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PW #234: Middle Grade Contemporary #OwnVoices: WHAT IF A FISH

Wednesday, 1 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished


Mentor Name: Jen Vincent

Mentee Name: Anika Fajardo


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary #OwnVoices

Word Count: 33,000 words


Eddie Aguado is convinced winning the Arne Hopkins Dock Fishing Tournament will bring him closer to his dad who died when Eddie was four. With his father’s fishing gear, help from his older half-brother, and his trusty encyclopedia, he’s up for the challenge. But when an ailing grandmother in Colombia takes him miles from home, Eddie finds himself far from ready—and even further from his father.


The water by the shore smells like the bottom of the garbage pail after I take out the trash. I scrunch up my nose. Clomping on the wooden boards, I head to one end of the T-shaped dock. A father with a small child points across the lake and a man in a dirty blue cap blasts country music from an old radio. I lean my elbows on the railing and pull a smooth metal disc out of my pocket, running my thumb over the engraved letters. I don’t have to look at the words to know what they say. Eduardo Aguado León. My father.

“What are you doing?” someone says so loudly I can’t pretend I didn’t hear.

I drop my father’s medal back into my pocket and stare. It’s the purple-haired girl from the get-to-know-you games at day camp this morning. She was hard to miss.

“Quiet,” I say. “You’ll scare the fish.”

“Oh, and that thing won’t?” She nods her chin toward the radio.

She has a point.

“What’s that?” she asks. She’s looking at the flyer stapled to the railing where my elbows rest. The 14th Annual Arne Hopkins Dock Fishing Tournament—the one I have just decided I’m going to win.



Filed: PW Entries

  • Brent Taylor says:

    I’d love to read this! Please send as a Microsoft Word document to brent(@)triadaus(.)com. So excited!

  • Hi Anika,
    I love your voice and this story and I cannot wait to read on! Please send a query, synopsis, and the full manuscript (Word documents will suffice) to ssulaiman@talcottnotch.net — and don’t forget to mention #PitchWars in your subject line. Thanks—looking forward to my read!
    Good luck,

  • Danielle Burby says:

    I’d love to take a look at this! Please email me at querydanielle@nelsonagency.com and include the first twenty pages of your manuscript in the body of the email along with a one-page query letter. In the subject line, write REQUESTED QUERY (PitchWars) and the title of your project. This will help ensure that your query isn’t accidentally deleted or caught in our spam filter. I look forward to reading!

  • Elana Roth Parker says:

    Hi! I’d love to read more! Please email me at eparker [at] ldlainc [dot] com:

    * Subject line: PitchWars Submission: YOUR BOOK TITLE
    * Your query letter in the body of the email
    * The full manuscript attached as a Word document


  • Katie Grimm says:

    Hi Anika – as a life-long angler myself, I was immediately intrigued by the concept, and I love this open evoking the sights (and smells) of the dock! Please email your query with full ms attached as a Word doc to dca@doncongdon.com with PitchWars Request + WHAT IF A FISH in the subject line. Thanks!

    Katie Grimm
    Don Congdon Associates

  • Hi Anika,

    I would love to read more! Please query me at channigan@hsgagency.com and attach the first 100 pages as a word document. Also please include “Pitch Wars” in your subject line.

    Thanks so much!

  • Hi Anika,

    I’d love to consider this! Please email your query to my assistant at claire@inkwellmanagement.com with the first fifty pages attached.



  • Hi Anika,

    I love what I’ve read so far and can’t wait to see the rest. Can you send the full manuscript and query to me? andrea@transatlanticagency.com Please put Pitch Wars request in the subject line to pull it to the top of my reading list!

    Thank you,

  • Thao Le says:

    This sounds lovely. I would love to see more! Will you please send a query letter, bio, and first 15 pages to thao@dijkstraagency.com? Please use “Pitch Wars Req – WHAT IF A FISH” in the subject line.

  • Pam Victorio says:

    I love this! Please send a ‘query’ through my Query Manager and I’ll request the full through the system. http://QueryMe.Online/QueryPam

  • Hi Anika,

    I’m already so captivated by the sample you’ve shared above! Please could you send the first 50 attached in a word document? I would really appreciate it if you would label your query REQUESTED: Pitch Wars and label the document with your last name and the title.

    Thank you so much! I can’t wait to dive in!


    Brianne Johnson
    Writers House

  • Christa Heschke says:

    I really like the premise and writing and would love to read on! Please send a query, first 100 pages and synopsis to chquery@mcintoshandotis.com. I look forward to reading!
    -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  • Kari says:

    Hi Anika,

    This sounds really great–I love the voice in the opening scene and would love to read more. Could you please send me the first 50 pages as an attachment and include the query in the body of the email along with: REQUESTED PitchWars in the subject line? kari@bradfordlit.com

    All the best,
    Bradford Literary Agency

  • Hi Anika!

    This sounds great. Please send your full manuscript as an attachment to querybb@sjga.com, with “Pitch Wars” in the subject. Excited to read more!

    Abigail Frank
    Assistant to Brenda Bowen
    Greenburger Associates

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