Jun 7, 2017

QK Agent Round - The Barringer Museum

Title: We, Freaks
Entry Nickname: The Barringer Museum
Word count: 78K
Genre: Adult Speculative Fiction


Sideshow barkers claim the true freak is born, not made. That a pregnant mother’s fascination with an eerie neighborhood dog led to the birth of a fur-faced baby boy, and that a woman’s all-consuming fear of sea serpents etched scales on the fetus growing inside of her.

To Theodore, a museum owner in 1850’s New York City, these boasts and backstories are improbably beginning to resemble truth. And after his museum burns to the ground, he decides he’s willing to pursue any lead if it means restarting his career with a theater of the most astonishing humans the world has ever seen.

In a parallel storyline set in present-day Michigan, zoo ticket seller and PhD candidate Max is grudgingly hosting a scientific study testing if expectant mothers can impress bestial traits on their fetuses through extensive exposure to lions. When Max attempts to quash what he considers to be mockery of science, he’s kidnapped by a collective of unusual humans depending on the study to validate their origin stories.

As Theodore risks his reputation to exploit a folktale, Max contends with the nature of belief as he becomes introduced to a world he hadn’t thought possible. At the center of both stories lie the individuals with fur or gills or multi-colored skin who seek an answer for their bodies, but are instead becoming wrapped up with the lives of men who will never understand their existence.

First 250:

Theodore Barringer had planned to spend his morning crafting an exhibit about a romance between Thomas Jefferson and America’s first swivel chair, but instead, he faced the extraordinary: two women whose natures he could not discern. At Spooner’s and the Eastern Dime Museum, Theodore could always recognize the hoax—the 90 year-old woman boasting 160 years of age, the siblings from Virginia advertising Mayan heritage, the thin men who never weighed as little as they claimed they did… The frauds of humanity were growing commonplace in New York City, but the sisters currently sitting in front of his desk… Yes, they were asking to perform in his museum, and yes, they were identical twins, but they were also beings he’d never once heard rumors of. He knew of giants, Circassian beauties, and wild men, but no humans quite like these—none so completely authentic in their peculiarity.

Because the fascination was more than their twin sisterhood, but rather that the sister on the right explained that with costuming assistance the two could create the illusion of four bodies, yet failed to describe how it was that each sister reflected the other as a live mirror of flesh and movement. How upon the right side of one and the left of the other, their tan skin shrunk into the thin lines of a crooked spider web and broke a reflective, silver coating up into shards. Their reticence made him want to scream out: how had a mirror shattered and fused itself to you, and how could he replicate the effect?


  1. Sounds like a fun (and rather twisted) story. Would be happy to check out the query, synopsis, and first 3 chapters over at acquisitions@curiosityquills.com Good luck and congrats on making it this far!

  2. Wild Card -- would like to read the full! Please send to query@newleafliterary.com

  3. Would love to read more. Please send to soloway@andreabrownlit.com.

  4. WILD CARD - I would love to see the full manuscript! Please feel free to send it to andrea@harveyklinger.com with Query Kombat in the subject line.

  5. Thanks, please do email the query letter and manuscript my way!

    To tell you a little bit about our literary agency, which closes more deals for authors than any other agency worldwide: tridentmediagroup.com

    Trident Media Group (TMG) is a prominent literary agency located in New York City that originally formed in 2000. TMG represents over 1,000 bestselling and emerging authors in a range of genres of fiction and nonfiction, many of whom have appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers Lists and have won major awards and prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the P.E.N. Faulkner Award, the P.E.N. Hemingway Award, The Booker Prize, and the L.A. Times Book Award, among others. TMG is one of the world’s leading, largest and most diversified literary agencies.

    For more than ten consecutive years, TMG continues to rank number one for sales according to publishersmarketplace.com in North America. TMG is the only U.S. literary agency to consistently be in the top ten in both UK fiction and UK non-fiction and has ranked as highly as number one in UK fiction deals.

    And to tell you a bit about me: Mark Gottlieb attended Emerson College and was President of its Publishing Club, establishing the Wilde Press. After graduating with a degree in writing, literature & publishing, he began his career with Penguin’s VP. Mark’s first position at Publishers Marketplace’s #1-ranked literary agency, Trident Media Group, was in foreign rights. Mark was EA to Trident’s Chairman and ran the Audio Department. Mark is currently working with his own client list, helping to manage and grow author careers with the unique resources available to Trident. He has ranked #1 among Literary Agents on publishersmarketplace.com in Overall Deals and other categories. http://www.tridentmediagroup.com/agents/mark-gottlieb

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    All the best,


    Mark Gottlieb
    Literary Agent
    Trident Media Group, LLC
    41 Madison Avenue, Floor 36
    New York, NY 10010
    (212) 333-1506

  6. I'd love to see more! querydanielle@nelsonagency.com

  7. Wild Card -- I would love to read the full manuscript. Please send it to soloway@andreabrownlit.com with REQUESTED: Query Kombat: WE, FREAKS in the subject line.