Thursday, September 2, 2010

58 Pitch-to-Query Letter Contestants, Post Your Loglines!

The effort everyone has been making this past week is inspiring. And there are some fantastic entries out there suggesting that there are a lot of excellent novels ready to query.

Today, we'll start accepting the one sentence loglines that go with those pitches. Think TV Guide blurb, or--if your get Publisher's Marketplace--think about what agents include in the deal announcement. What would you say if someone asked you what your book was about, and you only had one sentence to convince them to buy it instead of the thousands of other options available to them?

Post your pitch in the comments of this post. Please include your entry number, name, title, genre at the top just like we had it in the entry you've been working with all this past week. As soon as we have the entries, we'll send them to your mentors so they can start mulling them over. Then next Thursday, we'll open them up for help from other contestants and the rest of our followers.

  • Entries 1-5: E. M. Kokie's debut novel, Personal Effects, will be published by Candlewick in 2012. After spending most of her life on the East Coast, she now lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her partner and their imaginary pets. Eventually, she'll have a fully functioning website, but for now she can be found on twitter at @emkokie or hanging around the Absolute Write Forums. She is represented by Chris Richman of Upstart Crow Literary.
  • Entries 6-10: Tahereh a.k.a. T.H. Mafi works as a graphic designer. Her blog Grab a Pen consistently entertains the masses. She writes YA novels and is represented by the ever-fabulous Amy Tipton of Signature Literary Agency.
  • Entries 11-15: Lisa Green is not a demon, ghost, vampire, fairy or shape-shifter*. She has, however, enjoyed reading and writing about them since the age of seven. Her short stories and poems have been featured in several online magazines and her manuscripts are represented by the amazing Rubin Pfeffer of East-West Literary. *Please note that the exclusion of werewolves above is strictly coincidental.
  • Entries 16-20: J.A. Souders was born with an overactive imagination and an abundance of curiosity that led her to befriend the monsters under the bed. When she grew up, she decided to put her imaginary friends to work and started writing. She lives in the land of sunshine and palm trees with her husband and  their two children, and is an active member of the RWA, CFRW, and the SCBWI. She is represented by Natalie Fischer of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.
  • Entries 21-25: After a successful career in journalism, Debra Gersh Hernandez works with press and media advocacy groups as an independent communications consultant. Her first picture books  "The Sneaky Snackers," illustrated by Eric MacDicken, features furry, funny monsters and an easygoing lesson about tolerance. She is represented by Marisa Corvisiero at the L. Perkins Agency.
  • Entries 26-30: Nikki Katz is a freelance writer, author, wife, rocket scientist (aerospace engineer), mother of three, friend, daughter, sister, and often-times more. She lives in San Diego, CA where she works from home as the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld blog. She has published four nonfiction books, and her first novel, a young adult urban fantasy, is represented by Bree Ogden at Martin Literary Management.
  • Entries 31-35: A.E. Rought's love of fantasy started with listening at her mother's knee and turned to writing after she got married and had two beautiful kids of her own. Her work includes children's fiction as well as adult fantasy and paranormal. Her first novel, Nuermar's Last Witch, which has been called a 'spellbinding fantasy,' was published in 2007, with a number of other books published since and more in the works. She is represented by Gina Panettieri of Talcott Notch Literary Services
  • Entries 36-40: Elana Johnson's debut novel, Possession, will be published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster) in Summer 2011. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for download. School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or her website. She also co-authors the Query Tracker blog, the League of Extraordinary Writers, and What Writers Read. Elana is represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary.
  • Entries 41-45: Hilary Wagner lives in Chicago with her husband, Eric, two crazy kids and her dog Louie, who sometimes thinks he's human. Her debut novel, Nightshade City (Holiday House) releases October of 2010, with Book II of the Nightshade Chronicles releasing next year. She loves classically written stories with a creepy slant and knows she's read a good book when she's sad she has no more left to read! Her guilty pleasures are bad reality TV, candy corn and Cheetos!
  • Entries 46-51: Gretchen McNeil is a classically trained soprano turned television producer turned writer. She is repped by Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown and her YA urban fantasy BANISH debuts with Balzer + Bray in Winter 2012. Gretchen is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels and blogs with the Enchanted Inkpot. She is the voice of Mary on G4's "Code Monkeys" and she currently sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk.
Get pitching, everyone!

Martina & Marissa


  1. Pitch Entry # 2: A Grey

    Title: Amarok and the Gone Missing Girl

    Genre: YA (Contemporary)

    When shy albino Ansel meets a runaway girl, she turns his secluded world upside down and soon Ansel is thrust out of the shadows and into the public eye - and into a showdown with his new girlfriend’s millionaire family.

  2. I just wanted to post separately to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to Martina and Marissa for organizing all of this and to all of Mentoring Authors for their time and attention! It's been an amazing, and extremely helpful experience! And thank you to all of the participants, and non-participants who have commented and left either suggestions or supportive remarks!

  3. I'm with A. Grey -- thanks so much to everyone involved. I'm having so much fun working on my subs package, and it's great having so much encouragement and help.

    Not to mention some new friends and books to watch for. :)

    Will post later when I've got my tagline ready. Still debating it.

  4. Pitch Entry #6: Meagan Spooner
    Title: The Iron Wood
    Genre: YA Dystopian Fantasy

    When Lark develops abilities that doom her to life as a magical battery, she must escape her energy-starved city and fight to survive in the monster-infested wilderness beyond long enough to find others like her, and the key to her own powers.

  5. Pitch Entry #11: Marilyn Peake
    Title: Mermaid in the Summer of Burning Water
    Genre: YA Fantasy

    With the help of a mermaid who washes up on shore following an oil spill, three teenagers uncover deeply hidden family secrets, including that of a drowned twin.

  6. Pitch Entry #45: Angela Goughnour
    Title: Where The Stones Speak
    Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

    When a female warrior on The Isle of Virgins discovers she has the gift of prophecy, she must undertake a perilous journey to find her sacred circle of stones and proclaim her prophetic truths to the multitudes before a corrupt Roman king and a vengeful demon can silence her, the ancient world’s last free sibyl.

  7. Pitch entry: # 22 Stina Lindenblatt
    Title: Lost in a Heartbeat
    Genre: YA romantic suspense

    When a terrifying secret puts her BFF’s life at risk, seventeen-year-old Calleigh has to live a lie to protect her.

  8. Pitch #9: Janice Foy
    Title: Salvation
    Genre: YA (Dystopian)

    While searching for her missing sister a trans-human teen encounters a ruthless city beneath the streets, and discovers that the freedom to choose sometimes means having no choice at all.

    Thanks for a great learning experience!

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  10. Pitch Entry: #20 Andrea Pelleschi
    Title: The Case of the Carousel Ghost
    Genre: MG mystery/paranormal

    A 14-year-old amateur ghost detective takes on a case at the local amusement park that involves murder, women’s rights, and the art of carousel carving.

  11. PITCH ENTRY #41 Shelliep
    Title: The Last Stationmaster
    Genre: YA/Historical Fiction

    A delinquent fifteen-year-old, spending the summer on his grandparents' farm, must unravel his family's ties to the Underground Railroad then use the secret to help a falsely accused terrorist deliver military intelligent and stop a national disaster.

  12. Pitch #16
    Title: Library Jumpers
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

    After a tenacious girl is accidentally drawn into a portal book that links the great libraries of the world, she struggles against supernatural forces to realize her destiny to stop an apocalyptic being.

  13. Pitch Entry #1: Jessica
    Title: TAG-19
    Genre: YA thriller

    While a kidnapped foster-care teen trains in espionage and struggles to discover her true background, an assassin plots to kill her…for the second time.

  14. Pitch #12 Dawn Malone
    Title: The Upside of Down
    Genre: Contemporary MG
    Fourteen-year-old Hobo Crane risks losing his friendships, his parents’ trust, and a spot on the basketball team when he decides to help the runaway he finds living in a spruce tree on an empty lot in downtown Darlington.

  15. Pitch #32: Lindsey
    Title: requiem
    Genre: YA Contemporary

    When his seemingly perfect older brother chases a handful of Tylenol with a bottle of vodka, Ben must decide what’s more important: stepping out from beneath his brother’s shadow or learning how to cast his own.

  16. Pitch Entry #23: Rak M Nay & Sangay Glass
    Title: Arcanom: The Forgetful Future
    Genre: Y/A Fantasy Novel and Manga Series

    The future will never be the same when Allix and her magic academy friends unite to change a classmate’s destiny and avoid a deadly conflict between sorcerers and the newly enlightened people of Earth.


    Just in case it got lost back there... thanks guys for all your helpful comments and suggestions.

  17. Pitch entry #24: Carol Riggs
    Title: SHAPERS
    Genre: YA light science fiction

    Morgan Dey's job as a Shaper involves helping other teens lose weight by temporarily inhabiting their bodies, but when she is assigned to a client who is 100 pounds hefty, she must overcome a barrage of obstacles--some internal, some external, and some deadly sinister.

  18. Pitch Entry #5: Melissa Gill
    Title: Zombie Rabbit
    Genre: MG/Adventure

    Watership Down meets Zombieland when a zombie rabbit leads a quest to liberate an animal testing lab, before he and his friends “fall apart” completely.

    FYI: I made the recommended changes to my query synopsis as well.

  19. Pitch Entry: #47 Bekah
    Title: Parallel Earth
    Genre: MG/ Adventure

    A brother and sister are transported to a parallel dimension and are hunted by aliens who need human bone cells to survive.

  20. Pitch Entry #26 Jamie Manning
    Title: EVER
    Genre: YA Paranormal

    Waking up in a coffin hungry for blood is only the beginning for sixteen-year-old Everly Blue. Things are about to get a lot worse.

  21. The help I received was invaluable! Thank you for organizing the workshop.

    ENTRY #14: Suzie Musin
    TITLE: Time Will Tell
    GENRE: Young Adult

    A teenage girl caught in a time traveling conspiracy must conceal from her new classmate that she already knows his older self.

  22. Pitch Entry #18: June Goodwin
    Title: Paying for the Sins of My Father
    Genre: Young Adult

    A father's crime places his daughter in conflict with avengers of the worst kind: immortal, determined and deadly.

  23. Pitch Entry #44: Elan Cross
    Title: Grounders
    Genre: YA science fiction

    Drift becomes a champion in a game played in space, but when she is assigned a series of tasks each more bloody and terrifying than the last, she tries to get out, only to learn that leaving the game is not an option.

  24. Pitch Entry#15: Shelley Watters
    Title: BLUE LOTUS
    Gentre: YA Paranormal Romance

    When Anna meets a boy she’s been dreaming about while excavating a tomb in Egypt, she discovers that their lives have been entwined in a millennia-long war between Anubis and Osiris, and that they must locate Osiris’ tomb before the death god is unleashed on Egypt, or their past is the only thing they’ll have together.

  25. Great job with your taglines, you guys. :)

    Pitch 17: Jess Tudor
    MERCY, YA magical realism

    A girl who can rewind time struggles to define herself after the loss of her twin sister. What good is magic if it can’t bring back the dead?

  26. This is awesome! You guys have put together an amazing panel. Sorry I missed it. :-)

  27. Pitch Entry #19: Jared Larson

    Title: I'm Here to Save Your Day: The Adventures of Bo Wolf

    Genre: MG Adventure/Fantasy

    A brazen boy faces a playground bully to reclaim the school jungle gym, only to discover the bully's mom– the lunch lady— is covertly a witch, and a far worse enemy, when he struggles to stop her diabolical plan to poison the school with her irresistible ginger snaps.

  28. Pitch Entry #42: Michelle
    Title: Fried Liver
    Genre: MG Contemporary

    Mike's mom goes AWOL, and if the eighth grade air force brat wants help fixing his fractured family, he has to share his dog, his dad and his house with the girl he hates.

  29. Pitch Entry #46: Traci Van Wagoner
    Title: Searching
    Genre: MG Fantasy Adventure

    Found in an old Indian granary, a magic stick drags twelve-year-old Chris into an age-old quest to save a Thunderbird spirit trapped within the coal mine; but the mine owner has other, more greedy, ideas for the buried Thunderbird and The Stick.

  30. Pitch Entry #8: Sarah N. Fisk
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

    When demons kidnap every adult Mage - including her mother - teen Fire Mage Miranda must confront a seductive ancient knowledge and partner with a young Holy Knight on a cross-country rescue mission.

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  32. Pitch Entry #39 Carrie Dair
    Title: Control Line
    Genre: YA Contemporary

    When fire threatens a young girl's dreams, she must find the will to fight before it can succeed in stealing the rest of her life--and the boy who is trying to save it.

  33. Pitch Entry #21
    Title: Maddie and Mook & The Message in The Bottle
    Genre: Middle Grade

    While treasure hunting on the beach, Maddie and her puppy Mook find a mysterious old bottle with a message inside that leads them on an adventure to the tropical islands of the Caribbean to find the boy wrote the message.

    Thank you everyone for the constructive comments. Its been fun and enlightening.

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  35. Pitch entry #4, Monica B.W.
    Title: Out of My Body
    Genre: YA paranormal

    You’d think out-of-body experiences are fun, but they are definitely not for sixteen-year-old Tanya who needs to master them to outsmart a sly killer and rescue her mom’s kidnapped soul.

  36. Pitch Entry # 7
    Title: Half-Blood
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

    Crushing on her forbidden Instructor becomes a much needed distraction when seventeen-year-old Alexandria discovers her mother has become the very thing she is training to kill.

  37. Pitch Entry: #28, A. J. Spindle
    Title: Bennett Nelson and the Maker of the Stones
    Genre: MG Heroic Fantasy

    Only one man can make the magical stones that repel dark creatures and keep the island safe, and when that man goes missing, twelve-year-old Bennett Nelson sets out to find him.

  38. I posted my logline earlier today, but wanted to ask a question. Do we now critique at least 5 loglines, as we did with the pitches? I wasn't sure about the procedure for that.

    Also, I wanted to say thank you for running this contest. And thank you to everyone who critiqued my pitch - your suggestions were very helpful!

  39. Pitch #10 Natalie Aguirre
    Title: The Third Tower
    Genre: Middle Grade

    When twelve-year-old Jasmine follows a talking doorknob into the land of Myrrdin, she must discover how her adoption unlocks her newly found magical powers or lose her best friend Austin forever.

    Thanks so much everyone for your help. I really appreciate it.

  40. Pitch Entry: #20 Jessica Pettit
    Title: Leeam and the World of Two Moons
    Genre: YA Fantasy

    Leeam Locke, a boy who has spent his entire life in a wheelchair, miraculously regains the ability to walk after being transported to a strange, parallel world--but with his first steps, he may be walking into disaster.

  41. Pitch #30: Jim Hill
    Title: The Case Against My Sister: Sixth Grade
    Genre: Middle-grade

    The clock is ticking on sixth-grader Marhsall who must face the bully, survive gym and outwit his evil sister to get to his favorite class with his skin, his pride and his clarinet intact.

  42. Pitch #3: Phoebe North
    Title: Seas Run Dry
    Genre: YA Paranormal

    Seventeen-year-old merman Loril must choose between saving his dying pod and learning to live on land with Irene, the human girl he's only recently come to love, in this dark romance set at the Jersey shore.

  43. Pitch #38: Jessica Love
    Title: Giving In
    Genre: YA Contemporary

    Kicked off dance team, Chelsea Park is forced to join the theater where she must decide what really matters: keeping secrets to stay popular or letting her inner dork take the spotlight.

    (Thanks everyone for your help, thanks to all the mentor authors, and thanks Martina and Marissa for putting this together! You are all awesome!)

  44. Pitch #37
    Title:Tattered Sky
    Genre: YA Science Fiction

    In a world being slowly destroyed by a time travel paradox, Avilon learns that her little sister may be the key to saving humanity -- but she only learns this after her sister has been captured by a group of tyrants, who'd prefer that civilization stays ruined.

  45. Thanks all for the feedback. Such a great learning experience. Here's a stab at a logline.

    Pitch entry # 31
    Title: MEGALAND
    Genre: YA/Upper middle grade – contemporary

    When fourteen-year-old Inky Kahn’s drawings of his secret muse are used by a creepy game developer to lure her to danger, Inky and his cyber-geek friend hatch a scheme to help bust the predator before he can put his hands on their friend.

  46. Pitch Entry #: 33

    Title: TALENT'S BLOOD (Formerly SHARP'S BLOOD)

    Genre: YA Dystopian

    Log Line: Seventeen-year-old Justin Talent seeks revenge against a wannabe vampire who killed his sister--problem is, the fake immortal wants to drink his mutated blood to get high.

  47. Oh, and I updated my original pitch based on comments and feedback. :-)

  48. Pitch Entry #27
    Title: BORN TO DIE
    Genre: YA Dystopian

    When eighteen-year-old gladiator Axia finds out her genetical engineering is illegal, she sets out to find out what she really is; but the truth may not be so great when you just fell in love with your creator's son.

  49. Britt Leigh
    Jersey #43
    Title: Shot on the Wing
    Genre: YA Contemporary

    Calling foul is snarky 17-year-old Angela Bennett's business as a reporter; but as modern media reveal a varsity basketball recruiting scandal and its aftermath, Angela finds herself out of bounds with the team, the public, and worst of all, her crush, the JV star.

  50. Pitch Entry #36: Larissa
    Title: LURE
    Genre: YA

    Reading's really not fifteen-year-old Mitch's thing, but when everyone in his small town becomes so obsessed with a book that they're literally reading themselves to death, he must figure out what's going on before he loses everyone he loves.

  51. Pitch Entry #25
    Genre: YA Ghost story

    Tessa denies the first letter and rationalizes the second, but when the accidents begin, there's no ignoring the ghosts in the theatre next door.

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  53. Pitch entry #34: Bethany Morrow
    Title: The Last Life of Avrilis
    Genre: YA Dystopian

    There's already a chance that the world won't replay but when Avrilis saves the life of a boy meant to die, her unscripted behavior forces the two of them to run - not knowing whether the hunters or the end of the age will catch up to them first.

  54. Pitch Entry #48
    Name: Charlie Eve
    Genre: MG Fantasy/Humor/Adventure

    Mason's cast of misfit characters came to life, Princess was kidnapped, and now Mason, Hero and Villain must rescue her, but this is no fairytale.

  55. Pitch Entry #13: Vincent Kale
    Title: Blackwatch: Order and Chaos
    Genre: YA/Sci-Fi

    The creatures of Chaos have been freed from their prison to wreak havoc on our world, if they can get past 15-year-old Lamarr Jeffers and his time-controlling watch; too bad he’s the one that let them escape in the first place.

  56. Pitch Entry #49, Valerie Norris
    Title: Shattered Glass
    Genre: YA Coming-of-age novel

    Seventeen-year-old Emily’s summer nanny job exposes her to cheating, arguments, violent fights and alcohol abuse; back home, secrets threaten to tear her family apart.

  57. Pitch Entry # 50 Elizabeth Prats
    Title: Tainted
    Genre: YA Fantasy

    Evvie Nyx, an abomination within her world, wants a normal life—but when a dark mage murders her friend, she sets out for vengeance and instead finds herself in a dangerous political struggle that could end her life.

    (By the way, thank you all for being so helpful!!!)

  58. I'm not sure if I can still enter, but here's hoping. At any rate, I'm looking forward to the critiques and results!

    Name: Elizabeth Cornwell
    Title: Tides
    Genre: YA Fantasy

    One-liner: A marine-science student must betray his mentor to save the family of the selkie girl he loves.

    Mara is a selkie—a seal shapeshifter—and she’s lived on the Isles of Shoals her whole life, longing for adventure and excitement outside the confines of her small family. Noah comes to the Shoals for a marine science internship, hardly expecting to find an adventure on the tiny New Hampshire islands. But when the two meet, they are undeniably drawn to the mystery and magic of each other’s worlds. And when Mara discovers that Noah’s mentor is kidnapping selkie children, Noah must prove his own innocence, and they must work together to save her family.


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)