PW #207: YA Contemporary w/LGBTQ Elements: LADY HAMLET

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Manuscript status: Finished

Mentor Name: Kes Trester & Jennifer Hawkins
Mentee Name: Michella Domenici
Category: YA
Genre: Contemporary w/LGBTQ elements
Word Count: 72,000


Alice Li will do anything to play Hamlet, even stage her own gender-swapped production. But her panic attacks threaten everything when her best friend bails, the location falls through, and she’s forced to cast both her ex-girlfriend and potential boyfriend—ay, there’s the rub!


Sometimes I think I’m going mad—like Hamlet.

I chip away my nail polish, forcing deep breaths. Around me, the theater fills with students, its own kind of orchestra. Their footsteps are drums. Backpacks hit the floor like the pulse of a trombone. Zippers squeak. Voices meld together in a crescendo. I’m home.

Ms. Blake clutches her trusty clipboard to her chest, hovering in front of me. Her large glasses cling to the tip of her nose.

“Alice, I think you signed the wrong list.” She taps the clipboard. “You’re auditioning for Ophelia, right? Not Hamlet.”

I shake my head. “No mistake.”

Ms. Blake studies the clipboard again. It’s like she thinks there’s an answer there, some clue as to whether or not I’m serious. She should know by now, I’m always serious. Dramatic and sparkly, but serious.

“You do know this is unconventional.”

Doesn’t mean it won’t be awesome.

“What’s unconventional?” A new voice pipes up. Parson stands in the aisle to my right, wearing a blinding bowtie.

I grin. “I’m auditioning for Hamlet.”

“That’s absurd,” Parson snaps. He almost looks… fearful? That’s so sweet, I never knew he was threatened by me. Maybe he’s smarter than I thought. “You can’t be Hamlet. You’re a… girl.”

Never mind.

“Parson,” Ms. Blake starts, a warning in her tone.

“Girls don’t play Hamlet.” He’s serious, earlier trace of alarm forgotten. I want to say something, but clutch my books tighter. Getting the part will shut him up. Then I can do a victory dance on his locker.


Author: Brenda Drake

New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2) available now, creator of #PitchWars, #PitchMadness, and #PitMad, fueled by coffee and Goldfish crackers (but not together), and represented by Peter Knapp with The Park Literary Group. @brendadrake

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  1. I’d like to see more! Please send a query + the full MS to leon@lperkinsagency (with Pitch Wars in the subject line), along with a one-sentence description of your book.

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  2. Oh, yes please, I’d love to take a look! Please send the full manuscript and a one-page synopsis as an attachment to with “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line and the query in the body.

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  3. As the proud owner of a Hamlet tattoo, I need to see this IMMEDIATELY. Please send a query and the full ms to I can’t wait to read it!

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  4. This sounds awesome! Please send the first 25 pages, query and synopsis to chquery[at]mcintoshandotis[dot]com and put “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line.


    Christa Heschke
    McIntosh & Otis, Inc.

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  5. I love this and definitely want to see more. Please send the query + synopsis + Full in one word doc to MFsubmissions [at] with “PitchWars Request – ” as the subject. I can’t wait to take a look!

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