Monday Morning Special: A Straight From The Editor Extravaganza!

Good Monday to you, favorite peeps!

I am a fan of Mondays.  They are like mornings – new beginnings full of hope and possibility for good things.  Just because yesterday or last week may not have been all you hoped doesn’t mean things can’t turn around today!

This could be the day you get a BRILLIANT idea for a picture book!  The kind that makes you fish desperately in the glove compartment for an ATM receipt with ketchup on it and contort yourself to reach the partially melted crayon from the backseat of the car and start scribbling madly at a traffic light because ideas like this don’t come along every day and you’ve got to grab it while it’s hot!

This could be the day you finally get the opening sentence of your WIP just exactly right!  The content, the mood, the tone, the language – perfect for hooking anyone and everyone who reads it!

It could be the day you compose a query letter so perfect that it gets you a request!

You know that agent you desperately want to sign with?  The one you’re crossing your fingers and toes and eyes and everything else crossable for a positive response from?  This could be the day she calls and asks to represent you!

It could even be the day you get “the call” – the one where your fantabulous agent or esteemed Editor X says, “I have an offer for you!” 🙂

So embrace Monday 🙂

Here is a sunshiny picture to help get you in the mood (because if you live anywhere near me it is currently raining and you might have forgotten what a sunshiny morning looks like 🙂 )

spring morning

Oh, and that green stuff is grass, which could start growing at any moment, although there isn’t any yet in my neck of the woods 🙂

To help you love Monday, here is the long-awaited backlog of Straight From The Editors that we have been hoping to catch up with.  Editor Erin Molta finally had time to send them, and a mere 3 and a half weeks later Yours Truly is finally putting together the post to deliver all this amazing knowledge and expertise to YOU!  What a way to start off your morning and your Monday and your week! 🙂

Enjoy! 🙂

For JuneMichelle – The Sunflower Traveler (Chapter Book ages 6-9) 

Rhea’s interest in growing sunflowers for Petal Path’s Magazine Contest turned into a quest to help her family when her dad lost his job. Her final requirement for the contest is to describe something new about her sunflowers. But time traveling through a sunflower, talking with birds, and instructing a new gardener from the past may be more than she’s bargained for. Will Rhea solve her sunflower problem and still make it back in time to enter the contest?

Erin’s comments:  

Cute premise for a story! As for the pitch, it’s better if you don’t end with a question because of course, especially in children’s books, the conflict will be resolved. So, though you can ask questions, it’s better to make the reader want to know HOW it was resolved rather than asking the obvious question—if.

So, I would rework it something like this: Rhea’s interest in growing sunflowers for Petal Path’s Magazine Contest turned into a quest to help her family when her dad lost his job. Her final requirement for the contest is to describe something new about her sunflowers. But who would believe that she time traveled through her sunflower, talked with birds, and instructed a new gardener from the past?  Rhea needs to come up with a way to describe her sunflower situation in a way to not only help the people in the past but her family as well. 

For JulyKirsten – Stuck In The Muck (PB ages 4-8)

Sir Whiskerson loves kitty facials and paw-dicures. When he comes whisker to whisker with a mangy mutt named Sunny, Whiskerson is desperate to remain pristine. But with Sunny stuck in the muck and sinking, Whiskerson must decide whether doing the right thing is worth a gloppy, sloppy fur coat.

Erin’s comments:

This seems adorable but it would have more impact if we knew if Sunny was a friend or foe. Were Sunny and Whiskerson rivals before he was stuck in the muck? If you can get that in then I think this would be fab.

(August was blogcation – no pitching or pitch picks :))

For September:  Zainab – Dear Cat (PB ages 4-8) 

Persistent Bird keeps bugging Cat with his letters to be his friend.  Cat snubs Bird…until it’s snack time. Cat is ready for a tasty meal except Bird has his own devious plan in mind for this “clever” cat.

Erin’s comments:

This sounds like it could be interesting but I think you need to be more specific. I’m not quite sure what Bird’s letters have to do with a devious plan to trick Cat. It would work better if you framed it more simply: “Bird wants to be Cat’s friend but Cat snubs Bird. When it’s snack time Bird makes Cat notice him by (whatever it is he does)…  and Cat realizes that perhaps birds can be good friends.”

For October: Kirk – My Next Door Neighbor Is A Dragon Princess! (MG)

I didn’t care much for Maddie Buckner. At two, she bit my ear. At four she pushed me off a slide. At 8, she broke my favorite model airplane that took five months to build. At 10, she kissed me – on the lips! – under the Big Toy in the playground and told me she loved me. At 11, she spit in my face and said she hated me. Then she asked Parker Williams to the sock hop. Parker Williams! Oh, how I despised her. But then she had to go and save my life. That’s when I discovered her secret.

Erin’s comments:

I love this. Gets the tension in and the voice and the humor! The only thing I would suggest is making the numbers consistent. In theory, all of them should be written out but if you prefer not to do that, then they should all be numerical. And I just tightened it up a tad.

I didn’t care much for Maddie Buckner. At two, she bit my ear. At four she pushed me off a slide. At eight, she broke my favorite model airplane that took five months to build. At ten, she kissed me – on the lips! – under the Big Toy in the playground and told me she loved me. At eleven, she spit in my face and said she hated me. Then she asked Parker Williams to the sock hop. Parker Williams! Oh, how I despised her. But then she saved my life. That’s when I discovered her secret.

For November: Jessica – Showdown At The Sippy Cup Saloon! (PB ages 4-8)

In the tiny town of Toddle, in the cradle of the West, Sheriff Wyatt Burp is snoozing in his crib when Wild Bill Hiccup arrives to wake up — and shake up — the pint-size population.  “Don’t go gettin’ yer onesie in a twist,” Wild Bill warns Wyatt, but tempers flare until the two go bib to bib in a showdown at the Sippy Cup Saloon. Who will emerge the rootin’ tootin’ squirt gun shootin’ hero of the West?

Erin’s comments:

This sounds like it could be adorable! The only thing I would worry about is making it too precious. AND, it’s best not to end with a question. What if you framed it as more of a statement: Wild Bill Hiccup and Sheriff Wyatt Burp face off to decide who will emerge as the rootin’ tootin’ squirt gun shootin’ hero of the West.

So much fantastic advice as always from Erin!  We are so lucky to have her, and she is so very generous to share her expertise with us!  Thank you, Erin, and thanks to all the writers who step up each month to share their pitches so that all of us can benefit and learn!

I hope you’ll all find Erin’s comments very educational and helpful.

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!

(And in case, in spite of all the advice and uplifting words about Monday you’re still longing for it to be Saturday, I have two helpful words for you:  Mister Softee 🙂 )

30 thoughts on “Monday Morning Special: A Straight From The Editor Extravaganza!

  1. Lauri Meyers says:

    I started reading this post with a bit of disbelief – no way this monday could be good. However, you plucked me right up with your convincing statements on the magic of Monday! Thanks Susanna! Enjoyed all the pitch advice too.

  2. Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

    I found it really helpful to have multiple comments from the ever-insightful Erin Molta combined in one post! Also great work by each and every one of the pitchers.

    Thanks for the Monday morning day-brightener!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      It WAS kind of fun to have a bunch of these together! Given Erin’s schedule and mine, it could happen again 🙂 And Erin also noted in her email to me that as a group these were great pitches. Hope you had a lovely Monday, Cathy!

  3. ptnozell says:

    Just when I was moaning about Monday and reading my revised pitch yet again (note: if I added all the *agains* that I’ve reread & revised this pitch, there wouldn’t be enough room for others to comment), you post Erin’s comments on other pitches that will help me tighten my pitch more.

    Thank you, Susanna! May rainbows replace raindrops and the gray fields turn to green.

  4. kathalsey says:

    Erin gave us instructive advice for all pithes,not just the good ones here. Susanna, thank you for the Monday wishes, too. Wishing all sunshine and a pitch-perfect day!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Maybe I should be singing Zippity Doo Dah… although my singing might have the opposite effect of cheering people 🙂 It was fun to have several of Erin’s comments together, wasn’t it? Totally by accident of course… but given Erin’s schedule and mine it could happen again 🙂 Hope your Monday was delightful, Iza! 🙂

  5. Gabi Snyder says:

    I may have to reconsider my feelings about Mondays after reading this — you make a compelling argument for the magic of Mondays! And it was helpful reading Erin’s comments. Thanks, Susanna and Erin!

  6. Melissa Rutigliano says:

    Hi Susanna, Last week I submitted a pitch via email for Would You Read It, but I haven’t received any kind of response. I was just wondering if this was the norm, or if I only receive a response if the pitch is chosen to  be posted. That being said, are all pitches posted or only a few selected for the exercise every Wednesday? If you can advise, that’d be great! Thanks! Melissa RutiglianoMotivated Professional * Impassioned Innovator * Dynamic Leader 82 Cliffwood Ave.Aberdeen, NJ  07721 /37th StreetNew York, NY  10018Melissa.Rutigliano@yahoo.com201-906-0494

  7. ingridboydston says:

    We have yet another thing in common! I am a Monday lover too! It’s too early in the week to be behind on anything and the promise of time to “get things done” stretches out before me. Do you also like lists? I love them. And I loved reading this list of sorts. Erin’s comments are so practical and clear. Many thanks foe another inspiring post!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      This is just spooky, Ingrid! Birthdays one day apart, both Monday lovers, and yes! I live by lists! I have lists of my lists! Glad you found Erin’s comments helpful and hope you had a miraculous Monday! 🙂

      • ingridboydston says:

        Happiest of Birthdays to you Susanna! I hope your day (and year) are full of joy, peace and of course, chocolate!
        I wanted to thank you again for the Would You Read it Wednesday opportunity. I was only able to access internet before and after work (7:30-6:00 yesterday!) but I think I was able to respond to each of the lovely folk who took the time to comment. It was a very useful experience!
        Hopefully you won’t see this post till tomorrow since you will be so busy celebrating today!
        Sincerely,
        Ingrid

  8. Keila Dawson says:

    Well this post did shine up a rainy Monday. I am exhausted because late last night I finally figured out an angle for a story that I’v had stewing for 2 years which kept me up. I hate when that happens. No, I love when that happens! Like a rainy Monday, I can take a bit of bitter with the sweet. These are fantastic. Thanks to all who pitched and to Erin and you Susanna. 🙂

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      I hear you on the tired-from-staying-up-late, Keila, but how wonderful that you sorted out a 2 year stew! That is great news! All I did was vacuum water out of my parents’ flooded basement at 1 in the morning! 🙂 Glad you found Erin’s comments helpful, and hope part of your Monday was a lovely nap 🙂

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