Let's grab Something Chocolate, shall we? We haven't had donuts in a while... :)
|photo copyright Stacy S. Jensen 2012, used by permission|
Now that we're all happily munching, let me mention The Holiday Contest (for anyone who missed Monday's post, hop on over, see the rules, and start thinking up your story! :))
And now let's move on to the November Pitch Pick. All the pitches have been updated to reflect your helpful advice and comments, and I never tire of seeing how much writers seem to get out of this! It's great to look at the before and after versions!
Here they are. Choose your favorite and vote for it in the poll below by, oh, let's say Friday Dec. 7 at 11:50PM EST. The winner's pitch will be sent to editor Erin Molta for a read and comments!
Banshee Birthday - PB - ages 4-8
Ailbe the Banshee's birthday wish is to have the village girls over for an all night celebration full of moonlight, cake and nocturnal animals to visit. She just has to wait and see if any girls will be brave enough to ignore the old myth that Banshee bring bad luck. If they are, Ailbe might be lucky enough to make some new friends.
How The Bull Lost His Feathers - PB - ages 4-8
Long, long ago in a faraway land, bulls actually had feathers. And they were big, colorful peacock-like feathers at that! Discover how one very stubborn yet lovable bull lost every one of his feathers-- not only for himself, but for all the bulls born in the world after him. This fable-like tale also reveals why the color red will always make a bull’s temper flare!
Dim Sum Dog - PB - ages 4-8
With business dwindling, Chang and his family fear they will have to close their dim sum stand. But with the help of a special dim sum-loving dog who entertains customers, they may save the stand after all.
A Colorful Surprise - PB - ages 3-7
On the long car ride to Grandma’s, Evan tries to keep himself busy. But after watching a movie, playing some games, and reading three books, Evan is completely bored. His family has run out of fun ideas too when they discover a sky filled with hot air balloons in bright colors and unique shapes. Suddenly, Evan’s mind is full of images that will keep him dreaming long after this trip is over.
Which is your favorite?
Now, onto today's pitch which comes to us from the amazing and very forgiving Julie. (Seriously, she was supposed to be on the WYRI list for August, and somehow I screwed up and forgot all about her, and she never made a word of complaint! Clearly, in addition to her many other talents she is a saint. Thank you for being so nice about my mistake, Julie!) Anyway, a scribbler of children's stories in between chores, Julie Rowan-Zoch has visited three continents, attempted to learn 4 languages, and has a 2-3-3-3-3 phalangeal formula in both of her hands and feet. (Though not yet able to get a good grip with her toes, she has been drawing with her hands since she exchanged a banana for a crayon.) Please come visit her on her blog and view her beautiful artwork!
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Eddie Brick Visits The Aunts
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Ellie and Effie Brick do everything together, but when their grandnephew Eddie arrives the security of their routine is altered. Eddie helps them see they already enjoy doing things differently, together.
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 Julie 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 February, so you have time to polish :) for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!
Julie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! And I am looking forward to seconds on those donuts :)
Julie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! And I am looking forward to seconds on those donuts :)
Maybe. The pitch doesn't quite convince me. Maybe because the conflict in the story isn't clear enough. Also are Ellie and Effie the Aunts? (if it wasn't for the title I'd have no idea if they were aunts or children). Hope this helpsReplyDelete
Thanks so much for your comments for Julie, Jo - very helpful! :)ReplyDelete
I choose maybe. I think Ellie, Effie, and Eddie are too close in pronunciation and might be hard for a young child to keep track of. I assume Ellie & Effie are elderly? Having a book about a child and his great aunts is a good idea, not sure if I've ever seen any with that premise.ReplyDelete
The donuts looks scrumptious!
Oh, Susanna, you made my mouth water with those yummy-looking donuts. Some days virtual just isn't enough - I may have to find myself a real one of those today!ReplyDelete
As for Julie's pitch, I'd give it a maybe. I love the names of the characters and could see where this story could be quite humorous. I was confused, though, as to whether Eddie is the MC or whether it's the aunts as MCs. Perhaps if you change the lead-in, "When Eddie visits..." that may help. If, as I suspect, Eddie is the MC, how does the experience change him as well? Finally, I understand your use of "security", but initially was confused as danger, not change, came first to mind.
Off to find those donuts...
I also say maybe; I can conjure up delightful images of the Aunts, but a PB needs to have the child the center of attention; I second Patricia's suggestions to revise with "When Eddie..."ReplyDelete
I really like this concept. I would cut the word "already" in the last line since the beginning implies that Eddie is going to shake up their routine. If you flip the wording around, you will make the story sound more child-centric rather than focus on the aunts. Other than that, you could add in some Eddie detail about how he threatens to shake up their routine or his age (which will say it all). : )ReplyDelete
I love Julie's bio! Mine is also a maybe on the pitch. I am a little unclear who the real protagonist is and who we should be rooting for. The aunts certainly can be the protagonists, if they have qualities/problems to which a child can relate, but it isn't quite clear enough yet for me.
YUM to the donuts!
Are those doughnuts sugar free? My type one, you know. Oh! Dang it all, I'll indulge anyway!ReplyDelete
I would probably read it, but I think it can be tightened up. And I'm confused. Are Ellie and Effie the MC's? Are they big people? Or children? Or is Eddie the MC? He probably might be, but he comes into the picture after they do, so I'm not sure. I think you HAVE to concentrate on the MC for any pitch. Which would be Eddie? Talk about him. Also, your first sentence can be tightened up. It seems to go on and on. I wish you luck with this.
P.S. Disqus hates me. I never did anything to it. I promise!
Donuts for breakfast. I think I'd like living at your house.ReplyDelete
Yes....definitely would read it. Sounds like there is a hidden message for us all in this book.
What a tough choice for the November pitches, but I did vote!ReplyDelete
Julie, I would say Maybe on the pitch. The story sounds intriguing but I think the pitch needs more detail on HOW Eddie is going to cause chaos and break up the routine. We also don't know what "normal" is. Still, the story premise is a good one, and the idea of two grand-aunts and a nephew is a fresh take on the generational gap. Tinker with it some more and really make it shine!
Something about the idea reminds me of a Roald Dahl book. I can just picture these quirky, creaky old aunts. However, I think little bit of that is me projecting what I think the story will be -- I'd like to see more of that revealed in the pitch. Specifically, I think the phrase "the security of their routine is altered" is too vague and won't make sense to most readers (especially kids. The pitch is probably more for adults, but I think it should still have some kid-apeal). What is it about their routine that is altered, and why is it a problem? Why is it disrupted by Eddie's visit, and if so wouldn't their problem be more with Eddie than with each other? Or maybe it is that they are trying to compete for Eddie's attention -- doing special things with him that leave the other one out? It needs to be more clear in the pitch.ReplyDelete
Also, while I like the names, I was once told in a critique to avoid character names that are too similar. These seem easily confused. I think it would even be OK if they rhymed (Ellie and Nellie), but 'l' and 'f' are so similar that people might misread them. I do love the name Eddie Brick, though.
Good luck with this, Julie!
Thanks Carrie, I agree more needs to be revealed in the pitch, esp. for kids. But I keep getting mixed feedback on the names - they love it or had heard it's a bad idea! The surname also has something to do with the shapes of their faces!ReplyDelete
Thanks Julie, I see now how I sacrificed interest for brevity!ReplyDelete
Thanks Delores - maybe too hidden for a pitch!ReplyDelete
The Aunts react childishly, maybe that's what I need to mention - thanks Joanna.ReplyDelete
Thanks Alison, appreciate your catching 'already' too!ReplyDelete
Thanks Patricia, it is definitely an issue of security, but maybe I can soften it!ReplyDelete
Thanks Tina: one of the reasons I chose to have there names so similar is to add to the 'problem' they have of being so close and doing all things together. Would you still suggest I change that?ReplyDelete
Thanks Jo. I wonder then if one has to forget the title in writing a pitch - I was attempting to avoid repetition.ReplyDelete
Thanks for this opportunity Susanna, and to everyone who chimes in: I am truly grateful!!!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Julie, Tina! And help yourself to as many donuts as you'd like :)ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Julie, Patricia! Good luck on your donut hunt :)ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for chiming in, Linda! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for your helpful suggestions for Julie, Alison!ReplyDelete
Oh yum, donuts...I can't remember the last time I had a donut...ReplyDelete
Moving on to the pitch. I'm a maybe. I actually like the similar sounding names, but the way the first sentence is worded threw me off a little. Maybe try introducing Ellie and Effie in a separate sentence from Eddie. " Ellie and Effie Brick do everything together. But on the day their grandnephew Eddie arrives, everything changes." Then go on to offer a brief example or two of the changes. I like the premise of the story, just need a little more detail. There's such a fine line between "hooking" the reader/editor and writing too much, isn't there? Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
Thanks for voting, Joanna, and for your comments for Julie! Please help yourself to as many donuts as you like - they are guilt free :)ReplyDelete
The donuts are made especially to be safe for you, my friend! :) Thanks for your helpful comments for Julie, and why does disqus hate you? Your comment came through fine...?ReplyDelete
It's true. Breakfast at my house is excellent. You'll remember that on Monday we had cake :) Thanks for your comment for Julie, Delores! :)ReplyDelete
You are most welcome, Julie! Thank YOU for being brave enough to put your pitch out there - I know it can be hard! - and for not being mad about my scheduling disaster! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for your very helpful and thoughtful comment for Julie, Carrie! And I had the same thought! James And The Giant Peach! I don't know why... maybe just the mention of aunts!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for your comments for Julie... Julie :) And thanks for voting! It gets tougher every time, now that everyone is getting so good at making good pitches even better!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for chiming in with your thoughts for Julie, Maria! And boy, these donuts are popular :) Help yourself to as many as you want :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Robyn, good to hear the opening may be confusing - much appreciate your comment.ReplyDelete
Wonderful names, Julie! I'm picturing a couple of older German aunties with a little Eddie Brick. Starting the pitch with Eddie will put the focus back on the child as the MC and it might be helpful to have a few examples of the what the aunts do on a regular basis to pique curiosity about how Eddie throws a wrench into the works. This one is a yes for me because I like the idea of using extended family (beyond aunt, uncle and grandparents) to create a story. Your illustrations will give a wonderful depth to your characters, too!ReplyDelete
Thanks Heather. I'm feeling lucky as to the consensus on what isn't working - will really help in the revision!ReplyDelete
Sounds like fun Julie - and I think children have a tendency to throw any routine out of whack but I do agree you might need to be more specific here. I also got a bit confused with all the names. Although fun could be quite difficult to stay on track.ReplyDelete
Your pitch is where you tell people what the book's about. As Ellie and Effie are key characters I think it's important that their roles are clear.ReplyDelete
I like the pitch, but will admit I had to go back and read the names again. Three seemed to be a bit much, but I'd really have to read the story to see the total impact. Very tight pitch! Sounds like it has a good message.ReplyDelete
I like the message too--and the name Effie!! :)ReplyDelete
And I'm seriously craving a donut now . . .
Geez. I want a donut, too. Julie, I like this idea. The names tripped me during the first read. Is the main character Eddie or Ellie and Effie? Seems like it's about the adults. I totally love the idea of kid chaos being thrown into an unsuspecting household, especially if the adults are resistant to change (the chaos).ReplyDelete
Yes, I would read it! Although I would like it if the names didn't rhyme. It gets confusing. I like the message though! :)ReplyDelete
Those donuts looks yummy and full of chocolate-of-puffy dough goodness! Did you make those Stacy!!!ReplyDelete
Julie, I think the idea of a couple of older aunts life being "turned upside down" by a visiting nephew could be full of playfulness that would be just the kind of story I would want to read. That is where my mind went with your pitch. I know I may be off base on the story line, but here are some suggestions that would make your pitch more appealing to me.
The title indicates that Eddie is the main character, which is what I like to see in a children's story-the reader can relate to a child MC. But...your pitch starts out mentioning the two aunts. I think you should approach it from the child angle by starting off your pitch with Eddie. Children don't relate to older folks wanting a routine necessarily...you need to approach that from the child's angle, too. For instance, they may be used to having afternoon tea and that get interrupted...approach it from Eddie's viewpoint...he thinks tea is boring and he wants an afternoon game of baseball...so they have to work together to kee p
Thanks for your helpful comments for Julie, Heather!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for coming over to help Julie out with her pitch, Tracy! Very thoughtful!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for chiming in , Pat!ReplyDelete
Thanks for chiming in, Coleen - you have earned a donut :) (or two... :))ReplyDelete
Thanks for your comments for Julie, Stacy! And since the donuts came from your house, you should be able to have as many as you want :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing you opinion, Erik - very helpful! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Julie, Penny! And I don't know if Stacy made those donuts, but she at least photographed them (they wouldn't have lasted long enough for a photo op at my house :)) and they sure look good! :)ReplyDelete
OOH! Great choice with the donuts! I had some tonight and they were yummy!!! We must be thinking alike--- again! And I voted, even though they were all great! It was hard to choose. Good luck everyone!ReplyDelete
Julie, I would read anything of yours, and I would love to see your illustrations. Most of the things I would suggest have already been mentioned. I agree about the names being confusing, needing a pinch more detail on their "normal," and making the language more kid friendly. However, I'm on the fence about needing the focus to be on Eddie. I know having a child mc is a popular suggestion to give. Still, I see Ellie and Effie as being child-like characters. I imagine their eccentricities would make them very interesting. Perhaps their quirks lower their maturity level?ReplyDelete
It's interesting that you bring this up, Hannah. If you look at the literature, there are clearly books that star childlike adult MCs like Mrs. Armitedge, and even some not so childlike like Mr. Putter And Tabby, and they are popular, appealing, and do well. And yet I wrote an early reader series with a childlike adult character which my agent loved, and we couldn't sell it - got comment after comment from editor after editor that adult MCs don't work. So I'm on the fence about that. I'm sure I would like it personally, but I know from experience it would be a harder sell... Thanks so much for your comments for Julie :)ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed the donuts, and thanks so much for voting, Leigh! :)ReplyDelete
Good to know. I think it's sad when rules/guidelines start trumping a good storyline.ReplyDelete
I agree. It's not to say you can't write an adult MC, but I think it is harder to sell...ReplyDelete
Hannah Holt (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:
Good to know. I think it's sad when rules/guidelines start trumping a good storyline.
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IP address: 126.96.36.199
I'm reading through the comments, and don't have much to add, Julie. I can say I've read the full MS, and loved it!ReplyDelete
Well that's good to know, Kirsten! After all, in the end it's the story that matter most - more than the pitch :)ReplyDelete
Fortunately I just pigged out on candy cane flavored popcorn, so I can read beyond the picture of donuts. :DReplyDelete
I can't wait to see who wins. *crosses fingers that it's my favorite*
As for today's pitch. I would like to see a little more detail. And for some reason the second sentence doesn't flow well for me. Or maybe because there's no suspense. But I don't write PBs, so definitely ignore me.
I'm thinking I may just leave the names of the Aunts out of the pitch! Thanks so much for your time and comment Pat!ReplyDelete
Got that nickname from some famous art critic's wife - about 100 yrs ago!ReplyDelete
Thanks Stacy - the three are in every scene, but to avoid confusion, I think I'll leave the aunt's names out of the pitch!ReplyDelete
Too many names for a pitch - esp. if they rhyme! Thanks Erik!ReplyDelete
Thanks for 'rambling', Penny - all very helpful. I like hearing what you think the story may include!ReplyDelete
You're right on the mark Hannah! (Must be a sharp-shooter from CO! - lol!) Eddie becomes the 'adult'! Thanks for taking the time - I really appreciate it!ReplyDelete
Thanks for your support Kirsten! And I need to see how the pitch comes across, so all these comments are very valuable to me!ReplyDelete
Every comment is a good one - it's another opinion, right?! So, thank you Stina, for taking the time!ReplyDelete
The donuts are DELICIOUS...thanks, Stacy!ReplyDelete
And the pitch pick was hard to pick...but I did. :)
And Julie, I love your story idea...I think some of the comments will be helpful to you so I won't add any constructive ones. I actually had three great aunts...visiting them was both something I looked forward to and dreaded...and have a pb draft about them...so I can really see the realism in this. ;) I would definitely read it!
Susanna...I gave you a blog award: http://viviankirkfield.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/parenting-blog-award-the-positive-parental-participation-blog-award/
You are so funny, Stina :) We will not ignore you... how can we? Uh, wait, that didn't sound right... Well anyway just because you don't write picture books doesn't mean you can't say if a pitch grabs you or not. Now, let's address the real issue: candy cane flavored popcorn? Really? Is it pink?ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed the donuts, Vivian :) and thanks for your thoughts for Julie. And extra special thanks for the blog award - I just revised tomorrow's post to mention it :)ReplyDelete
Would love to read yours Vivian! I never even knew my grandmothers! Thanks for taking the time to comment!ReplyDelete