July 10, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #95 - That Tommy Thompson (PB) PLUS a Short Blog Hop


Okay.  I know I failed on the chocolate front last WYRI when I was away on vacation, so let's just start right out with that, shall we?  I won't keep you waiting a second longer!

I have the perfect chocolate delight for the summer heat which also happens to be perfect for breakfast because it's a legitimate breakfast item!  Are you ready?
FROZEN HOT CHOCOLATE!!!  YUM :)
Ah!  How refweshing! :)

Now, let's get right to WYRI!

Today's pitch comes to us from Lisa who says: A little about me.  I'm a former elementary school social worker, mom of two, and have recently made writing my full time job.  Two years ago I wrote my first picture book and just this past fall I  decided it wasn't going to do any good sitting on my computer. I began taking classes, reading craft books, attending conferences and workshops and just writing, everyday, writing.   The original story is long gone but at last count I've got 42 other drafts and ideas jotted down.  Oh yeah, and about four or five ready to go manuscripts. I have worked with kids my entire adult life and I feel strongly that this is the avenue in which I am meant to reach those little hearts and minds at this time in my life.  On a random note, I'm a big fan of chocolate covered gummy bears. ;)

(Chocolate-covered gummy bears?  She'd my kind of gal :))

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: That Tommy Thompson
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5 and up)
The Pitch: Just a girl???? Abigail Richmond was not about to let "that" Tommy Thompson ruin her day. In fact, she has just enough confidence combined with a dash of sass that allows her to prove she can do anything she puts her mind to, just like some other famous women in history. Luckily, she also has the smarts to know what she shouldn't do. 

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 Lisa improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in August (GULP!) so we could really use some new pitches!  Send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Lisa is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing who wins the 4th of July Secret Mystery Contest!!!  If you haven't voted, please go HERE.  It's a very tight race so we need all the votes we can get!

Now, before I let you go, I have a quick little blog hop item.  My friend and fellow horse lover, Robyn, who blogs over at Robyn Campbell, just asked me to participate in this "blog hop interview."  Naturally I said yes, since Robyn is my pal :)  The idea is, she sends me a bunch of questions of which I can answer as few as 4 or as many as all of them (don't worry, I'm going with Option A - short and sweet for the time-challenged!).  At the end, I tag three other writers, who will in turn answer their choice of the same interview questions on their blogs next week.

Here are las preguntas (I hope you're admiring my splendid accent :)):

1. What are you working on right now?
2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?
3. What experiences have influenced you?
4. Why do you write what you do?
5. How does your writing process work?
6. What is the hardest part about writing?
7. What would you like to try as a writer that you haven't yet?
8. Who are the authors you most admire?
9. What scares you?

Alrighty then.  I shall proceed with the answering.  Skipping right over the first 5... :)

6.  What is the hardest part about writing?
For me, there are two hardest parts: finding enough time and shutting up my inner editor.  Time is an issue because I always seem to want to do more things than actually fit into a day.  The inner editor problem has to do with perfection.  Sometimes I'm so afraid to write something that isn't good enough and thereby ruin a potentially great idea that I can't seem to write anything at all.  Other times, I spend so much time on page 1 that I never get to page 2! :)

7.  What would you like to try as a writer that you haven't yet?
Well, this is a little bit cheating because I have tried it (very unsuccessfully!) but I would like to try writing a YA novel.  I would also like to try my hand at some non-fiction.

8.  Who are the authors you most admire?
Why did I pick this one?  What was I thinking?  This is an impossible question because there are so many.  But I love Joyce Sidman's way with words.  I love Oliver Jeffers's ability to tell wonderful picture book stories with humor and also equally successfully to tell ones that are sweet.  I love anything Sarah Dessen.  And I think Patrick Ness knows how to tell a riveting story.  I could go on indefinitely, but I'll stop :)

9. What scares you?
Not being good enough.
Also competitive eaters who can eat 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes.  That is VERY scary!

Thanks for reading!  And please check out Robyn's answers.  Feel free to leave her a comment (read pleasepleaseplease leave her a comment because she is tons of fun:)) and let her know you hopped over from my blog.

I am tagging

Stacy Jensen
Alison Hertz
Julie Rowan-Zoch

Feel free to stop by their blogs today if you don't already know them, and definitely next week when they post!

Oh and one more thing:  I just found out my guest post with Sarah Forrest at Easy Read went up today.  It's about helping kids who struggle with reading find the fun in it (I have a M.A. and M.Ed in Counseling Psychology and Special Education of Children With Learning Disabilities, and before I wrote full time I helped kids with dyslexia learn to read.)  Sarah would love some visits, and perhaps if you have a child who struggles with reading or know someone who does the post could be useful and you could share the word of her blog.

And now, after that detour :), please leave your comments for Lisa below and cast your vote for your favorite story in the 4th of July Contest!

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Reactions:

65 comments:

  1. Okay, that tickled me that you skipped right on down to question five...but I can understand your feeling of not being good enough. Goodness, I can understand that ALL too well.


    For the WYRI submission today, I have to say I'm on the fence. I do adore a little girl with sass and smarts, so that is an attraction to the story. However, I'm trying to understand what the story is about.


    It sounds like this Tommy kid called her the infamous "Just a girl." Why boys do that, sheesh, I don't know lol! But then what happens? Is there a competition or a contest? Has Tommy triple-dog-dared her into something dangerous that she's smart enough not to do? I think I get the theme that she's confident but I'm not sure I get the story. Does that make sense? I wish I could offer suggestions but I'm not sure of what takes place beyond Tommy's comment to suggest how to enhance the pitch. I would love to know more, though. Abigail sounds like my kind of gal :-)

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  2. Catherine JohnsonJuly 10, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    Coming here is such a cute start to the day :) Re the pitch I would take out 3 ? and add too right at the end. The rest is perfect. I love it!

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  3. Thanks for the frozen hot cocoa! now for WYRI: Like Angela, I want to know more about what the story is about. Like an initiating action that has Abby ready to show him she's not "just a girl".

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  4. delores @ thefeatherednestJuly 10, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    I would read it. I like the idea of girls proving they can do anything. The pitch does seem a tad cumbersome though.

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  5. Julie Rowan-ZochJuly 10, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Girl power? Of course I want to read this! But I would tighten and add more of a hook, maybe about her heroes, ONLY if that is where the story is going - otherwise I'd leave the women in history bit out. The last sentence sounds like the conflict core to me, so I would give some doubt instead of assurance. And though I like the sound of the title - is the story about him?

    Just a girl? Abigail Richmond was not about to let "that" Tommy Thompson ruin her day. Her confidence combined with a dash of sass allows her to prove she can do anything she puts her mind to, but can her heroes in history inspire her to know what she shouldn't do?

    Best of luck, Lisa!

    And that Robyn! She has finagled more out of OUR kid-lit hero to inspire us!

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  6. I would read it because the MC sounds smart and sassy and fun. But I also think the pitch could be improved. I'd like more of an idea of where the story is going. The last sentence leaves me wondering, but not in a good way. I feel like something important is missing.
    Also the "that allows her to prove" section feels a little clunky. And I'd delete "other" from "other famous women in history" as the MC is not famous or a woman herself.

    Wishing you all the best, Lisa!

    Love your number 9, Susanna. Competitive eaters freak me right out.

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  7. I love the concept of this story. I guess I want to have a hint of what he's done to - beat her at something, dared her etc. Don't think you need the famous women line. I would keep it tight.
    Like all your responses Susanna, especially #6. It surprised me a bit because you put yourself out with your contests and ideas. I thought you were fearless.

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  8. Thanks for your thoughts for Lisa, Pat! And no... not fearless... not even close :) Although apparently I'm a good actress :)


























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  9. Thanks for your suggestions for Lisa, Ruth! And let me know if you'd like to be tagged - you could do this next week :)

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  10. Thanks for your very helpful and thoughtful suggestions for Lisa, Julie! And I don't know what to tell you about Robyn... she blindsided me :) Let me know if you'd like a crack at this - I'll make you the number 3 tag :)

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  11. Thanks so much for chiming in for Lisa, Delores!



























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  12. You're welcome, Sue! Delicious, isn't it? :) Thanks so much for your thoughts for Lisa!


























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  13. Thanks for your advice for Lisa, Catherine! And for saying you like the way my blog starts your day, you get an extra frozen hot chocolate :)


























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  14. Thanks for all these thought-provoking questions for Lisa, Angela - I'm sure she'll find them helpful! And glad you liked the blog hop thingy. You too could be involved... let me know if you'd like to be tagged :)

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  15. Love your story concept, Lisa! Scrolling down, I read Julie Rowan-Zoch's pitch fix...it is amazing...so I won't add anything to that except to suggest a title (maybe: Not Just a Girl!). I want to find out how the heroes help her...very turn-the-page idea.:)


    Susanna...thanks for the yummy chocolate! And I loved learning so much more about you...I'll hop over and read your guest post!

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  16. I would be a maybe. The blurb is too general and could be about almost anything. The famous woman line makes me think it could be historical fiction. What did Tommy do? I rather like the title to be about the main character rather than the protagonist.

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  17. Thanks for chiming in with your thoughts for Lisa, Sue!



























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  18. Thanks, Vivian, for your comments for Lisa and for hopping over to read :)

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  19. Hi Susanna,


    I loved reading your blog-hop interview. I can't wait to read your YA novel when you're ready to share it with the world. :-) What genre are you interested in?

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  20. Julie Rowan-ZochJuly 10, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Sure - why not!

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  21. Yes, I would read That Tommy Thompson. I already love the author's voice and the spunky character. I was just wondering if the last line could have more of a hook that leaves the reader wondering what's going to happen or hint at possible trouble, etc. Hope this helps! :-)

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  22. With you, Susanna, on the Inner Editor. I often babble into a recorder during the brainstorming stage, so I can't go back and "fix" everything--and so my voice overwhelms hers.

    Agree with the comments. I love me a sassy girl; but I'd rather see why she's sassy than be told she is. It's all in the details, and with more concrete info/action, both Abigail and the story would become clear.

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  23. I have reached "the end" on 2 YA novels, 1 MG, and 1 that is somewhere in between, I'm afraid, but they are all dreadful! I have much to learn about writing longer books! I also have about 40 pages of 3 more... Some day I'm going to figure this out!

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  24. Wow, I'm impressed. I've written one M-G that's terrible. And one YA for NaNoWriMo. It has a lot of gaps in it that I need to figure out. I'm not sure I'm a novel writer. lol.

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  25. I'm not...YET!... but in keeping with my ram-headedness I haven't give up :)

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  26. I like that. You're inspiring. I won't give up either! lol. :-)

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  27. Thanks so much for your comments for Lisa, Cheryl!

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  28. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Lisa, Stacy! And I love your recording idea! I think I might have to try that!

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  29. pennyklostermannJuly 10, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Yum! That frozen hot chocolate would be sure to hit the spot on this hot summer day!!! But please remove that second straw because I want it ALL!!!!

    The pitch? I say I would probably read it. You have a universal idea going on and if your story has a uniqueness to it, it would be a winner. I would think your mention of women in history could be that unique hook in your story. but the language in the pitch sounds more chapter bookish to me. I don't know if you necessarily need to mention that she's confident and sassy because that comes across in the fact that she's not going to let Tommy ruin her day.

    I totally hear you about the inner editor, but had never put it that way...you have such a gift for explaining these writerly things!

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  30. Sidney Schuhmann LevesqueJuly 10, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    I just had to look up each of the writers you mentioned that you admire and find out more about them, Susanna. Great stuff! Thank you for sharing.

    For the pitch, I would agree with some of the others that it was a little general. I would love a little sample of what Abigail plans to put her mind to and what women in history she will be emulating.

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  31. Haha! Okay, Penny. I'll take the second straw away. Or you could just slide it over right next to the first one and sip double-time :) Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Lisa. And I'm glad you get it about the inner editor. I'd like to send her to time out...frequently!

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  32. WOW, Lisa. Nice job and WOWEEEEEE, what a hook with the famous women in history line. The first part of the third sentence can be taken out though. I think the title should really be about the protag, Abigail. I would read it. Sure!

    Thanks to my pal for helping me out and I hope my pal knows I love her tremendously! And you KNOW I'm scared to death that I'm NOT good enough. *sigh* I read this before eating and commented after. Thank you to Stacy, Julie, and Alison for keeping it going! Sus, XOXOXOXO

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  33. Thank you Robyn. Such encouraging words and great suggestions!

    (I've never liked the title)

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  34. Agreed, thank you for the feedback.

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  35. Thank you for the feedback! I am looking forward to making revisions.

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  36. Thank you! Yes, she is a VERY spunky character! I appreciate the feedback!

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  37. Thank you for the feedback. I am anxious to make some revisions.

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  38. Thank you for the feedback. I've always hated the title ;)

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  39. Thank you for your feedback. I agree the pitch needs some work and I am anxious to use everyone's comments to improve it!

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  40. Great feedback Julie. Abigail is girl power to the max. :) I appreciate the feedback and realized I need to make some changes to the pitch. Thank you for the help!

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  41. I agree! Thank you for the feedback!

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  42. I love Abigail. She rocks and I appreciate your feedback. I need to show in a little more detail why she rocks. ;) Thanks for the help!

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  43. Thank you for the positive feedback!

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  44. I hope I didn't miss thanking anyone individually, but here is a great big hug and thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you. This story was the first one I really wrote and this was the first pitch I had every written. You all helped immensely with seeing where I needed to tighten the pitch and how it is too vague. I agree 100%. I love Abigail so she deserves a stronger sell ;). Thank you again. Back to the drawing board I go!

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  45. Thanks for your comments for Lisa, Robyn! And you know I would walk over hot coals for you :)

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  46. Thanks for your comments for Lisa, Sidney. I'm sure she'll find them helpful. And check out Joyce Sidman's Red Sings From Treetops :)















    Susanna




    Susanna Leonard HillChildren's AuthorWebsiteBlogFB Author PageTwitterMaking Picture Book Magic (Online Writing Course)
    Subject: Re: New comment posted on Susanna Leonard Hill: Would You Read It Wednesday #95 - That Tommy Thompson (PB) PLUS a Short Blog Hop

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  47. And obviously a huge hug and thank you to Susanna for the opportunity!

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  48. Obviously you are entirely welcome, Lisa :) I'm so glad you're finding the feedback helpful. It's really all our wonderful readers who deserve thanks (which I know you already did :))


























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  49. Yes, I would read it! I like the idea of including women from history into a fun story. I love the last line about knowing what NOT to do. I'm a little confused about the "that" in front of Tommy Thompson, but maybe I missed something? Nobody else seems to be confused by that. (ha!) Is it just in reference to the standard way ot saying "that johnny, that billy, etc?" If so, I don't think I like the emphasis on it...it seems too general. Also, this is a book about famous women and a strong MC, but the BOY gets the title and the first sentence! NO! I would think about if there's another way to do that and include the girl more up front. Good luck with the story--it sounds great!

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  50. YOUCHIE!! Mind over matter! Sssssst.
    *wink* *wink*

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  51. Gosh, I would loooove some frozen hot chocolate! How did you know? ;)


    Yes, I would read "That Tommy Thompson" because I love a good, strong female character like Abigail. However (and please excuse me if others have already said this because I'm late to the party and had a long, tiring day), because this is a book about a strong little girl, I don't think the title should be about the boy. And also, I'm not sure what the quotes around the word "that" in the pitch means. Often, people misuse quotation marks when they want to place emphasis on a word. Maybe Lisa should use italics if she had wanted to emphasize the word. Other than that, I think it's a great story idea and best of luck!

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  52. Yes, I'd read it. Abigail sounds like a great characters. Perhaps you could shorten the sentence to: Abigail can do anything she puts her mind to, just like... (and name a famous historical woman). Although I do like your dash of sass!

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  53. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts for Lisa, Rachel!

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  54. Thanks for your comments for Lisa, Teresa! And since you had a long tiring day and still came to help, you may have seconds on frozen hot chocolate :)

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  55. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Lisa, Wendy! :)

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  56. I love the character of Abigail and her strong personality. I like the idea of bringing in strong women from history. But I'm not sure whether I'd read it without knowing more. I'm curious about what it is Abigail shouldn't do and how Tommy ruins her day.

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  57. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Lisa, Andrea!



























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  58. Mike Allegra writerJuly 11, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    I give it a probably yes. The pitch gives me a very good sense of who Abigail is. It doesn't, however, tell me much about what the story is about. I'd like to know a little more. What did Tommy say and/or do? How does Abigail plan to whup him? How do (and which) women play a role in helping her to achieve her goals?

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  59. Thanks for your insightful comments for Lisa, Mike! :)

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  60. Stina LindenblattJuly 11, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Whose dumb idea was it to make a day only 24 hours. And whose dumb idea was it for humans to have to sleep? If a day was 48 hours and we only needed a hour of sleep a day to recharge, just think of what we could do. lol


    I love Sarah Dessen books too, but I haven't read her latest one.

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  61. I haven't read her latest one either, because I have no time to read, because a day is only 24 hours and humans have to sleep! :)


























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  62. Late as usual. Some of my thoughts on the pitch, I see have been mentioned in the comments. I'm never really sure how it works, but the title makes me think I am picking up a boy book. The pitch as is, tells me it's a girl power book. I like those. I'm clueless on title options (I know. I know. I brought it up.). I'm posting my answers today, July 17. Thanks for the tag. :)

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  63. Thanks for your comments for Lisa, Stacy. I agree. Titles are hard! And thanks for being tagged :) I just added your link to this week's post :)

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