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1. THE SAD STATE OF EMMALINE BLACK – Middle Grade Gothic Fantasy

Monday, 3 November 2014  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Assorted_Uzi_Water_Guns_lgMentor Name: Ben Brooks

Mentee Name: Erin Latimer


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Gothic fantasy

Word Count: 60,000


Found guilty during England’s witch-hunting frenzy, Emmaline Black is sent to St. Clements, London’s most prestigious witch correction facility. After she uncovers the awful truth about their “cure” for magic, patients begin to mysteriously vanish, and Emma, on the verge of revealing the facility’s secrets, might just disappear next.


Emmaline Black made people uncomfortable. To begin with, she had the nerve to be slightly odd looking. With ghostly white skin and long black hair, she managed to be both pale and dark at once. Worse still, strange things frequently happened to her. Things broke, or fell over when she was upset. Sometimes when she wasn’t even standing nearby.

People were already nervous enough. Lately it seemed the papers were always filled with wild rumours: a boy in Birmingham who’d squashed his mailman flat by just looking at him. A girl in Cambridge who’d turned her mother to stone. Even a couple of twins in Worcester who had brainwashed their parents into believing they were circus clowns.

Cries of “witchcraft” were growing louder, and anything too different was apt to set people’s nerves on edge. So it was ridiculous to imagine anyone would choose her.

Emmaline sat in the corner picking at a run in her striped stockings, attempting to ignore what was going on in front of her. It was a naming day, and there were visitors at the orphanarium. The woman was looking around the empty room, blue eyes wide with horror as she took in the peeling wallpaper and the cobwebs that hung from the corners like ghoulish party streamers. She pulled her fur stole closer about her shoulders and shivered, turning back to the children.

Filed: Pitch Wars

  • Hi Erin, I’d love to see the first 50 pages of this. Please send a query, a short full-plot synopsis, and the sample pages (as a .doc) to submissions(at)jaw-litagent(dot)com, mentioning PitchWars in your subject line. Thanks so much, Julia

  • Stefanie Lieberman says:

    This is charming! Please send the query, synopsis and first ten pages to submissions(at)janklow(dot)com. In the subject line of your email, please type: For Stefanie Lieberman – PITCH WARS REQUEST.

  • Hi Erin, I love the premise and world-building here! Please email me your query, first 50 pages, and a synopsis (if available) as Word documents to brooks(at)thebentagency(dot)com, with the subject line “PitchWars Request: THE SAD STATE OF EMMALINE BLACK.” If you have any questions, just put them in your email. Excited to see more! Cheers, Brooks

  • Laura Zats says:

    I’d love to see the first three chapters! Send in an attachment with a query in the body of an email to laura@redsofaliterary.com.

  • Thao Le says:

    Hi Erin,
    This sounds great! I’d love to see the first 50 pages. Could you please send them as word attachment to: thao(at)dijkstraagency(dot)com? Please also include a query letter, complete synopsis and a short bio in your email and have “PITCHWARS Request” in your subject line. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  • Lara Perkins says:

    Hi Erin,

    I’m intrigued! I’d love to see more. Please feel free to send a query and the full ms (as a word or pdf attachment) to lara@andreabrownlit.com and please write “Pitch Wars Request: The Sad State of Emmaline Black” in your subject line. Thanks!

  • Uwe Stender says:

    Hi Erin,
    Please send the complete manuscript as an MS Word attachment to uwe@triadaus.com
    Please also include the query and type “PITCHWARS Request” in your subject line. Looking forward to reading.
    All best,

  • Brianne Johnson says:

    Hi Erin,

    This looks fantastic! I love a witchy book. Will you send me the first 50 pages in a Word doc and put PITCH WARS somewhere in the subject line? Thanks so much, Brianne.

  • Peter Knapp says:

    Hi Erin,
    This sounds wonderful — and creepy in the best possible way. Please send a query letter and attach the first 100 pages to queries (at) parkliterary (dot) com. Please put “Peter Knapp: Pitch Wars Request” in the subject.
    Looking forward to reading!
    Pete Knapp
    The Park Literary Group

  • Laura Cummings says:

    Hi Erin,

    This sounds delightfully creepy! Could you please send your query letter, synopsis, and first 10 pages to querylaurie(at)fuseliterary(dot)com? I just love the world-building you’ve done, and I’d appreciate a chance to read more. Please make sure to include the subject “Pitch Wars: THE SAD STATE OF EMMALINE BLACK” so I remember to give this priority. And to clarify, I am Laurie McLean’s assistant and am requesting this on her behalf, so go ahead and address the materials to her.

    Thank you so much!
    Laura Cummings

  • Louise Fury says:

    I love the creepy tone! Please send the first three chapters as a .doc attachment, with your query as page one, to furyqueries@thebentagency.com. For the subject line, put PITCH WARS: YOUR TITLE. Thanks!

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