• Elora Cook

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Hello there!

This is my second time applying to Pitch Wars and this year I'll be submitting my YA contemporary fantasy, THE GRAVEYARD KEEPER'S DAUGHTER. It's a The Raven Boys meets The Secret Garden and would appeal to fans of Gayle Forman and Emily X.R. Pan's work.

A fun little backstory on this book: Last year for Pitch Wars 17, I subbed a YA epic fantasy of my heart, which unfortunately didn't get in. However, during the wait period, I was dogsitting for my aunt & uncle who have a lovely graveyard great for dog walking that I would go to. My first time there with classical music playing on the radio, I saw a teen girl (in my head) walking around the graveyard and on my next visit, there were four teens. Throughout the rest of the submission period, I got to know more about these characters which would eventually lead me to the story I have today!

THE GRAVEYARD KEEPER'S DAUGHTER is a story about four misfit teens deciding to come together and save their town from a century old curse before it reaches a breaking point and kills their home. Where is the curse coming from? Well, in the local graveyard of course.

The wind picked up again, followed by a hissing Will couldn’t place, and the light flickered above him. Must be a storm approaching, he thought. He ventured out from the counter to get a look at what Main Street was like. Grey clouds hovered low in the sky like a thick fog and The Bicycle Cafe’s sign just down the street swung back and forth in the wind.

It's amazing to think it's been almost year now since I first saw them in that (real!) graveyard. I haven't been too open about it publicly, but I wrote the first draft to this story in some of the hardest three months of my life. My mental health was in the gutters from saying goodbye to my childhood home (I'm quite sentimental) and that semester had some tough classes, but it was through expressing my raw, true emotions into these characters that I was able to get through it. In some ways, this story is a letter to myself on how to heal, to continue to love despite the goodbye, and to know it's okay to express your emotions - no matter how much our society wants you to bottle it up.

Aya stepped over a row of unlit lanterns at the edge of the porch and grazed her hand over the rough texture of the chopped wood stacked against the wall. Rei held her hand over top of the front doorknob like a painted figure trapped from ever reaching their destination.

“The sun will set soon,” Will said to no one in particular.

Rei opened the door.

I'm a true Pisces and Hufflepuff, so TGKD is chalk full of themes related to these two types of people!

But not to worry friends, although my story has a strong focus on friendship, healing, & emotions, it's also full of dark, creepy shit and a lake & cornfield that will probably (very likely) try to kill you. I can also promise witches, lots of autumn-y goodness, Halloween, and spirits.

The cold air bit at her cheeks as she ran, jumped over pumpkins, and kept her eyes fixed on the entrance into the maze who-knows-who created. “Will!” she shouted.

A part of her realized Aya wasn’t sitting on the porch anymore, but Jasmine’s only thought was of the boy who wasn’t in sight. The boy whose last name was engraved on the necklace.

Before the submission window opens, I have so SO much work to do (pray for me, no seriously) to make it shine even brighter and be the story I know it can be. But if my character babies have taught me anything, it's to trust in myself to do the best I can and to be brave when I hit that send button.

Happy writing dear fellow Pitch Warriors and I look forward to the results!

**I am not saying this GIF represents certain things that happen in TGKD, but I'm also not saying that.

#writer #writingcontests #writinglife #writing #secretswithinthegraves

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