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PW #329: Young Adult Gothic: HOUSE OF SKIN AND ASH

Thursday, 2 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: 1 Week Delivery

Mentor Name: Cole Gibsen

Mentee Name: Cassandra Frances


Genre: Gothic

Word Count: 83,000 words


Sylvie and her sister Claire died a century ago. They get second chances at life in modern-day Melbourne after Claire finds a way to possess the bodies of teenage girls. In her new skin, Sylvie falls for larger-than-life Amy, but Claire will stop at nothing to live forever with her sister. When the original owner of Sylvie’s body wants it back Sylvie must decide who is the real monster. IMAGINARY GIRLS meets THE LOVELY BONES.


On the last night of our lives we fought the way sisters often do. Storms raged across dark continents hidden in bodices, thrashing against the brick walls constraining us.

We fought and acted out our passions on each other, safe in the knowledge forgiveness would always be ours. But the last night cracked open and we each slipped through the darkness alone. We ran away, down to the creek to a place prearranged with a lover but most importantly away from the other sister. And our bones became rocks in the ground grinding down. Our skin the bark on the trees peeling in shreds, and our eyes the blind blue of the sky above. We were the St. Aubert girls.

People used to point: “She’s the pretty one, but she’s the smart one. She’s a good girl, but this one has the devil inside her.”

But the truth was we could both be monsters.

Chapter 1

I don’t know how long it took me to realize I was dead.

I shouted at the Little Sisters, grabbed the sleeves of girls living at the convent, shook their shoulders and slapped their faces. I stood in the middle of their games and screamed. The children scattered and shrieked, but nobody knew I was there.

The worst part about being a ghost is the boredom.


Filed: PW Entries

  • Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    Love a good ghost story! I’d love to see the full. Please send to https://querymanager.com/query/KaitlynJohnson/Contests with synopsis and PitchWars in the referral page.

  • Jenny Bent says:

    Please email query and full ms (as an attachment) to info@thebentagency.com, PITCHWARS in subject line. Thanks!

  • Rena Rossner says:

    I’m intrigued! I’d love to see the first 100 pages. Please send them attached as a word document to: rena@thedeborahharrisagency.com

    – Rena

  • Hillary Jacobson says:

    Cassandra, the idea of this is so up my alley! I’d love to read more. Please send the full manuscript as a word document to hjacobson@icmpartners.com. Thank you!!

  • Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Cassandra,

    I would love to see this! Can you send the full to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com, with your query in the body of the email and #PitchWars and title in the subject line? Thanks so much!


  • Such a cool premise and what a great voice. I love the comps, though I would add that it also reminds me of We Were Liars and The Walls Around Us. I’d love to see more! Please send an email to query@nelsonagency.com with PITCH WARS UPLOAD in the subject line. We will reply with our upload instructions. Thank you!

  • Natascha Morris says:

    That excerpt! So amazing! Please query me and include the manuscript at QueryMe.online/1067/PitchWars2017. Thank you!

    Natascha Morris

  • Kiana Nguyen says:

    There are few things I love more than intense connections between girl/sister relationships. Please send your full manuscript to knguyen@maassagency.com attached as a Word document with the query on the first page of the doc. PitchWars Req + TITLE in subj. line, please. – Kiana

  • Christa Heschke says:

    I’ve been hungry for all things creepy and horror lately! I’d love to read on! Please send a query, first 50 pages and synopsis to chquery@mcintoshandotis.com and put the title and Pitch Wars request in the subject line.
    –Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  • Goldblatt Barry says:

    This sounds amazing, plus if Nova says read it, I must read it! Please send me your query plus the full manuscript as a Word doc. Barry at bgliterary dot com.

  • Naomi Davis says:

    Hi! I’m Naomi Davis with Inklings Literary Agency. Can I please see this full manuscript as a Word Doc, with the pitch and any relevant info you would like me to have in the body of the email? Thanks so much!

  • Cassandra, I love this concept! Please send the first 50 pages as a Word doc or PDF attachment to melissa@rpcontent.com. Please also include your query letter in the body of the email, and Pitch Wars in the subject line.

    I look forward to reading!


    Melissa Nasson
    Rubin Pfeffer Content

  • Hi Cassandra,

    I’m already so intrigued 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

  • Love the sound of this. Can you send me the first 50 pages as a word doc to kellyqueries at gmail? Or submit via querymanager.
    Looking forward!

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