Would You Read It Wednesday #198 – Annabelle Changes Her Name (PB)

Come on in and set awhile, folks!  It’s time for your favorite and mine: Would You Read It Wednesday!

But first, a word from our sponsors.

Has winter got you down? Are you loathe to emerge from the comfy warmth of your blankets on these cold, dark January mornings? Have the last 3 stories you wrote been titled Smiley Miley Goes To Aruba, Stinky Pete And The Tropical Island Paradise, and A Hot, Hot Day In July? Are you making secret plans to hibernate until April?

Never fear!  We have a remedy for your winter doldrums!

The First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest! (Yes, that’s a link to take you to the contest guidelines!)

Wash your hair!  Shave your legs!  Put on actual clothing and join your fellow writers for some fun in the creative sun!  You’ll be surprised by how happy and energized you feel (and not just because of the 5 pounds of hair you shaved off your legs :))  You can write a brand new story, enjoy the company of other writers and the entertainment of their stories, and possibly win a fabulous prize which I haven’t thought up yet but I WILL! 🙂

So get out your writing implements, rev up your brain, and join us at a blog near you!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!

Something Chocolate anyone?  I’m feeling Brownie Sundae-ish this morning.  You know, some nice hot fudge to warm us up!


Recipe HERE at fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody



Here’s a napkin.  Wipe your chin.

Now then, today’s pitch comes to us from Carleen who says, “I am a writer who forgot to grow up, and now it’s too late!”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Annabelle Changes Her Name

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch:

Annabelle’s name is too long, too hard, too different.  But when she decides to change it, she runs into all sorts of problems.  And then she meets a new girl whose name is long and hard and different, too.   And now Annabelle isn’t so sure anymore about changing her name.

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 Carleen 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’ve got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Carleen is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to drumming up some great prizes for the aforementioned Valentiny Writing Contest!  Wish me luck! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!!  Stay warm! 🙂




48 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #198 – Annabelle Changes Her Name (PB)

  1. Cynthia (@Elomaa10) says:

    I like it. I’d read it, but I do have a question. What about this girl makes Annabelle change her mind? It has to be more then just her name, there has to be something about herself. Intrigue me more, give me a clue. 🙂

    • Carleen M. Tjader says:

      Yes, I think you’re right…your comment and the others, makes me realize I need more emotion from Annabelle and another compelling reason to change her name.
      Thank you so much for responding, Cynthia.

    • Carleen M. Tjader says:

      I thought my reply had gone through, sorry! Yes, I agree that I need a little more, a couple more clues.
      I appreciate your response, Cynthia. Thank you for reading!

  2. Jen Bagan says:

    This sounds a bit like Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. I like the premise, since many kids at one time or another have a moment of not liking their name. I agree with Cynthia that we need more about this girl. Is she super cool and all the kids like her even though her name is long? And also, this is purely my own opinion, but Annabelle doesn’t strike me as a name that’s really all that hard and different. Maybe there is another reason she doesn’t like her name and wants to change it? Kids can find ways to make pretty much any name sound insulting – maybe they say Annabelle Smells or something like that 🙂 Perhaps the new girl gets teased too but doesn’t care because she loves her name? I think we just need a little more info in the pitch but sounds like a great story!

  3. Jenny Bagan says:

    Hi Susanna, I’m having trouble commenting on the Would You Read It. My original comment isn’t showing up and I just tried a “test” and don’t see that either. It made me log in to Facebook to comment (guess it’s no longer Disqus?) Just wondered if you’ve had any issues with comments on the new site? Thanks! Jen

    From: Susanna Leonard Hill Reply-To: Susanna Leonard Hill Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 3:01 AM To: Jenny Bagan Subject: [New post] Would You Read It Wednesday #198 – Annabelle Changes Her Name (PB)

    WordPress.com Susanna Leonard Hill posted: “Come on in and set awhile, folks! It’s time for your favorite and mine: Would You Read It Wednesday! But first, a word from our sponsors. Has winter got you down? Are you loathe to emerge from the comfy warmth of your blankets on these cold, dark Janua”

  4. Lynne Marie says:

    I think that I would read it, but my first reaction was that the name Annabelle is not too long, too hard or too different. It has 2 vowels and 3 consonants and is fairly simple to say. As far as the pitch, perhaps she can spunk up the language. For example: If YOU had a name like “Demitriana” you’d change it, too. But when Demitriana (Some Long Name) reinvents herself with a new name, she takes on more than a little name can handle….. Or use the customary pitch format with punchy language as well. Make sure there are more Hope that helps!

    • Carleen M. Tjader says:

      Lynne Marie, I’m not sure if I saw this earlier. Your example sounds more intriguing, and can lead in the same direction, or a whole new one.
      Thank you for reading and giving me other ideas.

  5. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    As a person named Genevieve, I feel Annabelle’s pain, so yes, I would read this! Being “different” when you’re little is scary. Being “different” when you grow up is good. Like Cynthia, I am not sure how her new friend changes her mind, so possibly the pitch needs some more clues and feelings. Also I haven’t read Chrysanthemum in a while, but its blurb brings some of the emotion right away. That’s what the pitch needs.

    • Carleen M. Tjader says:

      I will try to include more clues and feelings at the end of the story as well as the beginning.
      And I will take a look at Chrysanthemum, too! Thank you so much for your thoughts, Genevieve.

  6. ptnozell says:

    Hi Carleen, I would definitely read this. As one who has struggled an entire lifetime with my name (Patricia, never Pat, Patty nor Patsy; Patti only with family & decades-old friends) & who purposely chose children’s names without common nicknames (Melissa, Kristen, John), I can identify with Annabelle. I’m presuming the setting is a classroom. I think it would be helpful to mention this, as it could help readers envision the types of problems she encounters.

    Susanna, I laughed aloud at the directions for readying ourselves for the Valentiny contest (who knew that my recent weight gain was all due to unshaven legs!). Thank you for thinking of us as we prepare for the “storm of the century” this weekend along the east coast.

    • Carleen M. Tjader says:

      Good thought! I have mentioned kindergarten and classroom very soon in the story, but didn’t think to put it in the pitch.
      Thanks for responding, Patricia.

  7. Gabi Snyder says:

    I love the name “Annabelle” and I would most definitely read this story! (I also relate to the story as someone who grew up as “Gabi” but who sometimes goes by my full name, “Gabrielle.”) Like others, I think you could infuse the pitch with more of Annabelle’s emotions and, without getting wordy, give us a few more specifics. Could you provide an example of one of the problems she runs into when she tries to change her name? Is it humorous, heartbreaking, something else? And, like others, I’d like a hint as to what it is about this new girl that inspires Annabelle to rethink changing her name. Good luck with this!

    • Carleen M. Tjader says:

      I definitely need to include more emotion and clues in my pitch. I really appreciate this help. Thank you for responding, Gabrielle.

  8. viviankirkfield says:

    Susanna…what a beautiful way for me to start my writing day…chuckling over your incredible sense of humor, stuffing my virtual face with the chocolate sundae, and reading Carleen’s wonderful pitch!

    Yes, Carleen, I would definitely read your story. I love that Annabelle has a problem with her name…I hated mine as a kid…and could not understand why my mom had not given me a more glamorous one like Victoria.
    I do think we need a bit more detail to become engaged…also, I wonder where the main character lives if she thinks that Annabelle is too different…are all the other girls named Mary and Jane? Perhaps it is that her name is made of up two names…could that be the point of contention for her…and that sometimes she is an Anna (maybe serious, shy, etc.) and sometimes she is a Belle (fun-loving, an extrovert)…maybe I am overthinking and getting in too deeply, but it’s just a thought…also, is it only that she meets a girl who has a longer name that solves her problem, or does something about her own name or her own personality save the day somehow? If you only want to add a few more details, how about:

    Annabelle thinks her name is too long, too hard, too different. But when she changes it, (two or three of the problems that happen). Then she meets (the other girl’s name), and Annabelle discovers that having a long name can be (what happens that helps her realize her name is great?).

  9. mona861 says:

    I would love to read this story because I’m really curious how she finds resolution. For me though, Annabelle isn’t different or long enough. Now Genevieve, you’re right about your name.It would be fun to hear a young reader trying to figure that one out. Or, a family name or an ethnic name might give a child concern. With all that said, I would want to read this.

  10. Traci Bold says:

    Yes, I would read this book. I believe the pitch could be spruced a little and shortened if possible. Here it is with my changes, ‘Annabelle’s name is too long, too hard, too different. When she decides to change it, problems plague her. She meets a new girl whose name is long and hard and different, too and now Annabelle isn’t so sure anymore about changing her name.’

    • Carleen M. Tjader says:

      I didn’t include enough info in my pitch! I really appreciate these suggestions toward my revision! Thank you.

  11. jdewdropsofink says:

    What a great contest coming up. I am intrigued by the premise of the query, but would like many more details. What problems does Annabelle run into because of her long name, just a few to whet my appetite, and why does this new girl with the even crazier long name spark some resistance to change in Annabelle’s mind? Without giving away the ending of course, I would really like more details as to what is going to happen.

    Good luck. Sounds like a cute idea.

  12. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Love the new blog, Susanna! The chocolate is even better over here on WordPress. 😀

    Being someone with a long name that is often misspelled and mispronounced (especially as a kid), I like this idea, but I’m not sure that Annabelle qualifies as one that’s so unusual it would get mispronounced, albeit maybe misspelled for those not knowing if it’s one “n” or two. Even common names like Jen, Jenn, Jenny, Jeni, Jennie, Jenifer, Jennifer, etc. can be confusing. I’m curious about what name Annabelle prefers or considers easy enough. It would be funny if “Jane” was the choice. Maybe I’ve lived in San Francisco for too long. There are soooo many unusual names here, my sense of perspective has changed.

    I think that “too long” and “hard to spell” for a preschooler or early elementary school child is spot on, especially when they’re learning to write their names. It’s a kid’s internal motivation to make things easier. “Too different” is a horse of a different color. It’s more of an external motivation, one that comes from being self-conscious (focused on what others think) and wanting to fit in with other kids. I think this motivation may come later than preschool, when kids become more peer-oriented and start wanting to be just like their elementary school friends. That said, I love the depth that “too different” provides. It gives us a sense of her personality, too. She’s not the kid who revels in being different. Maybe this changes by the end of the story?Maybe she embraces being different? But if it’s just that it’s too long and hard to write, I’m curious about how that would be overcome.

    Also, I have questions about this new girl. Does Annabelle see the “new girl with the difficult name” as being a desirable friend? Would love to know what her name is. Seems like that would be the case, but it may also be that it’s how her friend responds to other peoples’ mispronunciations or that she’s proud of her name that helps Annabelle change her mind.

    If this pitch helped resolve my questions (specifics could help make the pitch funny but empathy-filled, too), I think I would be intrigued to read more.

    I haven’t read many books on this topic, so I don’t know what’s already out there. It might be interesting to do a little research to find out.

    • Carleen M. Tjader says:

      All great points for me to consider. Thanks, Jilanne! Some of this is answered in the story, but I know the pitch needs more clues as well.

  13. Wendy says:

    The question of identity is a great one to explore! I would read!
    I get that it’s long, but kids have plenty stranger names than Annabelle. So I’m wondering WHY this name feels strange and different to HER.
    I’d like to know what the stakes are if she doesn’t change her name? Do others make fun of her? Does she mess up writing her name at school? Will the new girl like her more, or less? The books Chrysanthemum and The Name Jar are possible comp titles.

    • Carleen M. Tjader says:

      Thanks, for the mentor texts, Wendy. I will check into them.
      I need to up the stakes in my story and my pitch. I appreciate your time.

  14. Penny Parker Klostermann says:

    Susanna, You’re Valentiny Contest sounds fun and wonderful! And so does that sundae! Yum!

    Carleen, I think this is a great idea and that a lot of kids would relate whether their name is too long or too short. I mean what kid has not wished to change their name? I did wonder if you should mention a couple of the problems she runs into to add humor and tension to your pitch instead of just saying she ran into all kinds of problems. If you can do this with an economy of words, it might work. If it gets too long, I’d probably leave it more general like it is.

    Cynthia commented above, “What about this girl makes Annabelle change her mind? It has to be more than just her name, there has to be something about herself. Intrigue me more, give me a clue.”

    I think Cynthia has a really good point and that for Annabelle to change her mind that it probably ought to be about more than the new girl’s name.

    • Carleen M. Tjader says:

      Thanks, Penny! I think these suggestions will help me revise my manuscript, too. I appreciate all these thoughtful comments.

  15. Noel Csermak says:

    Hi Carleen. First off, well done on a concise pitch. I find this to often be one of the most difficult aspects of the writing process. Yes, I would read your story. I never liked my name growing up as kids often sang “my song” very out of tune just to bother me. I am intrigued by the challenges Annabelle will face in trying to change her name. Will her best friend no longer remember her new name? What are some of the alluring or appealing characteristics of the new girl that make Annabelle reconsider?
    Tough to get it all into a pitch, but I would like to be drawn in a bit more into the why is it so important to her to change things and a teaser as to why she is reconsidering (without giving it away). Really, it just boils down to connecting a little deeper with Annabelle and her struggles.
    Fun idea that is full of possibilities!

  16. Sydney O'Neill says:

    Love your new website, Susanna!

    Carlene, I also remember wanting to change my name, and I think
    kids will relate to this topic. Gabi Snyder covered all my suggestions for the
    pitch. Good luck with the story!

  17. Rosi Hollinbeck says:

    Yes, I would read it but I would like more information about why Annabelle changes her mind so quickly. There must be more to it than just a name. Maybe there’s something about how she handles things. Anyway, I’d like more.

  18. Keila Dawson says:

    What Vivian and Cynthia said! A bit more about the problem for that emotional hook.

    Yum, yum, any day is a fundae with a Sundae! There’s a website called fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody?! Cute idea Carleen, stick with it. Valentiny sounds yummy too. 🙂

  19. hethfeth says:

    Yes, I’d read it. I like the premise. But I’m looking for more details that might indicate that this story and the writing style would be unique.

  20. jeanjames926 says:

    Carleen I would definitely read your story. I think a lot of kids want to change their name at some point or another. I always thought my name was too short and old sounding when I was a kid. Children want to be in control of their identity, and that starts with their name, but clearly it goes deeper than that. It reminds me of Erikson’s psychosocial stages of devolopment that I learned in nursing school lol. I agree with the others comments that a bit more detail in the pitch would be helpful to really understand Annabelle’s conflict. Good luck!!

  21. Joanne Sher says:

    I also agree that I would read this one – but I definitely want more detail on Annabelle (whose name I love too!) – why the name bothers her so much (is it only that it’s long? May want to strengthen the motivation), , what she is like, what issues she has had with it. You’ve got some great advice above. Good luck!

  22. Lisa Riddiough says:

    Hi Carleen, Sorry I didn’t reply yesterday! Yes, I would read it for sure. I love the premise. But I do agree that Annabelle is too beautiful of a name, and also fun to say, then other possible choices. I am also thinking that you should tell us the name of the other girl she meets. Her name might be even worse. Or maybe they wish they had each other’s name. Anyway, I think it is a great idea and you just need to give a few more details in your pitch!! Best wishes.

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