Would You Read It Wednesday #85 – A Noise In The Dark (PB)

You know, there is always adventure around here! 🙂

I went for my annual haircut.

Now just hold your horses!  How do you know haircuts aren’t an adventure?  I haven’t told it yet!

AS I was saying…!  I went for my annual haircut.

I know.  Once a year might be more than is strictly necessary here in the boondocks, but I like to keep somewhat properly groomed so the bears don’t think I’m one of them.

But the lovely salon girl and I seem to have had a breakdown in communication.

I said, “Shoulder length so I can still put it in a ponytail when I go running.”

She apparently heard, “Earlobe length, or even a little higher if you feel like it.”

An easy mistake.  Anyone could make it.

Shoulder-length.  Temple fringe.

They sound practically the same.


So, yeah, my hair is pretty short, and not by any feat of brushing, combing or hair product is it going to be in a ponytail for a while 🙂

Luckily hair grows 🙂  eventually 🙂

Also luckily, an unexpected haircut outcome is nothing a little Something Chocolate can’t fix! 🙂  Hmm… what should we have today?  How about…


MILKSHAKES!  I, of course, opt for chocolate, but for those of you who have trouble facing it at this hour of the morning (Julie R-Z! :)) I’m offering strawberry as well, which is made of fruit and that’s good for you 🙂

Now then, let’s get comfy for Would You Read It.

Today’s pitch comes to us from Cynthia who says, “I’m a writer, a mother and an animal lover on the road to publication. I write poems, young adult and picture books. Visit my website at Random Thought at    www.randomthoughts-myblog.blogspot.com   You can find me there every Tuesday. “

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: A Noise In The Dark
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5 and up)
The Pitch: Nicky’s closet is making so much noise that it’s scaring him half to death.  So much so that he’s clutching at his chest.  His mother says its just a branch against a window pane, but Nicky knows what lurks beyond is so much more then rain.  Come with Nicky into the dark, and tame the fears that are hidden in the heart.

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 Cynthia 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 June so you have time to polish your pitch for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Cynthia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to my hair growing.  That’s probably like watching a pot of water and waiting for it to boil, though…  🙂

Have a great day, everyone… you know, whatever blows your hair back! 🙂

56 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #85 – A Noise In The Dark (PB)

  1. Tina Cho says:

    Oh, Susanna, I feel for you, but I'm sure it's CUTE! Pictures plz! Too bad that happened and you even speak the same language! Here, my hubby has to take me and explain what I want, and even then, I'm lucky if I end up with the right haircut…

    Cynthia, I'm impressed with your semi-rhyming pitch. I've never seen that before. I think you should take it out of the semi-rhyme because some of the words aren't true rhymes, like death/chest and dark/heart, and the editor might think the story will be written the same, in not true rhymes. Yes, I'd read this, as being scared of the dark is a very common theme, and I'd like to see how yours is different.

  2. This Kid Reviews Bks says:

    I would read it! I like the message! I don't think you need the sentence “So much so that he's clutching at his chest. ” The first sentence says how scared he is. Poor Nicky!

    P.S. I am sorry to EAR about your hair! *snort* 😀

  3. Sue Heavenrich says:

    I always thought there was a monster in our basement (it turned out to be the wheezy old hot water heater). I would read it – but why not end with: His mother says its just a branch against a window pane, but Nicky knows better…

  4. Heather Dent says:

    Cynthia, I am certainly interested in finding out what's inside that closet. It sounds like fun! The story sounds like it has a lot of potential for neat illustrations.

    I have a few wording suggestions. I would leave out the phrase, “he's clutching at his chest.” It's not necessary for us to know in the pitch, and in the book this can be shown through illustrations instead of words.

    It's also slightly confusing that his mom says the noise is coming from the window, but he says it's from the closet. Is the window inside his closet?

  5. cynthia says:

    Hi Heather,
    I know you can't “see” it from the pitch, but in the book mom is down stairs. I'm going to use this feedback though and take it into account. After all what I see I have to make sure is written down for you. Thanks. 🙂

  6. cynthia says:

    Thank you for your honesty Tina. Making it rhyme was so hard. I thought I was almost there, oh well. 🙂 Thanks for pointing out the oops. I'm going to work on it, and if no dice, I'll will get rid of the rhyme. Thanks 🙂

  7. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    I love stories about the dark. I'm not sure the chest line is needed. The window pane and rain line throws me a little – like out the window. Instead of focusing on the closet, I'm thinking the noise is really outside? Is the story about the closet or what's in general out in the dark? Good luck. (Sorry to hear about your hair. I recently, on purpose, went from shoulder to ear length. Faster drying time. Sorry you don't have the ponytail.)

  8. pam says:

    Sussanna, Sorry to hear about the bad haircut, but as you say, hair grows back. As for Cynthia's pitch, yes I would read it, but I agree with others who suggest deleting the second sentence and taking it out of rhyme. And, I also wondered how a branch on a windowpane noise could be coming from a closet. If you clear up these confusions, I think it will be much smoother. Best of luck!

  9. Cynthia says:

    So far you guys all seem to be in agreement with things which good because my weakness is obvious, and hopefully easy to fix. Thanks guys! I'll be checking in all day!

  10. Zeeb Brakitchen says:

    Oh yes, I would 'so' read this. As a young girl I wore glasses since 2nd grade. I know that closet door was moving when I had my glasses off at night, ha!
    I recently came across an 1955 library copy of a PB by Ray Bradbury, SWITCH ON THE NIGHT. Then yesterday I took out DARK by Lemony Snicket. Both are classics.
    Night time, darkness, closets are real fears for children. I would definitely read this, and I'm still a big baby. Lynn~~

  11. wendy says:

    Cynthia already got the feedback I would have given her about the funky rhyme, and I love Sue's suggestion for the ending. So, good luck!

  12. Deborah Holt Williams says:

    Hi, Susanna–sorry about your hair! Salons here charge $45 so I go to the beauty college for $7. I've had a few odd haircuts, too, but you're right–they grow out! Cynthia, I think kids love scary stories, and I would read this, but I think there are to images that are a bit off-putting. “Scared half to death–” maybe it's just me, but there's been too much death among children lately for me to love this. And the image of a child having a heart attack is scary, but not in a fun way! I think it's interesting that he tells his mom the noise is in his closet and she tells him it's a branch on the window–clearly this is a mom who doesn't listen very well! Interesting dynamic. Good job!
    I agree with Tina about leaving out the imperfect rhyme.

  13. Joanna Marple says:

    Photos, please, Susanna, and of the hair not a milkshake. 😉 Mine is a, yes I would read it, but with similar suggestions to many below. Unless the story is in rhyme do not write the pitch in rhyme. I think I'd leave out the closet as Nicky seems to know it is what is beyond that is really scary. I also agree with Erik, that the second sentence repeats the first and is redundant as pitches need to be as tight as possible. Good luck with this story, Cynthia!

  14. Teresa Robeson says:

    Yes, yes, I third, fourth and fifth the request for a photo, Susanna! 🙂

    Clueless me totally missed the semi-rhyming pitch, but I vote yes on reading the book. I like stories that help kids not to be afraid of the dark (so that horror writers can scare them into being afraid of the dark as adults…hahaha). I agree with the others about taking out the clutching the heart phrase and loved Sue's suggestion of a new ending line.

    Good luck with it, Cynthia!

  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thank you for your excellent suggestions for Cynthia, Tina! And about the hair… yeah… no language excuse here 🙂 And I don't think I could post a photo unless I put a bag over my head 🙂


    A new comment was posted on Susanna Leonard Hill

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for the I've-been-there-too-hair sympathy 🙂 And thanks so much for your helpful comments for Cynthia. I had that thought about the chest-clutching feeling adult too, but I thought maybe it was just me.


  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Yeah…. I don't think I'm brave enough to post a photo. It looks a lot like the one I put up Monday from when I was 15 months old 🙂 Thanks for your very helpful comments for Cynthia! 🙂


  18. Cynthia says:

    I like the clutching at his chest too, but I will admit now that it is brought to my attention it does sound a bit too adult for a kid. Oh so confused on what to do. LOL 🙂

  19. cynthia says:

    Deborah, I have thought about the idea of the pitch sounding to scary for kids and I was wondering if it was just me or not. Glad you were honest. I have my work cut out for me. Thanks 🙂

  20. pennyklostermann says:

    I do want to know what's in the closet…is it Susanna's pony tail? Sorry, couldn't resist!

    Seriously, I do want to know what's in the closet and I think kids would, too. I agree with losing the rhyme… especially if your book is not in rhyme. If it is in rhyme, you will need perfect rhymes in the pitch as well as the story. I got a serious vibe from your pitch due to the part “tame the fears that are hidden in the heart”. Is the story about something tragic or a monster in the closet? Make sure your pitch reflects the theme of your story whether serious or playful. Either way, I am curious and would read your story.

    Susanna…sorry about your hair! It is so frustrating when that happens! I do think you should share a picture. Even though you can't put it in a pony tail, I'm sure it looks very cute.

  21. Patricia Tilton says:

    Yes, I think this sounds like a fun book. I do think you can shorten and make the pitch a little tighter. Don't think you need clutching his chest.

    Susanna, you're just doing your spring cleaning! Everyone needs a little change:) Spoken by someone who has worn her hair short most of her life. You must post a picture.

  22. Genevieve says:

    How did you post this without a picture of the haircut?? We need to see it and watch it grow along with you. Now to the pitch – I LOVE books about being afraid, so yes, I would read this. I don't know how a branch would be moving in the closet, so that could probably be clearer. The last line is dramatic, but is the fear really just in his heart? Or is it actually in the closet?

  23. Andrea says:

    I'm a maybe on this one. I love the idea of the scary closet (though I agree about taking out the chest clutching line) but I wanted to know what is unique or special about this story that makes it stand out from all the other “scared of the dark” stories out there.

  24. Cynthia says:

    I want to thank everyone for their advice. I am truly taking it to heart and have already started on the re-write. Thank you so much!

  25. Tracey Joseph says:

    I can certainly relate to being afraid of the dark or anything really. Yes, I would read it. I do agree that the clutching his chest line can be removed. I love the so much more than rain line. I wish I had more to add, but I think it's a really cute pitch.

  26. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Oh dear, Susanna…your 'close shave' at the hair salon brought back some bittersweet memories. When my husband and I went on our first cross-country trip in the summer of 1969 – YIKES! sounds like a Bruce Springsteen song – I decided to get my hair cut a 'little' shorter than my usual shoulder length hair. We lived in NYC at the time and curly hair has to be pretty long if you don't want it to be a frizzy bird's nest every day. I think I must have had the grandmother of your hair stylist because when I told her 'a little shorter' she took off so much, not only couldn't I make a ponytail…which is how I usually wore it…if I had been a guy going into service, the army wouldn't have had to cut any off. My husband was FURIOUS…not a great way to start a six-week road trip. Of course, it did grow back…as yours will…but I did not walk into a hair salon for quite a few years after that.

    Cynthia, I love your story! There's a lot of tension and anticipation in the pitch…but perhaps you might want to tighten it up a bit. I think you could leave out the part about the chest…and I agree with Stacy, I'm somewhat confused about the fear of the closet and the sounds outside the window…perhaps he is afraid of both. 🙂

    Here's an idea – hope it helps.

    Even when mom tries to explain them away, the noises outside his window and inside his closet are scaring Nicky half to death. Come with Nicky into the dark as he tames the fears that lay hidden in his heart.

  27. Rachel says:

    Yes I would read it. I want to find out what's in the closet. Kids are always worrying about little noises and things that go bump in the night so good topic.

    I combined two ideas that I liked from the other readers and added them to my own ending to make:

    The noises outside Nicky's window and inside his closet are scaring him half to death.
    His mother says its just a branch against the window pane, but Nicky knows better…

    Come on a journey into the dark and tame the fears hidden within Nicky's heart.

    Also, if you were going to leave in the sentence about the rain it should be 'than' not 'then'.

  28. Patricia Nozell says:

    Cynthia, I would so read your story, if only to find out if Herman, the monster in MY childhood closet, has made a reappearance. I'm not sure, though, if the image of Nicky clutching his chest is necessary. I could picture a scared child even without it.

    Susanna, what short memories some folks have. How dare your stylist forget in one short year that you prefer longer to shorter locks!

  29. Wendy Lawrence says:

    Yes, I'd read the book. I like the idea, and have the following suggestions about the pitch: I agree getting rid of the chest line. I also agree with others that the window line threw me…is there a window in his closet? And I'm not sure I would rhyme in a pitch. Editors are wary of pb rhymes because they are so often not done really well. I think it's hard to do a really good rhyme within the context of a pitch. So I might just focus on describing the story and let the rhyming in the book stand on its own.

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