PW #229: Middle Grade Fantasy, illuminated MS w/excerpts from scientific field journal: IN THE NARROWS

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: J.C. Davis, Addie Thorley
Mentee Name: Laura Lashley
Category: Middle Grade (upper)
Genre: Fantasy, illuminated manuscript with excerpts from scientific field journal
Word Count: 66,000


Tween scientist Riley has been classified and labeled: she has autism spectrum disorder, and that’s all the world sees. But when a botched interview for science camp lands Riley and her family in Pangaea, an alternate Earth where science is magic, Riley discovers her quirks are strengths. Now, Riley must use her out-of-the-box reasoning to save her family from an evil Scientist and his dangerous experiments before he destroys Earth and the magical world that’s taught her to love her differences.


Don’t panic—Rule #13 in Smart Things Other People Said. Short, to the point, and universally true. That’s why Riley added it to her list of non-original wisdom. Panic is never a useful emotion. It clouds your judgment and makes it at least 50% more likely you’ll pee your pants.

Riley stopped pacing and consulted her Pre-Interview Readiness Agenda for the hundredth time since they’d descended into the dingy, deserted station. Strategically timed peeing made the list at five different points throughout the morning. If she followed the schedule and avoided unplanned beverages, her pants should be safe.

That is, if the train ever arrived. Riley stared down the dark subway tunnel, willing it to appear. Being late to the most important interview of her pre-teen life was not on the Agenda. She pinched her fingers together and flicked them open. Now!

The train did not magically appear, but a rat did.

“It’s Saturday morning at seven a.m.” Riley’s right hand began to flap. “This train has officially violated the schedule! Where is it?”

Quinn adjusted her book bag and side-eyed her. “Maybe it’s still asleep. You know, like normal people who weren’t wrenched from their beds for moral support by cruel older sisters.” She shot Riley a look that, somehow, didn’t feel like moral support.



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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  1. I love this voice! Please send the full manuscript (as well as a synopsis if you have one) to 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. I’d love to take a look at this full manuscript! Please send the query pasted in the email and the manuscript attached in word to rena (at) thedeborahharrisagency (dot) com


    – Rena Rossner
    The Deborah Harris Agency

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

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  4. Really intrigued by this! I’d love to see the full manuscript. Please send it along to, along with the query letter and synopsis, and include “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. Thanks!

    Caitlin McDonald
    Donald Maass Literary Agency

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  5. 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.


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  6. Hi Laura! I’d love see what you’ve done here. 🙂 Please email your full manuscript as a Word attachment to, along with your query and a synopsis (if available) with “Pitch Wars: IN THE NARROWS” in the subject of your email. Thanks!

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  7. I’d like to see where this goes! Please send the first 50 pages as a Word doc or PDF to, 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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  8. 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, and make sure to put “Pitch Wars Request” and the title in the subject line.

    Looking forward to reading!

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  9. What a great opening! Please send the complete manuscript and query to me at:; include PITCH WARS in the subject. Can’t wait to read!

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  10. I’d love to see the rest of this! Please send the full manuscript and a query via email to strothmanagency (at ) gmail (. ) com as an attached word document (.doc) with REQUESTED PITCH WARS in the subject line.

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