Sunday, March 2, 2014


Title: The Witch's Brew

Genre: YA  Fractured Fairy Tale/Legal Thriller

WC: 60 000


Sixteen-year-old Amy Faye dreams of being a human rights lawyer like her father or a crime-busting hero like her aunt. When a routine trip to the drugstore turns wrong. Amy is accused of shoplifting, humiliated and denied her day in court.

Then the grisly remains of Gretel are discovered on the outskirts of the Dark Forest. Amy’s boss, Carmen Caramelo, is arrested. While all of Rosia is ready to burn the Witch, Amy gears up to defend her.  After all everyone deserves a fair trial and Carmen’s public defender needs all the help he can get. But for Amy unravelling the truth means risking her reputation, crossing the lead detective and finding Hansel, by any means necessary.

This dangerous game of law and order could land Amy in jail or worse—in a body bag. But doing nothing could result in an unjust execution. Grisham’s The Accused meets Willingham’s Fables.

First Page::

 Saturday, August 27, 2050

Agreeing to a search and seizure wasn’t part of the plan. Yet here I was phoneless and left to rot in a fridge-sized office, sitting on an upside down milk crate—the best the manager was willing to offer— waiting for the Guard to arrive.

A headache was forming at the base of my neck and working its way up. I needed to get out of here, quick. I didn’t like small spaces and there was barely enough room to stretch my legs.

I glanced at the clock. Four. What was taking so long? It’s not like there was much for the Guard to do in a town of three thousand people. A chief, a piper, a detective and a scout were more than enough to keep the peace.

I rolled my shoulders back and tried to relax against the brick wall. The ache in my neck was quickly turning into a full-blown migraine. I concentrated on the poster on the wall, breathing in and out.

NEVER TRUST A WITCH was printed in bold letters across the top and underneath in small letters: Your life could depend on it. Report any suspicious activity to the nearest Guard.

Never trust a rent-a-guard is more like it. If I hadn’t, I would be at Trish’s place trying on outfits for our first day of high school. Not wasting the last sweet bits of summer in this 2x2 hell. 


  1. Pitch: I found it a little vague. Why is she denied her day in court? I wouldn't call this a legal thriller. I suspect it's nothing like one (and I've read a number of them in the past). For one, you have a teen working as a lawyer (?). Since when do they do that in real life? Pick YA fractured fairy tale. It's more of a YA urban fantasy than it is a legal thriller. Also, how is Amy helping? The way it is worded here, she sounds like a lawyer. Do you mean she's helping with the investigation?

    First page: I wouldn't mind more showing details. Describe the headache instead of telling me that a headache was forming. That's bland. You've got an interesting premise here, you can add much more showing details without bogging the writing down.

    Why is she waiting for the guard? There's a difference between leaving something out to keep the reader t reading, and leaving it out and confusing the reader. This is one of those things that can go a long way by hinting better in the first paragraph why she's there.

    Otherwise, good start to the story.

    Good luck!

  2. I really loved the opening page--loved it. But I was also incredibly shocked to reach the end and discover the heroine is only 15 (first year in high school, right?). She feels much older. I can't imagine someone who hasn't even started their freshman years saying "2x2 hell." I'm sure there are plenty of 15-year-olds out there who DO behave as adult as this MC, but not *most* of the 15-year-olds I've met. Other than aging up your heroine or else toning down the self-deprecating, dark tone, I'm not sure what to tell you on how to fix this. With regards to the pitch, I think it's critical that you introduce from the beginning that this is fantasy. I was SHOCKED when the word Witch was introduced in the second paragraph (and I was also wondering why there was such a childish name as Dark Forest). Then I realized we weren't dealing with a contemporary but a story with some paranormal/fantasy elements. I think those elements are very cool, but you want to make sure that it's clear this isn't just another contemporary right from your opening line. Even when I reached the end of the pitch, I still didn't understand what sort of genre mash-up I was dealing with or how fantastical the world is. Make sure it's clear from the start.


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