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Pitch Wars Showcase

Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022. Please note that our Agent Showcase ends at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, February 14, 2022. Agents will not be able to leave comments requesting material after that time.
PW2019 YA #06: THE LAWLESS (#OwnVoices Contemporary with Speculative Elements)
Briana Johnson
Mentored by:
Laurie Dennison
Book Title:
2019 Entries
#Ownvoices Contemporary with Speculative Elements
Word Count:


Dani wants to leave her past mistakes behind, but it seems impossible after another arrest. As 100 Chicago fugitives compete for immunity on an online game show, Dani must evade trigger-happy cops and merciless saboteurs for five days. Making it to the final ten means winning a clean slate. If she fails, Dani will lose not only her freedom but her parents’ too.




My best friend Alex doesn’t notice the camera at the end of the block. He steps off the curb, planning on jaywalking to avoid the long light.

I grab his arm. “Blue light.”

“Those cameras are useless.” Alex shoves past the people walking in the opposite direction. “My uncle got robbed over here the other day.”

“It’s robbin’ season. People gotta eat.” I bump into an older woman but don’t say sorry because people from Chicago don’t do two things—apologize or put ketchup on our hot dogs.

“Excuse you.” The lady acts like she’s better than me because she’s wearing Balenciaga shoes. Her stank face disappears when she gets a good look at me—a teenage girl in need of a shower and a hot meal. “Oh, my God. Harry, look at these kids.”

Harry keeps taking pictures of the graffiti-covered buildings and Christmas lights wrapped around the light poles with his fancy camera. “Are they on The Lawless?”

“Do we look like we’re on The Lawless?” Alex asks.

Harry finally faces us and checks out Alex through his camera lens. Dark brown skin like mine. Backward snapback with his freshest Jordan’s. Baggy sweatpants. Matching hoodie. “Um, yes?”

Alex rolls his eyes. “I ain’t no criminal.”

“Are you sure?” Harry asks.

Alex lunges forward, but I yank him back before he gives Harry a well-deserved beatdown. “Remember the camera.”

21 responses to “PW2019 YA #06: THE LAWLESS (#OwnVoices Contemporary with Speculative Elements)”

  1. Andrea Morrison says:

    Dear Briana,
    I hope this finds you well! I’d love to read THE LAWLESS. I’d you’re interested in sharing, could you send the full manuscript to amorrison@writershouse.com as a PDF file or MS Word document?
    I hope to hear from you!
    My best,

  2. Megan Manzano says:

    I absolutely need to see more. What a great concept! Please send your query, synopsis, and first 30 pages to the following: https://querymanager.com/query/MeganManzano/PitchWars

  3. Peter Knapp says:

    Hi Briana,

    Great to see your entry here – of course you know, I think this sounds fantastic! Can you please send the full manuscript to queries@parkfine.com attached as a Word document, along with a 1-3 (or so) page synopsis if available (in the same document as the MS or attached as a separate doc is fine)? Please include a query letter in the body of the email and put “PitchWars Submission – Pete Knapp” in the subject of the email. Thanks so much for the opportunity, and I look forward to reading!

    With warm regards,

    Pete Knapp
    Park & Fine Literary and Media

  4. Your pitch is intriguing, the opening well-crafted, and those comps piqued my curiosity. I’d love to read more. If you could please send your query, full manuscript and a complete, detailed synopsis to hilaryquery@ktliterary.com with “Pitchwars: Your Title” in the subject field. Can’t wait to dive in!

  5. Tara Gilbert says:

    This is such a good premise! Please use the link below to submit the full along with a synopsis and query letter.

    Thank you for considering me! If more than one Corvisiero agent shows interest, please choose one of us to submit to and let them know who else liked the pitch, so that we can share it with each other.


  6. Hi, Briana,

    OMG. This premise is amazing!!! I. MUST. READ. MORE. Can you send me the full and a synopsis (2-4 pages)? Please use Times New Roman, size 12, black, double-spaced text, 1” margins all around, and ½” paragraph indents. Paste your pitch in the body of the email and attach the manuscript and synopsis as two separate Word documents (docx). Sent to: lynnette (at) theseymouragency (dot) com and add “Pitch Wars Request” along with your title in the subject line. Thanks.

    If more than one agent from The Seymour Agency likes your entry, please send requested material to the agent you feel will be the best fit. #OneAgentAtATime

    Looking forward to reading more.



  7. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d love to have a look! Kindly send the manuscript to me at jmccarthy@dystel.com. Good luck, and have fun!


  8. Beth Phelan says:

    Compelling concept! I’d like to see more.

    please send the first 50 pages (word doc) to querybeth@galltzacker.com with your query letter in the body of the email and “pitch wars” in the subject line. looking forward to reading!

    <3 beth

  9. Erica Bauman says:

    Hi Briana,

    This sounds fantastic, and I’d love to read more! Could you please send a query and the full manuscript to ebauman@aevitascreative.com, and put “Pitch Wars” in the subject line?

    Looking forward!

    All best,

  10. Jennifer Unter says:

    Great opening – I’m intrigued & would love to read more! Please forward the first 50 pages to jen.nadol(at)theunteragency(dot)com with PW Request in the subject line. Thanks!

  11. John Cusick says:

    Hi, Briana! I’d love to see more of this. Could you please send a query and the first three chapters to john [@] foliolit.com? Looking forward to connecting!

  12. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Briana,

    I would love to see this! Can you send your query and first fifty pages to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com with #PitchWars in the subject line? Thanks so much!

    All best,

  13. Mollie Glick says:

    Hi Briana,

    This sounds great! Please send the full manuscript to mollie.glickasst@caa.com.

    Mollie Glick

  14. Jennifer Mattson says:

    Dear Briana,

    I live in Chicago, so couldn’t help but be drawn to THE LAWLESS, and I’m enjoying the excerpt’s voice. I’d be happy to take a closer look at the full manuscript. If you’d like to share it with me, please email by attachment to jmatt[at]andreabrownlit.com, and include the phrase “Pitch Wars Request” somewhere in the subject line.

    Note, if another colleague of mine from Andrea Brown Literary also requests this manuscript, please choose just one of us, but let us know who the other requester was, with thanks.

    Thanks for your participation and good luck with all!

    Jennifer Mattson, Agent
    Andrea Brown Literary Agency

  15. Alice Sutherland-Hawes says:

    Hi Briana

    This sounds awesome and I’d love to read it. Could you send three chapters and a synopsis to childrens@madeleinemilburn.com? Looking forward to it!


  16. Hi Briana,

    THE LAWLESS sounds so good! As an admittedly overly competitive person, anything with team dynamics and high stakes immediately gets me hooked. If you think we’d be a good fit (you can find more about me and my tastes here: https://www.jdlit.com/savannah-brooks and here: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/savannah-brooks/), head to http://queryme.online/1346 to submit more info and a 20-page sample. Be sure to put Pitch Wars 2020 in the referral section or as part of the title (ex: THE LAWLESS: Pitch Wars 2020).

    I’m looking forward to reading more!


  17. Alexandra Weiss says:

    Hi Briana! I’m so intrigued by your pitch and sample. I’d love to request the first 50 pages, which you can send to me at http://queryme.online/AlexandraWeiss/PitchWars2019.

    Thanks so much!
    Alexandra Weiss
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

  18. Laurel Symonds says:

    Hi! I’d love to see this. Please send a query and 25 pages to symondsqueries@thebentagency.com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. I’m looking forward to reading more!

  19. Chloe Seager says:

    Hi Briana – I would love to take a look at this. Please send the first three chapters and synopsis to childrens@madeleinemilburn.com.

    All my best,

  20. I’m so intrigued! Kind of sounds like a YA Running Man (Stephen King. Yes, I’m old.) I’d like to see more! Please send this pitch in the body of an email, synopsis and first fifty pages attached as a Word doc, with YA PITCHWARS and your title in the subject, to Jennifer@theseymouragency.com.

  21. Erin Harris says:

    Hi Briana,

    Thank you for participating in Pitch Wars! I LOVE the writing and the premise here. Please send the full manuscript to eharris@foliolit.com, along with your query letter (description of project + author bio) with “Pitch Wars” in the subject of your email.

    I look forward to reading and talking further!

    All best,

    Folio Literary Management |Harold Ober Associates |Folio Jr.
    630 9th Avenue, Suite 1101, New York, NY 10036
    212-400-1494 x350 | eharris@foliolit.com | FolioLit.com