Featured Prize: Lilly Lu – Query Critique

Lilly has generously donated a query critique to the Mighty Pens’ cause; it’s a tier 2 prize ($100 raised). Check out all our prizes here. Did you find your way here without any prior information about the Mighty Pens, how to win said prizes, or why we’re writing NaNo this year? For that last one, the answer is–We Need Diverse Books. For everything else, learn more about us here…and then sign up to join us, raise money to fight book banning, and win sweet prizes like this query critique.

Lilly is represented by Brent Taylor at Triada US Literary Agency and is a literary scholar with a PhD in English from UCLA. Her academic research focuses on British Romanticism, the novel, gender, and race. Her fiction writing often explores themes such as Asian diaspora identities, queerness, and the Gothic.

A previous interview with her on Decolonizing Story Structure over at Bookish Brews is an excellent way to get to know more about Lilly and their passion for diverse storytelling and representation. Some quotes which really got me thinking:

“[Some tweets that resonated with me] were about how marginalized writers often are told that their protagonists lack agency or proactiveness. This feedback, to me, is premised on cishet white masculine and/or Enlightenment/imperialist ideas of what it means to be in and interact with the world. What would happen if we were to open our minds to other (perhaps gentler) ways of engaging with the world? What stories would emerge then?”

“As marginalized writers, we should write the stories the way we see fit. If an experimental story structure seems to be working for the story we want to tell–if that’s what feels right–I think we should commit to it, at least until trusted readers suggest otherwise. I also think that marginalized writers who are querying and submitting their work should find trusted readers, agents, editors, etc, whose vision for the work aligns with their vision. It was important to me when querying that I find an agent who understood what it was that I wanted to do, who didn’t hop on board because of trends and who didn’t want to mold my book into something that wasn’t my own, but who felt passionately about the story I was trying to tell.”

For more information, check out her website (where you can also find some of her fiction and articles) or find them on Twitter/X: @LillyLuWrites.





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