Title: Wok Magic
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Magical Realism (Own Voices)
Word Count: 30,000
Pitch: Song Li is destined to be a great chef. But he only wants to be a K-Pop star. When his family’s wok works magic on him, he discovers his true self.
First 250 words of manuscript:
I received a wok for my 10th birthday. I asked for singing lessons for the fifth time and a phone for the second time. I even suggested cash or some better fitting underwear. But no. I got a wok. And it was an old wok — greasy, stinky and black with decades of burnt soy sauce caked on. When I expectantly opened the gift, my response was… well, let’s just say, unexpected. “What the… huh!?”
Mom looked hurt. Dad glared.
“Song Li! What is it? You don’t like birthday present?”
“Well, it’s just that… I was kind of expecting… something else.”
Dad started getting red. “You want something else? You don’t want your future? That wok was given to me when I became 10. It was big honor! It meant I could cook magic with grandpa. I would start my training to be great chef.”
“Yeah, that’s great.” Not. No one was fooled. There’s nothing great about this.
Mom walked out with her head bowed in shame and sadness.
Dad spoke softly but firmly. “Our family has made good food for kings as well as people with no homes. This has been our sacred wok. See, no holes like other old woks. It holds secret flavors from our ancestors. And it only works for our family. If you do not cook, you will fail us all. No pressure.”
Somehow, somewhere, dad learned that if you add “no pressure” to any amount of pressure, it lessens the pressure. He learned wrong.