Sunday, March 2, 2014


Title: The Unbelievable Misadventures of Avery Mann

Genre: MG Contemporary Fantasy

Word Count: 69,000


Avery Mann’s biggest worry before his eleventh birthday is avoiding atomic wedgies from Max "The Wild Thing" Lovell. However, his fear of overstretched underwear vanishes when he becomes a pawn in a supernatural game of four-way chess between wise-guy magi, scheming witches, fiendish monsters, and storybook villains come to life. Needless to say, getting caught up in an inter-dimensional conspiracy throws a flying monkey wrench into his summer plans, which did not include magically bonding himself to a murderous raven or making fishy deals with Long John Silver. Worse yet, Avery's only chance to get out of this tangled web of wackiness is to free the Wicked Witch of the East… from Hell. And if he fails, his family will remain a bunch of Rip Van Winkles, his newfound friends will be imprisoned, and he'll never finish reading his Ultimate Spider-Man collection.

First Page:

The walled garden in Kensington Park wasn't as impenetrable as Superman’s Fortress of Solitude or high-tech as the Batcave, but it made the perfect hideout. It was a place where I could read comics, practice magic tricks, and avoid trouble, especially my arch-enemy Max “The Wild Thing” Lovell.

Not to mention it was quiet here, too.

Chip! Chip! Chip!


Three baby chipmunks poked their heads out of a rose bush.

“Again?” I tossed them the last few peanuts from my lunch bag.

They dashed out, stuffed their chubby cheeks, and raced back home. Not even a thanks. Oh well, what could I say? I was always a sucker for animals.

A breeze blew through the gazebo, bringing with it the scent of various flowers. I breathed in. Mmmm. The garden smelled so much better than the bushes behind Ms. Crabtree’s compost heap—which had made a great hiding spot last year, but required nose-plugs and deodorant sprays.

I glanced at my watch. It was almost noon on the first full day of summer vacation and nobody had bothered me here. Not my six older brothers. Not Max. Not—


A piece of paper smacked into my face.


I yanked the thing off me, ready to rip it into subatomic particles, but then the word, “Magic” caught my eye. A thrill fluttered up from the bottom of my stomach to the back of my neck as I shoved the flapping flyer against the ground.


  1. Sometimes I wish I were clever enough to write MG. This is amazing. I love the voice of the pitch, especially. It sounds like the perfect book to get a reluctant kid wanting to read. Well done. Avery would be a welcome addition to this mama's bookshelf!

    1. Thanks, Z!

      I'm glad you liked the pitch and being on any mama's bookshelf would be awesome! ;)

      Best Wishes,

  2. This pitch has lots of clever details in it, which makes it easy to read. Great voice. We have story goal right away.

    The opening page is also well done. With six older brothers, we already feel for Avery, knowing how he probably gets tossed around and teased.

    A couple of notes:

    Instead of "various flowers," maybe consider being specific. Roses? Gardenias that remind him of Aunt Mable?

    "Gah!" At first I wondered if someone else had said it. I had to read it twice to see that it was Avery speaking. Maybe a bit of action before that would help clarify.

    "...smacked into my face." At first I thought someone smacked him with the paper. After reading it again I realized it flew into his face, right? So I wonder if "...flew into my face" would be more clear? Just something to think about.

    Otherwise, great job.

    1. Thanks Judge Ten, especially for your notes on the first page. Those are great points and I'll work on them during my next round of revisions.

      Best Wishes,

  3. I really enjoyed the first page. It's comical, fast-paced, and endearing, with a terrific voice and a lot of relevant information inserted naturally! Bravo! I don't have any real suggestions for the writing here; I think the page is extremely strong. I personally found the pitch a little bit overstuffed, yet vague. I don't know what it means that he's either a "pawn" (or "caught up") in an inter-dimensional conspiracy, and I crave a few details. Was he in the wrong place at the wrong time? Was he chosen for this role because of a specific trait he possesses as a human boy? What does he have that the magi, witches, monsters, and storybook villains are using him for in their battle? What is the inter-dimensional conspiracy? I think you can tone down a bit of the wordplay. "Tangled web of wackiness" implies that the consequences aren't dire, but the next sentence suggests they're VERY dire. (I'd also nix the phrase "needless to say" and change "game of four-way chess" to simply "supernatural chess match.") I LOVE that he needs to free the Wicked Witch from Hell. It's unexpected and great. I think you've got solid writing skills and a fun story to tell! I might just suggest making the pitch a bit clearer.

  4. Thanks, Judge Ten (the Second)!

    I'm glad you liked the first page. As for the pitch, I'll work on those elements you pointed out and see if I can rework some of the sentence to fit in the details you're interested in. It's a tricky business this 150 pitch, but definitely worth the time and effort to get right.

    Also, I'm happy to hear you like the Wicked Witch twist. It is one of my favorite things about writing this story... I had no idea it was going to go down that way, but was pleasantly surprise when I had the "AHA!" moment that lead me to realize Avery needed to free her.

    Best Wishes,


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