Happy Wednesday, Everyone!
What a week it’s been so far! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been busy as a beaver!
(This is bizarrely fitting because long ago in my misspent youth I went to an all girls’ school where our mascot (very unfortunately) was a beaver. Just imagine the terror we struck into the hearts of our athletic competitors…! Even more unfortunately the slogan for the 100th year anniversary of the school was “100 years of eager beavers”… but that’s whole nother story best left unmentioned… although I guess now I’ve gone and mentioned it 🙂 )
My dogs have been busy too. They take their guard duties VERY seriously and have been forced to repeatedly defend the perimeter against the likes of these two:
Have you ever seen such extreme danger?!
They are twins and have taken to hanging about in our yard. Somehow I don’t think they find the dogs all that intimidating. But the dogs find themselves intimidating and that’s all that matters 🙂
So there has been quite a lot of busy-ness around here. Which of course calls for Something Chocolate (because doesn’t everything? 🙂 )
As it happens, Something Deliciously Chocolate arrived on my doorstep Monday. In case you haven’t heard, I am lucky enough to have the best kids in the world. One of them, for no reason other than sweetness and kindness, sent me these, and I will share them with you. For once I’m not even really stretching the truth that much when I proclaim that they are health food 🙂
Enjoy with a clear conscience! 🙂
(This is the part where I confess in a teeny voice (I’d shrink the font to something teeny but I don’t know how to do that in wordpress!) that I have to postpone the June and July pitch picks one more time because I didn’t get the pitch revisions yet – my fault, not the pitchers’! Next week…?!)
Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Lauren who says, “I live in Normal, IL so perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to things that are slightly off-kilter. I enjoy using my experiences to create fantastical picture books. When my granddaughter was born, I rode the train to Chicago for 2 years to help take care of her. Nothing unusual happened on my travels, but they were the inspiration for a not-so-normal adventure for a not-so-normal Granny.”
Find her on the web at: http://www.laurencollierswindler.com
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Go Granny Go!
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-8)
The Pitch: When Granny receives an alarming phone call, she sets off to reach her ailing granddaughter. Armed with not much more than wit and grit, this plucky Granny negotiates a series of increasingly preposterous obstacles with remarkable aplomb. Tattered, tuckered out and sore, she staggers on, but will Granny reach Rosie or will the next obstacle lead to her downfall?
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 Lauren 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 Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above. There are openings in October, so you have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!
Lauren is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to actually posting the June and July Pitch Picks next week, and if I fail for the third time you all have permission to throw chocolate at me! 🙂
Have a wonderful writing and reading Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂
55 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #225 – Go Granny Go! (PB)”
Those strawberries look A-mazing!! My frozen Dole dippers pale in comparison.
Love a plucky, Granny! What stopped me a moment was the “alarming” phone call. I’m assuming that because it’s for pb age, it isn’t something truly awful?? Perhaps, because it is the inciting incident that sets the story in motion (and not getting there to head it off/address the issue is the stakes) you could tell us what that is in the pitch? Just a thought! Good luck!
Those strawberries ARE…er…WERE A-mazing! 🙂 Thanks so much for your thoughts for Lauren, Wendy – I know she’ll find them helpful!
Thanks for your comments, Wendy. The inciting incident is not so alarming — Rosie is sick and Granny quick — so perhaps I can find a better approach to explaining the beginning.
I like the plot very much and would love to see the granny protagonist in action. The pitch sets the silly, over-the-top tone, but more details would reel us in. Please include some specific preposterous elements . . . show don’t tell . . . and this pitch will be harder to resist. Thanks and good luck!
Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Lauren, Joanne!
I’m glad you picked up on the silly, over-the-top tone. I’ll try to add a specific preposterous detail. Thanks for your comments.
Those strawberries look de-lish, Susanna. And we had a town nearby called Beavercreek and the team was known as the “Battling Beavers,” tee-hee. On to the Granny WIP! I think it’s a fun premise but the pitch is way too general. It’s obvious that you have clever word play in this and that tells me you can write! But I don’t see any of the plot details that would draw me in. Give us an obstacle and the way your MC tackles it – how she does it w/wit and grit… I am curious. I sort of imagine a twist ending wherein the Nana finally arrives to help and it’s a really trivial ailment! Am I right???
The strawberries were extremely delish, Kathy! I regret to say that they’re all gone at this point 🙂 And somehow Battling Beavers doesn’t sound too intimidating either… 🙂 Thanks so much for your insightful comments for Lauren!
Hi Kathalsey, I’ll work on adding some specifics to my pitch — lots of obstacles to choose from but rest assured that Granny overcomes every one. My ending is a bit of a twist because when Granny finally arrives, Rosie just has a mild cold (she’s a bit of a drama queen). Thanks for your comments.
Go Beavers! I like the pitch. Have this vision of superhero grandma coming to the rescue. I wonder if the writer can include a sneak peek as to what she has to tackle to get to Rosie.
Yeah, I think beavers need all the help they can get 🙂 Thanks for your enthusiasm for Lauren, Robin!
Well, Rnewman504, Granny starts off walking down the street and getting on a bus — perfectly normal, but when the bus driver sneezes all the passengers off the bus, plucky Granny must find a way to keep going — through traffic jams, fire, storms, you name it. Hope that helps, Thanks for your comments.
This seem to have great possibility. I wish I knew a little more about her obstacles, the wackier they are, the more interested I would be. I love that you seem to be creating a feisty, capable grandmother character. It’s great that she is not a stereotype of ‘old.’ I like the message to kids that growing older does not have to limit us.
Since kids do enjoy seeing kids in their books, consider making Rosie more important. Some ideas: They are traveling together, they are both traveling to meet each other, or they are in contact (by phone?) during Granny’s journey.
I can see by your pitch that I would enjoy your writing style – lots of fun words. Great Work. I hope you continue with this.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Lauren, David! I’m sure she’ll find them helpful!
Hi David. Thanks for your thoughts. I’ve been struggling with ways to include Rosie and finally settled on a reoccurring refrain where Rosie laments how late Granny is and complains about an endless list of symptoms. As I said, she’s a bit of a drama queen, but she has complete faith that her Granny will show up to take care of her.
Happily I just ate chocolate oatmeal w nuts or I would be drooling one the keyboard right now! Congrats on having such sweet kids! Re: Go Granny Go, I love the title & the fun wordplay in your pitch. I agree I need a more specific example of one of the wacky obstacles, mostly to combat my concern over the “alarming phone call” & “ailing granddaughter”. I hope to see more of this!
Hi Ingrid, Thanks for your comments, It’s good to know my “alarming phone call” and “ailing granddaughter” are causing problems for my readers. I’ll add some more wacky details to the pitch.
Chocolate oatmeal??? Why have I not heard of this, Ingrid???!!! 🙂 Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Laurie! 🙂
Hi Michelle, thanks for your comments. I love Amelia Bedilia –perhaps she did influence my writing. I’ll have to take another look at her books.
The joys of virtual treats – despite the comments above, it seems the box still holds something for latecomers like me. Thanks for sharing, Susanna, and kudos for raising such sweet and thoughtful kids!
Lauren, I definitely would read your story – I love intergenerational stories and strong Grans. I also love your word choices, “wit and grit” had me grinning. I agree with others, though, that knowing a bit more about the obstacles faced, and overcome, will help. I’d also suggest ending with a statement, rather than a question.
I look forward to seeing your revised pitch & the story!
I don’t think there’s anything – even summer strawberries – that can’t be made better with chocolate 🙂 I’m glad you got here in time to enjoy, Patricia! Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Lauren!
Thanks for your comments. I’m drawn to intergenerational stories and strong Grans, too. I’ill look into ending with a statement rather than a question. Just curious – why do you think that might be better?
I’ve heard from agents & editors that they prefer statements to questions – especially for the last sentence. If no one else is mentioning it, though, this preference may be disappearing & no longer a norm.
Thanks for answering my question, Ptnozell. If you’ve hear that they prefer statement to questions, it’s probably so. I’ll give it a try.
Very excited to be featured on your blog today. I’ll keep checking it. Thanks so much Susanna. Laurie
So glad to have you! And you’ve got lots of great feedback already 🙂
Thank you for providing this opportunity for me to get such great feedback — although all this talk about chocolate is driving me a bit bonkers. I agree, you have sweet kids.
I do have sweet kids 🙂 I’m very lucky! And sorry the chocolate talk is driving you bonkers…you know my suggestion of course…go eat something chocolate 🙂
Thanks for the laugh this morning, Susanna! Actually, I now live in Corvallis, Oregon (home of the OSU Beavers)!
Lauren, I would definitely read your plucky Granny story. Like others, I would like to see more specifics in the pitch. What’s the granddaughter’s ailment? Could it be something slightly comical (but still alarming) to set the tone? Does this Granny set off by train?
Good luck with this fun story!
Thanks, Gabi, I don’t actually say what ails her, but Rosie lists a string of complaints as the story moves along. She starts out feeling lonesome and then adds actual symptoms, but she runs out of patience when Granny’s is so late and laments, “No, I”m NOT exaggerating, my freckles hurt from all this waiting.”
I think Oregon might actually be taken over by beavers, Gabi 🙂 Next thing you know, the Governor is going to have brown fur, a slappy tail, and big front teeth 🙂 Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Lauren!
Laurie, love the idea and would totally read it to my boys! I also think a few little ‘teasers’ of the shenanigans that Granny gets up to would add a lot to the pitch. Good luck!
Thanks so much for stopping by to help Laurie, Melissa! I’m sure she’ll be thrilled at your enthusiasm!
Hi Melissa, Shenanigans — what a great word. Thanks for your comments and I hope you can read the book to your boys someday.
OH I love chocolate covered strawberries! Those are great kids.
Lauren, I would definitely read this. Since the pitch suggests that the focus of the book is Granny’s ability to overcome these obstacles, I agree that a little more information would make the pitch stronger. Can you show an example of how her wit or grit got her through. I also love the idea of this being a comical (but alarming) ailment. Good Luck.
They ARE great kids, Maria – the absolute best! (Not that I’m biased in any way 🙂 ) Thanks so much for your thoughtful and supportive comments for Laurie!
Can’t remember the last time I read a book with a plucky Grandma as the MC. You’ve definitely got my attention. Instead of stating generalities about the obstacles maybe you use a few words describing them to give us specificity to reel us in. Also I’d be careful of ending with a question since in most cases we know whatever the goal is it will be reached. The story isn’t so much about whether the goal will be reached but it’s about the how. 🙂
Hope you don’t mind the additional resources I listed. I look forward to hearing this pitch somewhere again on the Internet.
Here is something I found from an old post with advice from Tamson Weston.
Questions: What role should questions play in your pitch? Usually none. Here’s why: There’s a tendency that we sometimes have to make our pitch sound like aggressive marketing copy, a la infomercial: Do you like Flies? Do you like soup? Well this picture book is for you! Either that, or it sounds like you’re being coy or are playing out a joke or riddle all by yourself: What’s a fly doing in this man’s soup? Why, the backstroke, of course! When you could just get to the point: A man is enjoying a delicious bowl of soup when he notices something in it that wasn’t on the menu.
Here are some other links.
Thanks so much for your very thorough and helpful comments for Lauren, Darshana! I’m sure everyone will find the resources helpful – thanks for sharing!
Wow, Darshana, thanks for the great explanation of why pitches shouldn’t include questions. Makes perfect sense. Great fly in the soup example too. I’ll be sure to check out your links. Appreciate you taking the time to get me such a thorough response.
Hi Maria, Thanks for your comments. Glad you like the comical ailment. Here’s a predicament for Granny. At one point she’s stuck in traffic — what to do? Hitch a ride on a fire truck naturally. “So as it pulls up close beside,
she swings aboard to catch a ride.
Sirens wailing and Granny, too —
“Move aside and let us through!”
Boy, look out. Comments working for me again so quickly. YAY!
Chocolate covered strawberries are just fine for balancing healthy with yummy so nom nom away 🙂
I think all the helpful comments have been shared and reading this sample shared above, I’m even more eager to read more of this story. Go Granny Go!!!
It’s a miracle, Angela! Comments working a couple times in a row, hurray! Fingers crossed they’ll keep working! I’m glad you agree about the chocolate health food 🙂 And thanks so much for your encouragement for Laurie 🙂
I like the details in one of Laurie’s comments about specific problems the Grandma encounters. That is helpful. I liked that the grandmother is active, lively and fun. Too often grandmothers are not seen in this way. I would read this book especially if I was a grandmother reading to my grandchild. Good idea!
Thanks so much for coming over to lend Laurie a hand with her pitch, Jade!
Thanks for your comments, Jadeblue. I agree, not many active, lively and fun grandmothers in children’s books these day. Which is surprising because modern grandma’s are just that. Kids (and their families) want to read about people we know.
I’ve had the absolute pleasure of reading Go, Granny, Go, and it is delightful!! I do agree that a couple obstacles need to be highlighted in this pitch to give an agent/editor an idea of what Laurie has in store for her readers. For example, “…negotiates preposterous obstacles, such as XXXXXX and XXXXX, to get to Rosie” would do the trick. Overall, well done!
Thanks so much for stopping by to help Laurie with her pitch, Dawn! And lucky you that you’ve gotten to read the actual story! 🙂
Thanks, Dawn. You’e helped Granny with her journey so far and I appreciate your help with the pitch. You’re right, it’s probably not a huge fix — I just need to get on it. Nice example.
Thanks Angela, Glad you like my sample. Hope one day you can read the rest.
Thanks everyone for your helpful comments and support for Go, Granny, Go! You’ve been a big help and I’m eager to start revising my pitch. Huge thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill for posting my pitch.
Susanna, since you like chocolate so much, I thought you might like to know about the following holidays: January 27, Chocolate Cake Day, February 19, National Chocolate Mint Day, March 24, National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day. There’s no chocolate holiday in April, but … May 11 is Eat What You Want Day (I assume it will be chocolate) and May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day. June 7 is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day and June 22 is National Chocolate Eclair Day. July 7 is Chocolate Day and July 28 is National Milk Chocolate Day. August 4 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day and August 10 is National S’mores Day. September 12 is Chocolate Milk Shake Day. October doesn’t have a special National Chocolate day, unless you count Oct 1 which is National Homemade Cookies Day (and that would be chocolate cookies) But since Halloween is basically Eat All the Chocolate Candy You Want Day you shouldn’t feel chocolate deprived in October. November 7 is Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day and December 8 is National Brownie Day and December 16 is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. There is another National Chocolate Day on December 24. So there are at least 16 holidays that celebrate chocolate all year long — as if anyone needed an excuse, right?
This day has been great fun, but excuse me now … I’ve got to go find some chocolate.
Oh. My. Goodness!!! What a fantastic list of chocolate holidays! And I can take care of April because that’s when my birthday is…chocolate birthday cake day! 🙂 I think I will print this out and stick it to my wall 🙂 Now. I’ll follow your example and go find me some chocolate! 🙂 Glad the comments have been helpful, and do keep checking for the next couple days because people on different schedules and in different time zones often don’t get here for a day or two.
I would definitely read “Go Granny Go.” Your pitch made me think of the Amelia Bedilia series. Even though Amelia is much younger than granny it may spark some ideas for you between a child and other character mc relationship. All the best with your book!
Yum! Loved your strawberries Susanna,wish I could pluck one out… Good luck with the fear and dog dilemma,maybe there’s a picture book hatching there.
Wendy says you can get Dole Dippers? or something like that at the supermarket, Michelle, so go fulfill that chocolate-covered strawberry craving! 🙂 And yes, I’ve had a story like that brewing for a while…kicking it around…but I haven’t got it yet! Thanks so much for your supportive comments for Laurie!