Self-aware. Self conscious. Self induced.

The Writer’s Voice

I’m participating in The Writer’s Voice, a multi-stage writing contest of sorts hosted by Brenda Drake, Mónica Bustamante Wagner, Elizabeth Briggs, and Krista Van Dolzer.

As I understand it, now that I’ve made it through the rafflecopter, the next stage is that the four hosts each choose 8 writers for their team. That means cutting down to 32 participants from the current 150+ people like me who beat the random. After that comes coaching where those people polish up their writing, then eventually the agents will step in to express their interest.

Here’s a link to Brenda’s full description.

And here are my query and the first 250 words of my manuscript THE STORY OF THE STORY OF THE EGG.

Be sure to check out the other participants! There’s sure to be a lot of great stuff here.


Dear [Agent],

Story City is not only a town in Iowa. It is also where all the stories we know come from and where those stories meet their authors. It is where Gone with the Wind discusses the finer points of plot twists with The Iliad, where beat-up Noir Fictions compare bruises and scars with dour Revenge Tragedies.

The Story of the Story of the Egg is a 59,000-word middle grade adventure that shares elements with Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching novels, and, I hope, will appeal to readers of Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth.

When Fin was seven years old, he wanted to grow up to be an Epic. Epics are cool. They’re famous. They’re amazing.

When he was eight, he was diagnosed as a Paradox, which meant he’s all opposites. He’ll never be an Epic or cool or famous or amazing. Paradoxes get the opposite of what they want and he’ll probably end up a Haiku or something.

Now he’s twelve and his “condition” is getting worse. He gets lost when he knows where he’s going and sometimes his shadow points in the wrong direction.

Then the malicious Epic Monkey King threatens all of Story City, causes a riot, and kidnaps Fin’s baby sister, who hasn’t even hatched from her egg yet.

Dragged into her rescue in spite of his best intentions, Fin is a problem for everyone who’s trying to stop Monkey King, especially his heroic older sister. He knows what to do, but he doesn’t like it.

Paradoxically, he’s got to become the villain.

My short story “Onionskin” was published in the online literary magazine Spolia (Issue 9: Disappearance) and my play Decaffeinated Tragedy won the Inspiration Award at the 2009 Prague Fringe Festival. Without question, writing fiction is the best thing I have done with the skills I learned getting my degrees in Folklore (which yes, you can still get).

This is a multiple submission. As per your submission guidelines, I’m including the first ten pages as an attachment.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Fin had a bad feeling about the day. Everyone around him was cheery and optimistic. Even his friends Ingot and Oriel were excited. It was terrible.

He stood in a group of students in the middle of a crowd under the shadow of a giant, hidden machine. A tarp covered it from its towering peak, thirty feet or so above the ground, all the way down to the cobblestones below. The plaza hummed with the noise of people talking about how the machine might solve the whistlegrass problem. Meanwhile, Fin’s teacher, a tall man dressed from head to toe in a bright green suit of armor was trying to get his class’s attention. On his shoulder rested a large, equally green axe. Despite his commanding appearance, his voice was a thin cry in the hubbub of the crowd.

And what a crowd it was. There were animals, people, but mostly there were creatures that weren’t simply one kind of thing at all. There was a man with a stag’s head and a golden lion’s chest, his pronged antlers curving in an unlikely halo. Next to him was a woman with a meerkat’s face, black rings around her eyes and a large pink umbrella tucked under one arm. A few even seemed to be made of stone or wood or water. Only the younger creatures looked only like animals, which included Fin and his class.

The truth was, none of them were animals at all. Each and every individual there was a story.


30 responses

  1. Amazing concept. I really enjoyed your first 250 too. Good luck! I hope to see it on shelves one day.

    May 28, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    • thanks so much!

      May 28, 2015 at 7:26 pm

  2. Wow. That description of story city? Sign me up. That sounds incredible and full of amazing direction.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see how the story about Fin connects at to that all. What’s a Epic? What’s a Paradox? Is he a story himself? Are they all stories? How is he a problem for people trying to stop the Monkey King? I’m left floundering a bit. I think you need to add some grounding details for this to really stick.

    May 28, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    • thanks for the feedback!

      May 28, 2015 at 2:07 pm

  3. You have an amazing query! What a fun story — really well done!

    May 28, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    • thank you!

      May 28, 2015 at 2:07 pm

  4. Love the concept! Very clever. Good luck!

    May 27, 2015 at 9:13 pm

  5. Great opening and the creativity of your world is wonderful. Good luck!

    May 27, 2015 at 3:14 pm

  6. smithrebeccaj

    Interesting! I’m curious about how stories appear as animals, so I’d have to read more. Best of luck in the contest!

    May 27, 2015 at 6:19 am

    • thank you!

      May 27, 2015 at 4:44 pm

  7. Love how you use your folklore studies to create your own stories. Such a unique and interesting premise! Good luck!

    May 26, 2015 at 11:05 am

    • thanks!

      May 26, 2015 at 11:14 am

  8. So jealous of those who can create these fantastical worlds. Good luck!

    May 24, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    • thanks, but it’s not as though yours is lacking in imagination either!

      May 25, 2015 at 2:15 pm

  9. Intriguing. Best of luck!

    May 23, 2015 at 10:14 am

    • thank you! to you, too!

      May 25, 2015 at 2:00 pm

  10. Good luck in the competition!

    May 23, 2015 at 3:27 am

    • you, too! I posted on your site, but I can’t tell if it’s waiting moderation or vanished. love your opening page.

      May 23, 2015 at 6:19 am

      • It shouldn’t be awaiting moderation, so it seems to have vanished. :o( (And thank you!)

        May 23, 2015 at 6:31 am

  11. What a cool setting! I’m intrigued by these interesting and unusual characters. (I’m also partial to Iowa). Best of luck!

    May 22, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    • thanks! to you, too!

      May 23, 2015 at 6:20 am

  12. I like this concept. You have a great query in here. Best of luck!

    May 22, 2015 at 11:51 am

    • thanks – to you as well!

      May 23, 2015 at 6:33 am

  13. This is very creative and adorable! Good Luck!

    May 22, 2015 at 10:52 am

    • thanks so much! and to you!

      May 22, 2015 at 12:51 pm

  14. What an interesting premise! I can definitely see Phantom Tollbooth connections, and would love to know how the rest of it plays out. Great work!

    May 21, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    • Thanks, Rochelle – looking forward to working my way through the entries!

      May 22, 2015 at 7:07 am

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