PW #242: YA Contemporary: HOUSE OF MURALS

Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Tabitha Martin
Mentee Name: Molly Cluff
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 80,000


In the woodlands surrounding the Hargrave art school, a stranger known only as Druid decorates trees with ribbons, vanishing when a job is complete. When Druid sends a message to Cimber from her dead brother, Cimber sets out to find Druid, desperate to get the answers she needs to recover from her loss.


“And deeper, than did ever plummet sound, I’ll drown my book.” Prospero delivered his line with crisp, practiced diction.

“Light cue 98, go,” I muttered into my headset. In response, the lights deepened to an interplanetary purple, star-like points dotting the scrim.

The actors playing Alonso, Sebastian, and Ariel filed out onto the stage. With backstage mostly empty now, I saw that Jackson wasn’t there. And he hadn’t moved his chess set onstage.

Probably sleeping in the dressing room again, the lazy cuss. He needed to go on soon.

I buzzed out a breath, then scooted the table with the chess set myself, careful not to disturb any of the pieces. I understood that gluing the pieces to the board would have been a horrendous sin, but moving the table when the pieces weren’t secured was like trying to make a house of cards on a raft at sea.

Jackson rushed in from the hall, throwing on his velvet costume jacket. Noticing me hefting his set piece, he stepped in to lift from the other side. “Sorry, it won’t happen again,” he said.

Well, yeah, I thought, giving a humored eye-roll, happy closing night.

“Thanks, Cymbeline.”

I grinned, noticing that this was the first time an actor had actually directed my nickname to me. Between marking tardies and shushing everyone backstage, being Stage Manager usually just made me an eighteen-year-old killjoy.

I loved it.


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