Literary agent Joan Paquette judged our last QueryTracker Blog contest on October 27, 2010. We had over 600 entries ranging from picture books to young adult novels. We will contact the winners and provide them with the proper submission email address. Ms. Paquette's winners are as follows:
October Children's Lit Contest Winners
Wow! I was amazed and overwhelmed by the most impressive turnout for this contest, and I had a terrific time making my way through the many submissions. But… how do you go about narrowing down 600 entries to a handful of winners? Not easily, that’s for sure!
The process I followed was to first read through the pitches and mark the ones that stood out to me. Then I went back to the top and read the opening sentences, and again noted those that caught my eye. Then I went back and checked to see which of the two overlapped. After that it was just a matter of reading, re-reading, pondering, mulling, sorting and, in the end, going with my gut.—Which, after all, is a lot of what it really comes down to in this very subjective business.
The selections that follow are those that most captivated me—a combination of hook, voice, writing style, and my particular interests. So without further ado, here are the winners of this Query Tracker contest:
WINNERS: Please send a query and the first 50 pages (QT will provide you with the address).
These pitches left me utterly intrigued, and the opening lines pulled me right into the story. Terrific stuff!
FORGET ME, by Monica Goulet
Pitch: When someone gives up their seat on a city bus for 17-year-old Addy, she thinks nothing of it - until the bus crashes on the way home and the person left standing is the only fatality.
Opener: If I learned anything in the hours after the accident happened, it was that the only difference between a stranger and an acquaintance is an introduction. It made me think about the little boy who'd been sitting behind me on the bus, kicking my seat, when it happened. It made me think about the teenaged girl I didn't recognize who'd been sitting across from me, listening to music on her headphones way too loud. I could hear the beat, but not the words, and found myself tapping my foot, trying to guess what song was playing. I didn't ask if any of them died - not right away anyway.
THE ALYSCRAI, by Deren Hansen
Pitch: In an alternate 1898, sixteen-year-old Alysseren navigates a land infested with steam-powered war machines to stop a rebellion when she learns the tochtin, lemur-like familiars, are preparing to use their human hosts as weapons.
Opener: The thought of being so wicked had been thrilling, almost intoxicating.
The reality was uncomfortable and dull.
It had been easy enough for Alysseren to slip under the pews at the end of the common service. Sister Alice had gone to the vestry to prepare for the High Service and Reverend Dodgson was busy attending to the high priest who'd come to dedicate the new church, so no one noticed she was missing.
That was fifteen minutes ago—fifteen minutes of trying to stay perfectly still curled up on the hard wooden floor—and they still hadn't started the anthem yet.
RUNNERS UP: Please send a query and your first chapter (QT will provide you with the address).
There were so many great projects to choose from! How could I stop at just two winners? The pitches and opening lines for these projects tugged me in as well, and made me curious to read more.
DEAD AGAIN, by Paige Cuccaro
FOOTBALLS AND TIARAS, by Amy Brashear
GHOST MACHINES: Specter Cell, by Graham Bradley
LOCK 19, by Sabrina Wolford
MY MOMMY'S A SPY, by Laura Aldir-Hernandez
PRINCESS SASSYLASS, by Nancy Kelly Allen
SEAN MCDONALD'S ELIXIR OF INFINITE WISDOM, by Bonny J. Anderson
SNAKES IN PARADISE, by Elizabeth Penney
WORLD WAR ME, by Kevin M. McGreer
Lastly, I want to add that there were some other projects which caught my eye as well. I will be sending out individual emails to these other folks with an invitation to send along their query to me.
I really enjoyed judging this contest and reading all of your work, and I wish every one of you all the very best up ahead.—There’s some amazing talent in this pool and I look forward to seeing many of you in print!
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A huge QT thanks to Ms. Paquette and congratulations to all the winners.
More on Ms. Paquette can be found on the Erin Murphy Literary Agency Website