The Writer’s Voice 2015 and My Query

Dear Writer’s Voice,

At 12 years old, Visaro’s only dream is on the brink of annihilation.

Like many orphans, all Visaro ever wanted was a real family. Less than a year after adoption into the Parson household, things are far from sunshine and happiness. A plane crash has murdered his father and put his mom in a coma. If that weren’t bad enough, now Visaro’s returning to orphanage life, his adoptive new brother Sernin in tow.

Soon back in the system at an unfamiliar orphanage, Visaro clings more tightly than ever to his dream of a family. Dead-set on being a great brother, Visaro’s intent on helping shy, spoiled Sernin adjust to orphanage life. Of course, that’d be a lot easier if Sernin didn’t hate Visaro… and if Revenant Pass were just an orphanage.

Between classes steeped heavily in science, inexplicable happenings occur at the orphanage. Moving paintings, irritable walls, and vanishing photos leave the Parsons believing the place is haunted. Their new friend agrees, assuring the brothers that Revenant Pass’ history is shady at best. Stories of cults, kidnappings, and vanishing children riddle the area’s newspapers and history books.

When a creepy stranger covered in black markings appears, nothing but the worst can be assumed—especially after the stranger is overheard conspiring about a “gateway” with the orphanage’s headmaster. Unsettled by what they overhear, the Parsons resolve to figure out what the gateway is. Soliciting help from a secretive girl who knows the orphanage inside and out, they embark on a search for answers. With each day’s passing, the clues they discover only strengthen assumptions rather than provide any real answers. All the while, the headmaster’s conversations with the stranger are sounding more and more ominous.

While fears of a worst-case-scenario bloom in the kids’ minds, news of the Parsons’ hospitalized mother arrives, shining a spotlight on Sernin’s compatible blood type. Sernin’s life becomes key to holding Visaro’s family together, but the unresolved mysteries of Revenant Pass may very well tear everyone apart, annihilating the only thing Visaro’s ever wanted.

Revenant Pass is an upper middle grade mystery adventure. At roughly 76,000 words, it’s a stand-alone novel but is intended as the beginning of a trilogy, parts two and three of which are currently in their first draft.

As a tightly plotted mystery adventure, Revenant Pass focusses heavily on the themes of fear and assumption regarding the adult world while on the brink of adolescence. Pitting science against mysticism, logic against paranoia and “magic” against reality, part one of the trilogy is meant as a precursor to the adolescent rift between the magic in following one’s heart and the sobriety of social responsibility.

Below are the first 250 words of Revenant Pass.

Thank you for your time in considering this query, Agents of The Writer’s Voice
-Dan Todd

Writing Sample

It was a well-known fact among the residents of Hemlock Lane that Old Mister Briars wasn’t one to stop during his morning walks. As the sun crept its warm way up over rooftops, the old man would shuffle along, waving and smiling at neighbors passed by, offering a hearty “Hello!” if he felt so inclined. But Old Mister Briars never stopped during his walks.

It was a rule of sorts, much like brushing your teeth before going to bed or blaming your brother for the carpet’s new mud stains. Yet even the best rules get broken occasionally, and sometimes by those who love them the most.

On the first day of spring just a few years ago, Old Mister Briars broke his own rule. He’d have preferred not to, of course, for he lived on a rather strict schedule and his favorite TV show was about to begin.

But a scream is a scream.

Slowing his pace, the old man turned a wrinkly ear and cupped four trembling fingers about it. Ever so quiet, another scream rang out and Old Mister Briars stopped altogether, turning toward the unsettling sound.

There, in the scream’s place, stood a house looking perfectly normal. Just over its roof, propped high in a backyard sycamore, the top of a treehouse poked into view. That treehouse, Old Mister Briars recalled, belonged to the Parson boys, who everyone had learned something of over the previous week.

Like the rest of the neighborhood, Old Mister Briars knew the…



  1. Hi Dan,

    You might want to open your query around here Visaro’s returning to orphanage life, his adoptive new brother Sernin in tow. The beginning paragraph has backstory that takes from the meat of the manuscript.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I LOVE BttF! You definitely have an intriguing concept and your first 250 kept pulling up scenes from BttF, haha. Hope that’s what you were going for. Best of luck!


  2. Hi Dan,

    Nice query letter! Your premise made me think of Harry Potter. (orphan, wanting a real family, and your description of what has gone on at the orphanage,) I definitely think your story would appeal to your intended audience! Good Luck!


    • Thanks for the kind words, Amanda! Not sure I’ve seen anything quite like the premise of All That She Is–nice to see something other than the cliché rock star climb. Good luck to you, too!


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