Would You Read It Wednesday #135 – Princess Petulia’s Problem (PB)

Something very weird is going on.

(Cue Twilight Zone music)

Last week, 4 people informed me that they had stopped receiving my blog post notifications.  While I was agonizing over what on earth to do to fix this knotty problem, I suddenly got a blog post notification from Janet Sumner Johnson, soon followed by one from Wavy Lines, soon followed by ones from Growing, Writing, Creating Our Own, Sunlit Pages, Fiction University, and a host of others.  Almost all of them are Blogger blogs and/or delivered by Feedburner.  None of them had missed a post… and yet I hadn’t received notifications from them for a couple weeks.  Coincidence?

(More Twilight Zone music!)

I don’t THINK so!  I mean, what are the odds?  (A question which I am WAY to bad at math to have any hope of figuring out, but knock yourselves out if you want to actually answer :)) And…


… my blog is a Blogger blog delivered by Feedburner!  Coincidence?

Again, I think not!

So I’m hoping against all reason and former evidence to the contrary that this was some kind of Blogger or Feedburner issue which has resolved itself.

(Hahaha!  I know!  That would be so simple it will probably never happen!  But here’s hoping everyone who is supposed to get my blog post notification today WILL!  My glass is half-full :))

(And we will not discuss the fact that I am so busy and my inbox is so full that I didn’t even realize I’d MISSED their notifications until they reappeared… sharpest tool in the shed, here :)… so I deeply apologize for missing those posts and failing to visit!)

I don’t know about you, but after all that spine-tingling weirdness and the depressing realization of my lack of cognizance, I need Something Chocolate!  Let me rummage in my pantry and see what we have today…

…chocolate is brain food, you know.  Very restorative…

Ooh!  How about these morsels of delectableness thoughtfully sent to me by the lovely Rene!

Brownie Peanut Butter Cupcakes!

YUM!  I hope you can see that there is an oreo spread with peanut butter, topped by another oreo and more peanut butter, all enveloped in lovely brownie!  I think even I might be able to make these, and boy do they look good!  Please.  Help yourselves!  We’ll forget all about the Blogger/Feedburner conspiracy! 🙂

Now.  To the business at hand.  (I mean, the OTHER business at hand, besides stuffing ourselves with chocolate at whatever ungodly hour of the morning it currently is :))

Today’s pitch comes to us from Steve, who says says,I spent 20 years as a teacher of small children in London. Reading aloud was my favourite part of teaching. This means that I absolutely know what a PB, Lower MG should sound like. The challenge is to make my own writing sound right!”  We have met Steve before with his pitches for Rashad Saves The World (WYRI #111) which won the November 2013 Pitch Pick, and Silly Tilly (WYRI #123)

Here is his pitch:

Working Title: Princess Petulia’s Problem
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: Princess Petulia had the longest hair you ever saw. It was long, it was luscious, it was glossy and glamorous and Princess Petulia … hated it. Children stood on it, birds made nests in it, but the King had rules for princesses and the number one rule was NO HAIRCUTS. Kings are kings and can’t be disobeyed, but when she accidentally bumped in to the old gardener with the pruning shears and the shaky hands, Princess Petulia started to see the perfect solution to her problem.

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 Steve improve his 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.)
Steve is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing if anyone gets this post notification.  (I will be very forgiving and not sentence Blogger/Feedburner to an entire week without their crayons if the problem has been fixed/spontaneously fixed itself!)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! 🙂

57 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #135 – Princess Petulia’s Problem (PB)

  1. Teresa Robeson says:

    Oh wacky! Technology is a mysterious thing. Good thing chocolate is reliable. 😉

    As for Steve's story pitch, yes, I'd read it! While a tad on the long side, it covers all the vital info it needs to – problem and possible solution. I think maybe if it got trimmed just a bit, it would be perfect!

    Good luck, Steve!

  2. pennyklostermann says:

    Technology…gotta love it except when ya don't!
    The Brownie Peanut Butter Cupcake…on the other hand…are ya gotta love ALWAYS!!!
    The story sounds adorable. I agree with Teresa about the pitch being on the long side. Also, I think it would be stronger if you first introduced that she lived in a kingdom where no haircuts were allowed. To me, that is what she has to overcome. And it is so funny! And I imagine that the illustrations would show lots of princesses with long, luscious, glamorous, glossy hair so that wouldn't necessarily set her apart from others in the kingdom. I think what would set her apart is that she finds it annoying. But then I haven't read your story so I'm just guessing 🙂

  3. Kimberly Cowger says:

    While technical problems are never fun, you mentioning this reminded me that I wasn't signed up to receive email notifications–I just periodically check your blog for new posts. But I've signed up now and got the sign up notification email right away, so lets hope things will run smoothly in the future. If not, chocolate always has a way of making things better. 🙂

    YES–I'd read this story based on Steve's pitch! What a fun spin on your average princess story. She doesn't need a Prince to save the day, just a haircut! Though before reading the other comments I thought the same thing, it was a tad long for a pitch. Just remember not to overload it with too many details, you want the reader eager to read more. Trimming the pitch a bit will get this result from more readers without them leaving a bit weighed down.

    As I look at the calendar I've suddenly felt my stomach drop, I believe my own pitch is scheduled to be on Would You Read It? next week, eek! Steve I hope you get lots of suggestions and advice on how to make your pitch better, that's exactly what I'll be looking for next week!

  4. Beverly Snedecor says:

    I almost didn't make it to the pitch because I had to google the recipe immediately.Guess what my kids are getting this afternoon? But I did read the pitch and I love it, I would grab that book and read it, hoping it's as funny as it sounds. Nice job. It just needs to be shorter, I think: Princess Petulia had the longest hair you ever saw. It was luscious, it was glossy and glamorous and Princess Petulia … hated it. People stood on it, birds made nests in it, but the King's number one rule was NO HAIRCUTS. But when she accidentally bumped in to the old gardener with the pruning shears and the shaky hands, Princess Petulia started to see the perfect solution to her problem.

  5. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    I'm a yes. It feels long. I wonder if you cut “had the longest hair you ever saw.” to something like Princess Petulia's hair was long, it was luscious, it was glossy and glamorous, but she hated it. ..” I'm not sure you need the “Kings are kings and can't be disobeyed,” phrase… Seems like a great line for the manuscript, but maybe not necessary here. The shaky hands gives me a hint that she will “accidentally” get the gardner to cut her hair. Not sure if that's needed either. Good luck. I continue to get the notices for your blog. It's sketchy on others though. I'm very curious about the taste of these brownies.

  6. Joanne Sher says:

    I also loved the pitch – yes, a bit too long, but sounds like a VERY delightful story. Love Penny's suggestion of starting with no haircuts allowed too.

    Also, maybe it's just me, but the title didn't grab me – I think “problem” is maybe too vague. I love the alliteration of it, but wondering if a different word more related to what the problem is might be better – or just calling it Princess Petulia. Could be off base on this, but I'm sharing anyway 🙂

  7. Catherine Johnson says:

    I too didn't get posts last week. I thought you were on a break lol. I love that pitch wouldn't change a thing. I'd better take extra cake since I missed it last week.

  8. Lauri Meyers says:

    I too thought your lack of posts surprising…glad the internet gnomes have gone away. I think this pitch could probably be tweaked and tightened, but it does the job making me want to flip to the ms for sure!

  9. :Donna Marie says:

    OK, first, Susanna—if chocolate were brain food, I'd be Einstein! 😀
    Also, according to your archive listing here on the left, I got all the posts listed. I can't remember how I signed up for your blog though! I mean, I get it through my WordPress Reader, but then I “think” I also signed up through your “follow by email” widget.

  10. nrhatch says:

    I've been receiving your blog post notifications . . . but this morning when I clicked on the title, I got a “website not available” message.

    Sounds like a cute book.

  11. :Donna Marie says:

    I posted before I mentioned the pitch!
    What I like most about it is that Princess Petulia WANTS to cut her hair, but her father's rule creates the problem for her. Some time within the past few months I read a recent release (saw it at Barnes) with a very similiar premise, though it was the little girl who refused to have her hair cut. I couldn't, for the life of me, remember the title (only an image of the cover), so did a bit of searching right now, on Amazon & B&N and found a LOT of books about long, wild or crazy hair, so that may be a bit discouraging as far as appeal to agents or editors aware of that. I don't know : / And in the same breath, seeing as there ARE so many, maybe that's not even an issue lol

  12. :Donna Marie says:

    *sigh* AGAIN hitting enter too soon! Anyway, Steve, I would think if your take on it is really original, it'll get some attention 😀

  13. Rosi says:

    First, it's a funny idea. Second, it's full of fun alliteration. Yes, I would read it. I need to find out how Princess Petulia gets out of this mess.

  14. Joanne Roberts says:

    Great wording in your pitch, Steve! I love that it sets the tone for the kind of writing I can expect in the manuscript, so yes, I would read it. As mentioned, it needs a little trimming, probably the 2nd and 4th lines. I am concerned about the last line. You set up the character's personality, her world, and her problem (well done!) but when you hint at the resolution with the shears and nothing more, I wonder what is the plot? Petulia hates her hair, disobeys her father, and cuts it off — that's what the pitch indicates. Can you offer some hint as to Petulia's change, the consequences, or the new problem short hair presents? Based on the editorial comments I've read on this blog, that seems to be what is needed. The grammar police in me says, “it was long, it was lucious” etc. should be separated by periods or semicolons, not commas. And “in to the old gardener” should be “into.” Again, great job. Best wishes.

  15. Stacy Couch says:

    Steve, your little princess sounds nice and ornery. Love. The wording is also strong. To tighten it, you could start with the conflict: she hates her hair, but King Dad loves it; and then trim words, especially at the end. I too wondered about plot, how she tries to fix the problem before finding the gardener–that could be a lot of fun.
    Susanna, I've received all posts but am having trouble with comments. Logging into Disqus seems to work. 🙂

  16. Clarbojahn says:

    Nothing new to add here except to the same mantra that your pitch is too long. I would read it though. Sounds fun. Set up the conflict in the first sentence along with the character and make the hook one publishers would want to read, too. Or agents. Or editors.. OK anyone with clout.

    Thanks for sharing your pitch, Steve. I hope this helps.

    and thanks for the virtual chocolate, Susanna. I'm gonna get some real ones, now. Those made me hungry. And yes, the problem with getting your notifications is fixed. I got one today. Although unlike you, I had recieved the others all along. go figure… 🙂

  17. Julie Rowan-Zoch says:

    Susanna, I have figured out what I was doing wrong – I need to read the WYRI posts when I am ready for dessert! Those cupcakes look dubious though…like you HAVE to have one, but one bite could kill you! Ha!

    Steve, as a gardener I was thrown off by Petulia, wanted to read Petunia, but that is of no consequence – IU would definitely read it, it sounds HILARIOUS! I might tighten the pitch, keeping it 'Petulia heavy' but 'word light':

    Princess Petulia had the longest hair ever. It was long, it was luscious, it was glossy and glamorous and Princess Petulia … hated it. Children stood on it, birds made nests in it, but the King's number one rule for princesses was NO HAIRCUTS, and kings must be obeyed. When she bumped into the old gardener with pruning shears and shaky hands, Princess Petulia saw the perfect solution.

    Good luck!

  18. Keila says:

    Cute story idea Steve! Yes, combining sentences would help. I think even starting out stating Petulia hated her long, luscious, glossy, glamorous hair. Susanna, I figured out my problem. Switched to Chrome and I can now see posts! DUH!

  19. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_Erik says:

    The book sounds great! I would read it -I agree the pitch is a bit too long! THe princess sounds like a great character! Hmm… Ms. Hill, I've gotten all of your posts but last week and the week before I was having trouble with 2 other blogs that I get feedburner update from – I wasn't getting them. I had to re-subscribe to them.

  20. Frances Moshos Kalavritinos says:

    I like the Rapunzel/fairy tale feel of this pitch. I would definitely want to see what happens to the princess–and how the king reacts!

  21. coleen patrick says:

    Yes, love the idea of birds making nests in her hair. That made me smile. And so did that brownie pb cupcake! Wow.
    I've been getting your posts by email, but some other blogger peep's blogs I haven't. Strange. But maybe they will restart, bc my ability to comment here without having to open an incognito window mysteriously returned. So yay for that. 🙂

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for your enthusiasm for Mr. Moran, Erik! And oh dear… if you had to re-subscribe I wonder if others will have to do that or if it was a problem that corrected itself. I didn't do anything, and suddenly started getting notifications again…

  23. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for your thoughts for Steve, Keila! And for some reason, Chrome seems to work for most people. It's just silly for people to have to change browsers for one blog! I use Safari, and I don't have any trouble, so you'd think at least THAT would work. IE seems to have the most trouble. Thank you for your commitment though! It means so much to me that you'd switch browsers for me 🙂

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Hahaha 🙂 Okay. Dessert it is 🙂 And I don't think two oreos and some peanut butter and brownie will kill you… although you might have to run an extra mile 🙂 Thanks so much for your very helpful comments and thoughtful pitch re-wording for Steve!

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for your suggestions for Steve, Clar! And oh yay! I'm so glad you got the notification today! But as to why I didn't get others and you did – go figure! Technology is incomprehensible! 🙂

  26. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Steve, Stacy! And yikes! If it's not one thing with this blog it's another! I'm glad disqus works for you and hope it isn't too much trouble to log in! Thank you for going the extra mile! 🙂

  27. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Your thoughts are very helpful, Joanne! Thank you for sharing! Steve can make the call about whether anything seems off base – he's the author – but it is so helpful to know how different people react to our work. We already know how WE react to it 🙂

  28. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for your helpful thoughts for Steve, Stacy! And I'm glad you've been getting the notifications! I have to admit… I haven't tried those cupcake/brownies… they might be a little weird 🙂

  29. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thank you for signing up, Kimberly! Hugs and kisses 🙂 And thanks for your helpful thoughts for Steve. Yes, I believe you are up pretty soon and don't worry! This group is wonderful and amazing and I'm sure they'll be here for you! Any snack requests for your WYRI day? 🙂

  30. Kimberly Cowger says:

    Oooo, snacks! Anything minty or with dark chocolate would be divine. But then again something healthier with strawberries might be good for summer. 🙂

  31. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Now Kimberly. Have I taught you nothing? ALL chocolate is healthy! It contains flavonoids that fight strokes, help you with mental math, and help protect your skin from harmful UV rays among many other things! I shall cogitate on your requests, though 🙂

  32. Linda Boyden says:

    And I entirely missed Wed.! Mon. holiday tripped me up. If it isn't too late I would add I'd definitely would read it. I like the problem and the hint of how to solve it. Well done, Steve!

  33. sue heavenrich says:

    I would definitely read this! Am especially intrigued by the gardener's clippers. But am wondering why she doesn't just put wired in her hair and make it into topiary? maybe because it's too many syllables and hard to spell….

    Susanna – I just forgot it was Wed. yesterday! and blogger's been having hiccups, but so have other things… so it could just be solar flares, global warming or the lack of early morning caffeine.

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