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PW #333: Young Adult Speculative Thriller (LGBTQ): EARNEST INK

Thursday, 2 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Leigh Mar

Mentee Name: Alex Hall


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Speculative Thriller (LGBTQ)

Word Count: 72,000


17-year-old trans boy Hemingway is hawking magical tattoos for high prices when NYC’s East River Ripper abducts his best friend. With only days to save her Hemingway chases clues to the serial killer’s identity but begins to fear the magic they share might eventually corrupt him too.



I work without speaking because that’s the way I prefer it. The vibration of my machine, the softer buzz of the fluorescent lights overhead, the tap of my foot on the pedal – it’s the best music in the world.

When I hit a ticklish spot the girl I’m working on gasps, jolting in my chair.

“Don’t move,” I say. And then, with a salesman’s false cheer: “Almost done!”

The girl is sweating down the crook of her jaw. She’s got silver glitter paint on her eyelids and cheeks, a new fashion I can’t quite get behind. Under my lights the mix of perspiration and makeup looks like a blurry constellation of stars.

She wanted a bee inked onto her collarbone, one of those tiny honey bees you find on good tequila bottles. Easily done, and she met the cash requirement. She’s eager, nervous, and a little drunk off the cheap wine she swallowed out of a belt flask before sitting in my chair.

I can’t remember her name, but that’s fine. Customer relations is Eric’s job.

“Does it hurt?” The kid leaning over my glass counter, watching eagerly as I work, asks. “When the magic happens?”

The bee’s fat yellow thorax wriggles from side to side as it begins to wake, fighting the pressure of my needle, hungry for life.

“It looks like it hurts,” the kid says. I ignore him.

One minute more and—thanks to my peculiar magic—this bee will fly free.

Filed: PW Entries

  • Kira Watson says:

    Hi Alex,


    Please send your query with a FULL manuscript (attached as a Word Doc) to queries@emmasweeneyagency.com with PitchWars Request for Kira Watson + TITLE.

    Thank you!

    -Kira Watson
    Emma Sweeney Agency

  • Ooo what intriguing magic! Please send your query in the body of an email, along with the full manuscript and a synopsis (both attached). Please also include a link to this entry. You can send your materials to lauren@triadaus.com. I look forward to reading!


  • I love this opening. So vivid and the premise is so intriguing. Please kindly send the full manuscript to hilary@ktliterary.com with “PitchWars” in the subject so I may continue reading!!


  • Hi Alex,

    I would love to read more!

    Please send your query, 1-2 page synopsis, and first 100 pages (in an attached word doc.) to queries at azantianlitagency dot com with “PitchWars: TITLE by Name” in the subject line. Thanks!

    I look forward to reading on!

    Jennifer Azantian
    Azantian Literary Agency

  • Erica Bauman says:

    Hi Alex,

    You’ve said the magic word: tattoos! I’d love to see more. Please send a query and the full manuscript to ebauman@aevitascreative.com and put “Pitch Wars” in the subject line.



  • Rena Rossner says:

    I would absolutely love to read this! Please send the full manuscript attached as a word document to: rena@thedeborahharrisagency.com

    – Rena

  • What a cool premise and a great excerpt – the voice is compelling and intense and I love the comps. I’d love to read the full.I know I’m not the only agent here at Nelson Literary Agency who is excited to read this one! Please send just one email to query@nelsonagency.com with PITCH WARS UPLOAD in the subject line. We will reply with our upload instructions, and then all the interested NLA agents will read and consider your manuscript. Thank you!

  • Danielle Burby says:

    Tattoos? LGBTQ? An awesome voice? I am so in! Please send me the full manuscript! I know I’m not the only agent here at Nelson Literary Agency who is excited to read this one so please send just one email to query@nelsonagency.com with PITCH WARS UPLOAD in the subject line. We will reply with our upload instructions, and then all the interested NLA agents will read and consider your manuscript. Thank you!

  • Tracey Adams says:

    Dear Alex, I’d love to read the full! Please email to tracey@adamsliterary.com with your query letter and “Pitch Wars – YA” in the subject line. Thank you!

  • Roseanne Wells says:

    I’d love to read more! Please use the guidelines on jdlit.com to send 100pp (instead of the normal 20), and include #Pitchwars in the subject line. I can’t wait to dive in!

    Roseanne Wells
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

  • OMG. This premise is fantastic. MUST HAVE!!!

    Please send the full manuscript to Lynnette@theseymouragency.com, attached as a Word document with the query as the first page. Put “Pitch Wars” and your title in the subject line. Please also include a brief synopsis as a separate document. Thanks! Can’t wait to read!

    Lynnette Novak
    The Seymour Agency

  • Christa Heschke says:

    This sounds great and the opening was so intriguing! Please send a query, first 50 pages and synopsis to chquery@mcintoshandotis.com. Look forward to reading!
    -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  • Alex, I love this concept and your opening! 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

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