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Pitch Wars Showcase

Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2020 and continuing through 2021. The Showcase site will undergo scheduled maintenance on February 11 and February 12 from 3 – 4 a.m. ET. Please do not make any requests at that time.
PW2020 MG #06: SELAH’S GUIDE TO NORMAL (Verse #OwnVoices)
Mentee:
Meg Kuyatt
Mentored by:
Eric Bell
Book Title:
SELAH'S GUIDE TO NORMAL
Category:
Middle Grade
Genre:
Verse #OwnVoices
Word Count:
22,000

Pitch:

Selah has autism and sensory hypersensitivity, but she's always followed her “rules for being normal”: keep feelings inside, don’t be weird. When she hits a classmate who repeatedly invades her personal space, Selah must re-evaluate her rules and advocate for herself through poetry, or risk expulsion from the school she loves.

 

Excerpt:

The first time

I broke down
in front of anyone
was in the middle of the evil place:
Walmart.

All the people
and noise
pricked inside my head
like a hundred shirt tags.

It was a Saturday
and the aisles were crowded,
people yelled,
the overhead music crackled,
some smell like sour milk spilled
through the air and turned my stomach,
and Mom wanted me to decide
on a new pair of jeans
from the millions of racks.

All of a sudden
the whole store—
screaming kids
and hot summer air
were folding in on me,
like too-tight hugs from strangers.

I ran,
locked myself
in one of the changing stalls.
Mom banged on the door
but I balled up
on the dirty tile floor
and cried
and hyperventilated
til my head stopped spinning
and my eyes dried
enough for me to see.

When I opened the door,
Mom pulled me out
of the store,
ditching our groceries
by a mannequin
in reds, whites and blues.

Once we got in the van
she locked the doors.
She let me cry.
She opened the glove compartment
and gave me a pack of cookies.
“I always keep some goodies aside
for a bad day,”
she said.

But when I calmed down,
Mom said,
“Selah Godfrey,
never ever cry
in the middle of a store.

Always hold it in
‘til you make it back to the car.”

That became
the first rule
for my list
on how to be
a Normal Person.

21 responses to “PW2020 MG #06: SELAH’S GUIDE TO NORMAL (Verse #OwnVoices)”

  1. Janine Le says:

    I’d love to see this one! To submit, please send query, synopsis, and full ms to submissions @ sheldonfogelmanagency.com [no spaces] with #PitchWars request in the subject line.

  2. Molly Ker Hawn says:

    I’d like to read this! Can you send it to hawnqueries [at] thebentagency.com, with PITCHWARS: SELAH’S GUIDE TO NORMAL in the subject line? And if you’re submitting to multiple Bent Agency agents (which is totally fine), please let me know, either when you send the ms. or in a follow-up email. Thanks so much!

  3. Rick Richter says:

    Hello Meg! I’m super excited by this project and would love to read more! Could you please send a full manuscript to rrichter@aevitascreative.com and cc my assistant at cmarsiglia@aevtiascreative.com. Please include ‘Pitch Wars’ somewhere in the title. Thank you!

  4. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d love to take a look at this. You can send the full to me at jmccarthy at Dystel dot com. Word attachments are preferable if possible. If more than one DGB agent requests, please feel free to choose one of us to go to first and just let us know who else asked. Thanks so much, and happy Pitch Wars!

  5. Rena Rossner says:

    Hi there!

    I’d love to read this! Please send the full manuscript attached as a word document to: rena (at) dhliterary (dot) com

    Excited to read!

    – Rena Rossner
    The Deborah Harris Agency

  6. Tamar Rydzinski says:

    Hi Meg,

    I would love to read your manuscript! Please send the whole thing to querytamar@contextlit.com, making sure to write “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line.

    Looking forward,
    Tamar

  7. Lauren Spieller says:

    Hi Meg,

    I’d love to read more. If you think we’d be a good fit, please send your query + full manuscript to Lauren@triadaus.com, and put “PW Request” in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you! ~Lauren

  8. Hannah VanVels says:

    Meg! This looks incredible! I absolutely love your writing. I’d love to take a look when you’re ready! Please submit your query, synopsis, and full manuscript at the link below. If more than one agent from Belcastro Agency likes your pitch, please submit to the one who you feel is the best fit.

    QueryManager.com/HannahVanVels/PitchWars

    Good luck!
    Hannah VanVels

  9. Carlisle Webber says:

    I would like to see this. Please send your query letter and the full manuscript to carlisle @ fuseliterary .com with the subject PitchWars Requested Material: TITLE.

    If you get a request from more than one agent at Fuse, please choose one of us to send your work to; we don’t compete with each other for manuscripts.

    Thank you! I look forward to reading your book.

  10. Amber Caraveo says:

    I find this extract really moving and engaging. I’d love to see the whole manuscript. Please send it as a Word doc or PDF to me, Amber, at submissions@skylark-literary.com and put “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line. I’d also like a synopsis if you have one. Please tell me a little about you in your covering email and if you’d like to know a little about me, and about Skylark Literary, then you can find out more here – http://www.skylark-literary.com/about-us. If by chance my colleague, Joanna, also requests this, please feel free to send it to both of us or to pick whoever you like the sound of best! 🙂 Thank you!

  11. Laurel Symonds says:

    Wow, this is so moving! I would love to read more! Please send the first 25 pages to symondsqueries@thebentagency.com and include “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. If more than one agent from The Bent Agency requests, you’re invited to send to all of us. Just let us know—thanks!

  12. Haley Casey says:

    Dear Meg,

    This description of your work immediately had me hooked. I would love to read more!

    Would you please send your full manuscript, a synopsis of the project, and a short bio about what you do and any of your previous publications to Haley@CMALit.com? Each should be a separate attachment in Microsoft Word or PDF format. To ensure your email doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, please include “Pitch Wars” in your subject line.

    The two other agents at Creative Media Agency, Paige Wheeler and Shannon Snow, are participating in Pitch Wars with me. Should one of them also request your manuscript, we would appreciate it if you would choose the agent you’d most prefer to work with and only send them the requested materials. Should they pass on the project for any reason, and you find yourself still seeking an agent, then you are of course free to resubmit to another member of CMA.

    Thank you for taking the time to send me more of what you’ve written!

    Sincerely,
    Haley Casey

  13. Abigail Samoun says:

    As a mom of an autistic kid with lots of sensory challenges, I’m really intrigued to see this. Please send the entire manuscript as a Word attachment to abigail@redfoxliterary.com.

  14. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    This sounds absolutely breathtaking. I would loooove to read this! If you find us a fit, please send your query, synopsis, and full manuscript to QueryManager.com/KaitlynJohnson/Contests

    Best,
    Kaitlyn Johnson
    Belcastro Literary Agency

  15. Peter Knapp says:

    This sounds great! I’d love to read more. Please send a query in the body of the email to queries@parkfine.com with the “Pete Knapp – Pitch Wars: [TITLE OF YOUR BOOK]” in the subject line. Please attach as a Word document the manuscript, and include a short synopsis (either in the beginning of the same document as the manuscript or as a separate attachment). Thank you, and I’m looking forward to considering. Warmly, Pete

  16. Rebecca Eskildsen says:

    Hi! I would love to see this story in my inbox. If you would like to submit your manuscript to me, please send a query letter and the first 50 pages to reskildsen@writershouse.com. Please include “Pitch Wars” and your title in the subject line, and please only submit to one agent at Writers House at a time. Thank you!

  17. Andrea Somberg says:

    I enjoyed these opening pages and would love to take a look at the full manuscript! Please feel free to send it along as a word document to andrea@harveyklinger.com. Include the query letter in the email, and put “Pitch Wars Requested Manuscript” within the subject line. And if multiple agents at Harvey Klinger have requested, please feel free to send along to all of us but just let us know who else is considering. Thanks! – Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger Inc.

  18. Rebecca Sherman says:

    Hi Meg,

    I would love to take a look at Selah’s Guide to Normal. (I am a big fan of novels in verse, and the poem you chose for the excerpt is wonderful). Please email me with your query, synopsis (optional), and full manuscript at rebeccasubmissions@writershouse.com. Please put Pitch Wars Requested- [Title] as your subject line. If you receive requests from more than one Writers House agent, you must chose one agent to receive your material.

    All my best,
    Rebecca

  19. Wendi Gu says:

    Hi Meg,

    It’s nice to see you here. As we discussed, I’d love to see this edited manuscript in full! Please send a query letter with the manuscript attached as a Word Document to wgu@sjga.com.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    All my best,
    Wendi

  20. Roseanne Wells says:

    Hi Meg,

    I loved this entry! It has humor and heart, and the verse adds so much to Selah’s voice. I’d love to take a look. Please send the full manuscript and a synopsis as doc or docx attachments to queryroseanne@gmail.com with Query: #Pitchwars and the title in the subject line. I’m so excited to read this!

    All the best,

    Roseanne

  21. Christa Heschke says:

    I’d love to take a look at this! Your verse is stunning. Please send the full manuscript to chquery@mcintoshandotis.com with Pitch Wars request and the title of the manuscript in the subject line. –Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis