PW #223: Middle Grade Contemporary: OPERATION: NORMAL

Manuscript Status: 6 Weeks Delivery

Mentors: Dee Romito and Jen Malone
Mentee: Elizabeth Dimit
Title: OPERATION: NORMAL
Category/Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Word Count: 33,000

Pitch:

When ten-year-old Avery Lawson learns she has ADHD, she launches Operation: Normal—a plan to prove she’s (mostly) like every other kid in class. Because if she can’t stop staring at her teacher’s furry eyebrows or resist her unrelenting need to doodle, she’ll never prove she’s more than a diagnosis. RAMONA QUIMBY meets FISH IN A TREE.

Excerpt:

Avery Lawson had nine hundred ninety-nine cats. Too bad none of them were real.

Her parents had told her she couldn’t get a live, breathing cat until it didn’t rain in their town of Mount Crescent, Oregon, for a year. Or when she became responsible. Whichever came first.

Avery scowled out the window at the soggy schoolyard, uncapped her blue marker, and prepared to draw her one-thousandth cat. The pleasant squeak of marker on her paper drowned out the annoying scritch-scratch of pencils as the other fifth-graders copied spelling words. Boring words like peaceful and business and vulture.

The squeaking filled her ears as she drew a fluffy tail right over the word cabbage. She added whiskers, but one got so long it wouldn’t fit on the paper. She stopped the marker at the edge of her worksheet. She shouldn’t draw on her desk. Only kindergartners did that.

But the whisker wanted—no, it demanded—to be longer. Clutching the marker, Avery stretched the line to the end of her desk.

Perfect.

“Avery, can you define this for us?” Mr. Silva’s voice poked its way into her ears.

Her head jerked up. What was he talking about?

Avery’s teacher tapped on the word policy, which loomed on the glowing screen. “Are you with us?” he asked.

She stared at her cat-covered paper.

It’d happened again. Avery’s rocket-speed brain had propelled her to Mars while the rest of her class stayed on Earth.

 

Author: Heather Cashman

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element Heather's imagination demands. Hypotheses turned into taglines and novels, so she's going back to college for a Creative Writing degree. Her novels range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction, she dabbles in picture books, and is currently seeking representation. ~Member SCBWI

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24 Comments

  1. This was fantastic! Avery reminds me of myself when I was in middle school 😉 Please send the full manuscript (as well as a synopsis if you have one) to lauren@triadaus.com with “Pitch Wars: [YOUR TITLE]” as the subject line. Please also include your query in the body of the email. I look forward to reading!

    -Lauren Spieller, TriadaUS

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  2. Hi Elizabeth,
    What a great opening! Please send a query, synopsis, and full manuscript (Word documents will suffice) to ssulaiman@talcottnotch.net — and don’t forget to mention #PitchWars in your subject line. Thanks—looking forward to my read!
    Good luck,
    –Saba

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  3. This is exactly what I have been hoping to find! Great voice. Please send the full manuscript as a word attachment to stacey@donaghyliterary.com, place “Pitch Wars”and the title in the subject line. Include your query in the body of the email. Looking forward to reading your story.

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  4. Wow, what great voice you have! (The better to read you with!) I’d love to keep reading. Please email your full manuscript as a Word attachment to brooks@thebentagency.com, along with your original query and a synopsis (if available) with “Pitch Wars: OPERATION NORMAL” in the subject of your email. Thanks, and I look forward to seeing more!

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  5. Sounds fantastic! Could you send me the official query in the body of the email, with the first 50 pages in an attached Word doc, and “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line to laura(at)triadaus(dot)come, please? Thanks!

    –Laura Crockett, TriadaUS Literary Agency

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  6. I’d love to have a look! Please send the full along for my review. A Word attachment is most preferable if possible. jmccarthy@dystel.com. Thanks!

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  7. Love the voice in this! I’d love to take a look at the full manuscript. Please send it as a word attachment to querycaitie (at) lizadawson (dot) com with your query in the email, with the PitchWars request in the subject.

    Caitie

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  8. I would love to see more of this. Please send the full manuscript as a Word doc or PDF to melissa@rpcontent.com, and be sure to include “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. Please also include your query in the body of the email.

    Thank you!

    Melissa Nasson
    Rubin Pfeffer Content

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  9. Hi! I’d love to take a closer look at your work. Please send your query letter in the body of an email and attach the full manuscript as a word or pdf doc. You can reach me at lgarrison (at) thegernertco (dot) com. Thank you!

    ~Logan Garrison Savits
    The Gernert Company

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  10. I would love to see more of this! Please send a query (in the body of the email) plus the full manuscript as a Word doc attachment to patricia@marsallyonliteraryagency.com, and make sure to put “Pitch Wars Request” and the title in the subject line.

    Looking forward to reading!

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  11. Now that is a pitch-perfect middle grade voice. Love to see the complete manuscript! Please send as a Word document with the title as the subject line to amy (at) aplusbworks (dot) com. Thanks!

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  12. Absolutely loved this! Please send the complete manuscript and query to me at: kidsqueries@thebentagency.com; include PITCH WARS in the subject. Can’t wait to read!

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  13. This opening is fantastic! I’d love to keep reading. Please send the full manuscript attached as a Word document to queries@parkliterary.com with “Pitch Wars – Pete Knapp” in the subject. Looking forward to reading! – Pete Knapp

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    • I’d love take a look at the full manuscript! Please feel free to send it along as a word document to andrea [at] harveyklinger.com with “PitchWars Requested Manuscript” in the subject line. Thanks! I’m looking forward to reading.
      best,
      Andrea Somberg
      Harvey Klinger Inc.

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  14. I’d love take a look at the full manuscript! Please feel free to send it along as a word document to andrea [at] harveyklinger.com with “PitchWars Requested Manuscript” in the subject line. Thanks! I’m looking forward to reading.
    best,
    Andrea Somberg
    Harvey Klinger Inc.

    Post a Reply
  15. Hi Elizabeth–A great opening with a strong voice. Please send the manuscript and a synopsis as Word doc attachments to queryroseanne@gmail.com with Pitch Wars and Query + title in the subject line. Can’t wait to read!

    Roseanne Wells
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

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