May 29, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #90 - The Word Thief (PB) AND The Biannual What-To-Wear Challenge



Good Morning, Folks.

If you hear any gnashing of teeth, don't worry, that's just me.

You see, it's time for my Biannual What-To-Wear Challenge.

When you have kids approximately 2 years apart, 8th grade graduations, high school graduations, and college graduations come along at fairly regular intervals.  And along with graduations comes the whole what-to-wear headache.

One of the many perks of being a writer is that there is no dress code.

I can wear blue jeans (my outfit of choice) every single day and no one cares because no one sees me.  For that matter, I could wear this

or this

and no one would even know!

(And I think I would look quite fetching.)

But on occasion it is necessary to go out in public, and that is where I run into trouble.  Unfortunately blue jeans are not considered appropriate attire for graduations (why not? I ask!), and I have a graduation to attend... tomorrow!  As I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to fashion and have the figure of a dumpling, I am faced with quite the challenge.

What to do?

Being resourceful, (but not in the sense of having financial resources or I would hire a personal shopper... or possibly a model to go in my place... :)) I decided to consult Google: "How to dress for your shape."

Right away, I ran into problems.  Hourglass, rectangle, diamond, apple....  Hmm....  no dumpling.  What's with that?  My second shape choice, garden gnome, doesn't show up either...  I don't look exactly like any of the choices they offer.

Figures.

(Ah-ha-ha, my punster is showing... :))

Oh, well.  Picking one that seemed somewhat close, I looked at the clothing suggestions.

A line? Wedge heels?
Balance? Elongate the torso?

Wrap tops?  Belted jackets?  Are they serious?

There is absolutely no hope.

So I will be going to the graduation in this:

(Feel free to share your fashion advice.  I can use all the help I can get :))


Gosh!  All that fashion anxiety is exhausting!  I definitely need a little Something Chocolate!  Let's go traditional this morning and have chocolate-chip pancakes, shall we?


Ah!  That's better :)  Ready for Would You Read It?

Today's pitch comes to us from Sian who says, "I live in San Jose California.  I come from England and although I love the beaches and the weather over here my heart will always belong in my rainy but beautiful homeland.  I've 2 kids - 6 and 4 and am a SAHM.  In my life BC (before children) I was a primary (elementary) school teacher and I love everything to do with teaching (apart from the tedious paperwork - that I do not miss!).  I have no publishing accolades to brag as I'm still at the very start of my writing 'career' (can I call it that??).  I'm learning stuff every day."

Working Title: The Word Thief
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Benedict’s an unusual Vampire.  He likes nothing more than snacking on a tasty noun because Benedict eats words.  He rampages through the city gobbling ‘words, whispers, songs and shouts’ until there are none left.  A silent city is a soulless and very eerie place.  Who can stop him?  There may be something furry lurking in the sewer that has the answer….

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 Sian 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 July so you have a little time to polish for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Sian is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the graduation, even though I can't wear blue jeans :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)

Reactions:

72 comments:

  1. Ack, you do not want my wardrobe advice, seriously! I am a complete rebel in conforming to what society thinks I should wear to certain occasions, but I will join you in munching pancakes.


    This PB sounds so funny, I love the concept of a word-eating vampire! I think I might leave out the final sentence?

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  2. I like that! I would read it! But who is the main character? The vampire or the furry thing? Can you be a bit more specific? I agree with Miss Marple about the last sentence.

    I would dress cheaply, but still look like I have more than a thousand dollars in my pocket. (I really have $0.00) ;) 'Course, I AM an 11-year-old... ;)

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  3. Susanna, you are so funny, though I hardly think of you as dumpling shaped. But I absolutely oved this!

    The book sounds fun and unusual and I like the pitch, though I would tighten up the sentences a bit- make them more active. For example, instead of "There may be something furry lurking in the sewer that has the answer' how about: Something furry lurking in the sewer might have the answer, or: Could something furry lurking in the sewer have the answer?

    I actually like the final sentence. It makes me curious. I suspect it's a rat, but I have no idea how it will solve the problem.

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  4. Oops, what does "ove" mean? I meant "loved" :-)

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  5. I bet you would look darling in a single piece wrap dress. The are very simple and would probably compliment you well...though I don't know for sure so I'm shooting in the dark here lol!

    A word eating vampire attracted my attention right away. Yes, I would read it.

    Oh, here's a really long link for some pics of those dresses: http://www.anntaylor.com/ann/cat/AT-Apparel/AT-Dresses/cata000012?trail=19006%3AWrap&pageSize=&gridSize=md&catid=cata000012&goToPage=&fRequest=true&cid=g_ps_drs&gclid=CNv0_a2du7cCFQFk7AodoHEA4g

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  6. Susanna, You are funny! Wear a simple, black dress and you can't go wrong. Well, unless it's one of those Halloween vampire getups, or if it's too skimpy, or the wrong size, or not really black, or if it's stretchy, faded, has some holes. I see the dilemma. Maybe I'll wear a potato sack to my daughter's concert tonight!

    As for the pitch, wow, for just beginning, it's fantastic! What a fabulous idea of a vampire sucking on words. It's different. I'm not sure I like the title as it's too close to THE BOOK THIEF for me. I'd rather see something to do with vampires and parts of speech, so we get a better sense of what the story's about. I'm also unsure of the final sentence. While I like the sense of mystery, I think giving us a personality trait as opposed to a physical description might give us a better hint as to how this nemesis stops the vampire. Like Erik, I also wonder who we're supposed to root for. At first I thought it was the vampire, since that's what it sounds like most of this book is about. But, then someone else is supposed to stop him. So, if you could firm that up, I think it will be great. Good luck!

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  7. Cathy Ballou MealeyMay 29, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    Angela and I are on the same wave length - my friend was just raving about a wrap dress from Talbots? Chicos? My last 'dress' was from EMS or REI so I am no style maven for consultation!

    I have a really cute photo of my dad and his sibs wearing feedsack coveralls on their dairy farm when they were little. Actually says "BLUE SEAL" right across their....backs. MY grandma was a talented sticher!

    Love the pitch - curious about the furry critter - would definitely read! Only word I questioned was 'soulless" - would a kid get that? Liked Iza's suggestions too.

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  8. Pancakes are better than dressing up! :) Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Sian! :)

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  9. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Ms. Mole, Erik! And I like your way of thinking about how to dress! :)

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  10. delores @ thefeatherednestMay 29, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    What to wear? Oh gosh, that's my worst nightmare. I live in blue jeans and t shirts; haven't worn a dress since 1996 or 7. Blue jeans can be quite stylish with a fancy blouse and jacket, or so I've heard lol (and hope).
    Yes, I would read it. What a fabulous and non scary way to write about a vampire.

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  11. You're just being nice, Iza! :) You've seen me eat ice cream :) Thanks so much for your very helpful suggestions for Sian!



























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  12. Thanks for your encouragement and your comments for Sian, Angela, and I will follow that link right away! :)

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  13. Thanks for your very helpful comments for Sian, Pam! And thanks for the fashion advice. Sigh. It is hopeless. Black is supposed to be perfect for anything (and slimming) but it seems so dark for a May graduation... I think I'm better off in burlap :)

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  14. Ooh! Feedsack coveralls! I like the sound of those - I think I'll wear that! :) Thanks for you comments for Sian, Cathy - I'm sure she'll find them helpful :)


























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  15. I am not kidding - the instructions for Prize Night tonight say "dress is casual - think summer wedding"! I am out of my league :) I like the idea of blue jeans with a nicer-than-usual shirt :) Thanks for the help, Delores, and thanks for your comments for Sian!


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  16. pennyklostermannMay 29, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Cute pitch. Very creative. I agree that it could be a little tighter. You repeated a couple of things, while telling us he eats words. And I wondered, is it more about the parts of speech or just words in general. I would make that clear in the pitch. If you're going for parts of speech, I would replace whispers, songs, and shouts with nouns, verbs, etc. If you're just doing words in general, then I would take the word "noun" out of your pitch. And "soulless" sounds too old, to me, too.
    Maybe something like:

    Benedict’s an unusual Vampire. He is on a gobbling rampage—scarfing down words. A tasty whisper. A scrumptious song. A delicious shout. Now the words are gone. Will the city be left silent and eerie? There may be something furry lurking in the sewer that has the answer.

    Funny you should be talking clothes today. At lunch yesterday, I mentioned to my friend that I really needed a couple of new tops. But...I hate to shop! I mean dread! I mean yuk! But I do like cute clothes, so it's really a dilemma for me. My husband used to show up with 2 or 3 perfect outfits a couple times a year from an out-of-town trip, but he doesn't travel as much any more, so it's up to me! Anyway...my friend said she was taking me shopping right after we finished eating. Oh the pressure. She was giving me her afternoon and I felt compelled to come home with something. I finally found one top at the last store!!!! And I really do like it. It wasn't a "guilt" purchase just because she'd given me her time. So, Susanna, you may have to recruit a friend to drag you from store to store. It worked for me!

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  17. Susanna, When YOU are comfortable then you radiate beauty and confidence. Be comfortable. As a former principal and a current pastor's wife I've seen everything from tuxedos to blue jeans at graduations and funerals. Just when I thought we had the dress code under control for graduation (what was showing or lacking under the gown) I realized too late at the graduation I'd forgotten about the shoes. Two of the girls wore rubber flip-flops. :< And remember the focus is on the grads. What are you comfortable with seeing yourself in pictures (those are what will last). Are you doing a formal get-together after - or just a hang-out with family? What does YOUR grad want you to wear? And besides - your smile is the best - so you'll be fully dressed!


    Oh-and FYI, I did NOT receive an email of your comment last week - which I always did. We'll see what happens today when I click post.

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  18. Sian - I like the title and the idea of someone stealing words...but it's the vampire that makes it a maybe for me. And it's a personal thing - vampires have always creeped me out. If the illustrations are not dark I would probably read it. I would suggest tightening the pitch a bit. Combine some sentences, like, " Benedict’s a vampire who prefers snacking on tasty nouns . He goes on a rampage gobbling whispers, songs and shouts until the city is silent and very eerie. Can something furry lurking in the sewer possibly stop him?

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  19. What are you doing this afternoon, Penny? :) Maybe you'd like to add dragging a dumpling around the mall to your agenda :) I LOATHE shopping! Seriously! Anyway, on a brighter note, thank you for your very helpful suggestions for Sian!

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  20. Thank you for the encouragement and wise words of advice, Laura! I will take it to heart :) You are so kind and thoughtful and say all the right things :) And thanks for letting me know you didn't get last week's comment... let's see what happens with this one. Did you get it?

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  21. Thanks so much for your comments for Sian, Laura - I'm sure she will find them helpful :)

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  22. First of all, Susanna have a day off and go shopping, you deserve it. I had to smile because only yesterday I got caught looking ridiculous. I had turqoise jeans on and it started to rain to go pick the kids up so I grabbed my raincoat but its lime green, turqious and lime green. As soon as the rain stopped it was off lol. What was I thinking!
    I love that pitch, wouldn't change a thing and nice to meet a fellow British-Expat SAHM yay!

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  23. Susanna, you missed your calling as a Second City comedienne (though it's never too late to start!). ;) My sister is addicted to What Not To Wear (I don't even know what channel it comes on) for her fashion advice. I'm the wrong person to ask because she laughs at me for wearing purple and red together (and I swear as an artist that red and purple go just fine together!).


    I would read The Word Thief because the idea of gobbling up words is really neat and kind of creepy. However, because it is a little creepy (vampires are, by nature, creepy), it may be a tougher sell. I know only of 1 or 2 agents in North America who like creepy concepts. But, I hear that other continents/countries are more open to scary PBs than the U.S.


    I also want to say that the title of Word Thief brings to mind something entirely different than vampires. To me, vampires are not thieves...unless you count the taking of lives as thieving. "Thief" brings to mind something less paranormal, though still mysterious and dangerous. I feel like either the title or the eponymous main character needs to be changed.


    Oh, if my family were open to chocolate chip pancakes, I'd be so there in a heartbeat!

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  24. Wear a Bohemian wrap skirt, t-shirt, and flip flops . . . understated elegance.

    Although not as understated as your potato sack. :D

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  25. That sounds like something I could live with :) Thanks, Nancy :)




























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  26. I think my daughters watch What Not To Wear... I know they watch Say Yes To The Dress :) None of that is my thing. I don't do shopping or dressing up! Glad if I entertained you with my lack of fashion sense though :) Thanks so much for your comments for Sian, and you could always sneak a few chocolate chip pancakes just for you :)

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  27. Wait! You can't wear turquoise and lime green together? Why not? Shoot - there goes my outfit! :) Thanks for your comments for Sian, and glad you got to meet a fellow British ex-pat SAHM :)

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  28. Susanna - no one is looking at YOU during graduation... the attention is on the graduates. Here's what parent's wore to Swarthmore graduation: long skirts with nice short-sleeved shirts and flip-flops or sandals; chinos and decorative shirt with sneakers; pantsuits; skirt-suits; fancy dresses; not fancy dresses. Shoes ranged from sneaks to sandals to heels to fancy boots.

    Now, about that cool story: I love the idea and would read it in a flash. I'd say more but the vampi---

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  29. I know no one is looking at me, Sue... I just can't help feeling self-conscious! :) Thanks for the advice! And thanks for your comment for Sian - you are very funny :)

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  30. Thanks Catherine, I'm glad you liked it!
    Good to meet you too - always nice to meet a Brit when you're a long way from home :)

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  31. Thanks Sue, that's actually given me an idea for the inside of the book!

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  32. Thanks Teresa. The story is a bit creepy but hopefully fun too! As a Brit I may well submit it (when it's ready) in the UK too.
    Thanks for your comments on the title - has given me something to think about.

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  33. what - the vampire's going to take a bite out of the cover? (I think there's a book that has a bite out of it... boy eats books?)

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  34. Thanks for the suggestions Laura. It does sound much tighter your way.
    I do understand your reservations about the vampire. However it is a funny book (well, at least I hope it is anyway!) and I would hope this would take away from the creepiness. It would need a humorous front cover I think!

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  35. Thanks Penny, I really like your rewording!
    The words, whispers, songs and shouts' is an important part of the book so I feel I would need to keep that bit but I shall definitely use this for inspiration!

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  36. I think the pitch it great. I would definitely read it and and find out about the furry thing. Cute idea.

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  37. Thank you Delores, that is good to hear!

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  38. Yes I agree, soulless is perhaps too much of a grownup word. Thanks Cathy!

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  39. Thanks for such an encouraging reply Pam! I can see what you mean about the title, it is too close to the Book Thief. I also found a out a picture book has just been published called the Brief Thief so time for a rethink! Yes, you are meant to root for the vampire (he just needs a helping hand to change his ways first) so I will have a think about how to incorporate this. Thanks again!

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  40. Thanks Iza! I can see how rewording this would help :)

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  41. Yes to the pitch--I like the eating of words. :)

    And Susanna, I feel your fashion pain. I have a graduation to attend too. Why can't we just wear our denim and be done with it? I ended up ordering a dress (i am so NOT a dress person), but it's not a fancy dress by any means. It's one of those shirt dresses, which hopefully I will dress up with jewelry. But seriously I'm thinking of wearing flip flops, nice ones. LOL

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  42. Oh Susanna! You'd look radiant in anything. You can look into your closet and make an outfit look new with just a few added accessories. Color is in! Just add a belt to the pajama and wallah! LOL. Try not to buy anything you'd only wear once.

    I'd read the Word Thief. Off the bat (no pun intended), it sounds like a fun read! Having a vampire eat nouns is original so it tickles our curiosity. I liked that samples were given- whispers, songs, etc. that vampire tries to get a hold of. The last sentence also leaves me with wanting more.

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  43. POSTED FOR LINDA at www.lindaboyden.com

    Had two graduations/award ceremonies last week. I wore my bling jeans, silk tank under a black jacket for the inside event but for the outdoor event (football field) nice jeans, comfy shoes and a pretty top. You will look beautiful whatever you wear.

    For the pitch, I do love Sian's concept, but vampire is so OVERDONE. Many people have posted wonderful comments already. I 100% agree for someone just starting out, this pitch is fantastic! Love the character's name, very strong. I don't know what to suggest instead of vampire: book worms actually do eat words. Am very curious what furry character will show to change the tide. Yes, I would read it.

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  44. Thanks for your helpful fashion advice, Linda, and thanks for your comments for Sian! :)

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  45. Thanks for sharing your thoughts for Sian, Rosi! :)



























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  46. I want to wear jeans and sneakers, but I don't think that counts as "thinking summer wedding"... well, it might be MY idea of a summer wedding :) We are like peas in a pod with our graduating seniors and our denim :)

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  47. Thank you for your encouragement, Romelle! :) I will do my best in the dressing department :) And thanks for your comments for Sian! Sorry about the disqus trouble - in general it does seem to be working pretty well for most people most of the time lately... although that could change at any minute... and frequently does!

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  48. If I still had them, I'd let you borrow my denim boots. :)

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  49. I like the pitch, and would be a definite YES, I would read it. The beginning could be tighter, simply, "Benedict, the Vampire rampages through the city...." I'm a little afraid of the word "soulless" so maybe something else there. Overall I wish this was at my library right now!

    Are there actually other items of clothing besides black pants and ruffly tops? Because that's all I ever wear (if I can't wear jeans or yoga pants or pajamas).

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  50. Nowadays people wear jammies to church, so don't sweat it. Besides, no one will notice what you're wearing; they will all be focusing on your too-short hair. (I'm sorry. I'll stop now.)

    I'm lovin' this pitch, by the way. It gives me a good sense of what the story is all about, yet there's a little mystery in there, too. It's great!

    Oh, I do so hope the sewer-dwelling hero is a rat! I am a fan of rodents, you know.

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  51. Loved the pitch! I think the "because Benedict eats words" bit might be a tad redundant coming right after "snacking on a tasty noun", but that might just be me. I thought it was fastastic to leave a bit of mystery at the end. It definitely made me want to read the book.

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  52. I really like this pitch -- quirky and draws you in immediately. You don't have a clue where the story is going and want to find out

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  53. Thanks for chiming in for Sian, Pat! :)



























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  54. After reading it through again Kimberly I think you are probably right as its already been said. I'm glad you liked the end :)

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  55. Thanks Mike! Don't want to give the game away but rats do get a bad press I feel :)

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  56. Thanks Genevieve, I wish it were at a library too! You're not the first to mention soulless so I will take it out.

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  57. I so understand where you are coming from with the overdone vampire thing however I promise that Benedict is many moons apart from Edward Cullen! I simply needed a character that could fly around and gobble up words and a vampire was the perfect fit. I glad you liked the pitch despite the vampire :)

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  58. I vote for the heart pajamas. If not that, black pants and a nice top (no wrap shirts please) can go just about anywhere. Sian, I love the concept of your book. It combines some of my favorite elements -- a good story and an opportunity for learning. You need to tighten it up to three sentences that show who the main character is and the driving conflict. I think you could combine the first two sentences, if not three. Then in a second sentence, tell us about the City and hint at the major conflict. Who is going to try to stop him?

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  59. Thanks for your fashion advice and for your very helpful suggestions for Sian, Kirsten! :)

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  60. Thank you so much for your thoughts for Sian, Kimberly!

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  61. Are you my older brother, masquerading as Mike? Really - you sound just like him! :) Thanks for your fashion advice and for your comments for Sian! :) (And my hair is growing! :))



























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    Nowadays people wear jammies to church, so don't sweat it. Besides, no one will notice what you're wearing; they will all be focusing on your too-short hair. (I'm sorry. I'll stop now.) I'm lovin' this pitch, by the way. It gives me a good sense of what the story is all about, yet there's a little mystery in there, too. It's great! Oh, I do so hope the sewer-dwelling hero is a rat! I am a fan of rodents, you know. 4:22 p.m., Wednesday May 29










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  62. Thanks for your comments for Sian, Genevieve. And yes, apparently there are items of clothing besides jeans and jammies - who knew? :)

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  63. That WOULD be a fashion statement :)

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  64. I doubt I'm your brother, but I wouldn't mind it. My sister doesn't do the writing thing.

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  65. My pet rat, Lucy, and I thank you.

    Ohm and the furry darling writes the occasional blog post, if you're interested...

    http://mikeallegra.com/2013/05/18/guest-post-by-lucy-the-rat/

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  66. Neither does my brother - he's a doctor! And at our advanced age he still gets a kick out of teasing me. Apparently I am gullible and will fall for anything :)


























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    mike allegra (Guest):


    I doubt I'm your brother, but I wouldn't mind it. My sister doesn't do the writing thing. 10 a.m., Friday May 31










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  67. Julie Rowan-ZochJune 1, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Just reporting that I still haven't received the email for this post, but no matter - better late than never to a party with chocolate chip pancakes!


    As for real-life dress-up clothes - I hear ya! I was just discussing this with a friend, that I do believe it's important to make an effort when you want to show the person you are attending for - AND NO ONE ELSE REALLY MATTERS - that you made a special-occasion-effort, because that person is important to you, and you can show it with clothes. A thought, in any case.


    Now to the pitch: Yes, I would read it because the idea of filling up on words intrigues me, but the first sentence isn't much of a hook - the start of the second is much better. I would tighten, something like this: "Benedict likes nothing more than sinking his vampire teeth into a tasty noun. He gobbles words, devours whispers, swallows songs until there are none. But a silent city is a soulless and eerie place. Will ---- be able to stop him/save the city?" - not perfect, but maybe Sian can add more of the voice from the story - esp. in the last sentence.

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  68. You mean you didn't receive the email notification of this post? Gee whiz! I wonder why? I would like it if technology would just work, because I don't understand it enough to fix it! :) Thank you for coming to visit even without the notification reminder! And thanks for your fashion advice and your comments for Sian! :)

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