September 12, 2012

Would You Read It Wednesday # 57 - Buff The Magic Dragon (PB)

Mornin' folks!

A couple orders of business real quick:

#1 - if you have not voted for who you think should win the Summer Send-Off Contest please do!  My goodness it is a tight race!  We need every vote we can get!

#2 - I realized when I went to write this post that it was meant to include the August Pitch Pick.  Except we have a new policy these days.  Pitchers have the opportunity to take the feedback you gave them and submit a new version of their pitch for the Pitch Pick.  And I didn't email anyone to remind them... so I don't have the pitches.  Therefore, you are excused from pitch-picking today and I'll have to squeeze it in somewhere else... probably next Wednesday because there are just too many high jinx and shenanigans going on around here between now and then.  (And should you happen to be one of those pitchers, please email me whatever version of your pitch you'd like me to use!)

#3 - Did you know that in Alaska it is illegal to whisper in someone's ear while he's moose hunting?  I kid you not.

Now then, grab your Something Chocolate (I have chocolate cupcakes on offer at my house this morning - not exactly breakfast food... technically... although they do have eggs in them... :)) and have a gander at today's pitch.  It comes to us from the lovely Elizabeth whom you all know and love as the queen of Banana Peelin'.

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:  Buff The Magic Dragon
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch:  Buff isn’t your typical dragon. He’s afraid of EVERYTHING. But when auditioning for the role of royal babysitter, his magic trick-gone-wrong lands the baby Princess Ponypants in the tentacles of the fiercest bully of all the sea, Captain Meanie Bones Jones. Forced to fly above the clouds and to eat a meaty squid, Buff finds that sometimes we must face our fears to right our wrongs and protect the ones we love.

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 November, 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!  And I am looking forward to seeing who will win the Summer Send-Off Contest and which book I will pick for Perfect Picture Books on Friday.  It could be anything!  I still have two whole days to choose! :)


Reactions:

90 comments:

  1. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorSeptember 12, 2012 at 6:15 AM

    I think I might read this. :) Thanks for having me Susanna!

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  2. Thanks for pitching, Bananabeth! :) And I want to read it!!!

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  3. I love the idea of a scaredy-cat, royal babysitting dragon! Sounds like a wonderful story, (and such fun names) and I'd love to read it. The pitch is great, but I'm a little confused about the meaty squid and the flying above the clouds.Maybe you might clarify that a bit.

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  4. The Buff and Puff name-matching part (old school Puff the Magic Dragon memory from bygone days lol!!), I would read this. I have no suggestions for the pitch because the author did a great job of enumerating what and who Buff is, what went wrong to bring about the conflict and what has to be done to go about making things right. Nice job!

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  5. I would read it! It sounds great! I have one suggestion. I would have "A magic trick that went all wrong" instead of "A magic trick-gone-wrong" to make it sound kind of funnier.

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  6. Great pitch, Elizabeth! You're so good at these. Hey, my Korean husband would LOVE to eat a meaty squid! They eat dried squid like beef jerky! Actually, a fast food restaurant had these onion rings, which I thought, but they were squid rings! Anyway, yes, I'd read it.

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  7. Love the title, and the first two sentences hooked me for sure. But the third sentence has a lot going on and I found it confusing. I like the last half of the last sentence, also. So I guess it's the middle that tripped me up a bit. It's a maybe for me.


    Eggs in chocolate cupcakes make them breakfast food - I like the way you think, Susanna!!

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  8. This sounds like it could have a lot of opportunity for humor and with both a dragon and a princess as characters plus a bully to deal with, there's lots of kid appeal. I was a little torn about the title playing on the famous song, but it's fun and does tie in to the idea of the dragon being a magician. The only place I had trouble was in the sentence about Buff being forced to eat the squid,etc. I'm assuming Buff is expected to rescue the princess and in his attempt he has to face his fears, but the sentence doesn't make that clear enough. Other than that, it's a fun premise and as an illustrator I know I'd have a lot of fun with it. Good luck.

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  9. OK, Banabeth, Mine is a big fat old yes today, and I think I will have bananas in chocolate sauce this morning, Susanna. I am not sure, Elizabeth, whether you need the clouds+ squid bit?

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  10. I love the sound of Buff the Magic Dragon. But the pitch is a bit scattered. There is so much going on. Almost like you're telling the story over again. Which you shouldn't do. I'd stick to Buff. Center on the dragon and try to write it in 25 words. It isn't as hard as it seems. But the story sounds like a funtastic read. Great luck with it! *waving*

    And if I felt better the cupcakes would be a GO. xoxo

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  11. This story sounds so funny, unique and kid-friendly. I would absoutely want to read it! I felt a bit confused by the "meaty squid". I didn't understand why you described it as "meaty" or what that had to do with Buff conquering his fears. Was he scared of squids before? And does Buff end up becoming more like other dragons at the end? That's what I'm wondering. I love all the hilarious names and the main premise of the story sounds awesome! I think you just need to clarify the ending a bit. Looks like others gave you pretty similar comments. Good luck with it!

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  12. I'm with those few who find the name too close to the famous Puff. I wonder why Buff...is he actually in the buff? A nekkid little dragon? So you see, it veers me away from the meat of the story, which is adorable. I love its liveliness and fun. I will trust you to iron out the eating of the meaty squid gross-sounding thing. I would read it!

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  13. Yes, I would read it and I think the name Captain Meanie Bones Jones is a little piece of awesome. The parts about having to fly above the clouds and eat a meaty squid are a bit confusing standing on their own with no background information. Perhaps rearrange the last sentence and start with the bit about Buff finding that he needs to face his fears and then work in the examples? It's a great idea for a picture book!

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  14. Sounds like a very funny story & twist on the usual magic dragon theme. I'd like to see some tie-in, though, between what he's afraid of (everything is so, so broad) & the squid & skies that he apparently faces to conquer his fears (and why is it, exactly, that he ends up eating that squid?).

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  15. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Iza! :)

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  16. Thanks so much for chiming in, Angela! :)

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  17. Thanks, Erik! It does sound fun, doesn't it? :)

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  18. Thanks so much for your comments, Patricia!

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  19. Thanks so much for your comments for Elizabeth, Linda!!






























    Linda Boyden wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:


    I'm with those few who find the name too close to the famous Puff. I wonder why Buff...is he actually in the buff? A nekkid little dragon? So you see, it veers me away from the meat of the story, which is adorable. I love its liveliness and fun. I will trust you to iron out the eating of the meaty squid gross-sounding thing. I would read it!

    User's website
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  20. Thank you so much for chiming in, Diana! Much appreciated :)

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  21. Thanks for your helpful comments, Robyn. And some of these cupcakes are specially for you with no sugar so they will be like medicine (of the Mary Poppins type) and MAKE you feel better! :)

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  22. Mmm! Bananas in chocolate sauce sounds good! Especially if you add some ice cream... and whipped cream... and a cherry on top :) Fruit+dairy+calcium=healthy bananasplit breakfast :)

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  23. Very creative and original. I like the idea of a dragon babysitter. However I am a bit confused about what Buff is afraid of and how that ties in with the magic trick, the clouds, and the meanie. When I saw the name "Buff" yes it did remind me of Puff the Magic Dragon but also I wondered why his name was Buff and made me think that the story had something with him not wanting to wear clothes. Right now the story is a maybe for me, but I look forward to the re-worked pitch.

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  24. Thanks for your very thoughtful comment for Elizabeth, Diane! :)

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  25. Thanks so much for your comments for Elizabeth, Darshana! :)

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  26. I would read it...sounds fun. I am not sure he should be afraid of everything because all his fears can't be resolved in the end. I think it would be more satisfying if you find his biggest fear and resolve it.

    I do think you can clarify it a bit, too. As written, it sounds like he will have to fly above the clouds to eat the squid.....and maybe that's what you meant....maybe his magic went so wrong that the squid is in the clouds instead of in the ocean...or maybe the cloud became a squid....or maybeOops...my mind just slipped away, and started peeling off scenarios! LOL!


    Elizabeth, I have no doubt with your creative mind that you will perfect this pitch!


    And, Susanna....I am so lovin' that little known Alaskan fact!

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  27. Thanks for your very helpful comment for Elizabeth, Penny. And THANK YOU for commenting on that Alaskan fact! Nobody else mentioned it and I thought it was so funny! :)

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  28. Thanks for your comment for Elizabeth, Ruth. And re cupcakes for breakfast, it's important to have the right perspective - it's all in how you look at it :)

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  29. Posted for Rachel who can't comment :(


    Today's pitch sounds adorable. I'd read it. :) I love her names, and I think kids would too!

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  30. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorSeptember 12, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Thanks Linda! The the name was intentional, as this is the beginning of Buff the Magic Dragon, the wrestler! (Future friend of Maximiliano!) =) Down with the meaty squid and clouds! Thanks so much for your help!

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  31. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorSeptember 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Thanks Iza! Yes, that line is problematic. I was trying to communicate him overcoming his fear of heights and eating meat. I need to either nix it or rework that sucker! Thanks for your input!

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  32. Yay! Thanks Tina! Many a folks love squid, but not Buff...cuz he's a vegetarian!!!! Squid rings huh? That sounds pretty tasty to me! =)

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  33. Hey, thanks Ruth! I've gotta change that squiddy, cloud part. Thanks so much for your input!

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  34. Yes, Diane! I know, that part doesn't make sense if you haven't read the book! Thank goodness for this series and thanks so much for your thoughts on my pitch!

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  35. Yay Joanna! YUM, bananas and chocolate sauce?! The clouds and squid bit are outa here. They just don't make sense! Thanks so much! Argh! =)

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  36. Thanks so much Robyn for your input! There is quite a bit going on, huh? =)

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  37. Yay Diana! I'm a fan and I can't wait for that knitting pirate of yours to hit the shelves! =) Maybe Ned and Buff can be friends one day. =) I'm just going to take that piece out. it's too problematic. I was trying to explain his fear of heights and his staunch vegetarianism but I think it's too much! Thanks so much for your input and best of luck to you!

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  38. Yes, I would read it. My kids always love to read dragon stories, too.


    The pitch made the story sound entertaining and fun, and I LOVE the character names. It was a little long and maybe gave away too much of the plot. You could cut a lot of words and still get at the essence of the story and the conflict. I don't think you want to tell HOW he resolves the conflict, just hint at it.


    Here's one way you could shorten the opening:


    Buff the dragon is afraid of EVERYTHING. [possibly list a couple of things here] But when his magic trick-gone-wrong lands the baby Princess Ponypants in the tentacles of Captain Meanie Bones Jones, Buff must swallow his fear to save her.

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  39. A little piece of awesome? Aw, thanks! I am just going to take that cloud and squid part out altogether. Can't wait to share this one with you guys. It's silly. =)

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  40. Great thoughts Patricia! Thanks so much for your input! I would like to take that cloud and squid piece out, but I do like the idea of exposing what his biggest fears are which are eating meat and heights. =) You have given me food for thought!

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  41. Ha! Yes, I did think about a nude dragon, but really it's because he does a little wrestlin' at the end, so it refers to his strength. The play on words was definitely intentional . =) Thanks so much for your input! Can't wait to go and rework the pitch!

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  42. Ha! You crack me up! I will be ripping out that squid and cloud part for sure! Good point about the fears. I need to sit and have some time to run through all these great suggestions to try and rework this ms and pitch!

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  43. Yay, thanks Carrie! Great suggestion! I am glad it sounds entertaining and fun to you. I can't wait to go and trim down this pitch!

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  44. Poor Rachel, but lucky me. =) Thanks so much Rachel. I'm glad you enjoy the names. Princess Ponypants is a phrase that always makes my kids giggle. =)

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  45. Susanna, this is wonderful and I am SO grateful that we get to revise these suckers for the pitch pick! Phew!

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  46. I think we should hire you as an expert consultant, Carrie! You always seem to have a good way to tweak :)

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  47. So glad if you're finding it helpful. Isn't everyone wonderful?! :)






























    Elizabeth Stevens Omlor wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:


    Susanna, this is wonderful and I am SO grateful that we get to revise these suckers for the pitch pick! Phew!

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  48. I would read this for the names of the characters alone :) The story sounds really fun but, most of all, I love the theme of facing one's fears. Good job, Elizabeth!

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  49. Woo hoo! Thanks so much Kim! I am a scaredy cat, so hmmmm...maybe I am chaanneling myself through a muscely dragon! =) So glad you enjoy the characters' names! Thanks so much for your comment!

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  50. Two thumbs up, Elizabeth! I do agree with the others that it may be a little long. Your names are adorable, but I wonder if they are all really necessary to convey your plot. I might leave out the Captain's name in the pitch.

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  51. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Elizabeth, Kim! :)

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  52. Thanks Kirsten! It is quite long isn't it?! And Captain Meanie Bones Jones is a mouthful, that is for sure! Great suggestion. I can't wait to resubmit my pitch!

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  53. Thanks, Susanna...I'm blushing. ;-)

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  54. Yep! In a heartbeat, katoom, katoom (just came from Marcie's blog). Yes it is too long. Yes, you could leave out the Captain's full name, but DO NOT take out Princess Ponypants - that's where you had me. I might substitute 'In an attempt to save her...' for 'Forced to fly...meaty squid" to tighten up that which didn't grab me.

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  55. delores @ thefeatherednestSeptember 12, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Wow..that does sound exciting. A little wordy, but exciting. Yes, I would read it.

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  56. Yay! Thanks Julie! I know, too wordy. So glad you're a fan of Princess Ponypants too! :)

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  57. Yes, I'd read! I'm partial to dragons. :)

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  58. Aren't they wonderful! Thanks so much Coleen! :)

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  59. Susanna, reading the comments is like going to a hands-on creative writing workshop...I always learn so much! I especially loved Carrie's pitch-fix...where Buff must to "swallow" his fears...AWESOME!
    And yes, I definitely would read this book...Elizabeth, it is funny, entertaining and I NEED to find out how it resolves. The names of the characters are stellar, by the way!
    Must get over to the PPBF entries now and read them...before it is Friday again. :) Aaaack! How does everyone find the time to do EVERYTHING?

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  60. Isn't this place awesome! We 're so lucky to have Susanna! :) yay! Thanks so much Vivian and I hope someday you'll get to read how it resolves! Wouldn't that be wonderful?! :)

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  61. That would be wonderful :) We would all line up for signed copies and say we knew you when :)




























    Elizabeth Stevens Omlor wrote, in response to Vivian Kirkfield:


    Isn't this place awesome! We 're so lucky to have Susanna! :) yay! Thanks so much Vivian and I hope someday you'll get to read how it resolves! Wouldn't that be wonderful?! :)

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  62. I know - everyone is so perceptive and articulate! It's really wonderful :) And I don't know how everyone finds time for everything - I can't do it. Even by not getting enough sleep. I never seem to have enough hours! If you figure out the secret, please let me know :)

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  63. We've had a lot of them around here lately :)

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  64. Princess Ponypants is a winner for sure! Thanks for your comments, Julie :)

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  65. I would definitely read it, but I found the title too close to Puff the Magic Dragon. I expected it to be a spoof of that story OR about a dragon bodybuilder. :-) But your premise is awesome. I agree with the folks who've made suggestions on how to cut the pitch down some, but the story itself seems like a winner.

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  66. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Elizabeth, Julie! Much appreciated :) (P.S. SurveyMoneky is awesome!)

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  67. I would read it because like Julie pointed out, I expect it to be a spoof of Puff the Magic Dragon. *song starts playing in head*

    I didn't know that about Alaska. I'll keep that in mind. :D

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  68. I'm excited to readi t!

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  69. Yay! Thanks Julie! Actually, Buff turns out to be a wrestling champ, so the name Buff is kinda a spoof. :) So glad you enjoyed the premise. Now time to revise!

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  70. Thanks so much Stina! I have actually considered writing my own version of Buff the Magic Dragon the song several times. The lyrics have been ridiculous so far, but maybe one day! :)

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  71. Well, given how much time you spend moose hunting, I'd expect you to know this! :)

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  72. Yes, I would read it. Could be shorter and tighter. But, I like the pitch!

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  73. Thanks, Pat! I'm sure Elizabeth will be glad to hear that :)

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  74. Yes, I'd read it. Love the excitement! Want to see how it resolves. Any book about facing fear is necessary for kids.


    I agree with Vivian. Reading through the comments is like going to a conference on pitches. One learns so much. Thanks Susanna for this blog! *Yay* Susanna! :)

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  75. Thanks for your comments for Elizabeth, Clar, and thanks so much for your kind words about the blog - I'm so glad you enjoy it :)

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  76. Well thank you Clar!!! And I agree, Susanna's blog is priceless. =)

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  77. Let's see...it has a dragon AND Elizabeth? Why, yes I'd read it! The pitch is a bit rambling, but at the same time it sort of mesmerized me. I almost think it would be enough to eliminate the names -- they're great names, but not necessary to the pitch, perhaps. And I love that it didn't end with a question, because I just don't like that.


    Otherwise...just do what Carrie Finison says, because she's very good at this!


    Sounds like another quirky winner, Elizabeth. :)

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  78. You had me at the title, Elizabeth. Wonderful pitch. Yes, I would read it. I would buy it in a heat beat. However, I am a little confused about why he has to fly ABOVE the clouds to eat a meaty squid. Don't squids stay in he water? I don't have a good sense of place. Are they in the sea, the air, both? If you could keep it to one place for the pitch, I'd be set. Boy, I wish I were a high-powered fancy-pants agent, so I could represent you on the spot. :)

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  79. You are so welcome! :)

    Clara Bowman-Jahn, author
    "Annie's Special Day"
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  80. Thanks for your comment for Elizabeth, Hannah, and I wish you were a fancy pants editor!

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  81. Thanks for your comments for Elizabeth, Renee! And I agree about Carrie - I said she should be an expert consultant :)

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  82. Why thank you Renee! It is a bit rambly. I tried very hard to not end it with a question! It was as if a voice was booming from above, asking, "Will she be able to write a pitch without ending it with a question?" =) xo

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  83. Oh, Hannah. I wish you were my fancypants agent. How fun would that be?! Thanks for your input! I'm definitely cutting the cloudy/squidy part out so maybe there won't be a question of the setting? Hmmm.. Gotta think about this! Thanks again!

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