PW #242: YA Contemporary: HOUSE OF MURALS

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Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Tabitha Martin
Mentee Name: Molly Cluff
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 80,000


In the woodlands surrounding the Hargrave art school, a stranger known only as Druid decorates trees with ribbons, vanishing when a job is complete. When Druid sends a message to Cimber from her dead brother, Cimber sets out to find Druid, desperate to get the answers she needs to recover from her loss.


“And deeper, than did ever plummet sound, I’ll drown my book.” Prospero delivered his line with crisp, practiced diction.

“Light cue 98, go,” I muttered into my headset. In response, the lights deepened to an interplanetary purple, star-like points dotting the scrim.

The actors playing Alonso, Sebastian, and Ariel filed out onto the stage. With backstage mostly empty now, I saw that Jackson wasn’t there. And he hadn’t moved his chess set onstage.

Probably sleeping in the dressing room again, the lazy cuss. He needed to go on soon.

I buzzed out a breath, then scooted the table with the chess set myself, careful not to disturb any of the pieces. I understood that gluing the pieces to the board would have been a horrendous sin, but moving the table when the pieces weren’t secured was like trying to make a house of cards on a raft at sea.

Jackson rushed in from the hall, throwing on his velvet costume jacket. Noticing me hefting his set piece, he stepped in to lift from the other side. “Sorry, it won’t happen again,” he said.

Well, yeah, I thought, giving a humored eye-roll, happy closing night.

“Thanks, Cymbeline.”

I grinned, noticing that this was the first time an actor had actually directed my nickname to me. Between marking tardies and shushing everyone backstage, being Stage Manager usually just made me an eighteen-year-old killjoy.

I loved it.


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. As a former high school theatre kid, I’m really enjoying the cranky stage manager narrator here! I would love to see more of this. Please send a query and the first 100 pages as a Word doc attachment to, and make sure to put “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line of the email. Thanks – I’m looking forward to reading on!

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  2. I’d love to read more of this! Please send the first 50 pages attached as a word document to:



    Rena Rossner

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  3. Hi, Molly- I’d love to read more of this! Your opening scene really sets the stage (bad pun intended). Please send the first 50 pages to as a Word doc, and be sure to put Pitch Wars in the subject line. Thanks!

    Melissa Nasson, Esq.
    Associate Agent
    Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC

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  4. I’d love to take a look! 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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