March 6, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday # 79 - Twitch (MG) PLUS The February Pitch Pick PLUS Straight From The Editor!

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Chocolate donuts
Are good for you :)

Have some, won't you? :)

Take two if you want because we have a full schedule today and you will need your strength! :)

First, here is Straight From The Editor for Wendy's winning pitch from January.  You will recall her pitch:

Working Title: Civil
Age: MG
Five seventh graders are thrust into a secret time-traveling society and are soon fighting for their lives in the bloody battlefields of Gettysburg. The sensitive jock, popular cheerleader, African transfer student, feared social outcast, and 9-year-old technical genius had better work fast: Their own world is becoming increasingly dystopian and their own school hallways increasingly dangerous.

And here are Erin Molta's comments:
Sounds intriguing but a little too harsh for middle grade. Are they actually on the battlefield and fighting with bayonet’s and guns or have they just arrived and are trying to escape before they get caught up in the battle? That is an important distinction to make when dealing with a middle grade topic.

Also, you might want to allude to the actual problem they have to solve. It’s a bit confusing trying to figure out what exactly is going on –were they sent to Gettysburg by accident and they have to get back to their own world which is deteriorating fast and their school is becoming dangerous? What links it all together? Their dystopian world and their dangerous school hallways are related to Gettysburg (or the time travelling) how?

Once you can pinpoint that, I think you’ll have a pitch that will draw an editor in.

As always, I find Erin's insight very educational.  I hope it's helpful to you too!

Next up, we have the February Pitch Pick.  Below are the 4 pitches from February.  Please read them over and then vote for the one you think is best and deserves a read by Erin!

#1 Julie
Just Call Me The Kid (PB ages 4-7)
Pip the mouse longs to be a cowboy, and does his best to rustle up some skills. His mother gets kinda ornery though, as Pip’s attempts turn the household on its head. But that doesn’t sour his milk, and neither does the neighbor’s cat! 

#2 Sue
How Many Shoes Does A Princess Need? (PB ages 4-8)

Cindy’s dad always called her “princess” but now, living with great-aunt Prue, Cindy feels more like a kitchen slave. When she asks for a new pair of Mary Janes for the County Spelling Bee, great-aunt 
Prue snaps, “How many shoes does a princess need?” Cindy decides to investigate “must have” footwear, from frog boots to glass slippers, and learns just how much is enough.

#3 Wendy
Why Fireflies Should NEVER Drink Soda (PB ages 3-7)

Life is good for the insects at the campground—until something attracts a hungry bullfrog. When Herman, a feisty firefly, takes a sip the hiccuping winged beacon learns why he’s been taught that fireflies should NEVER drink soda.
#4 Yvonne
Oakley's Keys (PB ages 3-6)

Intruder Alert! Wherever Oakley hides, drooling baby brother Dan finds him. Now, not even Oakley’s fantasies are save - from loop-the-looping around a star to playing tag with tigers – Dan is there. But when creepy creatures crawl out of a pirate treasure chest, it's up to Oakley to rescue Dan, drool not included.

It's a tough decision, I know!, but the poll will be open until Friday, March 8 at 11:59 PM for you to cast your vote.

Now, onto our final item of business, today's Would You Read It pitch! :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Linda, whom you may remember from her pitch for Alpha Bitty in October and The Good For Plenty Bibs in January.  Linda is a former gifted and talented teacher and the author of a number of books including the multi-award winning picture book, The Blue Roses.  Please take a moment to visit her website at  Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Twitch
Age/Genre: MG
The Pitch: After Twitch Taylor turns twelve, his world flips over. Uncle Dell’s wife, Jewel, is killed in a freak accident. His father, Eldon, disappears but leaves a note that forces Twitch to live with Uncle, an old-time Cherokee custom where uncles teach nephews the ways of men. Twitch quickly learns there’s more to life than cell phones: an ancient curse is attacking his family, something only he can stop. Can he learn enough, fast enough to become a Cherokee warrior? Can a kid save the world?

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 Linda 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 May so you have a little time to polish your pitches for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Linda is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to Spring.  But that's not news :)

Have a great day, everyone!


  1. Yes, I would read it. I already feel the tension and suspense in this story! The only thing I would do is take out the final sentence, since it doesn't sound like the world needs saving, just his family. So, instead maybe, can he become a Cherokee warrior and save his family? Good luck with this!

  2. Oh, I would read it alright! Definitely! It sounds action packed! I voted for the pitch! :D

  3. Thank you so much for your comments for Linda, Pam - very helpful! :)

  4. Glad you like the pitch, Erik, and thanks for voting for the... well, the pitch :)

  5. I would read this one! But I think the pitch has too many characters. I don't think you need the backstory about the aunt at the beginning. I think you could start with, When Twitch is forced to live with his Uncle...

  6. I would definitely read it! I agree with Pam - about maybe keeping the focus on saving his family (or clan). My great grandma never mentioned curses re: Cherokee heritage, but having lived in the SW I know there's lots of that sort of story amongst the Dine.

  7. PS - I couldn't help myself - I came back for another donut! I really appreciate the opportunity to read Erin Molta's comments. Thanks for making WYRI happen.

  8. I would definitely read! To tighten the pitch my suggestion would be to focus on whether Twitch (love the name!) is focused on saving his family, or saving the world. Or is saving his family the key to saving the world? I hope you get what I mean. Give me a shout if you don't--happy to clarify but don't want to muddle up Susanna's comments.

  9. Thank you all so much for your encouraging words. Recently, TWITCH made it to Acquisitions at a publisher but didn't make the final cut. So I kinda lost a little heart there, but your interest and comments are buoying me up!

  10. I would read it, as it generates curiosity. It is clear that this is an exciting story. I think the pace is slowed because of so many words. Since she is only mentioned once, taking the aunt's freak accident out of the introduction and jumping right into Twitch moving in with his uncle might help to move the pitch forward at a quicker pace. (how's that for a run on sentence :-) In the section that reads ". . . forces Twitch to live with Uncle" there seems to be a word missing - maybe "his" uncle or Uncle Dell? Food for thought: I have read that some agents and editors prefer not to see questions in a pitch. This pitch is almost there. It just needs a little tightening. Nice job!

  11. Wow! You covered a lot of ground in this post . . . it's a good thing we had donuts for sustenance. :D

    * Erin's comments are filled with helpful insights.
    * Voted
    * The Twitch pitch could be stronger.

    On first reading, it felt choppy ~ I wasn't sure if the "uncle" in dad's note was Uncle Dell or a different uncle.

    Thanks for all you do to encourage us to "Write On!"

  12. Great comments form Erin - I learn a lot every time! And Susanna, you'll be happy to hear I had a bavarian creme-filled donut yesterday - just not until 'Kaffee'-time, about 4pm!
    Linda, I am very interested in your book, but the pitch is a little too much information for a hooking statement. I would tone down the alliteration in the first line because this sounds like a character-driven story for older children, not a lyrical read aloud. I might leave the first two and a half sentences out altogether, because my interest peaked with "Twitch (is forced)
    to live with Uncle (Dell), an old-time Cherokee custom, where uncles teach
    nephews the ways of men." Maybe start with 'After Twitch's father disappears' and follow with a brief example of his adjustment, and conclude with the same tone as you have: "Can he learn enough, fast enough to become a Cherokee warrior and save his family from an ancient curse?" Good luck - I'd definitely like to read it!

  13. delores @ thefeatherednestMarch 6, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Wow...yesyesyes I would read it...the hair is standing up on my arms.

  14. I'm a definite yes. I would love to read Twitch. I agree with Andrea, though. All the names confused me. I think the aunt and dad can both be left out of the pitch, and it can go straight to Twitch living with his uncle, and learning what he needs to know to save what he needs to save. I like it!

  15. I would read this; I love the idea behind the story, although I need to admit that it took me awhile to get to the story. I got really caught up in all the names and had to reread several times. They are all usual names, but was made it harder (for me) is that they were unusual in different ways. (At least at this point, maybe they make sense in the context of the story.) Also, I didn't understand where the pitch was going until the phrase about an ancient curse, which was somewhat hidden behind an unnecessary cell phone line. I think I would lead with the curse and see where that takes you. Good luck!

  16. Julie has the pitch down. I totally vote for Julie's take on improving the pitch.

    Thanks for the donuts. I did need one or three since I've only had an apple this morning and now at one pm lunch hasn't happened yet. :)

  17. I would read it too, it's very interesting. And the pitch is great. I wonder if an agent would like a hint at the connection between dad's disappearance and the kid saving everyone. That's all, love it!
    Great feedback from Erin too!

  18. The story line caught my attention. I'm wondering if we need these words at the end of the second sentence "his world flips over."

    "His father, Eldon, disappears but leaves a note that forces Twitch to live with Uncle..." This sentence seems vague and unclear. Maybe reword. Something like- "His father, Eldon disappears with no explanation and he is forced to live with his Uncle, who is a ......"

    Other than that. I'm good. Like I said, I'm interested. I love that fact it centers around Native American Culture.

  19. I vote Yes because I feel that there is always a need for more books that deal with Native American culture. I think it has the potential to be a gripping and heart-wrenching tale of growing up a minority with a rich culture.

    The "world flips over" tripped me too, but maybe not for the same reason as Cynthia. "World turns upside down" is the more common expression. When I read "flipped," I expected something fantastical where the world actually, physically flips, YKWIM? ;)

    This part, "that forces Twitch to live with Uncle, an old-time Cherokee custom where uncles teach nephews the ways of men," also was confusing for me. If old time custom is for nephews to learn from uncle, then having to live with that uncle doesn't sound too much like force, more like "well, how convenient that his dad disappears because now he can just live with his uncle whom he'd have to start learning from anyway."

    Other than those two things, I think it's a great pitch and sounds like an exciting story!

  20. Voted and I always appreciate Erin's insights!

    Mine is a YES today to this MG. Love Julie's thoughts on slight improvements. Also is he really going to save the entire world? If not, I am not sure about the last sentence. I totally like the sound of this novel, though.

    Loved your donut poem, Susanna!

  21. yes, yes, yes...old ways do battle with new ways.

  22. I like Julie R-Z's comments. It looks like a great story. I'm a Yes if you are keeping a tally. I'm not sure about the names of the aunt and uncle, etc. Maybe set it up with ... world flips over when his aunt dies in a freak accident, his dad leaves town and he moves in with his uncle as part of .... I don't know why flips over seems odd to me. Good luck.

  23. Not sure if I am allowed to have a chocolate donut...I couldn't sleep last night and got up at 2am to have a cup of hot cocoa and send the pb ms I am going to submit this month in 12x12 to my critique group for a last look-over.:) Well, maybe just one small one.:)

    Let's see if I can keep this straight and not forget anything...I loved 'Civil'...and I think that Erin's comments will help make Wendy's query 'pitch perfect'.:)

    I voted on the pitches...but it was EXTREMELY difficult...4 wonderful story ideas!

    Lastly, I love Linda's story...I wanted to keep reading to find out what will happen. I do agree that the pitch can be tightened by leaving off much of the first two sentences...Julie had some great suggestions. So yes...I would definitely read this story.:)

  24. Wendy you have a good idea, and I think Erin's comments are very helpful! Good luck.

    Linda, I like your pitch. But I think you can tighten the beginning and perhaps make it one sentence, or leave it out. I became engaged when Twitch goes to live with his uncle. Love this idea for MG.

  25. Yum to the donuts!

    Wow! to Erin's comments. They are always so helpful.

    Tough! to voting...but I did even though this was a particularly hard choice. Those are some great pitches :-)

    Yes to Linda. I am hooked even though Twitch needs tweaking (sorry...couldn't resist a little alliteration). Tighten it up and I really think it will catch attention.

  26. Erin's comments were so insightful - thanks for sharing! The pitch contest was TOUGH! Loved the revisions on all of them.

    Really like the concept of your story, Linda, but find the pitch a bit long & confusing. Seems I'm following the consensus here. Ditto that Julie R-Z nailed it. Look forward to reading a revised pitch at the end of the month!

  27. Thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Linda, Patricia, and thanks for voting! :)

  28. Glad you enjoyed the donuts - have another :) Glad you found Erin's comments helpful - she had more to say than usual - very interesting. Thanks for voting! And thanks for your thoughts for Linda :)

  29. Thanks so much for chiming in, Pat - I'm sure Linda will be glad of your enthusiasm for her idea!

  30. I'm sorry you couldn't sleep, Vivian... probably you didn't have ENOUGH donuts :) Glad you found Erin's comments interesting. Thanks so much for voting - it WAS tough! - and thanks for your thoughts for Linda! :)

  31. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Stacy - very helpful!

  32. Thanks so much for chiming in, Larry :)

  33. Thanks for voting, Joanna, and glad you found Erin's comments helpful! Thanks for your thoughts for Linda. And yes... sometimes I amaze even myself with my poetry :)

  34. Thanks so much for your thoughtful and detailed comments for Linda, Teresa - I am sure she will find them helpful!

  35. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts for Linda, Cynthia! :)

  36. You can always count on me for donuts, Clar :)

  37. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with Linda, Wendy! :)

  38. Thanks so much for your helpful comments, Genevieve! I'm sure Linda will be glad of your interest! :)

  39. Thanks, Delores - I know that's the kind of response our pitchers always hope for :)

  40. Thanks so much for your helpful suggestions, Julie - everyone agrees you said it just right :) And yum... bavarian creme donut? that sounds good!

  41. Well THANK YOU, Nancy, for all your helpful comments, for voting, for helping me eat the donuts, and for generally joining in the fun :)

  42. Oh, man! That is so hard, isn't it? I'm glad they liked it so much that it got that far, and sorry they shot it down in the end, but if one house liked it that much, someone else will too. It's a great idea. Keep trying! And good luck! :)

  43. Thanks so much for your very helpful and unmuddled comments, Wendy :)

  44. Thanks so much, Sue - this is obviously something you know about!

  45. Well thank YOU so much for your enthusiastic participation and for helping me eat the donuts! :)

  46. Thanks so much for your very helpful suggestions, Andrea, and so glad to see you here again! How are you managing to comment? Did you switch browsers or did it just suddenly start working?

  47. Thanks to you Susanna (and Erin!!!) I am learning what I can - every Wednesday!

  48. Love Erin's comments. Very helpful.
    As for WYRI, I would want to read it. It sounds like it will deal with some mature matters, some coming of age that may or may not border on a bit of YA but still fit the MG realm. And it sounds like a great adventure.

  49. A YES for the pitch. It piqued my interest and I liked the cultural aspect of the story.

    I also tripped over flips, for some reason I saw a car flipping over in my mind as the next sentence refers to the freak accident.

    Does he really need to save the world? That came as a surprise as nothing else in your pitch alludes to a threat to the world, only a threat to the family.

    Apart from Twitch, I don't think you need any other names in the pitch, just Uncle or Father etc. should do.

    I think it will be a great pitch with some tightening and clarification.

  50. Glad you found Erin's comments helpful, Angela, and thanks for chiming in for Linda! :)

  51. Thanks so much, Yvonne - very helpful! :)

  52. First, a zillion thanks to Susanna for this forum, this friendly place for writers to help each other improve their works; virtual sweets are the icing on the cake, forgive the pun!

    Secondly, I have collected the comments into an "Improve Twitch-Pitch" file for helping me with revision. I have struggled with the wording of each pitch, but especially with this complicated MG, what to put in; what to leave out. The storyteller part of me battles a lot with the writer part! Thanks to each of you, I now feel I can streamline it.

    A thousand virtual cupcakes to all! And know I will reciprocate each month on your pitches.

  53. Well thank you for bravely pitching, Linda, and I'm so glad if you got helpful feedback - everyone is wonderful, aren't they? And I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say YUM to the virtual cupcakes :)

  54. I'll admit, I thought that pitch was for a YA novel, not a MG one.

    Oh, those donuts look good. And they're good for me. BONUS!!!! :D

  55. I say yes. I am intrigued by the Cherokee customs and ancient curse. Plus, just for a moment it made me think of The Indian and the Cupboard--one of my fave books when I was a kid. :)

  56. Thanks for chiming in for Linda, Coleen, and I LOVE THe Indian In The Cupboard - haven't thought of that in years :)

  57. Thanks for your comment for Linda, Stina - interesting point. And yes, all the donuts I serve are health food and you can eat as many as you want and only become stronger, smarter and more beautiful :)


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