May 23, 2012

Would You Read It Wednesday - The 41st Pitch, and Straight From The Editor #7

Well, MY GOODNESS!  Apparently I am a glutton for punishment!

Have you read the entries in the Birthday Contest?  (If you haven't, you should,  They're really amazing!  So much creativity!)

But they're all so good!  And somehow my assistant judge and I have to choose finalists!  We certainly have our work cut out for us.  (Thank goodness we have a very large tray of donuts!)

The contest is now closed, but never fear.  The finalists will be posted on Monday May 28 and I hope you will all come back and vote!

Meanwhile, we have Straight From The Editor, where everybody's favorite editor, Erin Molta, comments on the winning pitch from last month.

You will recall that Rebecca won April's Pitch Pick with her pitch for Broomstick Rodeo:

Working Title:  Broomstick Rodeo
Age/Genre:  Picture Book (4-7)
The Pitch:  The Thistlegulch Sisters have thirteen trophies between them and they’re determined to win another. They practice for the rodeo until they’re chapped under their chaps and have calluses on their warts. But when a buckin’ broomstick charges towards their youngest sister, Myrna, they realize there are more important things in life than winning trophies.

Here are Erin's comments, so that we can all learn!

This sounds like it could be very cute! But I think the pitch would work better if, rather than saying how hard they practiced, you mentioned what they neglected because they wanted to win so badly—like perhaps Myrna. That way it makes sense that suddenly they would care about Myrna.

Interesting.  And encouraging, I think :)

Now then, I'm in the mood for some of those lovely cider donuts today.  How about you?

Would you like one (or three?)  Help yourselves!  There's coffee and tea, too.

Then get comfy for today's pitch which comes to us from our very own Banana Peelin' Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Stevens Omlor loves slipping on banana peels. She has at least one slip a day, physically or verbally. She loves writing for children, although she has recently discovered she is a delusional rhymer. When she isn’t writing for children, you can find her having a kitchen dance party with her husband and two young children or drinking a large glass of milk. She loves milk. Yum.  Especially when it’s in chocolate. She blogs about all of this on Banana Peelin’: The Ups and Downs of Becoming a Children’s Writer.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Magnificent
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch:  When the synchronized swimming Savanna Belles lose their watering hole to drought, the troop of elephant calves decide ballet is the perfect way to make them feel magnificent once again. Facing the challenges of trunk-tickling ants, loss of weightlessness, and the scarcity of tutus, can the girls tame the doubtful roars, hisses and cackles of the their wild friends, proving that they really can be magnificent ballerinas? Follow the tutued journey of these silly mammals as they sashay, leap and plié their way into even the wildest of hearts.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Elizabeth improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in August, so you have time to polish :) for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Elizabeth is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

See you all on Friday for Perfect Picture Books (assuming I haven't run off to Outer Mongolia to avoid having to pick finalists in the contest! :))


Reactions:

84 comments:

  1. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    Can we critique our own pitches? :)

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  2. Only if you're kind and constructive :)

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  3. Yes I would read it! Synchronized swimming elephants that want to do ballet - that is hilarious! I think when you say "these silly mammals" you could change it to "these silly pachyderms". I hope they found tutus that fit! ;)
    Erik

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  4. Thanks for commenting, Erik! Excellent suggestion :)

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  5. Yes - I must admit I am a bit partial to anything jolly and round going about proving it's beautiful magnificence against all odds. The only thing I would suggest is adding the word "team" after "synchronized swimming". The first couple of times I read it through - sans coffee I must add - I wasn't sure if the "Savanna Belles" was intended to be a group. But once I got that down pat, I got the gist and loved it :-)

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  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Angela! :)

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  7. thefeatherednestMay 23, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    Yes, I would read it. Now I have visions of graceful elephants in tutus.

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  8. Synchronized swimming elephants becoming ballerinas? I love it! So cute.

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  9. I don't think I've seen such plump donuts! Enjoy!
    Elizabeth, this is a fun pitch, full of fun words! Savanna Belles tripped me up the first time because I thought u had a typo and should have lose be loses. I guess I thought Savanna Belles was the name of a girl. But you're meaning a group. ?? Trying to get elephants in tutus seems hilarious and will be fun for an illustrator! I like how you list the inciting incident right away and problem. The last line is my favorite with all the ballet verbs. I was wondering...this pitch looks quite long. Is there an average word count perhaps for pitches? Maybe Susanna knows. Great job! Oh, yes, I'd love to read this book.
    PS. Perhaps you could add Elephants to your title. Just Magnificent wouldn't make me pick up the book. Maybe Magnificent Elephant Ballerinas. I bet you could do better than my example.

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  10. That was so funny about the donuts. It will be hard, there were some fun stories. Great feedback as usual and today's pitch is great!

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  11. "Trunk-tickling ants," oh yes! I'd read this one. :)) Sounds like a hoot of a time!

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  12. YUP, I'll read anything that involves tutus, and this sounds like lots of fun. The first sentence threw me a little, and I do think the whole thing could be tightened up a tiny bit. Maybe something like:

    When the Savanna Belles synchronized swimmers lose their watering hole to drought, the troop of elephant calves decide ballet is the perfect way to make them feel magnificent again. Challenged by trunk-tickling ants, loss of weightlessness, and the scarcity of tutus, the girls wonder if they'll ever tame the doubtful roars, hisses, and cackles of their friends. Follow the tutu-ed journey of these silly pachyderms as they sashay, leap, and plié their way into even the wildest of hearts.

    I used Erik the Kid's suggestion, too, cuz he's smart like that. :)

    Great job, Ms. Omlor!

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  13. Susanna, I loved the entries in the contest. Good luck judging. I say yes to the pitch. There's a lot of fun detail here, but it feels long. Is the last line after the question necessary? I do like the phrase "wildest of hearts." Good luck Elizabeth.

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  14. Penny KlostermannMay 23, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Yes! I would read. The whole idea sounds fun and filled with great illustration potential. I do think Renee's tightening helped. And I do love Erik's word....pachyderms...wow! what a vocabulary that kid has.

    I think Erin's comments to Rebecca sound encouraging, too!

    The donuts look scrump-dilly-icious!!! But strangely they tasted a bit like monitor rather than apple cider when I licked my screen. At that point, I didn't even try to lift a teacup, fearing I would spill it on my keyboard.

    Oh, Susanna! You do have your work cut out for you with the Birthday Contest!!!! Lots of fun and celebration to sort through.

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  15. I would totally read Magnificent! Beating the odds, seeing a plan B, overcoming obstacles, proving you can when people think you can't... That's really all a book needs, besides some elephant ballerinas. What's cuter than elephants in tutus? I LOVE this idea!

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  16. I'm a yes on this one. The story sounds great! The only thing that struck me about the story is, it almost sounds like a sequel. I'd love to read the story of how a group of elephants became a synchronized swim team in the first place. Maybe you can get two books out of one idea!

    I also was a bit confused by the phrase "synchronized swimming Savanna Belles." Perhaps it would work better as "Savanna Belles Synchronized Swim team." I think you could cut out a little detail to tighten it up. For example, you could cut the beginning of the second sentence, and make it something like: The girls must tame the doubtful roars, hisses, and cackles of their wild friends, to prove that they really can be magnificent ballerinas. (I would avoid the rhetorical question.) And you've gotta use pachyderms somewhere.

    Sounds like a fun read.

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  17. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Silly pachyderms! Great! I must admit, I had to look that one up young man! I thought I did my research when I discovered that elephants don't care for ants, but I really should have dug a little deeper! =) Great suggestion!

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  18. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    I know, right?! I really struggled with the name. Do I make it an extra long name, including Savanna Belles Synchronized Swim Team, just use Savanna Belles, etc. Thanks for the suggestion. I would hate to have anyone confused in the pitch....espcially pre-caffeine! =)

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  19. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Woohoo! Thanks feathered nest!

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  20. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Yay! Great news! Thanks so much. =)

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  21. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    It is SOOOOO long! You are right. That is the first thing I thought when I reread it this morning. I need to think of a smart way to introduce the Savanna Belles in the first line without increasing the word count! I agree on the title, it needs something! Thanks so much Tina for your input!

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  22. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Thank you Catherine! =)

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  23. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Yay! Thanks Candy Lynn Fite!

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  24. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Ohhhhh....I like that pitch. =) I love this place. Great suggestions. And that kid Erik, he IS smart like that! =) Thanks so much Ms. LaTulippe!

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  25. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Thank you Stacy! It is SO long. I talk too much and therefore sometimes write too much. I just don't know when to quit! =)

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  26. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Yay! Thanks Penny! I loved their ideas too. What an amazing resource this series is. I think I have a new addiction!

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  27. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Awww...Thanks so much Genevieve! That means so much!

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  28. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    A sequel! I have always wanted to write a sequel! Well, I have always wanted to write a book, have someone like it and publish it, and then be open to sequel possiblities. Ah...dreams...Great idea. I have the first line in mind already! I will definietly tighten up ! Thanks so much for your suggestions!

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  29. As long as the donut has chocolate, I'm smiling.:) Helpful comments from Erin...I know we all appreciate them! And YES, I would definitely read it...Elizabeth, you are the consumate wordsmith...LOVE the language of the pitch!

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  30. Yes, I would read it. Sounds like it will be a funny story. I think the pitch could be a little shorter. I do like your use of alliteration, it shows what the writing style is in the book.

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  31. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Woohoo! Thanks Vivian! Wow. Consumate wordsmith?! That is almost as good a phrase as Erik's pachyderm! =) I am glad you liked the language.

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  32. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Great Darshana! The pitch NEEDS to be shorter, you're right! Thanks so much!

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  33. Yes, I would. Elephants + water ballet? Intriguing to be sure.

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  34. What an awesome picture book premise - a big ole YES from me, with just a smidgeon of shortening and tightening as already recommended by Renée and Erik!

    Susanna, good luck sorting through all these fabulous Birthday Stories!

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  35. I'd read it in a heartbeat! Love the idea. If you wanted to take the suggestions of shorting/tightening a bit then great, but it sounds like it would be so much fun to read. Great job!!

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  36. This IS a wonderful story, but the pitch feels a bit too long. It's not doing your glorious elephants justice. Renee's suggestion is pretty awesome. Good luck, Elizabeth!

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  37. Oh yes, yes, yes I'd read this! Oh the funny jumps off the page. Like everyone I was confused about the name of the group as you present it in the sentence. Love the group's name. Thinking this has series potential don't you think? The travails of these prancing pachyderms sounds promising!

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  38. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Yay, Linda! Thanks for stopping by! =)

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  39. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Woo hoo, Joanna! Thanks so much for your big ole yes. I completely agree about the tightening and shortening. =)

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  40. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Yay Jennifer! Thanks so much. I think tightening and shortening is the path I will take. Thanks for your kind comments!

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  41. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    I know, I know...much TOO long. Eeek. Renee has the pitch I would love to throw or toss or pitch? =)

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  42. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Yay Pamela! Thank you so much for your kind words! I will deftintley work on that opening. =) LOVE your use of language...so poetic!

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  43. I would so totally read this! Though it might be a tad bit long, your "voice" (you know, the one you *say* you have trouble with) is very strong. I think this story will be quite hilarious, and the illustration potential already has me giddy. Bravo!

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  44. I'M with Bethany. It's a tad long but the thought of illustrations make this humorous project one I'd definitely read. Also where is the question in the sentence of " Facing the..."" and maybe break that in two sentences. (like I didn't do ) lol.

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  45. I think the pitch is actually a long summary. Cut it off after the first sentence when they decide that ballet will make them magnificent. If using this for a summary, cut off the last sentence which sounds like a reviewer might write but not the author. All that said, yes, I would read it.

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  46. I think it's a really cute idea, but I think the question you ask at the end of the pitch leads us to the obvious answer that yes they can. Is there some other way you can phrase their challenges?

    I would read it though. :-)

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  47. I would read it, Elizabeth. Like the others, I agree that this is a bit long. Perhaps you could just show one of the obstacles they face on their journey to becoming tip top ballerinas? I don't think you should do away with the conflict entirely. You might tighten it as well by saying something like, "When the local watering hole dries up, the Savanna Belles synchronized swim team...."

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  48. You betcha! I can already here the soundtrack, tubas and all! But I do find it long and a little tough to read actually. Lots of good stuff squeezed too tight!
    "When the synchronized swimming Savanna Belles (lost me here - I had to reread) lose their watering hole to drought,..."
    How about: When the Savanna Belles lose their watering hole to drought, the synchronized swimming elephants take to ballet...
    Just a suggestion - I'd read it anyway, just sounds tu-tu funny!

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  49. Margaret GreaniasMay 23, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    I would definitely read it! It sounds like a lot of fun and I can just imagine the illustrations. I, like others, thought it was too long, but I did like Renee's version of the pitch. I'm wondering if you need this part -- "Challenged by trunk-tickling ants, loss of weightlessness, and the scarcity of tutus," as the "doubtful roars, hisses and cackles" are already a enough of an obstacle.

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  50. Thanks, Joanna! I'm going to need it!!! :)

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  51. Penny, get your tongue off the screen! :) And yes, it's going to be tough picking finalists - thank goodness the pick of the actual winner will be up to you guys :)

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  52. I know - everyone did such a great job! It's going to be VERY tough to pick finalists!

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  53. Yes, the judging is going to be super-tough! Thanks for the pitch comment :)

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  54. Glad you liked the donuts :) And no word count that I know if, but this is a bit long, as everyone has pointed out. I'm sure Elizabeth will trim it down to size in no time now that she's heard everyone's thoughts :)

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  55. Erik, Delores, Coleen, Tina, Catherine, Candy, Renee, Stacy, Penny, Genevieve, Vivian, Darshana, Linda, Joanna, Jen, Heather, Pam, Bethany, Clar, Alison, Julie, Kirsten, Julie, and Margaret - thank you all so much for stopping by and commenting on Elizabeth's pitch!!! I'm sorry to be thanking you all together instead of individually, but I was away from my desk all day and am now trying to catch up on 160 emails :) hence the lumping together :) Thanks for all the comments - you are all wonderful!

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  56. Picturing elephant calves dancing with tutus makes me giggle, Elizabeth! Yes, I would read it...sounds like a fun book. One comment, tho'...could you tighten the end of the pitch by combining the last two sentences somehow, or eliminating the final sentence? Otherwise, it sounds like a winner!

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  57. This sounds like such a fun story Elizabeth! I love the title and the fun wordplay! I'd cut "Facing the challenges of trunk-tickling ants, loss of weightlessness, and the scarcity of tutus," Once you do that - it's perfect! I can't wait to read it!

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  58. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Awww...thanks Bethany! Blush. You are very kind. =) Giddy is good! Thanks so much!

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  59. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Thanks so much Clarike! I know I need to work on the structure! Ack!

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  60. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Aha! Interesting take Alison. Thanks so much for your suggestions. I am going to take a look right now to play with your ideas!

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  61. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    It is one of those questions isn't it?! Did you read Renee's version? It is much better than mine. =) WHY, Julie? Why is it SO hard?!? Sob, sob, sniffle. Hey, but I am glad you would read it. =) Thanks so much for your suggestions!

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  62. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    I have gone from a no-conflict kinda girl to a too-much conflict kinda girl! There is quit a lot squeezed in there. Argh. I write like I talk a lot of the times. =) Thanks so much for your input!

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  63. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Ohhhhh.... a soundtrack. You really are thinking outside the box Julie! Too much stuff is right. I agree. I love your suggestion and your play on words! Tu-tu cute! Thanks so much for your help.

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  64. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Thank you so much Margaret! Wasn't Renee's version great! I am definitely going to take it and run with it! I agree, there is quite a bit of conflict in there. I need to tweek it a bit, for sure. Thanks again for your input!

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  65. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    You are not the only person suggesting the combination of the last two sentences...I will definitely try to do that! Thanks so much Jarm for your suggestions and I am glad it made you giggle. I am pretty sure that is my goal in life, to make people giggle. =)

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  66. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 23, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Woo hoo! Thanks Lori D. Wow, I like the sound of that, Lori D. It reminds me of first grade. =) Thanks so much for the suggestion and kind words. I think I might eliminate that piece. I tried to squeeze it all in. =)

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  67. Both pitches were excellent. I'd read them.
    And Susanna, you are a glutton for punishment.
    I wouldn't want to be in your shoes, okay, maybe I would.

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  68. I read your pitch again. I really do see this story of your magnificent elephants becoming a series of stories.

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  69. This is a definite read for me! Sounds like such fun and hilarity! I'd try to tighten the pitch. There are a few extra words here and there that I feel can be removed. And I wonder if you should lengthen the title to something like: The Magnificent Savanna Belles. I've inserted your pitch below with amendments.
    When the synchronized swimming Savanna Belles lose their watering hole, the elephants decide ballet is the perfect way to make them feel magnificent once again. Facing the challenges of trunk-tickling ants, loss of weightlessness, and the scarcity of tutus, can the girls tame the doubtful roars, hisses and cackles of the their wild friends, proving that they really can be magnificent ballerinas? Follow the tutued journey of these elephants as they sashay, leap and plié their way into even the wildest of hearts.

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  70. I think I would read it. I love the idea of sychronised swimming/ballet dancing elephants and I can see my kids loving it, too, especially my dance-obsessed daughter. It sounds like a fun read.

    In terms of the pitch, it could use some tightening. The sentences are quite long and need to either be trimmed or broken up into shorter sentences. I found there was so much crammed into the sentences they were a little confusing to read and I had to read back over them to be sure of what they were saying.

    But I would certainly pick this book up off the shelf and look inside.

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  71. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 24, 2012 at 5:03 AM

    Rebecca, great title suggestion! And I love your tightening of the pitch. Phew! You guys have really been helpful. Thanks so much for your input. :)

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  72. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 24, 2012 at 5:08 AM

    Yes! There was too much crammed into those sentences. So sorry you were confused. I think Renee and Rebecca have some great suggestions to help eliminate some of these issues! Yikes! I am glad you might read it! Thanks so much for your input. :) hope the little one is doing well!

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  73. Thanks so much for chiming in - very helpful!

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  74. I could cheat and make everyone a finalist... then it would all be up to your guys' vote! :)













    Tracy Campbell wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:


    Both pitches were excellent. I'd read them.
    And Susanna, you are a glutton for punishment.
    I wouldn't want to be in your shoes, okay, maybe I would.


    User's profile
    Link to comment

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  75. Excellent suggestions, Rebecca - thanks for chiming in!

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  76. I would definitely read it! I love the idea of elephants in tutus and I can easily picture the scorn that they would receive from the other animals in the jungle. I think it also sends a great message to be proud of doing what you love, regardless of what others think. There already have been so many great suggestions I can't think of anymore to add, except that I also agree that the title would be more tantalizing if it were something like, "The Magnificent Savanna Belles", such as Rebecca C. suggested earlier. Great job!

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  77. What a great idea Elizabeth! I agree with the comments about tightening the pitch a bit. But it's a big YES from me.

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  78. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 24, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Aw, thanks Dana for your kind words. =) And I think that title is MUCH more tantalizing! Thanks so much for commenting!

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  79. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorMay 24, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    A big YES! Alright! Thanks Hannah!

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