NoQS YA Fantasy: ONCE UPON A TYPEWRITER

Title: ONCE UPON A TYPEWRITER
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Word Count: 98,000
My Main Character’s Most Stressful Relationship is:
Emily’s younger sister Aubrey is her best friend and nemesis
all in one. When their mom became mentally ill seven years ago, Emily swore
that Aubrey wouldn’t miss having a mother in her life. But Emily struggles to
balance her desire to control her adolescent sister, the reality that Aubrey’s
growing up, and the freedom she needs to achieve her own desires. Mischievous
Aubrey knows Emily’s trying to help, but she doesn’t make things easier for her
sister. When Emily’s homework starts arguing with her, Aubrey’s antics just
might push Emily past her breaking point and into insanity.

QUERY:
Welcome to seventeen-year old Emily’s worst nightmare. She
slept through her English final, and now she’s in danger of losing her
full-ride scholarship to her university of choice. Her dreams of getting into
med school and finding a cure for the disease that killed her mom are headed
down the drain.
When her eccentric teacher offers her one chance at
redemption, Emily jumps at the opportunity. She has two weeks to write a
thirty-thousand word story. As if that’s not bad enough, her teacher insists
that she type her assignment using an old typewriter. To top it off, her
fourteen-year-old prankster sister, Aubrey, distracts her at every turn.
Emily assembles a madcap cast of characters to send on a
quest. Her MC is a blacksmith who’d rather remain at her forge than save the
world. She’s accompanied by a bumbling magician, the most valiant—and
dense—knight in the kingdom, and the knight’s personal minder. With companions
like these, everything that can go wrong will. Emily’s certain her funny story
will earn her a passing grade at least.
But when the characters start communicating with her through
the typewriter and pestering her to change every little thing, Emily’s
priorities abruptly shift. First, she must prove to Aubrey and herself that she
isn’t losing her mind like their mom. Then, she’ll have to convince her
characters not to go on strike, or there won’t be a happily ever after for any
of them. Because she won’t just fail the course if she’s losing her mind;
she’ll fail Aubrey, too, and that’s the one thing Emily can’t allow herself to
do.
First 250 words:
I wiped my clammy hands on my jeans and grabbed the bronze
doorknob, half-hoping the classroom would be locked now that the bell had rung.
No such luck. The door swung inward without a sound.
“Ms. Briggs? You asked me to meet you after school…”
Weird. The classroom was empty.
Well, except for the antiquated beast sitting on my desk
with a note sticking out of the top, addressed to me in sweeping blue cursive.
“Emily, I’ve decided what to do about your
uncharacteristically irresponsible behavior on Monday. I’m giving you one
chance to make up your final exam. You have until the 15th to write a complete
novella of at least 30,000 words, or you will fail the final and the class. As
part of your punishment, you must use this typewriter instead of your computer
to write the story. I hope you will find the creative experience illuminating,
perhaps even enjoyable.”
I eyed the metal monstrosity. A typewriter? Writing a
novella in two weeks would be hard enough, but using a typewriter? Ms. Briggs
must’ve been more upset than she’d let on.
My muscles groaned as I scooped up the bulky machine. Once I
found my balance, I lurched through the halls and out to the bus stop like
something out of an old horror flick.

Snickers greeted me as I planted my foot on the first
step—and almost toppled over backwards. Gritting my teeth, I chose to ignore
the other students’ laughter. If only I could shut out their whispers, too.

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