universe, questions that fascinated but were never a matter life or death.

    That was before I saw the unfinished men for what they were. Before I knew how to really see. Even now thinking of the ink-dark, sightless-looking pits of their eyes sends an unconscious sharp impulse of nervous energy looping through my thoughts.

    When I was younger, I would spend hours in our garden watching bees and calculating their flight paths; it was my version of daydreaming or cloud-watching. Bees moved from one brilliant merlot-colored rose to the next while numbers streamed languidly through my brain.


    Word Count~ 41,000
    Genre MG/FANTASY Book 1/3

    On Christmas morning Edela receives a gift she was not expecting: deafness.
    And if that wasn’t strange enough she soon discovers the only voice she can hear is a wolf who lives in the forest that surrounds her home. Heth the leader takes her on a dangerous journey to find a mysterious elf who can stop an apocalyptic winter storm that threatens them both. Beneath the earth they soon find the elf, and a surprise that will shatter everything that Edela believed was true.

    FIRST 100

    ‘Finn?’ Mother’s voice called out across the village and he stood from his hiding place. ‘Finn?’ The cackle of the geese announced her arrival. ‘There you are! I’ve searched the whole village for you boy’ Finn sighed and waited for her to reach him. She knew he hated it when she called him that.

    ‘Edela has been looking for you too’ Finn brightened at the mention of his sister. ‘She wants you to take her out into the forest, hunting.’ Mother spat the last word out and Finn could see the disgust at him teaching Edela to hunt was still evident, even after all this time.


    1. Ooh I do like your concept — but have you looked into standard formatting conventions for your writing? I’m not sure if this is intentional, or if there was a glitch in the blogpost, but in case it was intentional, I suggest you revise your writing for punctuation and formatting to fit industry standards.


      1. Many thanks for taking the time to read my pitch, I am glad that you enjoyed the concept.
        I’m not sure what happened with the formatting, I couldn’t see an edit button to adjust it so count amend. Anyway its all a learning curve. Many thanks again for your time.


  48. Title: Voiceless
    Word count: 68,000
    Genre: Paranormal Y/A

    Pitch: Lots of girls look forward to the freedom that comes with turning eighteen, and Eliza, is no exception. Although, in her case, her anticipated liberation is more literal than most.
    For eight years, Eliza has been held captive by her stepfather, Driscoll, a self-styled prophet for the Good. Eliza should probably count her blessings, though. At least Driscoll hasn’t caught on to the fact that she can see the dead. Yet.
    As her birthday approaches, Driscoll tightens his iron grip over her. Eliza can almost taste her freedom, but can she survive long enough to reach it?

    Excerpt: Even with their door closed, I’m certain Mother and Driscoll can hear me whisper if they want to. They’re always able to hear me.

    I peel my dress off and wipe the layer of dust from a bookshelf with my hand before placing my clothes on it. The girl watching me from the end of the couch coughs at the dust. As if it bothers her. As if the dead breathe.

    My parents can’t hear her coughing, but I suck my breath in between my teeth, and shoot a warning glance in her direction anyhow. She rolls her eyes, but at least she’s silent.



    Word Count: ~80,000

    Genre: YA Thriller with Strong Romantic Elements

    Pitch: Fed up with her erratic behavior, Emily Shepard’s parents ship her to Wisconsin to live with her grandparents. If that isn’t bad enough, the plane crashes, leaving her stranded on a creepy island with a group of survivors, including sweet and sexy, Damon Cohen. Surviving is their primary goal, but the least of their troubles. It’s now a race against time for the government to find them before the island’s inhabitants do. But the government is willing to do anything to keep the island’s true purpose a secret – even sacrificing the survivors. It’s LOST meets AND THEN THERE WERE NONE.

    As I sit in the airport, staring at my parents and my brother, I realize something. I hate them. Not just because of the awkward, ‘no one is saying anything, let’s sit around and stare at each other like morons’ silence that’s happening right now. No. I can handle the silent treatment from the three of them. What I can’t handle is knowing they want me gone, knowing I don’t fit into their perfect life.

    “Emily,” my father looks at me with sad eyes, “I know this is hard for you, but… We love you very much.”

    My mother nods in agreement.


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