Would You Read It Wednesday #231 – X Marks The Spot (PB)

Happy Wednesday Everybody!

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it a wee bit hard to concentrate today!

I mean, bright and early tomorrow morning is the opening of the 6th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!


Stories to read, enjoy and share!  Talent to admire!  Fellow writers to cheer on!  Prizes to win!

It’s hard to sit still!

I think Something Chocolate would help!  May I offer you some Chocolate Peanut Butter Grahams?  (I mean, that’s basically health food, and definitely a breakfast item, given that it’s made out of graham crackers which are clearly an excellent source of whole grains!)

A little coffee for dunking?  Or milk, if you’re a real health nut who wants to round out your nutritious breakfast with a little protein and calcium as opposed to caffeine?! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Lisa.  Lisa Riddiough is a Bay Area based writer whose projects include essays, picture books and fiction. She is a former sales executive, an avid squirrel watcher and a frequent baker of chocolate pound cake. She lives at home with her husband in their empty nest.

 Find her on the web at:

Twitter – @lisariddiough
FB – Lisa Frenkel Riddiough
Website – www.closeddoorandopenwindow.wordpress.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: X Marks The Spot

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

The Pitch: X is tired of his alphabet job. He wants to be a pirate! After getting hired to sail aboard The Zenith, X quickly finds that he doesn’t exactly fit in. For example, all the other pirates have squawking parrots and silver swords, but X only has his pet ox and a clumsy old axe. X is utterly excluded. When a band of scallywags try to steal The Zenith’s most valuable treasure, X discovers he has one expert move that can save the day. It’s an excellent ending!

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 Lisa 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 January, 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!

Lisa is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the Halloweensie Contest which, in case you’ve forgotten since the top of the post, opens TOMORROW!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂  See you tomorrow!!!!!!!


29 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #231 – X Marks The Spot (PB)

  1. Norah says:

    I am looking forward to joining in the Halloweensie fun. The chocolate peanut butter Graham crackers sound yum! x marks the spot sounds exciting. It’s that x is not excluded.

  2. Maria Marshall (@MariaMarshall_) says:

    Susanna, I can’t wait to read this year’s entries.
    Lisa, I would read this MS. The pitch is intriguing and caught my attention. That said, I would cut the last line.I know you are still playing with the “x,” but arguably every good book has an excellent ending – I would rather end with X saving the day! I really like the tone, wording, and fun conveyed in your pitch.
    One suggestion – “UNTIL a band of scallywags try to steal The Zenith’s most valuable treasure AND X discovers he has one expert move that can save the day.”. (suggestions in CAPS). This plays a bit more off X’s exclusion and his saving the day.
    Good luck with this! 🙂

  3. Nancy Tandon says:

    This looks like such a fun story, Lisa. A new twist on perennial favorites (alphabet, pirates) – just what agents/eds are saying they are looking for!
    I really like your pitch. The one thing that gave me pause is that the word “exactly,” (which I now know is the the first italicized “x word” of many) seemed to be italicized for emphasis (as in: you’re *exactly* right!). So I was reading it that way in my mind, and then was confused why “example” was being emphasized, too. Then I got to the third word and my little pea brain caught up to your intention.
    I just mention it in the interest of not wanting anything to give the agent/ed reading your pitch a reason to pause…consider italicizing only the Xs?
    I can see K teachers gobbling this one up in their alphabet lessons. Keep going!

    • Lisa Riddiough says:

      Hi Nancy,
      Thank you so much. I see what you are saying about exactly. I will percolate on that one. And, yes, I did think about just highlighting or italicizing the X’s. That may be a better route to take. Thanks, again, for your help and optimism.

  4. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, I’m counting down the hours & sharpening the pencil as I make final edits to my entry.

    Lisa, I definitely would read this story! Not only are pirates stories ever green, but I think your twist of exclusion/fitting in/an alphabet character will resonate with agents/publishers & most importantly, kids. I agree with the comment above, though, that you can toss that last sentence overboard – all endings are, or should be, excellent!

    Also, if you are reading other recent pirate stories to figure out how your story fits into today’s market, I highly recommend Beth Ferry’s newly released Pirate’s Perfect Pet (Candlewick; illustrated by Matt Myers).

    Good luck moving forward with this exciting story!

    • Lisa Riddiough says:

      Hi Patricia,
      Thank you so much for your comments. Yes, the last line must go! I will definitely check out Pirate’s Perfect Pet. How cute is that? I truly appreciate your vote of confidence in this story concept. Thanks, again!

  5. Pamela Brunskill (@PamelaBrunskill) says:

    Susanna, once again a tantalizing yummy treat on this early morning!
    Lisa, I definitely would read X Marks the Spot! It’s a fun twist on the alphabet book and merges with the popular pirate books of late. I wonder if you want to only bold the X in your bolded words. I agree with others about deleting the last sentence. But, really, it’s eXcellent! Good luck!

    • Lisa Riddiough says:

      Hi Pamela,
      Thank you for chiming in on this one. It’s official! The last line is getting cut. Also, I like the look of the capitalized X in eXcellent. Thank you for that suggestion. I will play around with all the possibilities a little more. Thanks, again.

    • Lisa Riddiough says:

      Oops. Lindsay. I meant to reply to your comment and not to the whole post. Thank you for your comments. I think the capital X is an eXcellent idea! And, yes, the last line is on the chopping block!

  6. Judy Sobanski says:

    Lisa, I would definitely read your story. Such a fun combination of alphabet and pirates. I agree with others about eliminating the last line. Your pitch really makes me want to know what X’s expert move is going to be? I have a few guesses. Hope to read your book someday and find out if I’m right! Good Luck!

  7. ~Yvette says:

    So fun, would love to read! Honestly, I have no more wisdom to share but can offer a big🙋! Nice work!
    @Susanna: seriously, I’m like an 17 year old sleeping on the sidewalk, waiting for the concert to start!!

  8. hethfeth says:

    Lisa, I LOVE this premise. I’m so climbing aboard that pirate ship with X. The pitch seemed a little long, but looking it over a couple of times, I feel satisfied that it needs to be a tad long in order to convey the mood and wordplay that’s so integral to your story. Even though X is an…unusual sort of character, I think he’s got great potential for going places in illustrations. I mean, just look at those build-in legs and arms. He’s probably more prepared to be animated than any other alphabet letter. I have a feeling this plot-line will not fade from my memory any time soon…and that seems like a good sign. Good luck with this story!

    • Lisa Riddiough says:

      Wow! Thank you so much. And, yes, X’s arms and legs are built in! Woo-hoo! I thought about the pitch being kind of long, too. But I am glad you see that the length seems to work.

  9. Sherry Howard says:

    Lisa, I dont have anything to add to the great suggestions, but i’ll tell you that I smiled at your X character. It says a lot that you conveyed a smile-worthy main character using only a letter of the alphabet! Good luck with this cute pitch!

  10. Angela Brown says:

    Oh the Halloweensie fun and joy to come!

    And thank you for the chocolate grahams. Since I’m just now getting to them, and it’s evening where I’m at, they would make for a delish dessert.

    As for the WYRI pitch, The title caught my attention and so did the pitch. So yes, I would read it, especially since there are pirates. Some EXCELLENT advice has already been shared on how to improve the pitch so no parrot echoes from me 🙂

  11. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    Adorable wordplay. Plus, who doesn’t love an alphabet letter pirate? I like the pitch – it has enough to convey your idea and the tone of the story. If you want to keep excellent in the pitch, make him have an excellent idea and stick it into the next to the last line. I would definitely read this. Also, I would definitely eat chocolate pound cake, or any other flavor of pound cake. Pound cake is my favorite food!

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