April 3, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #82 - Flood Dogs (PB) AND Straight From The Editor


Good Morning Everyone!

By the time you read this I will hopefully be heading west for a couple of college revisits.

(College revisits are not to be confused with college visits.  College visits are the ones you do to decide where you want to apply.  College revisits are the ones you do after you've been accepted and you're trying to decide where you want to go.  It's very technical.  Much more involved than when I was a lass... back in the last century... well, technically back in the last millennium... when you just applied to college and went.  But I digress... :))

Yep.  It's me, the boy, Princess Blue Kitty (my faithful car), and Jo-Jilly (my obnoxious less faithful GPS) on the road again!

If all goes according to plan we're leaving at 4ish AM give or take a few.  If you spent any time here over the summer during the college visits, you know how that Jo-Jilly riles me, so you will forgive me if we skip straight to Monkey Cake :)
photo copyright Stacy S. Jensen 2012 used by permission
Mmmm!  Chocolatey goodness!  Thank you, Stacy :)

Today we have a Straight From The Editor for Wendy's winning pitch from February.

You will recall Wendy's original pitch for Why Fireflies Should Never Drink Soda (PB ages 3-7):

Life is good for the insects at the campground—until something attracts a hungry bullfrog. When Herman, a feisty firefly, takes a sip the hiccuping winged beacon learns why he’s been taught that fireflies should NEVER drink soda.

Here are editor Erin Molta's comments:


This sounds very cute! And I can see the potential for humor—which is great in a picture book. However, I think you need to clarify what attracted the hungry bullfrog—was it the soda or the hiccupping firefly. Though you want an editor curious about your book it’s more that you want them to read to find out how it happens, not really make them wonder what exactly you mean.
 I think if you don’t want to repeat soda twice you can go with something like I’ve suggested and tell us what attracted the bullfrog—was it a loud repeating noise (the hiccups?) or a strobe light (because he was flashing erratically)? Then it’ll be clear and still funny.
 Life is good for the insects at the campground—until something (what?) attracts a hungry bullfrog. When Herman, a feisty firefly, takes a sip (of sweet bubbly nectar) thehiccuping winged beacon learns why he’s been taught that fireflies should NEVER drink soda.

As always, I find Erin's thoughts so helpful!  I hope you do too :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Pam B.  Pam says, "Professionally I was a 3rd and 6th grade teacher before becoming an instructor in Early Childhood and Adolescent Education at Bloomsburg University.  Currently I’m taking time away from teaching to focus on my family and my writing.  You can follow me on Twitter @PamBrunskill."

Working Title: Flood Dogs
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: Based on a true story, FLOOD DOGS tells of a girl, her dogs, and the flood that comes between them.  Cadence promises her dogs she’ll play fetch after school, then locks them in the mudroom on her way to the bus.  When the local creek floods, Cadence and her family can’t get home, and her dogs are trapped inside.  For three days, Cadence worries. 
Will her dogs survive?
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 Pam 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 June, so you have time to polish your pitch for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Pam is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting wherever it is we're going without incident and to hopefully having a couple of enlightening revisits that will help the decision process!

Have a great day, everyone, and wish me, the boy, Princess Blue Kitty and Jo-Jilly good luck :)

P.S. I'd better warn you in advance that I may not manage to pull a Perfect Picture Book out of the hat this week since I will presumably be somewhere in the midwest, but I will at least post the list for everyone else :)

Reactions:

48 comments:

  1. My mom's GPS pronounces things weirdly... It's annoying (and VERY funny) and my dad's likes to "recalculate ... recalculate ... " every time he goes off the "fixed route". I do the "recalculate" when I want us to turn around ;)

    I would read the book! I think it would make an awesome early chapter book too! I think I know what the "true story" is! ;)

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  2. Oh the poor pups! But somehow, I have a feeling they make it :-) It sounds like a wonderful story and I would read it. The pitch reads very well, though it could be a tad more concise, and I am not sure about giving away the three days.


    Happy college revisiting! Tell Jo-Jilly she'd better behave!

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  3. Princess Blue Kitty and jo-jilly back on another whirlwind adventure. Oh, can't wait to hear the results.


    My thoughts on today's WYRI is a Maybe. I'm attracted by the story being based on a true story. However, I'm not sure if the worrying is the angle to shoot for. Perhaps the actions taken to get to the dogs she loves may add to the pitch instead.

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  4. Have fun on your trip, Susanna! Hope things go well!

    How surprising for me to see Pam's pitch here! (I've read her story!) Anyway, I love that first line, Pam. I think this pitch is a little long and maybe you could delete the 2nd sentence and go right into the problem.

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  5. My vote for this week's submission is a Yes. It definitely peaks my interest in the story. I agree with Angela... I think it could be even stronger and tighter by replacing the worrying with some hint at the action taken to rescue them.

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  6. Sue @ Kid Lit ReviewsApril 3, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Yes, I would read this. The fact that it is a true story (or based on one) I want to know what happened to the poor dogs. Does anyone know where they are and be able to rescue them? How flooded will the mudroom get before the dogs are rescued?

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  7. Thanks so much, everyone! I was wondering if it was too long. I'll keep thinking! I like the suggestion about saying some actions instead of using "worries."

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  8. I love this idea, and I hate knowing it's based on a true story. Yikes. I'm a definite YES - I would read it. I think the last line could be stronger, possibly suggesting some of the things they did or thought about doing to save the poor little doggies. True story - *shiver*

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  9. It's a maybe for me. This is mainly because I'm not sure where the
    story's action lies. Are we going to see resourceful dogs fend for
    themselves? Are we going to see a story that revolves around a direct
    and focused effort to return to the house? Or is the action more static:
    worrying and waiting? The pitch suggests the third option.

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  10. MAYBE. *I* would have to read it to console myself and to learn how it all works out, but based on this pitch I might pass for my kids. The image of the dogs "locked in the mudroom" feels like it might be too much for your target age group (their possible drowning feels too vivid). Could you soften that part?

    I'd prefer that the ending ask "how will Cadence rescue her dogs?" as that seems to be the mystery (as opposed to whether they survive, yikes!).

    Hope that this helps...sounds like a gripping tale and my interest is definitely piqued!

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  11. Good luck with Princess Blue Kitty! Erin's comments are super. Did Stacy make that cake? wow! I love the pitch, but I also agree a bit with Victoria. It's a scary thing for a kid to think about in a different scary way to say zombies. It's more real for them and they might have a dog. I would just re-word it like Victoria said.

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  12. Good luck on the college trip...
    As for Pam's pitch: I would read it - in fact, I know I have already read this story -in the news - I think there are a few like it.
    But here's what I think: Candy should be doing things to try to reach her dogs; meanwhile, back at the ranch.... the dogs might be doing things to help rescue a trapped neighbor (also a true story)
    Otherwise, three days of waiting is.... really not exciting.
    Friends caught in Katrina went out in canoes to rescue pets.... Could Candy have a canoe? And even if she can't reach her pet, can she rescue someone else's? Can she volunteer with the animal shelter (which is trying to reconnect pets and owners) - while hoping that someone is doing same for her dog?
    Can she be a hero?

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  13. I like Sue and Victoria's analysis of, and suggestions for, this story! I would read it, but, as Victoria said, probably only so I can find out what happened and how it got resolved, but the pitch will need to make it sound more exciting than it currently is. :) Good start though; I love stories based on true stories!


    Safe travels, Susanna!

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  14. I'm a maybe this week. Call me an overprotective mom, but I skipped the books that might be sad or scary. There's enough of that I can't shield them from in real life. If the pitch is rephrased to tell how Cadence saves her dogs, then it's a yes.

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  15. I really like this idea--not only having Candy be more active, instead of just worrying, but also of potentially switching the POV from Candy to the dogs and back. Unless, of course, they are drowned, but somehow I doubt it based on your description of the story. :)

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  16. I'm not sure I would read it yet...I have a lot of questions about the pitch. My first impression is that the book is about the worrying--the kid is worrying about her dogs. The flood seems like it happens quickly, then the child worries throughout the book, then we find out if the dogs survive. But is the ending only about whether or not they survive, or is there more to the story? And is the girl doing something other than worrying? I think this pitch would have me reading it if it told a little more about the story. I love the idea of a true story based on the floods, so I think you could hook me with a little more.

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  17. Thank you so much so far, everybody. You've given me great ideas on how to improve my pitch. I have a good idea how I want to change it. In case you really want to know--Cadence's dogs survive, but her house does not.

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  18. Best of luck with the college 'revisits', Susanna! And thanks for the yummy cake...Stacy, you are AMAZING...I guess premier dessert decorator is just one more hat that you wear.:)
    I would definitely read this story, Pam...I totally agree with the others that the pitch needs to be shorter...and the story would be more powerful if there was more emphasis on the action (going to find the dogs or helping other animals in danger while she waits to hear about her pets or the dogs themselves getting out and being heroes in some way). And yes, perhaps 'locking them in the mud room' is not the best image. But it's a wonderful story...and even better because it is a true one.
    Erin's pitch comments are very helpful, as usual.:)

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  19. I like the premise and agree with other's comments about amping the hook.:) Susanna, good luck with Jo-Jilly and the re-visits! We are still in the I have not decided stage. Instead of narrowing down her choices, my daughter is adding another program to the list (ack!). Thanks for the monkey cake--it helps!!

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  20. pennyklostermannApril 3, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Yes! to the pitch. I want to read the story and if you use suggestions in the comments below, your pitch will be strong.


    As usual, Erin's comments are very helpful to me as I think about pitching my stories!!


    Hope your travels were safe and productive, Susanna!


    Love that monkey cake! Stacy...I just go bananas over your treats!

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  21. Yes, I'd read this one, but I agree with others who suggested shortening it and making it sound more active. For example, I think it works just as well without the second line.

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  22. Thank you so much! I already have a new working draft! Whew, what a day. I truly appreciate everyone's comments and advice.

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  23. Being LATE again all the good comments have been used! That said, Yes I would read it. Love the premise but definitely feel that Candace have a very active part in the rescuing.

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  24. I am late to the comments too. It is a Maybe for me, all the reasons have been mentioned previously, and with a bit of revision would definitely turn into a YES I WOULD read it for me. The premise of the story is quite exciting, making me wonder how she will rescue those poor puppies. I have never heard of a mudroom though, I'll have to look it up.

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  25. Thank you again. Susanna, I hope your trip is going well. Here's a first revision attempt, if anyone ends up checking this comment section again:

    Based on a true story, FLOOD DOGS tells of a girl, her dogs, and the flood that comes between them. Powerless to rescue her dogs until the water recedes, Cadence must acknowledge life's frailties and face her town's devastation. It is amidst this loss that Cadence reconnects with her dogs to experience joy and gratitude.

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  26. Glad you like the sound of the story - I'm sure Pam will be pleased :) As for the GPS, one of my favorites is when I'm driving in circles hopelessly lost and Jo-Jilly announces, "YOu have arrived!" :)

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  27. Thanks for you comments for Pam, Iza! And Jo-Jilly delights in not behaving. I believe she's wicked to the core :)

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  28. Thanks for your helpful thoughts for Pam, Angela - you may have a good point. As for the adventure... stay tuned :)

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  29. How wonderful to have someone who has actually read the story comment on the pitch! I'm sure your thoughts will be very helpful, Tina. And thanks for the trip good wishes :)

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  30. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts for Pam, Katie!

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  31. Thanks so much for chiming in with your thoughts, Sue - I'm sure Pam will find them helpful!

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  32. I know, Genevieve! It sounds scary and I worried about the dogs too as I read it!

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  33. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, Mike. I think you have a good point!

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  34. Thanks so much for your very thoughtful comments, Victoria - definitely food for thought.

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  35. Princess Blue Kitty is a dependable friend. It's that Jo-Jilly I have to watch out for! :) Thanks for your helpful comments for Pam, Catherine - I think Pam will find them useful!

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  36. Thanks so much for your very helpful thoughts for Pam, Sue - you make some excellent points that I'm sure she'll find useful!

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  37. Thanks so much, Teresa - both for your comments for Pam and for you good wishes! :)

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  38. Thanks for your comments for Pam, Wendy - very good to know. And I am exactly the same way when it comes to my kids :)

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  39. Thanks so much for chiming in for Pam, Wendy!

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  40. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts for Pam, Wendy. These are all important considerations!

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  41. Thanks for the good luck, Vivian :) and I'm glad you found Erin's comments helpful and Stacy's cake yummy... you are the only one of us who has a shot at ever getting to eat any of Stacy's wonderful creations! :) And thank you for your helpful comments for Pam! :)

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  42. Oh my goodness Coleen! You and I must talk... over chocolate :) and compare notes! And thanks for your comments for Pam.

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  43. I think we should have a party so we all get to meet in real life, and we'll let Stacy bring the chocolate cake :) Thanks for your comments for Pam and the good wishes, Penny!

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  44. Thanks so much for chiming in for Pam, Andrea! :)

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  45. You are not late, Linda, just avoiding the rush :) Thanks so much for chiming in for Pam - never too late to be helpful :)

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  46. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts for Pam, Yvonne - never too late :) And really? You never heard of a mudroom? Maybe it's an American thing - I never thought of that. Anyway, it's a small room, usually a side entrance to your house, where you can park things that are wet, muddy, dirty... like boots and raincoats and umbrellas and muddy dogs :)

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  47. You're so very welcome, Pam! I'm glad if you're finding the experience helpful. Isn't everyone wonderful? :)

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  48. Thanks Susanna, I live in the tropics, no need for a mudroom ;-) Before that I lived in Amsterdam where we don't have room for a mudroom, I think we may call it a hallway instead.

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