Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NoQS Minion 1: KAYLEE AND THE BIG BAD AL, MG Contemporary

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Word Count: 22,000

My Main Character’s Most Fearsome Obsession Is:

I don’t know what my most fearsome obsession is ’cause I don’t have a clue what that means. Be right back…

Mom said it’s an uncontrollable want. Well my want is definitely Dad’s molasses pancakes. His secret recipe blasts my socks straight to Uranus. One whiff and I’ll gladly spring my grumpy, morning bootie from bed and shake it all the way to the kitchen. Then I pile on the butter, smother on the maple syrup, and shout Hallelujah! ’cause there’s no better way to start my day than with a sweet plate of heaven.


Nine-year-old Kaylee’s sure her grandma doesn’t like her.

Every visit with Grandma Ruth begins and ends with a scolding—no fussing, no shouting, no running, no interrupting, no diggety dang fun. She might as well add no breathing to her invisible list of rules. It’s so bad Kaylee would rather wear dorky princess dresses for a year than spend time with Grandma Ruth. 

So when Kaylee hears that her grandma is losing her memory and needs to move in with them, she’s ready to go without food—even her dad’s molasses pancakes—in protest. But all that changes when she discovers this new, forgetful Grandma Ruth is so cool. She likes to dance in her PJs, give makeovers, put on fashion shows, and try unusual foods—all the things Kaylee loves too. In fact, Grandma Ruth becomes one of Kaylee’s best friends.

But the disease that attacks Grandma’s brain isn’t done yet. Kaylee will have to find a way to face the sad facts that Grandma Ruth will soon forget even her, and Kaylee will lose her only living grandparent—her friend—to the big bad Al.

First 250 Words:

I tried to ignore the prickles. I jiggled and wiggled and squirmed like a worm, but I couldn’t take the itchiness any longer. Jumping off the couch, I lifted my dress and rubbed the back of my legs.

Of course Grandma Ruth noticed, and of course she had to shake her finger at me. “Put your dress down, Kaylee, and act like a lady.”

“Yes, Grandma Ruth,” I said, plopping down on the couch between my parents.

Manners were super important to Grandma, boy did I know that, but she didn’t usually get that upset. I leaned toward my mom and whispered, “What’s wrong with Grandma? Did she put on her grumpy pants today or what?”

Mom lowered her eyebrows and gave me The Look. Uh-oh, I’d said the wrong thing. 

Right away, two thoughts popped into my head. I’m not sure why, but thoughts usually came to me in pairs.

1.      This was all Mom’s fault. If she hadn’t made me wear this dumb, frilly princess dress I would have been fine. But no! Grandma bought it for my ninth birthday, and Mom said I had to wear it no matter how stupid I looked.

2.       I might have been able to forget about my stinging legs if Dad had let me bring my Nintendo 3DS. But double-heck no! He said that would be rude.

So instead, there I was, sitting on a sandpaper couch with my parents, itching so bad I wanted to rip off my dress and shred it into a gazillion pieces.


  1. I would like to Shriek at this entry. Please send with a synopsis to

  2. Shriek! Please send pitch + short bio + synopsis with attached pages to Thanks!

  3. Shivering...Please send with a biography and brief blurb on other wips you may have to

  4. So sorry...forgot to mention--Please put "NoQS" in the Subject line. Thank you!

  5. Shrieking! Please send query letter in body of email and pages as Word attachment to Please put NoQS request in subject line. Thanks so much!

  6. *Shriek*! Please send your query, a 1-2 page synopsis, and the first 50 pages in an attached Word document to queries at azantianlitagency dot com. Also, please include "NoQS REQUESTED" in the subject line. I look forward to reading!

  7. SHRIEK! Please send w/ synopsis to w/ NoQS Request in subject line.

  8. *SHIVER* Please email first 10 pages and a complete synopsis (copy-and-pasted to body of email) to thao(at)dijkstraagency(dot)com. Please use "NoQS Minion: KAYLEE AND THE BIG BAD AL, MG Contemporary" in the subject line. Thank you!