September 5, 2012

Would You Read It Wednesday # 56 - Melody Wants A Piano (PB) And A Short And Sweet Wrap-Up

I hope everyone had a terrific Labor Day weekend and that everyone who is a kid or has kids is off to a great start for the new school year!

The Summer Send-Off Contest was tons of fun.  If you haven't had a chance to read the entries, check them out when you get a minute.  Everyone wrote such original, creative, amazing stories within the constraints of 250 words - which turned out to be REALLY hard (for me anyway!) - and I'm sure you won't want to miss them.  As of this writing (not yet midnight) there are 15 contestants.  Finalists will be posted Monday September 10 for you to vote on for the winner.  For those of you who weren't able to participate, don't worry - The Halloweensie Contest is only 2 months away! :)  (In case you want to plan ahead, it will take place on October 31 - Halloween! :)

In other news, I still haven't finished cleaning my office, so there will be no photos and no wrap-up on that... yet!!! :)

Before we get to today's pitch, I just wanted to do a quick wrap-up of Summer Short & Sweets.  By my reckoning, 16 people contributed an entry to all 8 weeks.  A couple even went above and beyond and added additional entries to a couple of weeks - what motivation and dedication!  So, for the Sweet 16 (how well did that work out?!) the promised prizes will be delivered... but I'll be needing snail mail addresses.  Here is a peek at the prize:
A Short & Sweet Notebook/Journal, Note Pad, and Pen,
and a small pack of Susanna's Fabulously Fun Story Sparker Cards!
And here are the Sweet 16:

Delores           Tracy C.
Jennifer R.       Cathy
Vivian              Romelle
Erik                 Heather
Renee              Karen L.
Penny              Jarm
Kim Murray       Robyn
Pam                 Laura R.

Please use the handy Email Me button on the right or email me at susanna [at] susannhill [dot] com with your address.  If you think your name should have been on this list and you deserve a prize, please let me know.  It is entirely possible that I made a mistake somewhere in the craziness that was this summer and I will be happy to go back and recheck! :)

Now then, onto today's pitch!  (Don't forget to rustle up your Something Chocolate - and feel free to share what you're snacking on in the comments :))  Which reminds me, apropos of nothing, that I'm thinking of changing the way I label Would You Read It days.  I'm thinking about switching to Would You Read It Wednesday #56 - Title (genre)... as I did on today's post.  Any thoughts about that?  I think it would be more interesting and informative... :)  And I may have some free time in 2027 when I could go back and relabel all the old posts :)

Anyway, today's pitch comes to us from Tina, who has pitched for us once before (see The 42nd Pitch)
Tina is an author of 21 guided reading books from Lakeshore Learning and Compass Media, 2 contracted nonfiction books for girls with Legacy Kids Press, and even has a coloring book coming out in 2013 with Warner Press. She is a former elementary teacher who currently homeschools her 5th grade daughter and 2nd grade son. Though she grew up in Iowa, she is now living outside of Seoul, South Korea. She is participating in Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 in 2012 picture book challenge.

And here is her pitch:

Working Title:  Melody Wants A Piano
Age/Genre:  Picture Book
The Pitch:  Melody has a song in her heart until she discovers her best friend has a piano of her own. When the neighbor’s piano is put up for sale, Melody wants to buy it, but her family can’t afford it. She is determined to raise money using her somewhat wonderful singing skills, even participating in a talent show.

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 Tina 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 October, which is not very far away!

Tina is looking forward to your thoughts!  (And just know that she lives on the other side of the world and is asleep while some of us are awake, so if she doesn't respond right away that's why! :))  I am going to finish cleaning my office.  I really am.  Right after I brush the dogs and take them for a walk, and maybe bake some cranberry bread because fall is in the air... :)

Have a great day everyone!

Reactions:

61 comments:

  1. Oops, I may have left a streak of Nutella on your blog, Susanna!


    YES to the title change! And I am sure you can make those revisions by 2020!


    YES, perfect pitch today (ok, groan y'all) for this picture book, with its very clear and fun premise. The last sentence reads a little awkwardly to me, but it is a big yes from me this week.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mmm.... nutella! Cathy will be here any minute I'm sure :) Ooh, I'm glad you're enthusiastic about the title change- - I am too! - and now I'm feeling inspired togo change all the old ones instead of cleaning my office :) Thanks so much for your comment for Tina!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The premise sparks my interest so I'd give it a yes. Like Joanna, though, the last part of the pitch read a tad awkwardly. I guess I'm wondering what it is about this talent show that can help her possibly get what she desires. Is there another girl or boy that poses a talent threat?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks so much for your helpful comment for Tina, Angela! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Angela, for your comments. I'll have to clear up that last line. There's a monetary award for the talent show which Melody needs to buy the piano.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Joanna, for your approval! I'll change the last sentence, which I described in detail in Angela Brown's comment.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ooh, such fun prizes! Congratulations, winners! And Susanna, I do like your heading at the top with all the details. Thanks for hosting me today :) And I ate enough chocolate this afternoon for both of us. I think it helps me write better!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Glad you like the prizes :) And the new title idea :) And everyone knows chocolate is the writing aid of choice :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds fun. The last sentence made me stop, because I can't tell if she's a talented singer or just a determined artist (wants to expand her talent with a piano) — Song in her heart (first line) vs. "somewhat wonderful" singing skills (last line). I may be over thinking as I 1)haven't had chocolate this morning and 2) been reading lots of board books. Susanna, I need to look at past posts. I missed the one with your Story before Bed news. Sigh. And, I thought I was ahead this morning. ...

    ReplyDelete
  10. OK. I saw the mention in an April post. Boy, I need to go back to bed. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don’t snack while I’m on the computer, Susanna. I don’t
    even have water next to me. I’m trying to eat healthier, so chocolate is off
    the menu (for the moment). Drat it all, because, for some reason, broccoli just doesn’t taste as
    good.





    I like the ‘new’ title for Wednesdays.





    I’m not sure I’d read Tina’s book. I love music. I play the
    piano. I love the name for the character. I like the premise that Melody wants
    a piano, but I don’t like that it stems from coveting her friend’s piano. Be
    that as it may, the last line, as noted by others, needs a bit of help.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment for Tina, Stacy! And what brought up A Story Before Bed? I did mention it, but back in about April... not recently. So you're not behind this morning. Go get some chocolate. You'll feel better :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't snack while I'm on the computer either, Sharron. Unless you count my ever present cup of cold coffee which is more of a comforting decoration since it's too cold to actually drink. But I am eating breakfast whilst typing :) Multi-tasking, don't you know :) (And just between you and me and the fence post, I'm not eating chocolate - though I wish I were :) - I'm actually eating raisin bran. I know. Boring. But healthy :)) Thanks so much for your comment for Tina, and I'm glad you like the new title idea!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I feel a little the same way... it's POURING rain and very dark and gloomy out today - much better for curling up with a good book than trying to be productive :) Maybe I'll bake cookies :) with chocolate in them :)





























    Stacy S. Jensen wrote, in response to Stacy S. Jensen:

    OK. I saw the mention in an April post. Boy, I need to go back to bed. :)

    Link to comment
    IP address: 209.248.104.144

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes, I would read it. I love the idea of a song that just has to come out. I couldn't tell from the pitch though, if the book was going to be more about that song or more about her raising money. I think the former might be more interesting. I absolutely loved the "somewhat wonderful" singing talent line, although I thought that starting the pitch with the awesome "song in her heart" and ending with a more mundane money and talent show made it drop in energy for me. Th one word I really didn't like was "until" in the first sentence. She had a song in her heart UNTIL...? Does that mean the song left? Or did it leave because she was able to play it finally? To me, that word took some of the magic out, and also seemed to transition from magical song-writing to fund-raising.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for your very thoughtful comment for Tina, Wendy! I'm sure she'll find it helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great points, Wendy! Thanks so much for your helpful comments!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks, Sharron, for your helpful opinions. You're givin me stuff to think about!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Good point, Stacy with the discrepancy there. I'll fix that!

    ReplyDelete
  20. We will be here, Susanna, no matter what you call each post! :)
    And thank you...I guess I wasn't paying attention because I didn't realize there were prizes just for participating in Summer Short and Sweets...we should be awarding YOU prizes for providing us with all of those creative writing prompts. :)
    Tina...what a wonderful story this will be! I LOVE the beginning of the pitch...a song in her heart...makes my heart sing. :) Perhaps you can tighten up the rest into one sentence...Having a piano of her own will enable Melody to share that song with the world, but she needs to win top prize in the talent show to have enough money to buy it. Or something like that. :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Susanna,
    Great new title, but I'd continue visiting the site regardless of title. Re eating, I tend to eat while reading on the computer, but try not to type & chew (too much like walking & gum chewing for someone with my coordination). Prefer to stick to hot or warm coffee....Sometimes the coffee sits near the computer, although it's often tough to tell with so few uncluttered horizontal spaces;(


    Tina, I'd give the pitch a "maybe". Love the opening phrase & premise of using one's talents, but like others was put off by the "until" phrase and the notion of coveting her friend's piano. Love Vivian Kirkfield's rewrite below.

    ReplyDelete
  22. *Waving* I love seeing my name up there. Even if my contributions leave A LOT to be desired.

    Hmmm, Tina. I am not reading the other comments about your pitch. I don't want to be tainted by other opinions. I love the story idea. It sounds lovely. I wonder if you could make the pitch stronger. I think you have a lot of unnecessary words that could be taken out to make it read easier. Why do you say, somewhat wonderful singing skills? Either she can sing or she cannot. I want to read the story. But the pitch is too long. Take out some of those words, somewhat, put, etc. But keep the first part: Melody has a song in her heart, that really works woman! Condense it into 25 words. It is 57 words right now. Cannot wait to buy it in the book store. *waves* No snacking. Still dieting and don't feel too good anyway. *sigh* Talk soon, Susanna.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Love the new title for the post. And I'm thrilled I finally won something. :) I'll send you an email with my address.
    Tina, I agree with the others. And a hook should be no more than 25 words, 17 is ideal. I love the character's name (Melody). How perfect as it ties in with music. Vivian's suggestion is wonderful. You go girl.
    And I can't wait to vote next week. All the stories are unique.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Tina!
    You can put me down as a 'yes' - in fact I already have read it so that makes me slightly biased! ;-)


    I think straightforward titles can work, but in this case I think the title is a little TOO straightforward. What about: Melody Finds Her Song. That's not quite right, but something more poetic like that.


    I think the word 'until' in that first line makes it seem like she's motivated by jealousy of her friend. Maybe change something like:
    Melody has a song in her heart, and when hears her best friend's piano, she decides to learn to play, too.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Tina, I like the idea of a piano inspired story. However, I think the pitch could be tighter and more dynamic. I imagine there are some creative ways she tries to raise the money, tempt the reader.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I like it, especially cute that her name is Melody ;)
    And I'm looking forward to eating a little bit of chocolate with peanut butter.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks for your comment for TIna, Coleen, and YUM! :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Darshana!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Ooh, lucky you - you've read it! Thanks for your comments for Tina. I'm sure she'll find them very helpful when she wakes up :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Glad you like the new title, and thanks for your thoughts for Tina. I'm curious about the 17 words - where did you learn that? Very interesting. I can't wait for you to vote either... but of course that means I have to select finalists and that is going to be HARD!





























    Tracy Campbell (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Love the new title for the post. And I'm thrilled I finally won something. :) I'll send you an email with my address. Tina, I agree with the others. And a hook should be no more than 25 words, 17 is ideal. I love the character's name (Melody). How perfect as it ties in with music. Vivian's suggestion is wonderful. You go girl. And I can't wait to vote next week. All the stories are unique.



    Link to comment
    IP address: 24.138.105.219

    ReplyDelete
  31. Your contributions were excellent, Robyn! And thank you for your comments for Tina - also excellent :) And I made chicken soup last night because my husband has a cold, so I will send you some of that instead of chocolate. Feel better! This has been dragging on too long! :(

    ReplyDelete
  32. You're so funny, Patricia! :) I know what you mean about the clutter... I've been back at my office cleaning all afternoon and all I'm doing is working my way down the layers... still haven't found the top of the desk :) Thanks so much for your comments for Tina! :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thanks, Vivian :) And thanks for your terrific comment for Tina - I think you get the prize for best rewrite suggestion - everyone likes it :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Did someone say snack? And chocolate! Yum!


    Tina, I am late commenting. I like the sound of your story. I think your pitch can be improved to clear up your premise. I think the first sentence sends a negative message...she has a song in her heart until she finds out her best friend has a piano. I would think the song in her heart is what would drive her to unusual measures to get a piano of her own. I think that's what your story is about...which sounds like a wonderful story...and I think changing a few words will get it right on key! Hee!

    ReplyDelete
  35. delores @ thefeatherednestSeptember 5, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    It bothers me that Melody had a song in her heart UNTIL she found out her best friend had a piano of her own. Please don't be offended if I suggest a slightly different take on the pitch......
    Melody loves music and when her neighbours put their piano up for sale, Melody wanted her parents to buy it for her. They are going to need a little help raising the money and Melody knows just how to do it...with a song in her heart.

    Yes, I would read it. It sounds like a sweet story.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Not sure what happened to my first comment. I hope there's no duplicating. Tina, I would read your story. Having readers making a connection with her name and her love for music is so smart, Tina. I want to ask, does Melody's singing skills leave a lot to be desired? Does something funny, poignant happen at the talent show? Your pitch sorta suggests this as well. If this is the case focus on this aspect. If it is about her funny fundraising efforts, then give that funny to us.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks so much for your comments for Tina, Pam! I'm not sure what might have happened to your other comment either - I didn't see it - but I appreciate you checking back and trying again! :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. You're right on, Pamela. I guess it's hard for me to put this stuff in the pitch without spoiling the story and making it all sound good in the pitch as well. aghh! Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Now that sounds nice, putting "song in her heart" at the end. Thanks, Delores, for the rewrite!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Nice pun, Penny! Thanks for your advice!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thanks, Coleen! I researched musical names and settled for a common one.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Great advice, Darshana. You're right, I have to find a way to tempt...

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thanks, Carrie, for all your help and for this advice, too!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks so much, Robyn! I'll work on shortening it.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thanks for your advice, Patricia! I'll change that.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Sounds good, Vivian! Thanks for the rewrite!!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thanks, Tracy, for your comments. Can't wait to rewrite.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Susanna, do you really want my long-winded answer to your question? Of course you do. :)

    Janice Hardy's post http://blog.janicehardy.com/2011/10/heres-pitchits-hit-crafting- your-novels.html says that a pitch is spoken and a hook is written.

    Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy--Writing Fiction for Dummies" wrote the following:
    "Shoot for 25 words or less. If you can do it in less than 15 words, you get extra credit."

    Here are two examples from his book.

    The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien (fantasy): "A hobbit learns that destroying his magic ring is the key to saving Middle Earth from the Dark Lord." (19 words)

    Another--My Name is Asher Lee, by Chaim Potok (literary): "An orthodox Jewish artist struggles to reconcile his art, his religion, and his family." (14 words)

    I can't resist.
    Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (romance): "A young English woman from a peculiar family is pursued by an arrogant and wealthy young man." (17 words)

    Ah, that's where I came up with 17 words. :)

    Also check out:
    http://girlswithpens.com/2011/07/21/crafting-a-25-word-pitch/

    Hope that information helps.
    Tracy

    ReplyDelete
  49. I'm excited to read your new hook.

    ReplyDelete
  50. What great prizes! Cool! I really like the pitch! I would read it for sure! I wouldn't change the pitch at all :) I like the girl's name - Melody!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Sweet prizes for the summer writing exercises, Susanna!


    Tina, I don't necessarily have a problem with Melody's jealousy of her friend's piano stealing her joy in music. Kids (and adults) can covet what others have and if it isn't a heavy handed theme it could open up some lovely discussions with a parent and child or in a classroom. It's also full of possibilities for an illustrator! The last sentence falls a bit flat. Perhaps you could have a different example of how she attempts to raise money or make it clear why participating in the talent show is an exceptional event for Melody? Her "somewhat wonderful singing skills" is a great humorous image, very strong. I would read it and good luck with your story!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Glad you like the look of the prizes, Heather, and thanks so much for your helpful comment for TIna! :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. Glad you like the prizes and the pitch, Erik!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Cool! Thanks, Tracy! That is all very interesting and helpful info!






























    Tracy Campbell (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Susanna, do you really want my long-winded answer to your question? Of course you do. :)
    Janice Hardy's post http://blog.janicehardy.com/2011/10/heres-pitchits-hit-crafting- your-novels.html says that a pitch is spoken and a hook is written.
    Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy--Writing Fiction for Dummies" wrote the following: "Shoot for 25 words or less. If you can do it in less than 15 words, you get extra credit."
    Here are two examples from his book.

    The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien (fantasy): "A hobbit learns that destroying his magic ring is the key to saving Middle Earth from the Dark Lord." (19 words)
    Another--My Name is Asher Lee, by Chaim Potok (literary): "An orthodox Jewish artist struggles to reconcile his art, his religion, and his family." (14 words)
    I can't resist.
    Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (romance): "A young English woman from a peculiar family is pursued by an arrogant and wealthy young man." (17 words)
    Ah, that's where I came up with 17 words. :)

    Also check out: http://girlswithpens.com/2011/07/21/crafting-a-25-word-pitch/

    Hope that information helps.
    Tracy



    Link to comment
    IP address: 24.138.105.219

    ReplyDelete
  55. Thanks so much for your thoughtful rewording for Tina, Delores!

    ReplyDelete
  56. You know there are always plenty of snacks around here, Penny :) Thanks so much for you helpful comment for TIna! And the punny fun :)

    ReplyDelete
  57. Thanks, Heather, for your helpful comments as an illustrator!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Thanks so much, Erik! Glad u liked it!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Glad to help in anyway I can. :)

    ReplyDelete
  60. Same opinion on the last line here. But I would pick it up because I am sucker for creativity, as in the MCs name! I've got my chocolate though: fresh hand made 'macarons' were B2G1free at the local French bakery, but I am waiting for family members to share after dinner - coconut, salted-caramel, and dark chocolate!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Thanks for your comment for Tina, Julie, and oh boy do those macaroons sound delicious!!! Enjoy them :)

    ReplyDelete

I love to hear from you and try to respond to every comment. Please share your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...