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PW #374: Young Adult Contemporary: LUCY COUNTING STARS

Thursday, 2 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: FINISHED

Mentor Name: Lindsey Frydman

Mentee Name: Kristy F. Gillespie


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 91,000


After teen artist suicides rock a small town, Lucy is sent to a sinister mental hospital where they believe creativity causes mental illness. She’s force-fed an experimental drug which “cures” her OCD but threatens to unmake everything she is.


The funeral home restroom smells like shit-covered roses. As much as I’d like to leave, I have to finish drawing a flock of birds on pieces of toilet paper. Then I’ll feel less shaky, more in control. At least I hope so.

After a moment, high heels click-clack across the linoleum floor. “Lucy, the service is about to start,” Heather Marshall says.

“I’ll be right out.” I flush the paper and watch the birds drown in discolored water. I count to lucky number seven, tuck the pen into the side compartment of my purse, and smooth my wrinkled dress before exiting the stall.

Heather leans against the sink, inspecting her sparkly nails. Before I can wash my hands, she flings her arms around me. “I’m so sorry.”

She’s the sixth person to say this, which is an unlucky number for me. Even numbers are too perfect—just like Heather. When she lets go, I’m surprised to see tears pooling in her brown eyes. Heather barely spoke to Janice and me, even though we’ve been classmates since kindergarten, and now she’s hugging me and crying. What the hell?

Unsure of how to respond, I say, “We should probably go.”

“Yeah, it smells horrid in here.” She slips her hand into mine and leads me out of the restroom. I’m so taken aback by her kindness, I forget to wash my hands. I hadn’t peed or anything; I only drew while hiding in the stall. But I did touch the restroom door, the stall door, and the toilet handle…


Filed: PW Entries

  • Annie Bomke says:

    Yes!!! I love the voice! I’d love it if you could send me the full manuscript to submissions@abliterary.com!

  • Roseanne Wells says:

    I’d love to read more! Please use the guidelines on jdlit.com to send 30pp (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

  • 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!

  • Lucy Cleland says:

    Wow, Kristy, this sounds dark and interesting– I love Lucy’s voice on the page and the striking imagery in the sample. I would be intrigued to see where you are going. If you’re game, I’d love to see the first 50 pages. You can send them as an email attachment to me at lucy@kwlit.com (subject line PitchWars + your name / title), and I’d love to see a synopsis and query letter as well. Thanks so much,


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