YA Contemporary: The Water Child


Genre: YA Contemporary

Word Count: 60,000

Special Question: MC would be Obi-Wan because he is the all-knowing guru and Tora can’t stand to be left in the dark, she wants answers.


35 Word Pitch: Fifteen-year-old Tora wants to forget her pearl-diving heritage, but when the 2011 Tsunami strikes Japan, wrenching her mother away, she’ll comb the waves – and graves – to bring her mother home again.


First 250:

Men in orange suits dash onto the train tracks to haul the remains of a body off the rails. They run single-file, practiced. I tighten my grip on the metal pole near the train door and my eyes blur over my iPhone screen. Everyone knows why we’re delayed, we simply don’t say it.


“We apologize for the inconvenient delay,” buzzes the train conductor.


Electronic doors slide open, releasing the disrupted passengers. I stifle a shiver as a gust of early spring air washes into the train car. Morbid curiosity claws at my throat. I gulp it down. Don’t look, don’t stare. I step forward, gazing at the platform outside, halfway concealed by a blue tarp. Police and railway employees crisscross the scene, assessing the ‘human accident’ on the tracks below.


“Tora,” Sakura calls. “This isn’t our stop.” Her eyes meet mine through a mirror in her makeup compact. She’s re-coating every single eyelash in thick black goo, legs crossed and sitting in the handicap zone.


I startle, recalled to our present journey and the plum blossoms waiting for us at Tenjin Shrine. The train doors whisk closed. I jump back and my phone clatters to the floor. The afternoon breeze also falls, cut short by the closing doors, and dissipates like a recoiling fog.


Sakura turns in her seat to face me, her questioning gaze drifting to the phone at my feet. Heat floods to my face. My mother warned me never to compare Tokyo with home, but I can’t reconcile this.


About the author: PitchSlam

17 comments to “YA Contemporary: The Water Child”

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  1. Patricia Nelson - September 21, 2016 at 11:26 am Reply

    I’d love to see the first 50 pages of this one! Please send them as a Word doc attachment to patricia[at]marsallyonliteraryagency[dot]com (along with your query letter in the body of the email), and make sure to include PitchSlam in the subject line. Thank you!

  2. Tricia Skinner - September 21, 2016 at 11:46 am Reply

    Battle Stations: Query and first 15 pages

  3. Anonymous - September 21, 2016 at 12:07 pm Reply

    It’s a trap!
    Please send the full manuscript, including a one-page synopsis and your bio, to query[at]dunhamlit[dot]com, with “Pitch Slam for Jennie Dunham” in the subject line and your query in the body of the message.

  4. Carrie Pestritto - September 21, 2016 at 1:20 pm Reply

    Somebody has to save our skins!

  5. Lauren Spieller - September 21, 2016 at 3:27 pm Reply

    Anger clouds your mind! Please send your query and first 50 pages to lauren@triadaus.com, and include “Query” and “PitchSlam” in the subject line. I look forward to reading!

  6. Hillary Jacobson - September 21, 2016 at 3:52 pm Reply

    It’s a trap! I love the sound of this!!

  7. Stefanie Lieberman - September 21, 2016 at 4:08 pm Reply

    Battle stations.

  8. Tracy Marchini - September 23, 2016 at 3:10 pm Reply

    The Force is strong with this one

  9. Laura Zats - September 26, 2016 at 2:38 pm Reply

    It’s a trap! Please send the requested pages to laura [at] redsofaliterary [dot] com!

  10. Jennifer Wills - September 26, 2016 at 3:33 pm Reply

    The Force is strong with this one.

  11. Beth Han (Solo) Phelan - September 26, 2016 at 7:13 pm Reply

    Anger clouds your mind!

    Please send your materials to phelanqueries[@]thebentagency[.]com with “Pitchslam Request” in the subject line and everything pasted into the email. Just ignore the closed-to-queries auto-response, since this is solicited. 🙂

  12. Linda Camacho - September 26, 2016 at 9:23 pm Reply

    You have the reflexes of a Jedi!

  13. Rena Rossner - September 27, 2016 at 7:06 am Reply

    Anger clouds your mind: Query and first 50 pages attached as a word doc
    To: rena (at) thedeborahharrisagency (dot) com
    – Rena

  14. Kurestin Armada - September 27, 2016 at 3:51 pm Reply

    Anger clouds your mind.

  15. Kirsten Carleton - September 27, 2016 at 4:38 pm Reply

    You have the reflexes of a jedi! Please send to kirsten[at]prospectagency[dot]com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line.

  16. Carrie Howland - September 27, 2016 at 8:59 pm Reply

    Anger clouds your mind

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