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PW #123: MG Contemporary: BRIGHTLY

Monday, 2 November 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Pitchwars Badge (Square MG)

Manuscript status: Finished

Mentor Name: Brooks Benjamin
Mentee Name: Caroline Thompson
Category: MG
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 36,000


Thirteen-year-old Sam lives for swimming. Or she did, until she nearly drowned in a car crash. When Sam is paired with Echo, a therapy dolphin, they quickly form a bond. But t​he more time they spend together, the more Sam worries she’ll never overcome her fear of water and swim again.


I tug the dark purple fleece over my head, ducking into the back seat of the car. Although the Subaru is a few years old, the leather seat still squeaks against my jeans in protests. Dad is driving today, so I sit behind Papa on the passenger side where I will have more legroom.

“Ready to go?” Dad asks as he climbs behind the wheel.

“Yep!” Papa and I call in unison.

I buckle myself in as the car backs out of the driveway, eager to get up the mountain. Today is the first day of spring break, and I have been looking forward to this trip for weeks now.

The last few days at Mustang Middle School, where I attended seventh grade, were brutal. Unable to concentrate, I know I didn’t ace all the midterms I took, but at least I didn’t bomb any. Papa and Dad promised that as long as I keep up my grades, they’ll let me join the swim team at high school in two years.

“Think you’ll remember any tricks you taught yourself last time we hit the slopes?” Papa tries to sound optimistic, but I groan in response. Secretly, I do wonder if my body will remember anything I learned snowboarding over winter break, or if I’ll spend the majority of my time face planting in the powder. Not falling every five seconds was probably the most noteworthy “trick” I’d picked up.


Filed: Pitch Wars

  • Brent Taylor says:

    As a kid I loved both swimming and dolphins. I’m also surprised by how quickly I’m able to sympathize with this protagonist, and I’m interested in these family dynamics. I’d love to read! Please send the full manuscript as a Microsoft word doc, along with your query letter (pasted in the body of the message), to brent (at) triadaus.com. Put “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line.

  • Carrie Pestritto says:

    You had me at therapy dolphin. I love the interesting relationships and complexities I already sense at play. Please send the first 100 pages as a Word doc attachment to carrie@prospectagency.com, with the subject line “Pitch Wars Request.” Thank you and I look forward to reading more!

  • Caitie Flum says:

    You had me at swimming and dolphin! I would love to see the full manuscript, sent as a Word attachment, to querycaitie(at)lizadawson(dot)com, with the words “#PitchWars request” in the subject and your query pasted in the body of the email.

  • Claire Anderson-Wheeler says:

    Hi Caroline

    This looks great and I’d love to see more. Could you send me a detailed synopsis (500-700 words would be wonderful) together with the full MS as a Word doc to claire at rhaliterary dot com?

    Good luck!

  • Bridget Smith says:

    I swam competitively for 12 years – I’d love to take a look! Please send the full manuscript and a one-page synopsis as an attachment to query@dunhamlit.com with “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line and the query in the body.

  • Christa Heschke says:

    I love all things dolphins—so this sounds amazing to me! Please send the first 50 pages, query and synopsis to chquery[at]mcintoshandotis[dot]com and put “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line.


    Christa Heschke
    McIntosh & Otis, Inc.

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