2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition

Announcing the Winners

THE LAUNCH PAD MANUSCRIPT COMPETITION IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MICHAEL DE LUCA, INKSHARES, AND ENERGY ENTERTAINMENT ARE THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNERS!

Last year, our inaugural Launch Pad Manuscript Competition opened new doors so that writers could expand their portfolios, publish their work, cross over into Hollywood, and launch their careers. Our 2016 winners on both the Launch Pad and Inkshares sides are currently hard at work with Inkshares in the production of their novels, all of which are due to be released soon. The first of many, Scott Thomas’s Kill Creek, is actually set to release in two weeks, on Halloween! This couldn’t be a more exciting time for us, to watch our dream of having a manuscript competition grow from its inception and expand into an even more successful second year.

This year, we partnered again with publisher Inkshares, and formed new, exclusive partnerships with Michael De Luca and his Michael De Luca Productions, as well as manager Brooklyn Weaver and his Energy Entertainment. We also expanded our ever-growing list of mentors to include a talented group who can help these writers forge their own paths. These three exceptionally accomplished, award-winning writers who have not only conquered the publishing world, but who themselves have the Hollywood experience necessary to grow. Enter best-selling authors Daniel Wallace, Tal Klein, and Zach Hines, who have each chosen a writer to personally guide into the rest of their new career.

And then it comes down to what might just be the most important aspect of any competition: the writers. We were overwhelmed by the number of quality stories submitted for our sophomore manuscript competition, as well as the range of writers represented. Whether it’s books, film or television, media continues to expand its reach across the globe. This year, 26 percent of our top manuscripts came from writers around the globe, hailing from places like Canada, Australia, Ireland, South Korea, France, England, and South Africa. Our top manuscripts were penned by debut authors and best-sellers alike, and passion for their craft and their stories is evident on every page.

We’re incredibly proud to announce our Overall Winner, Top Comedy Winner, Top Drama Winner, Michael De Luca Productions Winner, Energy Entertainment Winner, and the three Launch Pad Mentorship Winners.

And last but not least we are pleased to announce the Inkshares / Launch Pad publishing winners based on receiving the highest number of unique pre-orders.

Overall Winner

MAGUS WORLD, THE

Gannon Kenney

THE PRESTIGE meets THE BLACK DAHLIA!

In 1920s New York, a detective investigates a mysterious murder with the help of two renowned illusionists, who happen to be real magicians connected with a secret society attempting to save the world from evil.

Fantasy Period Thriller
Michael De Luca Production Winner Overall Winner

Top Comedy

DESIGNER COFFINS

Rie Rie Roughan

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN meets SIX FEET UNDER

After stumbling upon the dead body of a neighbor, an artistic housewife becomes convinced that his death was no accident, and she will stop at nothing to convince the skeptics around her and solve the murder - hopefully before the person responsible takes her out, too.

Comedy Crime Drama Thriller
Mentorship Selection (Daniel Wallace) Top Comedy

Top Drama

WATCH ME

Jody Gehrman

OBSESSED meets THE BOY NEXT DOOR

A creative writing professor and one of her charming young students, toe the line of romantic attraction and sociopath compulsion.

Romance Thriller
Top Drama

The Michael De Luca Productions Winner

MAGUS WORLD, THE

Gannon Kenney

THE PRESTIGE meets THE BLACK DAHLIA

In 1920s New York, a detective investigates a mysterious murder with the help of two renowned illusionists, who happen to be real magicians connected with a secret society attempting to save the world from evil.

Fantasy Period Thriller
Michael De Luca Production Winner

The Energy Entertainment Guaranteed Signing Winner

BURNOVER

Anthony DeCapite

BACKDRAFT meets PRISON BREAK

After a prisoner who works on a convict fire crew falls in love with one of the professional firefighters, both of their lives are threatened when choices he made in the past come back to haunt him.

Action Romance Thriller
Top 25 Energy Entertainment Winner

Recon Literary Management Guaranteed Signing Winner

FOURTH COURIER, THE

Timothy Jay Smith

A MOST WANTED MAN meets BRIDGE OF SPIES

An FBI agent is brought into Warsaw in 1992 in order to investigate a series of murders that seem to be connected to smuggled nuclear material from the collapsing Soviet Union. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him - and the bomb - before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Drama Period Thriller
Top 10 Guaranteed Signing Winner

Mentorship Program Winners

DESIGNER COFFINS

Rie Rie Roughan

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN meets SIX FEET UNDER

After stumbling upon the dead body of a neighbor, an artistic housewife becomes convinced that his death was no accident, and she will stop at nothing to convince the skeptics around her and solve the murder - hopefully before the person responsible takes her out, too.

Comedy Crime Drama Thriller
Top Comedy Mentorship Selection (Daniel Wallace)

EVERMOON

Michael Cravotta

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA meets THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY

A geeky teenager and his two younger sisters get trapped by their evil great aunt in a fantasy world where the sun never rises, and they must use their magical powers to find their imprisoned grandfather and return him to the throne.

Adventure Fantasy Sci-Fi Young Adult
Top 75 Mentorship Selection (Zach Hines)

MIMIC

Courtney Suttle

THE GHOST WRITER meets GONE GIRL

A talented ghostwriter who mimics the style of famous authors when they have writer's block is assigned to complete the manuscript of a recently deceased novelist, but finds himself investigating the real mystery of her death.

Horror Thriller
Top 50 Mentorship Selection (Tal Klein)

Inkshares Publishing Prize Winners

EUDAIMONIA

Meghan Godwin

THE HANDMAID'S TALE meets GIRL, INTERRUPTED

In a world where fertility is rare, a woman suddenly finds herself a candidate for pregnancy and is placed in a strange birthing center where darkness hides beneath the shiny sterile surface.

Drama Sci-Fi Thriller
Top 10 Inkshares Publishing Prize Winner

SHIFT: THE STONEFORD CHRONICLES, THE

Paul Gulyas

GAME OF THRONES meets THE LEFTOVERS

A small, modern day town in Connecticut finds itself struggling to survive after it is mysteriously transported into a fantasy wilderness filled with gods, magic, and monsters.

Drama Fantasy Sci-Fi
Top 25 Inkshares Publishing Prize Winner

Top 5% Of All Entries

(Listed Alphabetically)

1989: AFTER HUMANITY

Paul Inman

TRON meets THE TERMINATOR

After a mysterious arcade game, sent back to us from after the extinction of humanity by an artificial intelligence, appears to be able to impact the real-life future, two arcade employees must figure out how to use it for good.

Adventure Sci-Fi Thriller
Top 75

ABSENT SUN, THE

Julie Suleski

JACK RYAN meets THE THING

A reclusive scientist exiled to the South Pole because of black market dealings becomes a marked man when he discovers a covert CIA plot to sabotage the station's massive underground scientific installation.

Action Adventure Thriller
Top 50

ALL FOR REVENGE

Chris Wonnacott

DEADWOOD meets CINDERELLA MAN

A man returns to his small Montana hometown to get revenge on the corrupt town responsible for his father's unjust death by utilizing an intricate plan to con and bankrupt the entire community with a boxing match starring two of the world's most famous boxers.

Drama Period Western
Honorable Mention

ANDREA WELLS AND THE DEFENDERS OF EARTH

Bryan Kelsey

DIVERGENT meets STAR TREK

An impoverished young woman is accepted into the prestigious academy deep in space where Earth trains its warriors to fight off alien invasions.

Adventure Sci-Fi Young Adult
Top 25

B-SHARP LIFE, THE

Nicole Pouchet

BEYOND THE LIGHTS meets LA LA LAND

A political journalist with a secret dream of being a novelist falls for a superstar singer, but no matter how perfect they are for each other, it's not easy to have a relationship in the spotlight.

Drama Romance
Top 25

BEAUTIFULLY DAMNED

Amber Alexander

TWILIGHT meets TRUE BLOOD

Two immortal beings living as teenagers fight to find each other as they struggle against the systematic persecution of humans with magical powers across America.

Fantasy Romance Young Adult
Top 50

BELLA

Jonas Vesterberg

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO meets MICHAEL CLAYTON

A dominatrix seeking a fresh start sends her journalist ex a mysterious note from a client, leading him down the rabbit hole of a cover-up by a private security company in the Middle East.

Drama Thriller
Top 75

BEST MAN IN HIS WORLD, THE

Wendy Wilson

TOP OF THE LAKE meets CHINATOWN

On the day of his forced retirement in 1888 New Zealand, a police inspector reexamines the biggest failure of his lengthy career - a series of gruesome murders committed by a notoriously elusive gang.

Crime Drama Period
Honorable Mention

BOMB IS IN THE BABY, THE D*#K IS IN THE BAG, THE

D. MaGee Fallon

JOHN WICK meets CRANK

A washed up FBI agent is blackmailed into doing the bidding of a powerful pharmaceutical company after they kidnap his newborn baby and implant a bomb in her body.

Action Sci-Fi Thriller
Honorable Mention

BOUND IN SHADOWS

TCC Edwards

GAME OF THRONES meets THE LORD OF THE RINGS

After a nobleman finds himself amongst rebels when a cruel prince murders his parents and tries to take over the Empire using dark magic, a spirit offers him the ability to avenge his family, but not without a catch - it will cost him his very soul.

Adventure Fantasy
Top 75

BURNING DOWN

Venero Armanno

THE FIGHTER meets THE GAMBLER

A washed-up former boxer finds a chance to make amends for past mistakes and repair his relationship with his estranged daughter when he takes on the responsibility of helping to alleviate massive gambling debts accumulated by his old boxing adversary, the father of his daughter's new fiance.

Crime Drama
Top 50

BURNOVER

Anthony DeCapite

BACKDRAFT meets PRISON BREAK

After a prisoner who works on a convict fire crew falls in love with one of the professional firefighters, both of their lives are threatened when choices he made in the past come back to haunt him.

Action Romance Thriller
Top 25 Energy Entertainment Winner

BUTTERFLY PROJECT, THE

Emma Scott

NEW GIRL meets DARK PLACES

With only a graphic novel inspired by her little sister's kidnapping to her name, a struggling artist moves to New York in order to pursue her dream of getting the work published. After she is rejected by all but one publishing house, she becomes roommates with an ex-con harboring secrets of a similarly dark past, and the two team up on the graphic novel, attempting to help one another overcome their respective traumas in the process.

Drama Romance
Honorable Mention

CARTOGRAPHER, THE

Michael McGhee

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA meets THE WIZARD OF OZ

After a young girl is transported to a magical world within her grandfather's maps, she must combine two halves of a torn map in order to reunite her grandparents and save this new land from falling apart.

Adventure Family Fantasy
Honorable Mention

CARVER INHERITANCE, THE

Anthony Renwick McGill

THE DA VINCI CODE meets DEADWOOD

A reverend and his son are entrusted with an ancient secret by a wealthy family in the Dakota Territory in the late 19th century.

Period Thriller Western
Top 75

CELESTIAL, THE

Barry Brennessel

TRUE GRIT meets BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

In the late 1870s, a young gold miner falls in love with a Chinese immigrant and the two try to make a life together on the unforgiving and prejudiced frontier.

Drama Period Romance
Top 10

CHASING TIGERS

Ian Sax

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL meets THE BIG SHORT

A man who's slowly going blind decides to uproot his life and take a position in India to replace a supposedly corrupt business manager, but the man soon becomes his closest friend in the country.

Drama
Honorable Mention

COLD NIGHT DISTANCE

Brad Goldberg

GONE GIRL meets SLIDING DOORS

A man frustrated after decades of marriage decides to kill his wife, but his plans are interrupted when he sees their past memories unfold through the scope of his rifle.

Crime Drama Thriller
Top 50

CORAL

Jeffrey Poehlmann & Todd McGonnell

SPLASH meets X-MEN

A music talent agent travels to Key West to scout an act, but finds his prospective young superstar has the ability to breathe underwater, and his unique gifts may be the key to something much bigger than a pop music career.

Adventure Sci-Fi
Honorable Mention

CORCORAN DYING

Robert Remy

THE HAPPENING meets UNDER THE DOME

A small Virginia town is rocked by a mysterious epidemic of suicides, which gets the attention of the national government, and results in a quarantine that threatens to further divide the town's residents.

Drama Horror Thriller
Honorable Mention

CRAZED

Eric Christopherson

THE FUGITIVE meets A BEAUTIFUL MIND

When his illness comes back full force after 22 years, a high-functioning schizophrenic who runs a private security firm finds himself deep in a word of paranoia and danger. After he's locked up for murdering a client, he begins to realize that his medication may have been tampered with, and that he is at the center of an elaborate conspiracy.

Drama Thriller
Top 50

DARK TIME: MORTAL PATH BOOK ONE

Shirley Kennett

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER meets CONSTANTINE

After three centuries as an assassin for the ruthless Sumerian demon to whom she sold her soul after being burned at the stake, one woman gives up her powers and must live as a human, atoning for her past sins and seeking a way to banish all demons.

Action Fantasy Thriller
Top 25

DARKEST FATE, THE

Sam Flynn

GAME OF THRONES meets THE LORD OF THE RINGS

After a prophecy warns of an evil man falling from the sky, a group of elves, men, and dwarfs go on a manhunt in search of this mythical villain before it's too late.

Adventure Fantasy
Honorable Mention

DEATH OF HANNAH DOYLE, THE

William Rainbolt

BROADCHURCH meets THE BIG SLEEP

During the Great Depression, a young woman is murdered near a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Upstate New York. In an attempt to find her killer, a detective discovers the answer lies hidden in the confluence of three murders, complicated romances, and an enormous drug smuggling operation.

Crime Drama Thriller
Honorable Mention

DEATH OF THE QUEEN OF HEARTS

Roman Clay

THE ROYALS meets GONE GIRL

A young prince uncovers the truth about his mother's death in a car crash. Based on Prince William and Princess Diana with all the names changed.

Crime Drama Thriller
Top 75

DEATH'S DETECTIVE

Marie Steel

DEAD LIKE ME meets JESSICA JONES

A private investigator is recruited by a Grim Reaper to solve the mysterious murder of one of his deathly colleagues.

Crime Supernatural Thriller
Top 25

DESIGNER COFFINS

Rie Rie Roughan

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN meets SIX FEET UNDER

After stumbling upon the dead body of a neighbor, an artistic housewife becomes convinced that his death was no accident, and she will stop at nothing to convince the skeptics around her and solve the murder - hopefully before the person responsible takes her out, too.

Comedy Crime Drama Thriller
Top 10 Mentorship Selection (Daniel Wallace)

DEVIL AND ADDISON DRUCKER, THE

Christian Hayden

STRANGER THINGS meets DESTINATION TRUTH

A young conspiracy theorist stages the existence of the Jersey Devil in order to lure his favorite TV monster hunter to town, only to discover that the creature is not only real, but very dangerous.

Supernatural Young Adult
Top 50

DEVIL IS FROM JERSEY, THE

Stephen Himes

HELL OR HIGH WATER meets A MOST VIOLENT YEAR

The true story of a young college student that accidentally stumbles into a bank robbery spree after he is pressured and manipulated by his mafioso neighbor.

Action Crime Thriller
Top 50

DEVIL YOU DON'T, THE

Susan Hamilton

LUCIFER meets SUPERNATURAL

A devil finds herself in trouble in hell after she falls in love with an angel, learning about her mysterious past in the process.

Drama Romance Supernatural
Top 25

DEVIL'S BREATH

Jon Wells

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE meets HOMELAND

After an Australian operative discovers that the infamous Chernobyl disaster was no accident, they must track down the devastating weapon that caused it before it destroys the world.

Action Thriller
Top 75

DOOR, THE

Sarah Edmondson

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS meets HAVEN

A teenager serves out her probation helping an elderly woman operate a mysterious bed and breakfast in the Arizona desert, which sits just outside a door leading to other worlds. There's only one rule: Never lock the door.

Drama Fantasy Thriller
Top 25

DOSED, DRAINED, & ADRIFT

Dane Phillips

EAT, PRAY, LOVE meets A WALK IN THE WOODS

A disillusioned young couple uproots their lives in order to live, travel, and explore abroad with only a few dollars in their pockets. Unfortunately, they quickly realize they are in way over their head when they are forced to sacrifice life, limb, and relationship in order to stay alive.

Adventure Comedy Drama
Honorable Mention

ELIXIR

Camille Sharon

DR. JEYKLL AND MR. HYDE meets DRACULA

While traveling abroad as the personal physician to a rich philanderer, a young doctor encounters an elixir that can secure him the girl of his dreams, but at a great cost to his soul.

Romance Supernatural Period
Honorable Mention

EUDAIMONIA

Meghan Godwin

THE HANDMAID'S TALE meets GIRL, INTERRUPTED

In a world where fertility is rare, a woman suddenly finds herself a candidate for pregnancy and is placed in a strange birthing center where darkness hides beneath the shiny sterile surface.

Drama Sci-Fi Thriller
Top 10

EVERMOON

Michael Cravotta

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA meets THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY

A geeky teenager and his two younger sisters get trapped by their evil great aunt in a fantasy world where the sun never rises, and they must use their magical powers to find their imprisoned grandfather and return him to the throne.

Adventure Fantasy Sci-Fi Young Adult
Top 75 Mentorship Selection (Zach Hines)

EXTRACTION

Luke Preston

THE BOURNE IDENTITY meets LETHAL WEAPON

A hostage negotiator who's seen it all is recruited to help a rookie FBI agent in recovering a kidnapped agent with information about a massive, impending terrorist attack.

Action Thriller
Top 50

FALCON FLIES ALONE, THE

Gabrielle Mathieu

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN meets THE GOLDEN COMPASS

After a dangerous potion unleashes her feral side, an aspiring chemist finds herself suspected in a recent murder, and she must use her newfound powers to track down the unscrupulous professor responsible without managing to kill them both in the process.

Drama Period Sci-Fi Thriller
Honorable Mention

FALL OF ANGELS, THE

Peter Hibbert

THE CONSTANT GARDENER meets MICHAEL CLAYTON

Two married attorneys at rival law firms find themselves on opposite sides of a major case involving the unsafe and illegal practices of a major pharmaceutical company.

Drama Thriller
Honorable Mention

FAR FLUNG

TCC Edwards

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA meets STAR TREK

After their ship jumps to the wrong corner of the universe, a group of humans have to survive on their own against hostile aliens while avoiding the intergalactic war they've stumbled into.

Action Adventure Sci-Fi
Top 50

FINTAN FEDORA AND THE DIAMOND MASK

Clive Goddard

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN meets INDIANA JONES

A young, accident-prone boy who dreams of adventure gets more than he bargained for when his family travels to Africa and he runs afoul of attempted diamond thieves, taking him on a silly and perilous journey through the African wilderness.

Adventure Comedy Family
Top 25

FIRE ON THE ISLAND

Timothy Jay Smith

JACK REACHER meets THE ARSONIST

An FBI agent travels to a small Greek island to help investigate a dangerous string of arson cases being blamed on the influx of refugees.

Crime Drama Thriller
Top 75

FORTUNES OF THE SPACE SLOTH

Patrick Tebbe

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY meets FIREFLY

A spaceship pilot, the malfunctioning AI he programmed while drunk, and a stowaway with a hidden agenda and a secret nuclear weapon find themselves in a distant galaxy, unwittingly caught up in the world of cosmic politics.

Adventure Comedy Sci-Fi
Top 25

FOUNTAIN, THE

Steve Cohen

BIG meets DIARY OF A WIMPY KID

After a mysterious naked boy washes up on the shore of a coastal Florida community, a teen must team up with a government scientist to figure out why all the people around him are suddenly “de-aging” - with the fate of the world at stake.

Adventure Drama Family Fantasy
Top 75

FOUR

J.J. Robins

THE 100 meets BRAVE NEW WORLD

After four major religions take over the world, atheists are forced into small spaceship pods and dared to kill themselves, but when one man decides to persist, he is rescued by a strange alien race and taken to a new world.

Drama Sci-Fi
Honorable Mention

FOURTH COURIER, THE

Timothy Jay Smith

A MOST WANTED MAN meets BRIDGE OF SPIES

An FBI agent is brought into Warsaw in 1992 in order to investigate a series of murders that seem to be connected to smuggled nuclear material from the collapsing Soviet Union. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him - and the bomb - before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Drama Period Thriller
Top 10

FRAME-UP

Brad Schoenfeld & Eric Christopherson

THE LIFE OF DAVID GALE meets THE GHOST WRITER

When his editor convinces him to get framed for murder in order to write an article about the death penalty and injustice, a journalist reluctantly agrees, but soon finds the plan spinning out of control.

Crime Drama Thriller
Top 75

GLASS IN THE SNOW

Ethan Stallman

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA meets SPIRITED AWAY

Still reeling from the recent death of her grandmother, a teenage girl able to commune with nature is thrown even more significantly off-balance when the boy she loves is possessed by an ancient relic. She must venture forth into a strange world populated by the characters from her grandmother's stories in order to save him and come to terms with the death of the woman she loved so dearly.

Adventure Fantasy Young Adult
Honorable Mention

HARPER FALLS

Alyssa Appleton

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS meets TWILIGHT

A teenage girl is thrust into a war over the fate of a magical realm after a strange boy who she keeps seeing in her dreams shows up at her school.

Adventure Fantasy Young Adult
Honorable Mention

INVITATION TO THE DJINN COURT

Lina Elbadawi

MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN meets THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS

A young teenager discovers her Djinn heritage and must fight to fulfill a prophecy and save herself, her newfound kingdom, and the lives of those she loves most.

Adventure Fantasy Young Adult
Top 75

LEAPER

Christian Hayden

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER meets QUANTUM LEAP

A girl discovers she has the ability to leap into the bodies other animals and people, but soon finds herself pursued by a nefarious organization that will stop at nothing to get their hands on her incredible power.

Fantasy Young Adult
Top 75

LIFE, MOTHERHOOD & THE PURSUIT OF THE PERFECT HANDBAG

Emily Roberson

THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA meets BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY

Once the epitome of "work-life balance" with her two cute kids, glamorous job, and handsome husband, a handbag designer finds herself struggling to save her career, her marriage, and her flexible schedule when a conglomerate takes over the small company she works for.

Comedy Drama
Top 75

LILAH

Marjorie Deluca

TOP OF THE LAKE meets FARGO

When a beautiful woman arrives on a snowy night, a newspaper reporter is inspired by her interest in a years-old cold case to investigate a string of mysterious disappearances in his small town.

Drama Romance Thriller
Top 75

MAGUS WORLD, THE

Gannon Kenney

THE PRESTIGE meets THE BLACK DAHLIA

In 1920s New York, a detective investigates a mysterious murder with the help of two renowned illusionists, who happen to be real magicians connected with a secret society attempting to save the world from evil.

Fantasy Period Thriller
Top 10

MELOPHOBIA

James Morris

FOOTLOOSE meets FAHRENHEIT 451

In a dystopian society where all music is outlawed as subversive, an agent with the government censorship agency finds herself drawn into an underground resistance.

Drama Sci-Fi Thriller
Top 50

MIMIC

Courtney Suttle

THE GHOST WRITER meets GONE GIRL

A talented ghostwriter who mimics the style of famous authors when they have writer's block is assigned to complete the manuscript of a recently deceased novelist, but finds himself investigating the real mystery of her death.

Horror Thriller
Top 50 Mentorship Selection (Tal Klein)

MIRRORED CEILING

Caroline Burchell

THE SHINING meets UNFAITHFUL

After the discovery of her husband's bold infidelity on the night of their wedding, a rightfully perturbed woman spends her honeymoon avoiding the man she just married while she explores the hotel and suffers from disturbing visions with real-life consequences.

Horror
Top 50

MURDER COVE: PARTY OF DEATH

Robert Lanigan

MURDER SHE WROTE meets SEARCH PARTY

An elderly woman travels to an Irish fishing village for a holiday, but soon finds herself bored enough to investigate a local murder. With the help of a young surfer, she soon discovers that the smallest of places hide the biggest of secrets.

Comedy Crime Drama
Top 25

MY LIFE AS AN EXTRA

Ruth Kaufman

EAT, PRAY, LOVE meets LA LA LAND

After an unexpected divorce, a woman reinvestigates her dormant dream of becoming an actress, not exactly eager to start back at the bottom: as an extra.

Drama
Honorable Mention

NEW EDEN

Marius Adams

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY meets GHOST IN THE SHELL

A teenager living on a distant space colony that has long since lost contact with Earth is sent into a dangerous virtual reality world when a strange ship arrives on her planet.

Adventure Sci-Fi Young Adult
Top 75

NON-DEMONIC POSSESSION OF LINUS MAYNARD, THE

Gregory Harty

THE OMEN meets ASH VS EVIL DEAD

An underachieving grad student is drawn into a supernatural adventure when an archeological dig accidentally unearths a non-demonic (but still very malignant) spirit intent on possessing him.

Comedy Horror Supernatural
Top 50

NOOSPACE

Robert Dixon

WESTWORLD meets READY PLAYER ONE

An employee of a massive virtual reality world is fired after exposing a threat against the system, and must go back in to prevent everything from falling apart.

Action Sci-Fi Thriller
Top 75

OF LOVE AND EVIL

Hubert de La Bouillerie

ROSEMARY'S BABY meets BILLIONS

After her mother's death, a woman takes over both her multimedia conglomerate and the family legacy of fighting the forces of evil.

Drama Fantasy Supernatural
Honorable Mention

OLD GOD, THE

Anu Besson

THE ABYSS meets INDIANA JONES

A team of archaeologists investigates a strange statue found at the bottom of a deep lake in Finland, and are shocked to find it is much older than it should be, thus threatening our understanding of human history. In their search for the truth, the team is plagued by disappearances, strange sounds and symbols, and the certainty that something is wrong with the lake they're exploring.

Action Sci-Fi Thriller
Top 50

ONEIRIKA

Eleonora Mignoli

TRON meets READY PLAYER ONE

A father is forced to compete in a virtual reality game that takes place in the world of dreams after his children are kidnapped by the game's creator, who is convinced that this man is the key to waking her niece up from her game-induced coma.

Action Sci-Fi
Honorable Mention

ONLY THE PRETTY ONES

Karen Bryson

GONE BABY GONE meets TAKEN

After her sister is abducted from a college bar and the police won't investigate, a woman takes matters into her own hands, teaming up with a drug dealer to find her, and unearthing an enormous conspiracy regarding a Senator and his son in the process.

Crime Drama Thriller
Top 10

PANACEA: THE AGE OF AG

Richard Bailey

THE MAZE RUNNER meets UNDER THE DOME

In the future, humanity lives in utopian domes where AI directs their entire existence, but when resources get scarce and one of the domes is informed they will all be killed for the sake of humankind, a group of teens break out and try to survive in the wilderness.

Adventure Sci-Fi Young Adult
Top 50

PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY

Mark Warren

FREQUENCY meets MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

An orphaned photography expert finds a camera that allows him to take pictures of the past, leading him on an investigation into the death of his own mother, tracking the murder through time.

Drama Sci-Fi
Top 75

PIRATE'S GAME, THE

Ron Allen

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN meets JUMANJI

Two siblings are led into the world of a pirate video game by the strange monster in their closet.

Adventure Family Fantasy
Top 50

PLANTATION HOUSE, THE

Laura McVeigh

THE WITCH meets BELOVED

After being sold as a slave by English forces during the English Civil War, a young girl is sent to Montserrat in the Caribbean, where a tragic event causes her spirit to haunt her descendants through the centuries.

Fantasy Period Supernatural
Top 50

POLARIS

Ian Quinn

WATCHMEN meets LOGAN

A washed-up superhero in a world that no longer wants heroes around, revisits his past life when he is tasked by a strange superfan with finding a missing woman.

Action Sci-Fi
Top 75

RAILROADED

Cory Oakes

HELL ON WHEELS meets BONE TOMAHAWK

A worker on the Union Pacific Railroad finds himself unemployed after the driving of the Golden Spike, and teams up with a retired Civil War Colonel to track down a dangerous monster stalking the Wild West.

Horror Period Western
Honorable Mention

RAVELED

Anne McAneny

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO meets BROADCHURCH

Sixteen years after her father was convicted of a double murder, a woman returns to her small hometown to investigate the parts of the story that don't add up.

Crime Drama Thriller
Top 50

RIPPLE

Heather Faris

NO ESCAPE meets THE CONSTANT GARDENER

An American journalist and Vietnamese-American photographer team up to expose corruption in UN peacekeeping forces in 1993 Cambodia.

Action Thriller
Honorable Mention

ROYAL CORONER, THE

Matthew Morde

THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER meets TRUE DETECTIVE

A coroner in Medieval England investigates a mysterious death on the estate of his friend, a high lord with plenty of secrets to hide.

Crime Drama Period
Top 75

SALVATION FOR A GIRL LIKE ME

Maria Kennedy

MY SO-CALLED LIFE meets CARRIE

A teenage girl has an uncontrollable ability to enter the minds of others and experience flashes of their thoughts, making high school even more complicated for her. After committing a horrible crime to save her mother, she unwittingly joins a secret society of others with her gift.

Drama Fantasy Young Adult
Top 75

SAVAGE INSTINCT, THE

Marjorie Deluca

ALIAS GRACE meets SHUTTER ISLAND

A repressed housewife in Victorian England becomes fascinated with the case of a woman on trial for poisoning her children, and begins visiting the criminal in prison, learning about herself and her situation in the process.

Drama Period
Top 50

SEVENTH MARK, THE

Shannon Kelley

GAME OF THRONES meets THE DARK TOWER

After a cargo ship arrives at the Angosia wharf, abandoned and engulfed in flames, rumors begin circulating of a noble Dark Rider in the surrounding forest. A young boy, in desperate pursuit of the rumored rider, befriends him, training with him so that he may be prepared to face the evil which is prophesized to kill him when he turns 17.

Adventure Fantasy
Top 75

SHIFT: THE STONEFORD CHRONICLES, THE

Paul Gulyas

GAME OF THRONES meets THE LEFTOVERS

A small, modern day town in Connecticut finds itself struggling to survive after it is mysteriously transported into a fantasy wilderness filled with gods, magic, and monsters.

Drama Fantasy Sci-Fi
Top 25 Inkshares Publishing Prize Winner

SINGLE WHITE ANTI-CHRIST

James Morris

LUCIFER meets SEX AND THE CITY

When her long-lost mother comes to her father's funeral, a woman discovers that her mother is the Devil, and she is actually the Anti-Christ.

Comedy Romance Supernatural
Top 25

SKEWED

Anne McAneny

GONE GIRL meets SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

A woman whose mother was killed thirty years earlier tries to find the truth when she is mailed a series of photos from the crime scene that suggest the man in jail for the murder, her own father, may not have been the killer at all.

Crime Drama Thriller
Top 25

SLUMBER

Caroline Chidester-O'Meara

13 REASONS WHY meets MEMENTO

After being pushed from the roof at her junior prom, a high school student endures a seven month coma and awakens to find herself with complete amnesia, and no idea of who tried to kill her. As she seeks desperately to figure out who did this to her, she finds herself discovering and rediscovering herself in the process.

Drama Thriller Young Adult
Top 10

STAR DUST

Debbie Friedman

13 REASONS WHY meets VERONICA MARS

A teenager whose father is in jail for murdering her mother receives a note suggesting that the true murderer may still be on the loose. As she investigates the mystery, she also pursues a renewed relationship with her long-estranged father.

Crime Thriller Young Adult
Top 10

SULPHUR CURE, THE

Barry Brennessel

A CURE FOR WELLNESS meets LAWLESS

In Depression-era New Hampshire, a man travels to an abandoned health resort in search of his brother who went missing a decade earlier.

Drama Period
Top 50

SWINGLINE

Keri Lee

HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY meets TWIN PEAKS

After a young woman wakes up one morning with the voice of an alien in her head, she returns to an ex-lover/psychologist in order to seek assistance, only to become embroiled in his search for his stalker.

Comedy Drama Sci-Fi
Top 50

SYRACUSE PRESIDENCY, THE

Dennis Connor

IN THE LOOP meets THE WEST WING

After facing unprecedented corruption and under the direction of a professor who's declared himself the President, the United States government relocates to Syracuse, New York in hopes of shaking things up.

Comedy Drama
Top 75

TALKERS ARE TALKING, THE

Janna Liggan

THE WALKING DEAD meets SNOWPIERCER

A woman struggles to survive after a zombie disease spreads across the world, triggered by high temperatures that have made the very air poisonous, and takes refuge in a large underground city run by mysterious leaders with ulterior motives.

Action Horror Sci-Fi
Honorable Mention

THEIR JUST DESSERTS

E. J. Gore

SWEET HOME ALABAMA meets BRIDE WARS

A sisterly-war for the ages erupts when a famous actress returns to her small Georgia hometown to remake Gone with the Wind and gets in between her twin and their mutual ex-boyfriend.

Comedy Drama Romance
Top 25

THIS RED FIRE

Nicolina Torres

IN COLD BLOOD meets ZODIAC

When all 80 residents of a small Nebraska town are murdered overnight, the sheriff of a neighboring city must work with the feds to figure out what happened and track down the only two missing from the carnage - a pair of young siblings.

Crime Thriller
Top 10

TRAINING OF KARA STEELE, THE

James Connor & Kristin Walsh

YOUNG ADULT meets LIMITLESS

A woman whose life is in shambles takes a mysterious pill given to her by a therapist, which causes her to hallucinate the source of her problems - her bitchy inner self.

Comedy Sci-Fi Romance
Top 50

TRUE STORY OF THE RICHEST KID IN SCHOOL (INCLUDING MY FATHER'S MURDER, POLITICAL CORRUPTION AND THE MANSION FIRE THAT EXPOSED IT ALL), THE

Moses Frenck

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET meets CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

In the 1970s and 80s, a young man is unwittingly involved in his stepfather's less than illustrious political career - sculpting global politics through espionage, theft, and treason.

Drama Period
Top 75

UNDER

Deborah Cloyed

MAD MAX meets SPLASH

In a deserted, post-apocalyptic Malibu, ten years after mysterious creatures emerged from the ocean to terrorize the world for a night before disappearing again, a young man encounters one of them, and falls in love.

Fantasy Romance Sci-Fi
Top 75

VALENTINE SAGA: INNOCENCE, THE

Brendon Udy

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE meets PACIFIC RIM

After living her entire life in an underground bunker, a young woman braves the war-torn surface with her trusty robot companion, only to discover that the war never truly ended, and that the parents that she deeply loved before their tragic demise many years ago might have been responsible.

Action Adventure Sci-Fi
Top 75

WAKING THE MERROW

Heather Rigney

SPLASH meets TRUE BLOOD

A functioning alcoholic funeral director, wife, and mother stumbles upon a group of sinister mermaids in her small, coastal Rhode Island town.

Drama Fantasy
Top 50

WATCH ME

Jody Gehrman

OBSESSED meets THE BOY NEXT DOOR

A creative writing professor and one of her charming young students, toe the line of romantic attraction and sociopath compulsion.

Romance Thriller
Top Drama

WELLNESS COMMISSION, THE

Alex Fletcher

DIVERGENT meets MAD MAX

In a near future that has seen earthquakes decimate the constantly shrinking borders of the U.S., a young girl must decide whether to continue on her privileged path or to stand up for what she believes is right.

Action Sci-Fi Young Adult
Honorable Mention

WHERE WORDS FAIL

Martin Sturrock

SING STREET meets THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

Motivated by her affection for a popular boy with a passion for music, a former violin prodigy with fibromyalgia picks up the bow again in order to win his affections.

Drama Romance Young Adult
Top 50

YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR'S CLUB, THE

Matthew Minson

RUSHMORE meets AMERICAN PSYCHO

A teenager begins a murder spree using the skills he's learned in his high school's Young Entrepreneur's Club, calling into question the relative morality of killing "in the right way."

Comedy Crime Thriller
Top 25

YOUNG NATION

Nicolina Torres

THE HANDMAID'S TALE meets CHILDREN OF MEN

In a post apocalyptic America, a teenage girl must defend her women-only island from attack against the remaining forces of the United States, now a misogynist regime known as The Republic.

Sci-Fi Young Adult
Honorable Mention

The Tracking Board, in exclusive partnership with Michael De Luca Productions, Inkshares, and Energy Entertainment, is pleased to announce the Top 10 for the 2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition.

This year’s Top 10 cover a range of genres, from heart-wrenching period dramas to pulse-pounding thrillers, and locations spanning from a city barely freed of the Iron Curtain to frighteningly imaginable dystopic futures to sunny suburbs where nothing is as safe and sound as it seems. These stories feature teen sleuths, charming sociopaths, very real magicians, 19th Century gold miners, and everything in between.

Beyond just the Top 10, all of our Top 75 writers have been hard at work promoting their projects to the Inkshares community. This means that in addition to the three Grand Prize Winners that will be exclusively selected by the Launch Pad Judging Panel, the three manuscripts that receive the most pre-orders on Inksharkes will be eligible to be published on their platform. You can support Launch Pad authors by visiting our competition leaderboard on the Inkshares site.

Our judges, partners, and mentors are diving in to duke it out about who will walk away with the top prize, as well as the guaranteed options, signings, and mentorships. But in the meantime, we are thrilled to present the 2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition’s Top 10!

(And as a reminder — If you selected one of our add-on prizes at the time of entry, but did not advance to the Top 10, you are still in contention to win those prizes. In fact, every competition since we began featuring add-on partner packages has featured winners who did not make the initial finalist round.)

CELESTIAL, THE

Barry Brennessel

TRUE GRIT meets BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

In the late 1870s, a young gold miner falls in love with a Chinese immigrant and the two try to make a life together on the unforgiving and prejudiced frontier.

Drama Period Romance

DESIGNER COFFINS

Rie Rie Roughan

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN meets SIX FEET UNDER

After stumbling upon the dead body of a neighbor, an artistic housewife becomes convinced that his death was no accident, and she will stop at nothing to convince the skeptics around her and solve the murder - hopefully before the person responsible takes her out, too.

Comedy Crime Drama

EUDAIMONIA

Meghan Godwin

THE HANDMAID'S TALE meets GIRL, INTERRUPTED

In a world where fertility is rare, a woman suddenly finds herself a candidate for pregnancy and is placed in a strange birthing center where darkness hides beneath the shiny sterile surface.

Drama Sci-fi Thriller

FOURTH COURIER, THE

Timothy Jay Smith

A MOST WANTED MAN meets BRIDGE OF SPIES

An FBI agent is brought into Warsaw in 1992 in order to investigate a series of murders that seem to be connected to smuggled nuclear material from the collapsing Soviet Union. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him - and the bomb - before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Drama Period Thriller

MAGUS WORLD, THE

Gannon Kenney

THE PRESTIGE meets THE BLACK DAHLIA

In 1920s New York, a detective investigates a mysterious murder with the help of two renowned illusionists, who happen to be real magicians connected with a secret society attempting to save the world from evil.

Fantasy Period Thriller

ONLY THE PRETTY ONES

Karen Bryson

GONE BABY GONE meets TAKEN

After her sister is abducted from a college bar and the police won't investigate, a woman takes matters into her own hands, teaming up with a drug dealer to find her, and unearthing an enormous conspiracy regarding a Senator and his son in the process.

Crime Drama Thriller

SLUMBER

Caroline Chidester-O'Meara

13 REASONS WHY meets MEMENTO

After being pushed from the roof at her junior prom, a high school student endures a seven month coma and awakens to find herself with complete amnesia, and no idea of who tried to kill her. As she seeks desperately to figure out who did this to her, she finds herself discovering and rediscovering herself in the process.

Drama Thriller Young Adult

STAR DUST

Debbie Friedman

13 REASONS WHY meets VERONICA MARS

A teenager whose father is in jail for murdering her mother receives a note suggesting that the true murderer may still be on the loose. As she investigates the mystery, she also pursues a renewed relationship with her long-estranged father.

Crime Thriller Young Adult

THIS RED FIRE

Nicolina Torres

IN COLD BLOOD meets ZODIAC

When all 80 residents of a small Nebraska town are murdered overnight, the sheriff of a neighboring city must work with the feds to figure out what happened and track down the only two missing from the carnage - a pair of young siblings.

Crime Thriller

WATCH ME

Jody Gehrman

OBSESSED meets THE BOY NEXT DOOR

A creative writing professor and one of her charming young students, toe the line of romantic attraction and sociopath compulsion.

Romance Thriller

Alongside our exclusive partners Michael De Luca Productions, Inkshares, and Energy Entertainment, we are pleased to announce the Top 25 for the 2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition.

Over half of this year’s Top 25 come from female authors, and a handful are written by authors hailing from countries abroad. From fantastical young adult fare to sci-fi adventure epics, the Top 25 manuscripts feature an array of genres, ranging from rom-coms to dark comedies to the darkest of thrillers. These stories showcase everything from a New York where magic is real, a world on the brink of nuclear war, and distant galaxies, to an elderly woman solving crimes while on holiday, a teenage explorer trying to stop diamond smugglers, and a young woman finding out she is very literally the Anti-Christ.

Alongside our Top 25, all of our Top 75 writers are hard at work promoting their projects to the Inkshares community. In addition to the three Grand Prize Winners that will be exclusively selected by the Launch Pad Judging Panel, the three manuscripts that receive the most pre-orders on Inkshares will be eligible to be published on their platform.

So without further ado, we are incredibly excited to announce the Top 25 Manuscripts of our 2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition!

(And as a reminder — If you selected one of our add-on prizes at the time of entry, but did not advance to the Top 25, you are still in contention to win those prizes. In fact, every competition since we began featuring add-on partner packages has featured winners who did not make the initial finalist round.)

ANDREA WELLS AND THE DEFENDERS OF EARTH

Bryan Kelsey

DIVERGENT meets STAR TREK

An impoverished young woman is accepted into the prestigious academy deep in space where Earth trains its warriors to fight off alien invasions.

Adventure Sci-fi Young Adult

B-SHARP LIFE, THE

Nicole Pouchet

BEYOND THE LIGHTS meets LA LA LAND

A political journalist with a secret dream of being a novelist falls for a superstar singer, but no matter how perfect they are for each other, it's not easy to have a relationship in the spotlight.

Drama Romance

BURNOVER

Anthony DeCapite

BACKDRAFT meets PRISON BREAK

After a prisoner who works on a convict fire crew falls in love with one of the professional firefighters, both of their lives are threatened when choices he made in the past come back to haunt him.

Action Romance Thriller

CELESTIAL, THE

Barry Brennessel

TRUE GRIT meets BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

In the late 1870s, a young gold miner falls in love with a Chinese immigrant and the two try to make a life together on the unforgiving and prejudiced frontier.

Drama Period Romance

DARK TIME: MORTAL PATH BOOK ONE

Shirley Kennett

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER meets CONSTANTINE

After three centuries as an assassin for the ruthless Sumerian demon to whom she sold her soul after being burned at the stake, one woman gives up her powers and must live as a human, atoning for her past sins and seeking a way to banish all demons.

Action Fantasy Thriller

DEATH'S DETECTIVE

Marie Steel

DEAD LIKE ME meets JESSICA JONES

A private investigator is recruited by a Grim Reaper to solve the mysterious murder of one of his deathly colleagues.

Crime Supernatural Thriller

DESIGNER COFFINS

Rie Rie Roughan

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN meets SIX FEET UNDER

After stumbling upon the dead body of a neighbor, an artistic housewife becomes convinced that his death was no accident, and she will stop at nothing to convince the skeptics around her and solve the murder - hopefully before the person responsible takes her out, too.

Comedy Crime

DEVIL YOU DON'T, THE

Susan Hamilton

LUCIFER meets SUPERNATURAL

A devil finds herself in trouble in hell after she falls in love with an angel, learning about her mysterious past in the process.

Drama Romance Supernatural

DOOR, THE

Sarah Edmondson

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS meets HAVEN

A teenager serves out her probation helping an elderly woman operate a mysterious bed and breakfast in the Arizona desert, which sits just outside a door leading to other worlds. There's only one rule: Never lock the door.

Drama Fantasy Thriller

EUDAIMONIA

Meghan Godwin

THE HANDMAID'S TALE meets GIRL, INTERRUPTED

In a world where fertility is rare, a woman suddenly finds herself a candidate for pregnancy and is placed in a strange birthing center where darkness hides beneath the shiny sterile surface.

Drama Sci-Fi Thriller

FINTAN FEDORA AND THE DIAMOND MASK

Clive Goddard

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN meets INDIANA JONES

A young, accident-prone boy who dreams of adventure gets more than he bargained for when his family travels to Africa and he runs afoul of attempted diamond thieves, taking him on a silly and perilous journey through the African wilderness.

Adventure Comedy Family

FORTUNES OF THE SPACE SLOTH

Patrick Tebbe

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY meets FIREFLY

A spaceship pilot, the malfunctioning AI he programmed while drunk, and a stowaway with a hidden agenda and a secret nuclear weapon find themselves in a distant galaxy, unwittingly caught up in the world of cosmic politics.

Adventure Comedy Sci-Fi

FOURTH COURIER, THE

Timothy Jay Smith

A MOST WANTED MAN meets BRIDGE OF SPIES

An FBI agent is brought into Warsaw in 1992 in order to investigate a series of murders that seem to be connected to smuggled nuclear material from the collapsing Soviet Union. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him - and the bomb - before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Drama Period Thriller

MAGUS WORLD, THE

Gannon Kenney

THE PRESTIGE meets THE BLACK DAHLIA

In 1920s New York, a detective investigates a mysterious murder with the help of two renowned illusionists, who happen to be real magicians connected with a secret society attempting to save the world from evil.

Fantasy Period Thriller

MURDER COVE: PARTY OF DEATH

Robert Lanigan

MURDER SHE WROTE meets SEARCH PARTY

An elderly woman travels to an Irish fishing village for a holiday, but soon finds herself bored enough to investigate a local murder. With the help of a young surfer, she soon discovers that the smallest of places hide the biggest of secrets.

Comedy Crime Drama

ONLY THE PRETTY ONES

Karen Bryson

GONE BABY GONE meets TAKEN

After her sister is abducted from a college bar and the police won't investigate, a woman takes matters into her own hands, teaming up with a drug dealer to find her, and unearthing an enormous conspiracy regarding a Senator and his son in the process.

Crime Drama Thriller

SHIFT: THE STONEFORD CHRONICLES, THE

Paul Gulyas

GAME OF THRONES meets THE LEFTOVERS

A small, modern day town in Connecticut finds itself struggling to survive after it is mysteriously transported into a fantasy wilderness filled with gods, magic, and monsters.

Drama Fantasy Sci-Fi

SINGLE WHITE ANTI-CHRIST

James Morris

LUCIFER meets SEX AND THE CITY

When her long-lost mother comes to her father's funeral, a woman discovers that her mother is the Devil, and she is actually the Anti-Christ.

Comedy Romance Supernatural

SKEWED

Anne McAneny

GONE GIRL meets SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

A woman whose mother was killed thirty years earlier tries to find the truth when she is mailed a series of photos from the crime scene that suggest the man in jail for the murder, her own father, may not have been the killer at all.

Crime Drama Thriller

SLUMBER

Caroline Chidester-O'Meara

13 REASONS WHY meets MEMENTO

After being pushed from the roof at her junior prom, a high school student endures a seven month coma and awakens to find herself with complete amnesia, and no idea of who tried to kill her. As she seeks desperately to figure out who did this to her, she finds herself discovering and rediscovering herself in the process.

Drama Young Adult Thriller

STAR DUST

Debbie Friedman

13 REASONS WHY meets VERONICA MARS

A teenager whose father is in jail for murdering her mother receives a note suggesting that the true murderer may still be on the loose. As she investigates the mystery, she also pursues a renewed relationship with her long-estranged father.

Crime Thriller Young Adult

THEIR JUST DESSERTS

E. J. Gore

SWEET HOME ALABAMA meets BRIDE WARS

A sisterly-war for the ages erupts when a famous actress returns to her small Georgia hometown to remake GONE WITH THE WIND and gets in between her twin and their mutual ex- boyfriend.

Comedy Drama Romance

THIS RED FIRE

Nicolina Torres

IN COLD BLOOD meets ZODIAC

When all 80 residents of a small Nebraska town are murdered overnight, the sheriff of a neighboring city must work with the feds to figure out what happened and track down the only two missing from the carnage - a pair of young siblings.

Crime Thriller

WATCH ME

Jody Gehrman

OBSESSED meets THE BOY NEXT DOOR

A creative writing professor and one of her charming young students, toe the line of romantic attraction and sociopath compulsion.

Romance Thriller

YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR'S CLUB, THE

Matthew Minson

RUSHMORE meets AMERICAN PSYCHO

A teenager begins a murder spree using the skills he's learned in his high school's Young Entrepreneur's Club, calling into question the relative morality of killing "in the right way."

Comedy Crime Thriller

The Tracking Board, in exclusive partnership with Michael De Luca Productions, Inkshares, and Energy Entertainment, is pleased to announce the Top 50 for the 2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition.

Half of this year’s Top 50 manuscripts come from female authors, and over 25 percent from writers abroad. This year’s Top 50 also features a wide range of genres, with everything from fantasy to thrillers, to period dramas and comedic sci-fi, and everything in between. Plus, there’s no shortage of imagination amongst these writers’ visions. These stories feature ragtag crews lost in space, forbidden romances, murder investigations, near future dystopias, and, yes, even the Jersey Devil and bloodthirsty mermaids.

Beyond the Top 50, all of our Top 75 writers have also now begun to promote their work to the Inkshares community. This means that in addition to the three Grand Prize Winners that will be exclusively selected by the Launch Pad Judging Panel, the three manuscripts that receive the most pre-orders on Inksharkes will be eligible to be published on their platform.

So without further ado, we are incredibly excited to announce the Top 50 Manuscripts of our 2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition!

(And as a reminder — If you selected one of our add-on prizes at the time of entry, but did not advance to the Top 50, you are still in contention to win those prizes. In fact, every competition since we began featuring add-on partner packages has featured winners who did not make the initial finalist round.
ProjectWritten By
ABSENT SUN, THEJulie Suleski
ANDREA WELLS AND THE DEFENDERS OF EARTHBryan Kelsey
B-SHARP LIFE, THENicole Pouchet
BEAUTIFULLY DAMNEDAmber Alexander
BURNING DOWNVenero Armanno
BURNOVERAnthony DeCapite
CELESTIAL, THEBarry Brennessel
COLD NIGHT DISTANCEBrad Goldberg
CRAZEDEric Christopherson
DARK TIME: MORTAL PATH BOOK ONEShirley Kennett
DEATH'S DETECTIVEMarie Steel
DESIGNER COFFINSRie Rie Roughan
DEVIL AND ADDISON DRUCKER, THEChristian Hayden
DEVIL IS FROM JERSEY, THEStephen Himes
DEVIL YOU DON'T, THESusan Hamilton
DOOR, THESarah Edmondson
EUDAIMONIAMeghan Godwin
EXTRACTIONLuke Preston
FAR FLUNGTCC Edwards
FINTAN FEDORA AND THE DIAMOND MASKClive Goddard
FORTUNES OF THE SPACE SLOTHPatrick Tebbe
FOURTH COURIER, THETimothy Jay Smith
MAGUS WORLD, THEGannon Kenney
MELOPHOBIAJames Morris
MIMICCourtney Suttle
MIRRORED CEILINGCaroline Burchell
MURDER COVE: PARTY OF DEATHRobert Lanigan
NON-DEMONIC POSSESSION OF LINUS MAYNARD, THEGregory Harty
OLD GOD, THEAnu Besson
ONLY THE PRETTY ONESKaren Bryson
PANACEA: THE AGE OF AGRichard Bailey
PIRATE'S GAME, THERon Allen
PLANTATION HOUSE, THELaura McVeigh
RAVELEDAnne McAneny
SAVAGE INSTINCT, THEMarjorie Deluca
SHIFT: THE STONEFORD CHRONICLES, THEPaul Gulyas
SINGLE WHITE ANTI-CHRISTJames Morris
SKEWEDAnne McAneny
SLUMBERCaroline Chidester-O'Meara
STAR DUSTDebbie Friedman
SULPHUR CURE, THEBarry Brennessel
SWINGLINEKeri Lee
THEIR JUST DESSERTSE. J. Gore
THIS RED FIRENicolina Torres
TRAINING OF KARA STEELE, THEJames Connor & Kristin Walsh
WAKING THE MERROWHeather Rigney
WATCH MEJody Gehrman
WHERE WORDS FAILMartin Sturrock
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR'S CLUB, THEMatthew Minson

The Tracking Board, in exclusive partnership with Michael De Luca Productions, Inkshares, and Energy Entertainment, are incredibly pleased to announce the TOP 75 for the 2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition!

For our sophomore manuscript competition we were overwhelmed by the number of quality stories, and the range of writers represented. Whether it’s books, film, or TV, media continues to expand its reach across the globe. This year, 26% of our Top 75 manuscripts came from writers around the globe, from countries including Canada, Australia, Ireland, South Korea, France, England, and South Africa. This year’s Top 75 saw 40% of manuscripts hailing from female authors, and though the vast majority of our finalists wrote solo, two of this year’s top 75 manuscripts were cowritten. One of the best parts about our competition is the diversity of genres we get to read. This year’s Top 75 includes a wide-range of stories spanning everything from fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, family, young adult, westerns, crime, thrillers, and many more.

While the Launch Pad readers and judges will begin to dive into this year’s top material to narrow down our next round of finalists, we are excited to now expand the opportunity for all of our Top 75 to start their crowd funding campaigns on Inkshares.

What does this mean? In addition to the 3 Grand Prize Winners that will be exclusively selected by the Launch Pad Judging Panel, all manuscripts in the Top 75 will be able to promote their work to the Inkshares community in the coming weeks. The 3 manuscripts that receive the most preorders will be eligible to have their book published by Inkshares.

So, without further ado, we are incredibly excited to announce the Top 75 Manuscripts of our 2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition!

(Please note that those who will be selected for the Michael De Luca Productions Guaranteed Option Prize, Mentorship Program, and/or Guaranteed Signing Prize may not be part of our Top 75.)
ProjectWritten By
1989: AFTER HUMANITYPaul Inman
ABSENT SUN, THEJulie Suleski
ANDREA WELLS AND THE DEFENDERS OF EARTHBryan Kelsey
B-SHARP LIFE, THENicole Pouchet
BEAUTIFULLY DAMNEDAmber Alexander
BELLAJonas Vesterberg
BOUND IN SHADOWSTCC Edwards
BURNING DOWNVenero Armanno
BURNOVERAnthony DeCapite
CARVER INHERITANCE, THEAnthony Renwick McGill
CELESTIAL, THEBarry Brennessel
COLD NIGHT DISTANCEBrad Goldberg
CRAZEDEric Christopherson
DARK TIME: MORTAL PATH BOOK ONEShirley Kennett
DEATH OF THE QUEEN OF HEARTSRoman Clay
DEATH'S DETECTIVEMarie Steel
DESIGNER COFFINSRie Rie Roughan
DEVIL AND ADDISON DRUCKER, THEChristian Hayden
DEVIL IS FROM JERSEY, THEStephen Himes
DEVIL YOU DON'T, THESusan Hamilton
DEVIL'S BREATHJon Wells
DOOR, THESarah Edmondson
EUDAIMONIAMeghan Godwin
EVERMOONMichael Cravotta
EXTRACTIONLuke Preston
FAR FLUNGTCC Edwards
FINTAN FEDORA AND THE DIAMOND MASKClive Goddard
FIRE ON THE ISLANDTimothy Jay Smith
FORTUNES OF THE SPACE SLOTHPatrick Tebbe
FOUNTAIN, THESteve Cohen
FOURTH COURIER, THETimothy Jay Smith
FRAME-UPBrad Schoenfeld & Eric Christopherson
INVITATION TO THE DJINN COURTLina Elbadawi
LEAPERChristian Hayden
LIFE, MOTHERHOOD & THE PURSUIT OF THE PERFECT HANDBAGEmily Roberson
LILAHMarjorie Deluca
MAGUS WORLD, THEGannon Kenney
MELOPHOBIAJames Morris
MIMICCourtney Suttle
MIRRORED CEILINGCaroline Burchell
MURDER COVE: PARTY OF DEATHRobert Lanigan
NEW EDENMarius Adams
NON-DEMONIC POSSESSION OF LINUS MAYNARD, THEGregory Harty
NOOSPACERobert Dixon
OLD GOD, THEAnu Besson
ONLY THE PRETTY ONESKaren Bryson
PANACEA: THE AGE OF AGRichard Bailey
PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORYMark Warren
PIRATE'S GAME, THERon Allen
PLANTATION HOUSE, THELaura Mcveigh
POLARISIan Quinn
RAVELEDAnne McAneny
ROYAL CORONER, THEMatthew Morde
SALVATION FOR A GIRL LIKE MEMaria Kennedy
SAVAGE INSTINCT, THEMarjorie Deluca
SEVENTH MARK, THEShannon Kelley
SHIFT: THE STONEFORD CHRONICLES, THEPaul Gulyas
SINGLE WHITE ANTI-CHRISTJames Morris
SKEWEDAnne McAneny
SLUMBERCaroline Chidester-O'Meara
STAR DUSTDebbie Friedman
SULPHUR CURE, THEBarry Brennessel
SWINGLINEKeri Schreiner
SYRACUSE PRESIDENCY, THEDennis Connor
THEIR JUST DESSERTSE. J. Gore
THIS RED FIRENicolina Torres
TRAINING OF KARA STEELE, THEJames Connor & Kristin Walsh
TRUE STORY OF THE RICHEST KID IN SCHOOL (INCLUDING MY FATHER'S MURDER, POLITICAL CORRUPTION AND THE MANSION FIRE THAT EXPOSED IT ALL), THEMoses Frenck
UNDERDeborah Cloyed
VALENTINE SAGA: INNOCENCE, THEBrendon Udy
WAKING THE MERROWHeather Rigney
WATCH MEJody Gehrman
WHERE WORDS FAILMartin Sturrock
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR'S CLUB, THEMatthew Minson

Welcome to the 2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition. Following our inaugural manuscript competition in 2016, which saw 10 books land publishing deals, and more than a dozen picked up by film and television outlets, this year we’re continuing to expand the competition, by once again introducing exclusive first look partners with guarantees to be signed, mentored, optioned and published. Joining us this year will be three-time Oscar nominee Michael De Luca of Michael De Luca Productions (The Social Network, Moneyball, Captain Phillips) who has committed to acquiring at least one entry this year, manager / producer Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment and Recon Literary Management (both of whom have committed to sign at least one client from the competition this year, mentors Daniel Wallace (Big Fish), Patrick Sheane Duncan (Courage Under Fire) & Zach Hines (Nine), who have each committed to mentor at least one writer from the competition, and finally out publishing partner Inkshares (The Punch Escrow, A God in the Shed), who have committed to publish a minimum of three books from this years competition.

Though this is only our second manuscript competition, we’re now entering our forth year of writing competitions overall, and above you can see some of the numbers we’ve achieved since this journey began. Considering all of the numbers above best any other writing competition on the market, we’re very proud of the successes we’ve been able to be a part of, and the careers we’ve helped launch over the years. But it’s looking beyond the numbers to see where we do our best work. What truly sets us apart is our ability to work with and utilize our extensive pool of partners, mentors, and judges to not only introduce your competition entry to the world, but to introduce you, the writer, and your goals to the influencers and decision-makers that can start your career. Whether it be representation, publishing, a film or television deal, or a combination of all of these, we go well beyond a simple list of names on a website, to make sure every single one of our finalists is introduced to both the entertainment and publishing worlds.

So, what do you need to enter? Well for starters, you don’t need to have a 500-page manuscript ready to go. In fact, you don’t need to have ever written a book before. With the entertainment and publishing worlds more aggressively moving to acquire book partials over the past years, we’re instead inviting you to submit up to 50 pages of your best prose (including a minimum of a one-page synopsis). Show us your best work, hook us with your best cliffhanger, and give us an idea of where your story will go following those opening pages. You can of course submit 50 pages of a book you’ve already completed, but there is no requirement to have done so prior to entering. So, if you simply have an idea, have always wanted to write a book, or simply need a deadline to get your work done by, give us a shot, and see what we can do for you.

THE HOTTEST PROPERTIES IN TOWN

Did you know that 42 of the 81 Best Picture Nominees over the past decade have been based on books? Or, that in that exact same span of time, more than 50% of the highest grossing films have also originated from books? There’s no wonder that since 2007 Hollywood has acquired more books for film and television adaptations than any other origin type? To give you an idea of just how in demand manuscripts and books have become in Hollywood, here’s a very small sampling of those making the jump from page to screen in 2017, as well as a rundown on some of the most recent book sales in Hollywood.

Hollywood’s demand for tomorrow’s hot manuscript is at an all time high. With studios and networks actively setting up film and television projects based on both published and unpublished manuscripts, proves why this competition is the perfect platform for author’s to gain the exposure they need from the people who matter. Here are a few examples from just this year of high profile book acquisitions.

THE PUNCH ESCROW
BY TAL M. KLEIN
IN A HEATED MULTI-STUDIO BIDDING FRENZY, LIONSGATE ACQUIRED THE RIGHTS TO FIRST TIME AUTHOR TAL M. KLEIN’S “THE PUNCH ESCROW” IN A SEVEN FIGURE DEAL. THE NOVEL WHICH HAILS FROM PUBLISHER AND LAUNCH PAD COMPETITION PARTNER INKSHARES, HITS BOOKSTORES JULY 25TH.
AFTERLIFE
BY MARCUS SAKEY
JUST SOLD AHEAD OF ITS JULY 11TH PUBLISH DATE IN A BIDDING WAR THAT SAW THE PROJECT LAND AT RON HOWARD AND BRIAN GRAZER’S IMAGINE ENTERTAINMENT. THIS WAS THE SECOND DEAL OF ITS KIND FOR SAKEY WHO SOLD SCREEN RIGHTS FOR HIS BESTSELLER BRILLIANCE TO LEGENDARY ENTERTAINMENT FOR $1.25 MILLION.
THE SILENT CORNER
BY DEEN KOONTZ
HIS FORTHCOMING BOOK WAS OPTIONED BY PARAMOUNT TELEVISION AND ANONYMOUS CONTENT AHEAD OF THE BOOKS JUNE PUBLICATION. ANONYMOUS, IS BEHIND SHOWS LIKE MR. ROBOT, EPIX’S BERLING STATION, NETFLIX’S 13 REASONS WHY AND MANIAC, AND TNT’S THE ALIENIST BASED ON THE CALEB CARR NOVEL OF THE SAME NAME.
THE AGE OF MIRACLES
BY KAREN THOMPSON WALKER
HER BESTSELLER WAS RECENTLY ACQUIRED BY AMC AND IS BEING DEVELOPED BY SEAN LEVY’S 21 LAPS (STRANGER THINGS). THIS IS ONE OF SEVERAL BOOKS IN DEVELOPMENT FOR 21 LAPS AS THEY ALSO RECENTLY SECURED DEALS WITH 20TH CENTURY FOX FOR A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE VAMPIRE UPRISING BY RAYMOND A. VILLARREAL AND THE YA SERIES THREE DARK CROWNS BY KENDARE BLAKE.
THE BLACK HAND
BY STEPHEN TALTY
THE BOOK WAS ACQUIRED BY PARAMOUNT PICTURES FOR LEONARDO DICAPRIO TO PRODUCE AND STAR IN. THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF SIX BOOKS ALSO SERVED AS A GHOSTWRITER ON A CAPTAIN’S DUTY, WHICH WAS THE BASIS FOR THE OSCAR-NOMINATED FILM CAPTAIN PHILLIPS.
I’M JUDGING YOU: THE DO BETTER MANUAL
BY LUVVIE AJAI
BASED ON HER DEBUT NOVEL WHICH WAS ACQUIRED BY ABC SIGNATURE STUDIOS FOR GREAY’S ANATOMY, SCANDAL CREATOR SHONDA RHIMES, TO DEVELOP FOR CABLE TV.

LET’S TALK PARTNERS

This year we’re teaming up with Oscar-nominated producer Michael De Luca to discover at least one new project for him to pick up for development. As a former writer, producer, executive studio head, and three-time Best Picture nominee (all for book to screen adaptations), De Luca is not only one of our most exciting partners to date, but also one of those most experienced in exactly what we’re aiming to accomplish in this competition. From discovery to development, production to screen and critical acclaim to box office smash, De Luca is not only one of the most strategically brilliant producers in Hollywood, but he is also one of the most well respected identifiers the entertainment industry has ever seen. Having served as President of Production for multiple studios, overseen dozens of Oscar-winning films, and having steered some of the most profitable and critically successful films of the past decade, De Luca is not only one of the most liked people in Hollywood today, but one of the most successful overall.

Click here to learn more about Michael De Luca

After a wildly successful first year as our exclusive publishing partner in 2016 (which saw 8 books land publishing deals) Inkshares returns with a commitment to once again publish a minimum of 3 books from this years competition. With 75 books in bookstores worldwide since their launch just a few years ago and more than 85 new titles on the way, Inkshares has hit immediate success in not only becoming one of the fastest-growing publishers on the market, but in becoming one of the most coveted hubs for Hollywood to discover new talent. With several major book to screen sales coming from the publisher in just the past year, including breakout hits from newcomers J.F. Dubeau, Tal M. Klein, Mike Mongo and Filip Syta, as well as established screen vets such as Gary Whitta (Star Wars: Rogue One) and Patrick Sheane Duncan (Mr. Holland’s Opus) turning to them to bring their prose to life, Inkshares has become the most innovative and exciting new companies to watch in the publishing world, and one we’re thrilled to partner with once again.

Click here to learn more about Inkshares

Also returning as an exclusive partner in this years competition is manager/producer Brooklyn Weaver and his Energy Entertainment, who will partner with lit agent Recon Literary Management as part of a commitment to each individually select a minimum of one writer from the competition to represent. Weaver and Garcia have each been involved with the Launch Pad Competition since the very beginning, having signed, sold and launched careers of writers who began here. Whether it be in books, film, or television, both reps have an exceptional track record in creating and expanding opportunities for their writers. With writers across all platforms, some of their clients work includes Deadpool, Extant, Bates Motel, A God in the Shed, I Am Legend, Independence Day, Terminator, Run All Night and Timeless amongst many others. With both having signed and launched the careers of multiple Launch Pad writers in the past, we’re beyond excited to partner with them this year.

 

INTRODUCING OUR 2017 MENTORS

Daniel Wallace / Tal Klein / Zach Hines

Once again, we’re thrilled to announce the Launch Pad Mentorship Program. Making continual strides to continue to expand the educational platforms, and industry introductions new writers will face as their writing careers continue to blossom, we’ve invited three new mentors to join the latest mentorship program. From page to screen, best-sellers to Broadway, classics to cult favorites, newcomers to seasoned veterans, this year we’ve invited three writers we’re not only incredibly fond of, but who have conquered most all platforms as writers in demand. Whether it be seeing your debut novel become a smash hit on bookshelves, screens, and Broadway like Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish, or turning your Inkshares published novel into a major studio film like Tal Klein, or being the young new breakout sensation who went from his own HBO series to first time novelist like Zach Hines, there is little this group of mentors has not accomplished, or could offer insight on. So, whether its advice, tips, notes, looking for someone to bounce ideas off of, or looking for a confidant to ask all of those questions every new writer is afraid to ask, we’re confident our mentors will be able to help you, your project, and your career take shape as you prepare to navigate a newly minted writing career.

REAL NOTES, REAL FEEDBACK

Continuing with the same educational ideas behind the origination of the mentorship program, and continually looking to identify new ways to give our writers even more of a leg up when entering the Launch Pad Competition, we’re thrilled to announce the return of our Feedback Notes Program. Rather than receiving a few vague disconnected sentences or paragraphs from other coverage services or competitions out there, we’ve struck a deal with our professional readers (reading for places such as 20th Century Fox, Sony, Paramount, Universal, UTA & more) to provide 1-2 pages of in-depth notes on your competition entry. With an emphasis on initial thoughts, opinions and analysis, get an inside look at what is usually a behind the curtain process, and get our readers’ perspectives on the story, characters, marketability, and ideas for where the story could go. Was it a page-turner? Did we want to see more of a character? Was the dialogue believable? Get the actionable notes and insight you deserve.

BOOKS ARE THE NEW SPECS

Last year’s inaugural competition saw a total of seven projects selected to receive publishing. The three Launch Pad Grand Prize Winners will be among those published in addition to four more manuscripts selected by Inkshares. This year we hope to see even more authors have their work published and land on physical and digital book shelves around the globe.

Is Your Book Next?

Aaron Lipsett

Escape Artists

Addison Mehr

Hyde Park Entertainment

Adrian Garcia

Paradigm Talent Agency

Allison Gillogly

Scott Free Productions

Andrew Childs

Vertigo Entertainment

Brooklyn Weaver

Energy Entertainment

Casey Haver

Made Up Stories

Charlie Ferraro

UTA

Christopher Mcewen

New Leaf Literary

Daniel Vang

Good Fear Film + Management

Dash Aiken

Romark Entertainment

Derrick Eppich

Lee Stobby Entertainment

James Engle

Echo Lake Entertainment

Jarrod Murray

Epicenter

Johnny Pariseau

De Luca Productions

Jr Smith

IM Global

Kyle Chalmers

USA Network

Lauren Badalian

Rivers Edge Films

Leif Lilliehaugen

Endgame Entertainment

Luke Maxwell

3 Arts Entertainment

Matt Birkel

Gotham/Principal

Stu Arbury

Captivate Entertainment

Ted Smith

Oil & Cattle

Varun Monga

ESA

Vincent Cheng

Millennium Films