Fuse Literary Agency
My Manuscript Wish List®
Ernie Chiara is an agent at Fuse Literary specializing in Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror in the Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade categories, as well as YA Contemporary.
Feel free to check out his full MSWL at ErnieChiara.com/MSWL. And if you want to go a little more in depth on some of his more specific MSWL items, feel free to check out his ever-expanding #MSWL twitter thread.
“In every genre I represent, there are some common threads that tie together what I’m looking for. Strong writing with a distinct voice is a must for me. That’s sometimes hard to pin down, but when I see it, it jumps off the page and makes me want to keep reading. I also look for complex, multi-dimensional characters who feel real to me—I want to care deeply about what happens to them. I look for immersive, deeply woven, extraordinarily original stories with propulsive plots and richly layered worldbuilding, and I tend to gravitate toward stories that blend genres in ways I may not have seen before.
I’d love to see more projects by writers from Black, Indigenous, Latine/x, Asian, AAPI, SWANA, and African communities and their far-reaching diasporas, as well as the LGBTQIA+, trans and nonbinary, and disabled and neurodiverse communities.”
I enjoy all types of fantasy—whether it’s a thought provoking contemporary story with a high-concept magical hook and a keen sense of wonder, a historical fantasy with a fresh twist and prose that leans toward literary, a retelling with a unique take on a concept that hasn’t been overdone, or an epic fantasy with immersive worldbuilding and a unique cultural perspective. I prefer stories with an underpinning of social upheaval, an anti-colonialist or anti-patriarchal message, with protagonists that are harbingers of change whose stories shed light on the greater forces at work. I’d love to see unique world-building with characters and settings based on cultures and histories that are traditionally underrepresented in the genre. Genre-bending stories that feature gritty action, complex characters, or unusual plot structures.
Favorite authors include: N.K. JEMISIN, NEIL GAIMAN, FONDA LEE, SHELLEY PARKER-CHAN, ANDREA STEWART, ERIN MORGENSTERN, V.E. SCHWAB, ROBIN HOBB, SARAH GAILEY, R.F. KUANG, C.L. POLK, JOSIAH BANCROFT, MARLON JAMES, PETER MCLEAN, EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL, CARLOS RUIZ ZAFÓN, DAVID MITCHELL, CLAIRE NORTH, MARGARET OWEN
In sci-fi, I love everything from contemporary speculative to cli-fi to science fantasy to africanfuturism to space opera. I gravitate towards ambitious stories with a voice that jumps off the page—stories that push the envelope with a strong character focus, creative story structures, and fresh concepts that make me sit up and take notice. I enjoy well-told, genre-blurring stories with a strong cultural lens that ask hard questions about sociopolitical change, about power imbalances and privilege, and about the impact of ideas and technologies on society. I’m drawn to unconventional upmarket voices and love to see diverse perspectives and unique takes on established tropes.
Favorite authors include: NNEDI OKORAFOR, TED CHIANG, OCTAVIA E. BUTLER, TAMSYN MUIR, MARTHA WELLS, ARKADY MARTINE, MICHAEL MAMMAY, URSULA K. LE GUIN, MATT HAIG, CHUCK WENDIG, ROB HART, MIKE CHEN
Adult & YA Horror
In horror, I’d love to see imagery that keeps me up at night, stories of psychological or supernatural revenge, and an underlying cultural or social commentary. I enjoy stories with protagonists who are not only irresistible characters, but whose voices go against the grain of the societies they inhabit. Stories that range from lighthearted and fun to dark and cynical with prose that hits that literary-commercial sweet spot. I’m looking for surreal, atmospheric horror that unpacks societal and/or personal traumas, monster reimaginings from BIPOC POVs or steeped in SWANA, Asian, or other non-western mythologies. I’m open to body horror, psychological horror, gothic, historical, and/or genre-blended with fantasy or sci-fi. I’d love to be surprised by something boundary-pushing that’s unlike anything I’ve seen before.
Favorite authors include: YOKO OGAWA, CATRIONA WARD, SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA, GRETCHEN FELKER-MARTIN, CHUCK WENDIG, CASSANDRA KHAW, RYAN DOUGLASS
Young Adult Contemporary
I’m looking for YA Contemporary with fully-realized characters, strong emotional beats, and clear stakes. I lean toward perspectives outside my own, and prefer stories that ask tough questions but don’t shy away from finding the humor amid the difficulties of teenage life.
YA Fantasy & Sci-Fi:
In YA fantasy and science fiction, I’m basically looking for all the same things I love in the Adult space, but told through a YA lens with YA characters and relationships. I’m open to writers exploring all forms of their uniquely diverse experiences in YA fantasy and sci-fi, and the same goes for writers of Adult fantasy and sci-fi as well.
Favorite authors include: RYKA AOKI, XIRAN JAY ZHAO, SARAH RAUGHLEY, MARGARET ROGERSON, SABAA TAHIR, ALIX HARROW, TAHEREH MAFI, LAINI TAYLOR, DANIEL JOSÉ OLDER, LEIGH BARDUGO, MARIE LU, TOMI ADEYEMI, ROSIEE THOR, JULIE KAGAWA, ROSHANI CHOKSHI, DHONIELLE CLAYTON, NAOMI NOVIK, HAFSAH FAIZAL, RIN CHUPECO
Middle Grade Fantasy & Sci-Fi
I want to see STEM, I want to see cultural diversity, I want to see Locke & Key from a BIPOC pov, I want to see Vietnamese myth-based fantasy, or contemporary fantasy with a SWANA cast solving mysteries using their grandmothers’ stories, give me inclusive witch and wizard schools like WITCHLINGS or THE MARVELLERS, anything that comps the TRISTAN STRONG, THEO TAN, ZACHARY YING, or ARU SHAH series—and anything that middle grade readers need but can’t find on shelves!
To query Ernie, please submit your query letter and the first twenty pages of your completed manuscript through the online form at QueryManager.com/ErnieChiara.