Somehow we and all the Boston drivers survived the adventure, but not because I was doing anything right. I do not like one way streets. I do not like traffic. I really do not like roundabouts! Who thought those up and why are they all over Massachusetts? They are terrifying!
And all the while my GPS was chirping cheerfully, "Proceed to highlighted route. Go southeast on Cambridge Street. In point one miles turn right, then turn left, then turn left," while I thought things like if I knew how to get to the highlighted route, I wouldn't need you! and how am I supposed to know which way is southeast? and we're going in a circle! City driving is all well in good in a city that makes sense, like New York, but otherwise forget it! I was very happy to get back to normal roads.
|not actually our bear but a look-alike|
There is never a dull moment around here!
And speaking of excitement, Phyllis had what I'm pretty sure was her last world tour stop. If you didn't get to see it yet, please hop over to Robyn's Place. There are strawberries involved. And a bikini. And rodeo riding! :)
And as if that wasn't excitement enough, it's time for Would You Read It! So grab your Something Chocolate (Au Bon Pain anyone?) and something to sip and see what you think about today's pitch!
Today's pitch comes to us from Rita. Rita says, "I have always loved writing letters, plays, stories any thing really since the age of 9. I have 3 kids that have made me stop writing for awhile but now two of them are at university and the youngest is 15. I used to be a dog sitter, an airline hostess and a secretary but now I spend lots of time as storyteller (costumes and strange voices and all) and my most frustrating of jobs: a writer. I write in my basement and I love children, animals and travelling. Teaching children how to read is a parental necessity."
You can visit her website HERE.
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Elephant And Dolphin
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)
The Pitch: Elephant and Dolphin meet every morning by the sea. But Elephant lives on the land and Dolphin lives in the ocean. Elephant eats grass while Dolphin eats fish. Elephant trumpets and Dolphin clicks. How can these two play together with the differences they have between them? Elephant and Dolphin find out how friendship overcomes everything.
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 Rita 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, so you have time to polish :) for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!
Rita is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! And I am going to try very hard to catch up with everything I missed in the last two days! :) Have a great day, everyone!
Hi Rita, thanks for being brave and sharing your pitch! I like the idea of a story about such two different animals and how they will get along, but I'm not sure I'd read it without more of a hint about what will make this story different from others of this type. Instead of taking space in your pitch to explain how elephant and dolphin are different (we already know that), maybe a hint at how they will resolve the conflict? Or something that gives more of the flavour of the story.ReplyDelete
Thanks Andrea. You are right! I need to focus on what is different about the book and the sameness of the animals. Good point Thanks you.ReplyDelete
Hey Rita, I agree with Andrea. It seems to me that you are taking up space listing the differences. Make me want to read that book! (The book sounds awesome) But I want you to give me a reason to have to have that book in my library. If you do give a hint to the resolution make it a very faint hint. Just focus on Dolphin and Elephant's personalities and the friendship they have built. (I'm glad you named them what they are.) But don't give away anything. Great job, Rita! I cannot wait to read your precious story.ReplyDelete
Love the bear thing, Susanna. Um, I'm thinking that bear is a story for you to tell. :-) xoxo
Hi Robyn( love your name)ReplyDelete
Thanks for the evaluation! Will make it better next time specifically on their sameness. A picture book is pretty hard to write. The pitch is even harder. Thanks again for writing.
Susanna thanks for this. Am learning alot about pitches : what to put in and leave out.ReplyDelete
Thanks for reading and helping out, Andrea! :)ReplyDelete
I know! I really want to write a bear story. I have an idea I've tried twice that isn't quite working... I wish I could figure it out!ReplyDelete
You're MOST welcome, Rita! And the day is just getting started. I hope you'll get lots of helpful comments!ReplyDelete
Wow. It looks like the Hill Household is some kind of wildlife zoo! ;)ReplyDelete
I like the idea of the book and the pitch a lot. It is interesting! :)
Your decryption of our house as a zoo is more apt than you know :) Thanks for your comment for Rita!ReplyDelete
Oops - bad autocorrect - that was supposed to be description!ReplyDelete
Thank you Eric the Great!ReplyDelete
I'm so happy that smart people who know what they're talking about are posting. My only answer would've been, "YES, I would read it! I HAVE TO read it! I'm dying to see how they do this!!" I am no help, but have great enthusiasm for this idea....ReplyDelete
Rita, I say yes. You piqued my interest with a book about an unusual friendship. It sounds as if it would be fun and heart warming. I think you got excellent input from other commenters as how to improve your pitch.ReplyDelete
Glad your home safely, Susanna. Loved hearing about the bear.
I kind of like that w have a bear that wanders around, but I must say, I was pretty nervous that my daughter happened upon it by herself. I'm glad she had the dogs! Thanks for your comments for Rita :)ReplyDelete
That is very helpful in itself, Genevieve. Sometime we just like to hear that someone loves our ideas and that gives us the courage to slog through revisions! :)ReplyDelete
Susanna...my oh my! I can't believe a bear was circling your house! And how old is your daughter? Wasn't she scared? That alone could be the starting of a pb idea. Can u tame it? That would make a beautiful ending for the book! You must live close to the woods.? Anyway, glad you had a safe time in Boston, and all of u are safe.ReplyDelete
I'd say Maybe. I love the fact you're putting together 2 unusual characters, and that's 1 way to get a good story. (eg. pigeon + bus by Mo Willems) I think you should tell us more action rather than facts we already know about the animals. How did they meet? How did an elephant get so close to the ocean? I really enjoy friendship stories. I checked your web site, nice site, and that's neat you have 3 books already in English & Maltese. I've never met someone from Malta. Best wishes on getting this story published!
We live IN the woods! The bear has been around our house before - his path cuts diagonally through our yard - so that's not so surprising, but it did make me worry that my daughter came across him by herself! I was very glad she had the dogs with her. Bears don't like dogs and will usually depart if they hear barking - thank you Scouty! I would love to write a bear PB - I've got an idea, but 2 attempts have fallen flat. I need a better ending... Thanks for your comments for Rita!ReplyDelete
I have a book Meg the EGg on Amazon for the US market if you want to take a look at it. It is about an egg who simply is too scared to hatch until an invader takes her mother away and she needs to save her.
Thank you Penny. The book is interesting if I do say so myself. But I think it needs more emotion before I publish it. Thanks for your vote of confidenceReplyDelete
Thank you genevieve. With a little more extra editing maybe it will work and get it publishedReplyDelete
Hi Rita, your book sounds charming and YES, I'd read it. If nothing else, I want to find out how Elephant finds his way to the sea (is that part of the story?). I wish I were more skillful in giving advice. I'm picturing myself reading this theme to my early learners and detailing their differences and finding what connects them. I think they'd be interested to learn why, Rita.ReplyDelete
Susanna, glad you are home safe...city driving was never my forte! I think perhaps the bear incident would make a great pb. :)ReplyDelete
I LOVE the pitch...the story idea is an oldie but a goodie...and the choice of animals is fresh and engaging...how will they work it out? Rita, I think kids would love it.
I don't know, Susanna...maybe decryption is good...is that the opposite of encryption. :)ReplyDelete
That is so funny...usually I read through the comments before posting mine...but today I didn't...and then I read yours with the suggestion that Susanna turn the bear incident into a pb...great minds think alike...or something like that. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Vivian :) The downside of traveling is being SWAMPED when you get back. better get used to it this summer :) Thanks for your comments for Rita, and I DO want to write a bear book but haven't got the story right yet!ReplyDelete
Vivian Kirkfield (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:
I don't know, Susanna...maybe decryption is good...is that the opposite of encryption. :)
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Thanks for your help, Pam!ReplyDelete
Yes, I would read it, but like everyone else, I think the pitch needs to be tightened up and focused more. So...what THEY said! Good luck, Rita!ReplyDelete
Susanna, glad you made it out of the roundabouts. They are all over Europe. I don't drive here, actually, but when I eventually do...I have a feeling I will be very dizzy.
Rita, thanks for sharing your pitch! It sounds fun, and I like that you show them in their natural habitat. But I want to know how it stands out from other similar books. Need to have a stronger sense of the story. I would read it, just think you need to make your pitch a bit stronger.ReplyDelete
Susanna, laughing at your driving stories. Hate a lot of heavy traffic. We had some awkward moments around Orlando and in West Palm Beach. The GPS isn't perfect -- and I got so tired of "'Jane" say recalculating... UGH! I like where I live.
I love the bear story, Susanna! It sounds awesome (though dangerous) where you live! I love Boston but never driven there - I can imagine how difficult it is with all the curvy one-way streets! Is your daughter going to go to college there?ReplyDelete
Rita, you hooked me with your great main characters! As others have said, you need to give us more than just the differences between them. I don't know what happens in the story but I think there should be something more at stake than not being able to play together. Something like how their friendship is in jeopardy unless they find a way to overcome ____. When _____ happens to Dolphin, Elephant must find a way to _____. Or, when _____ threatens to end their friendship D and E must find a way to ______. Just MHO.
I'm a maybe. I like how you have picked two characters so different from one another. As people have already said, I would like to see a hint at what the conflict or obstacle is in the story.ReplyDelete
Susanna, yikes! Bears are beautiful but scary. My husband and I had a close encounter with one while hiking on our honeymoon. Not fun at all!
I like the idea of two creatures so different from each other finidng common ground. I would read it for sure. The pitch could sound a little more exciting though. Maybe a little less about their differences?ReplyDelete
Maybe you should name the GPS "Bear" :)ReplyDelete
I like the premise of the pitch and agree with everyone's suggestions. :)
OH! MY! Elephants Tigers and Bears Oh My!ReplyDelete
You have had an exciting week!
We have a neighborhood bear, too. And have to keep out trash in one of our sheds or it would be torn out everynight.As it is we wash everything and have very little actual trash in our cans because we recycle it all. But our neighbors have kept us informed of the bear's antics on our road.
Welcome back to normal, bears and pitches and us. lol
We're the crazy ones!
As to the pitch, it seems a little flat. It seems unlikely that the two could be friends so if a little more could be said about this part it may be more interesting. Bring us from beginning to middle to end in three tight sentences. There just isn't enough information, I think. Sorry I couldn't be more help. :)
It all happens on Blueberry Hill.ReplyDelete
Rita, thank you for being bold enough to share your pitch. It sounds a little to me like City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems. I love friendship stories and like these two contrasting animals, but need to know a little more what makes this story unique?
Thanks for your helpful comments, Delores!ReplyDelete
Apparently it all does, Joanna! :) Thanks for your comments for Rita!ReplyDelete
We've been told that black bears travel in a 50 mile radius, and that seems about right. They seem to pass through on weekly basis rather than daily. At least one is tagged with a yellow tag in his ear. This one appears to have a foot or leg injury of some kind because my daughter said he was lame :( Poor guy. And you know from my posts last year, they will get in the garbage any chance they get so we're very careful. Thanks for your comments for Rita :)ReplyDelete
Hmmm.... you may have something there Coleen! Or maybe UnBEARable :) Thanks for your comment for Rita!ReplyDelete
Grizzly or black? Ours are black. Still scary when you meet one in the road but not like a grizzly. Mostly our won't bother you unless you make them feel threatened or cornered. Every time I've seen one it's just ambled away. Thanks for your comments for Rita!ReplyDelete
Thanks for your very helpful comments for Rita, Lori! And yes, I like having a bear wandering around... up to a point :) Boston driving is not for me, but the city is terrific. I'd like to go back (without a car!) and visit! No one in my family is currently in college there, but we've got one looking...ReplyDelete
OMG I know it! That word "recalculating" makes me want to stick a fork in my eye! :) Thanks for your comments for Rita!ReplyDelete
Even more so if you're in one of those places where you have to drive on the wrong side of the car! Good luck :) And thanks for your comments for Rita!ReplyDelete
The most I've ever seen on a run is a teenage moose and deer. I'll pass on the bear, thanks, especially since I don't have dogs. :)ReplyDelete
The story sounds cute. I would read it, especially if I loved the illustrations. Yep, it always comes down to the illustrations with me and PBs.
Dogs are clearly a liability where many animals are concerned - baby turkeys, baby deer, baby rabbits etc - but when it comes to bears I think they're helpful. I've been told bears don't like dogs and will choose to leave the area if dogs are around and barking. I hope it's true! :) Thanks for your comments for Rita.ReplyDelete
Rita. Love the two animals you chose to be friends. An unlikely pair seem interesting to me. I would read it! I agree with the others though. I like Andrea's idea of adding what makes them similar or what brings them together in the first place...a zoo transporter? I don't know if that is even a kind of ship, but I do sound smart don't I? :)ReplyDelete
Susanna...I don't know what made my little heart pound faster....your description of the traffic and your encounters with the GPS or the bear story. Yeesh!
I would read it! I love stories about friends overcoming differences and adversity. I agree a little with what others have said about wanting to know a hint more about what is to come, but at the same time it's WANTING to know more that often makes me pick up a book; so leaving some things out I feel is okay. I want to know how these two very different animals figure out how to stay friends!ReplyDelete
Black bear. But still scary.ReplyDelete
Thank you all for your help! It has been a delight reading about your comments. I found out that mostly the problem is making the uniqie friendship stand out more. Maybe a shark should come along , I don't know. What I do know, is that the pitch needs a little pizazz and the book too needs some changing. Again thank you all for your time and great advice.ReplyDelete
I know it. They're so big, and you just never know what they might decide to do!ReplyDelete
Rena J. Traxel (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:
Black bear. But still scary.
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Thanks so much for your comments, Dana!ReplyDelete
I know - two different and scary situations - me driving in Boston and a bear wandering around our house - hard to say which is worse :) Thanks for your comments for Rita.ReplyDelete
What wonderful people you all are. Thanks for your comments.ReplyDelete
They are truly wonderful, aren't they? :) So helpful and generous and articulate!ReplyDelete
I would read it. I love elephants. The unique friendship makes me want to see how that works. I'm so with you on Boston traffic. I like roundabouts just not in Boston. Roundabout and bears oh my!ReplyDelete
I do not like any roundabouts that I have met anywhere to drive in - they all seem so dangerous! but maybe it's just my driving :) Thanks for your comment for Rita!ReplyDelete
Hi Rita. We love fictional stories that are grounded in "facts," so I think we'd enjoy yours. I've skimmed some of the comments, but not all, so I hope I'm not repetitive. I think the key change I'd make would be to highlight the conflict. Yes, the animals are very different, but how does this present itself as obstacles the would-be friends must overcome. What happens when they try to talk to each other, share a snack, play ball? I think highlighting the conflict would give the pitch more of a hook.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your very helpful comment for Rita, Kirsten!ReplyDelete
Hi Rita- Sorry I'm late chiming in here. I'm a maybe on this one. I like the two main characters a lot, and could see some funny situations and great illustration potential there. What's missing from the pitch, for me, is that hint of what it is in the story that complicates the situation for these two characters. I don't think you need to tell us how they solve the problem, but do need to hint at what it is. Also, see if you can liven up the language a little bit with some stronger verbs (example: Elephant chomps grass. Dolphin gobbles fish. That kind of thing.)ReplyDelete
Have you looked at the Elephant and Piggie stories by Mo Willems? You might want to check them out just for comparison's sake.
Susanna, so glad you survived Boston driving! I've lived close to Boston all my life and never know in which geographical direction I'm going either. Still surviving without GPS...for now.
I feel a little better if someone who has loved in the area can't figure it out either :) New York City makes sense to me - all laid out nicely in a grid - but maybe that's just because I grew up there and it's familiar :) I had no idea where I was at any given time in Boston! But it sure is a nice town! Thanks for your helpful comments for Rita :)ReplyDelete
Yes, I would read it! I think this book would interest children to see how these two different animals can come together. If the illustrations were vibrant that would pull a reader into choosing the book, too!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the comment, Anna!ReplyDelete