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Kidlit Genres / YA Historical fiction based on real family
« Last post by rachel-sturtz on July 20, 2022, 10:03 AM »
Eight years ago, I came across a dazzling story about a mother and daughter adventure that took place in the Pacific theater in WWII. I met the daughter (who was then in her 90s) and talked extensively with her son to see if I could write a magazine story about them. There were timelines and partial diary entries, but sadly, not enough documentation for me to build a narrative nonfiction feature.

But the story is perfect for a YA historical fiction novel—a sort of "based on real events" page-turner.  But this would mean asking the adult son to let me use the bones of the story to create a work of fiction, loosely based on their adventure.

I believe I could pitch their story to a national outlet for a one-page article about their travels (satisfying the adult son's hope to get the real story out there), and then ask to do something creative with it. I'm going to talk with him about it in August.

Has anyone ever done this? Is this a fool's errand? Pitfalls that I should avoid/can't avoid?


What Vijaya said. Follow your heart. Best of luck!
I'm going to take your questions one at a time:
1. This depends on the agent. For picture books, you always mention you have at least two more or a novel available, but you don't necessarily pitch the other work. Some agents ask you to, but don't do so otherwise. For novels, one work only, with a statement of series potential if you intend a series. For chapter books, you pitch a series with a full pitch for book one and a line or two for the next couple. This can vary.

2. General etiquette is six months.
Sorry for the short, confusing topic title - seems pretty limited in terms of how many characters you're allowed to have.

But, my questions are the following:

1. How many manuscript ideas do you think you should query to an agent at once? I know you should only *focus* one one, and you should only paste one manuscript in your query letter. But should you mention your other, completed, polished manuscripts? Should you give a line or two on each, just in case that's something that catches the agent's fancy even if your main one wasn't in their wheelhouse?

2. Let's say, in theory, you've got more than three completed, polished manuscripts. And let's say you query an agent and they aren't interested in the one or two manuscripts you mention in your first query letter (whether they straight up reject or just never respond). Is there etiquette on how long you should wait to try one of your other completed manuscripts in a separate query?

Thanks for any thoughts or insight you all might have!

Contests and Challenges / Re: Haunted States of America Contest
« Last post by samantha-cassetta on July 16, 2022, 01:37 PM »
My rejection came yesterday too! Oh well, onward and upward. Commiserations to you, Emily and Rebecca, and congrats to the winners! Looking forward to seeing the book!
Contests and Challenges / Re: Haunted States of America Contest
« Last post by kathleen-lovell on July 16, 2022, 12:55 PM »
Sorry Emily and Rebecca!
Were those for Illinois and Maine?
The way I see it, if this is a work of your heart and you want to see it published, you have nothing to lose by submitting it to an agent. If it's the right fit, he or she will be just as enthusiastic about it as you are and will know which house would be most open to a book like this. Good luck!
Contests and Challenges / Re: Haunted States of America Contest
« Last post by smithrebeccaj on July 16, 2022, 08:29 AM »
I just got my rejection too! Sending you a virtual cookie,  Emily! Then let's all get to work on our next great project!
Hopeful makes a good point. It is often easier for an author/illustrator to carry off the postmodern books well because they can present the full vision. Someone who is not an artist does not have the ability to do that.
Contests and Challenges / Re: Haunted States of America Contest
« Last post by emily-holewczynski on July 15, 2022, 04:06 PM »
Just received my official rejection! Super bummed. All that time and emotion wasted, haha! Onto the next, and congrats in advance to the winners! 🎉
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