Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!



Tuesday, 21 January 2014  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Mentor: Brent Taylor

Mentee: Rachel Moser-Hardy


Category/Genre: MG Fantasy

Word Count: 88,000



Some books have a peculiar habit of causing trouble. When Lily finds a book only she can read, she must use it to stop her villainous father’s rise to power. However, a blackbird steals the book.


The forest untouched by daylight had many names. To some, it was the “Nightlands.” To others, it was the “Traveller’s Doom.” Some called it the “Tread-Not Woodlands,” and many, the “Dark Moon Forest.” But one child had the misfortune of calling it home.

Twigs and branches snapped beneath her feet as she scurried among the tall, decaying trees. She pulled her black shawl tighter around her shoulders as the familiar coldness of the forest settled into her bones like snow collecting in an open chimney, extinguishing the fire within.

She was late.

She had spent the evening shopping for bread and fruit in the village, under orders of her Masters, and had been instructed by none other than her Great Master to return precisely at midnight. However, the merchant of the bread shop had accused her of being a thief (apparently, she looked the sort), and after a dismally long argument, she had been shooed out of the shop with a rather uncomfortable dustpan. Now she was returning seventeen minutes late without the desired bread. Double trouble.

The child, a bit preoccupied by her current predicament and fears of what her punishments might entail, did not notice the little blackbird with snowdrop gray eyes following her every step. 

The blackbird fluttered from branch to branch, never letting the child slip out of his gaze. She was easy to follow, her icy blonde hair contrasting drastically with the blackness surrounding her. She hurried on and on through the dense trees, unknowingly leading the blackbird exactly to the place for which he had been searching.

Filed: Pitch Wars

  • Quinlan Lee says:

    I love the use of language in this excerpt and the pitch is intriguing. If you are interested in submitting to me, please email the full manuscript to submissions@adamsliterary.com and put my name in the subject line. I look forward to reading more of A LANGUAGE DARK AND LOVELY.

  • Sarah LaPolla says:

    I’m torn here. I like this premise a lot, but there are parts of the excerpt that read like a query, rather than the beginning of the story. (It is likely a prologue?) That said, I’d love to keep reading because I think this has potential. Can you please send the first 3 chapters to sarah@bradfordlit.com & put “Pitch Wars: [TITLE]” as the subject?

    Thank you!

  • This sounds fabulous–I’d love to see more! Please email the full manuscript as a word document with your query pasted into the first page to suzie@newleafliterary.com. Put REQUESTED MATERIAL in the subject line.

  • Stefanie Lieberman says:

    The excerpt is lovely and just the right amount of creepy. If you are interested in submitting to me, please send three chapters to submissions(at)janklow(dot)com. Please include my name in the subject line and indicate that this is a Pitch Wars submission in the body of your email.

  • John Cusick says:

    I *like* the voice here! Gothic and eerie. I’d love to read the full. Would you send it as a Word doc to JohnC [at] GreenhouseLiterary.com?

  • I’m really enjoying the voice and tone here. Can you send this as a word document or PDF to victoria.gsliterary@gmail.com, please? And it’d be super helpful if you could put “pitch wars” in the subject line! Thank you!

We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

Pitch Wars takes a stand. ANTI-BULLYING. Click here to review our policy

Pitch Wars 2021

Blog Archives

Blog Categories

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.