August 10, 2012

Summer Short And Sweets - Week 6

In celebration of the Olympics, which are drawing to a close, and of Would You Read It's birthday this week, let me welcome you to Week 6 of Summer Short & Sweets for The Pitch Olympics!!!!!
badge created by Loni Edwards
Does this look familiar?

[Character] who [a unique, special, or defining characteristic of said character] wants/needs [goal] more than anything but can't get it because of [obstacle(s)].

Simple.  Classic.  Elegant :)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write an awesome pitch (or 2 or 3) for a picture book.  The fun part?  It doesn't have to be for a book you've written.. or even intend to write... :)

It can be a pitch for something you think up right here right now this very second!  Or a pitch for a work-in-progress!  Or a pitch for a bit of an idea you've been ruminating on since breakfast!  Or a pitch for someone else's published book - you take the story and boil it down into a pitch!  Or take the idea from someone else's published book, or a nursery rhyme, or a fairy tale, and change a detail of the plot, setting, character, POV etc. and make it into a new pitch idea!  Anything goes!

Just make it as interesting as you can so we all want to read it!  And if enough people put up pitches, I'm guessing we'll all get loads of story inspiration ideas!  The great thing?  Even if 14 people wrote a story off the same pitch, it would probably come out 14 different ways!

In case you're feeling overwhelmed and stymied, here are a few options for each category:  ( you can do the old pick a number from 1-10 and don't peek routine if you want to be random, or just pick whatever blows your hair back :))

1. Sophie
2. Max
3. Rover
4. Stinky Pete
5. Tiger
6. Isabella
7. Lasso Larry
8. Stegadora
9. Two-Toed Ted
10. Sugar Brown

Defining/Unique Characteristic:
1. is afraid of loud noises
2. hates to get wet
3. is a pirate
4. loves licorice
5. is a princess
6. comes from Venus
7. is a ballerina
8. always has her/his nose in the air
9. is a tightrope walker
10. is impatient

wants a sister
wants to ride a two-wheeler
wants to lose a tooth
wants to live in the jungle
want a best friend
wants to be brave
wants to be first
wants to go to school
wants to be famous
wants to go camping

hmmm.... you may be on your own for this one since it's hard to think of obstacles that can apply in any situation - they kind of need to be specific... but:
1. natural disaster (forest fire, flood, tornado, volcano, earthquake, hurricane, blizzard etc.)
2. injury (physical)
3. injury (emotional)
4. sibling interference
5. parental control
6. friend betrayal
7. lack of talent or ability
8. rules/laws
(feel free to add anything else generic you can think up in the comments and I'll edit and add here :))

Here are a couple examples from yours truly to set the mood :)

1.  Goldilocks, who is tired of porridge and bears, heads for Paris to open a cafe, but she hasn't the slightest idea how to cook!

2.  Harold, who is a master of truth-bending, wants a job to earn money for a new baseball glove so he can make the local team, but nobody trusts him.

3.  Stinky Pete, a pirate on the foul ship Treasure Stealer, longs for a kitten but is afraid he'll be made to walk the plank if he gets one.

So, are you ready?


Just for a change of pace, I am on my way to Vermont as we speak, so I will have to check in on you  from afar, and probably read your awesome posts very late tonight, but I can't wait to see what you all come up with!  Give it your best shot.  Remember, this is for Pitch Olympic Gold! :) (BTW, I had an awesome graphic I was going to use for this.  I found an Olympic image on google images and Renee personalized it using her amazing photoshopping abilities, but after all the talk about fair use, I'm afraid to put it up!  But, maybe just for a day or two so you can see it... :))
Have a great weekend, everyone, and tune in Monday for a special post and giveaway (assuming I manage to return from my travels and actually write it! :))


  1. No one wants to play with little Edwin Bat. Perhaps a visit to the dentist will solve his problem. Grandpa Rabbit seems to think so.

    Drive safe.

  2. Little Mable Moo can't stand the putrid stink brought on by her pasture mates. Maybe moving to the other side will give her relief.

    *waves* to Traveling woman. Maybe play road trip songs for Jo-Jilly to listen to. That always warms her heart. *wink*

  3. That's awesome Robyn! I have missed you ladies. I'm back in Canada on Monday evening.

  4. What fun! I love the Olympics...and I love Mission I will certainly accept this mission. :) But unfortunately, work I'll be back later tonight!

    But here's one just for fun:
    Susanna, talented picture boook author and a queen of creative writing challenges, wants us all to succeed as published authors, but a well-written pitch is the first and most critical step. Will the Summer Short and Sweets Olympics inspire us to produce it?

  5. [insert Willie Nelson] On the road again....just can't wait to get on the road again...

    Duck finds a puck and follows his dream to play ice hockey, but he discovers that being goalie requires real skill. Duck needs practice, luck and a little help from his friends to be ready for the big game.

  6. Zorf wants to go to the Summer Festival in the neighboring town, but that means walking through the Tugley Woods and maybe running into the hideous monster that lives there. Will bringing five friends along for the trip keep them safe?

  7. Here goes (this is actually realated to the Olympics!) -
    Philippe, who was the fastest runner in 5th grade, wants to get a gold medal in the Olympics. Philippe's parents say he is too young, but Philippe is determined to succeed. Can he convince his parents to let him try to join the games?

    That wa fun. And if you didn't guess, he was going to be in one of the races :)

  8. Here's mine:

    Chickadee hates winter. When his friends escape the cold snow for warmer weather he's always left behind with nothing to do and no one to play with. Until he sees the blue jays building snowmen and the robins roughhousing in a snowball fight. Will Chickadee attempt to make new friends and venture out to uncover more wintertime fun?

    A little boys and I feed the chickadees in the wintertime at a nearby nature center and I always feel so bad for these poor little birds who are left behind in the snow while their bigger bird friends get to fly south to the warm weather. Maybe I feel a little bad about being stuck here in the winter, too :) Michigan winters can be harsh. But, we try to make the best of it and have fun sledding and ice-skating and doing all the things my nieces and nephews and others who live in warmer climates never get to experience. It's all about the outlook!

  9. Johnny loves to race and hopes to enter the Special Olympics wheelchair category, but discovers he lacks upper body strength. Johnny requires training, a new two-wheeler and a lot of support from family and friends to be prepared for the race.

    Susanna, your tailbone must be sore!

  10. Widowina dreams of being a spider-bride, but she's afraid she will ruin the celebration by eating the the groom instead of the moth-strewn wedding cake.

  11. Curly-haired Caroline loves to frolic in the garden. When her cherished flower-sprigged hat disappears, Caroline must discover what her animal friends have done with it.
    Lots of fun, Susanna...great pitch exercise. :)

  12. I'm headed north for a real live vacation with my family with NO internet. So I'll check in when I return. xo

    Freedom, an albino tiger in a rescue shelter, wants to work like his twin sister Hope, but he just can't seem to find the right fit.

  13. This is one from my 7 year old son Felix who wanted to join in when I told him what I was doing.

    Isabella, who comes from Venus, wants a sister from Earth, but her parents don't want her to have one.

    Check out his blog too

  14. You made me laugh, Penny! Thank you for a delightful pitch :)

  15. I am honored that Felix wanted to join in and I love this pitch! It sounds like it would make a great story! I will be right over to check out his blog. And you know what's really weird? On Thursday I scribbled down the draft for a new story and guess what the main character's name is? Felix! Not such a common name. And now, here's Felix!

  16. Excellent and interesting pitch! Thanks for joining in. And have a GREAT vacation!!! :) Enjoy being unplugged :)

  17. Glad you enjoyed it, Vivian! And I enjoyed your pitch and am certainly wondering what happened to her beloved hat! :)

  18. What a great pitch, Pat! I hope you write the story! And yes, I am a bit stiff from all the driving at my old age - it's hard to sit for so long :)

  19. I love your pitch and story idea, Kim! And so true about the attitude! I love chickadees - they're one of my favorites. They are so cheeky and cheerful, even in the snow and cold, I find them delightful :)

  20. Great one, Erik! Sounds like it would make a terrific story... maybe your August or September 12x12... ? :) Thanks for joining in the fun!

  21. This sounds like a fun story, Randy! I'm getting such a kick out of reading everyone's pitches - so many great ideas! :) Thanks for joining in!

  22. Thanks for the song, Cathy :) And I love your pitch! I think duck has his work cut out for him, trying to manage on ice with his big duck feet! I can just imagine the illustrations for this one :) Thanks for joining in the fun!

  23. Oh, you are so clever, Vivian! And I am honored to be the subject of a pitch! :) Thanks for the fun :)

  24. We have missed you too! :)

    Catherine Johnson wrote, in response to Robyn Campbell:

    That's awesome Robyn! I have missed you ladies. I'm back in Canada on Monday evening.

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  25. Little Mabel Moo hahaha - you made me laugh, Robyn :) Very entertaining pitch idea :) And Jo-Jilly is listening to All Things Bright And Beautiful (as are we) in addition to music - we alternate. Audiobooks are awesome!

  26. Ooh, you've got my interest! How will the dentist help? Conquering bad breath? Removing scary-looking teeth? Good pitch! Thanks for joining in, Delores, and for the good wishes. We made it home safely and now only 1 or 2 to go I think!

  27. I had a huge crush on James Herriott as a young geeky is that?

  28. Not geeky :) I wanted to BE him! When I listen to the stories, I still want to! :)

    Cathy Mealey (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    I had a huge crush on James Herriott as a young geeky is that?

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  29. These are all so great! Alas, nothing is coming to me. Must get to my happy place, and then I'll be back... :)

  30. When Daisy wakes up, stretches, and yawns, she's shocked--her fur isn't white anymore! Trying to get her color back may be more trouble than just staying green, especially when a snidely cat gets in the way.

  31. No pressure! But I do hope you find your happy place. I hate to think of you being unhappy! BTW, I went through your home town yesterday :)

  32. Ooh, excellent! Sounds like a good story! Thanks for joining in!

  33. Thanks pal! I've missed you woman!!!!!!!!!!!! *sniff* So glad you're coming back. *grin*

  34. Persius is a feline who is out to prove that he is a fierce lion, but how can he when everyone keeps calling out to him, "here kitty-kitty!"

  35. Persius is a feline who is out to prove that he is a fierce lion, but how can he when everyone keeps calling out to him, "here kitty-kitty!"

  36. Hi Susanna:

    I loved your Goldilocks pitch. Awesome!

    Your challenge made me think of bullies which I blogged about.

    Here’s my first pitch on a fairy tale.

    Timid, red riding hood needs to swallow her fear when the big, bad wolf breaks into her cottage, snatching her last batch of oatmeal cookies.

    Here’s a second pitch from my middle grade novel.

    Working Title: “Georgia Rose McLean and the Poisonous Paper Plane”

    A new boy in class jams bubblegum into eight-year-old, impulsive, Georgie’s ponytail. When her hair-brained scheme for revenge backfires, she thinks she can never go home.

  37. Love it Vivian! You painted an outstanding picture of your character. I'd read your story.

  38. Love this! Sounds like it would make a great story! :) Thanks for joining the fun, Romelle!

  39. These are great, Tracy! Thanks so much for sharing - particularly your MG novel pitch - sounds like fun!

  40. This was a fun reversal! I love the idea of brainstorming a story by creating a pitch. Here are two that I came up with:

    Tallulah Cotter, a talented girl with an articulate twang, dreams of being a country singer, but she is needed on the family farm just to make ends meet.

    Funland Phil, an amusement park owner who gives ‘fun’ a bad name, is sick and tired of being in the ‘happy business’ so he looks for ways to sabotage his popular park. He is furious to be thwarted by 7-year-old Zoe Heart every step of the way and is surprised by the lesson she has to teach him.

  41. I'd be happy to email it to you, Tracy, if you'd like to take a look at the whole thing and let me know what you think. :)

  42. Think of the classic picture book, "The Mitten"...her hat is put to good use. :)

  43. Oh Penny, I love this...from your pitch, a wonderful picture began to take form before my eyes...please write this story if you haven't already. :)

  44. Yup, Kim...I agree...our perspective on life is what makes the sun shine even on a cloudy day (that sounds like a song, I think). :)

  45. A grin broke out on this pitch! Love it!

  46. I'd be honoured (Cdn. spelling.) LOL

  47. Carolyn Gwen learns that the prize for raising the most money for the church's building fund will be a diamond pen! She imagines herself wearing the pin on her Girl Scout uniform. After being the busiest and hardest working fundraiser, Carolyn Gwen is announced as the winner. Deaconess Johnson brings Carolyn Gwen a purple velvet bag. "At last," she thought. "I get to wear my diamond pin!" Imagine her surprise when she reaches into the soft velvet bag and pulls out__a dime and pen! (This really happened to me in the fifth grade. Of course hysterics ensued!)

  48. Oh, poor Carolyn! What a fun story, though :) Thanks for joining in!


  49. Okay then, Here is my new pitch…Interesting exercise…

    Stella walked down the bright white hall to the white door…DR. LOVE…’Can I really do this?’…

    Books are scattered all over my bed…Papers and paintings crumpled…’What the hell?’…

  50. Ooh, interesting Karen! Yeah, part of the point of this exercise was to kind of go at it backwards - instead of thinning how to pitch your already written story, you could pitch first in hopes of sparking a story :)

  51. Thanks Susanna...good hearing from you...

  52. In a kingdom where cats rule and dogs drool, it is clear sleeping dogs must lie or catastrophe will result.  An old expression springs to life in this cataclysmic tale: "Canines have masters but felines have staff."

  53. Excellent, Jarm! I am curious as to what's up with those dogs and cats! :) Thanks for joining in :)

  54. At long last, I made it to this post. Whew! And here is my pitch:

    Gerald the seagull,
    who yearns to see what lies beyond his rock on Cape Cod, has packed his bags and
    set off for a week in Barcelona. But his radar is off, and he ends up seeing
    more than he ever dreamed!

  55. Ooh! What a great idea! I'm certainly curious as to where Gerard will end up and what kind of adventures he'll have along the way! :) Thanks for playing along for another week! :)

  56. Pitches are so hard! OK-here goes...

    EJ loves his pet, Rusty, and wants to sign him up for the annual Perfect Pet Tricks competition. Unfortunately, when a dragon tries fetch, roll over, shake or speak, disaster always follows! EJ is determined to find a way for Rusty to show off his skills without destroying the entire town.

  57. Here's my pitch (a bit late again!)

    Two raccoons, Stan and Louie, are planning a
    surprise birthday for their Mama. Searching for her favorite foods isn’t as
    easy as they hoped. Will they find them in time for the party?

  58. Good one, Jennifer! I hope Stan and Louie's surprise birthday party comes off a success! :) Thanks for joining in!

  59. I LOVE this, Heather! It sounds like a GREAT idea for a picture book!!!!

  60. Here's another, based on an actual story I wrote :)

    Click-Clack, a train with an identity crisis, makes
    his whistle sound like various barnyard animals, believing he is one of
    them. He becomes more and more confused
    until the animals help him learn his true identity.

  61. Sounds terrific! When will it be published so I can read it? :)

  62. Pitches are so hard! OK-here goes...

    EJ loves his pet, Rusty, and wants to sign him up for the annual Perfect Pet Tricks competition. Unfortunately, when a dragon tries to fetch, roll over, shake or speak, disaster always follows! EJ is determined to find a way for Rusty to show off his skills without destroying the entire town.


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