Oh. My. Goodness!
It is two days!
TWO DAYS, people! before the Valentiny Writing Contest opens!
Have I written my sample? you ask.
What you should be asking is if I have even thought about it!
I’d like to say I had the whole thing well in hand, but as usual I’ve been doing 50 million other things and haven’t given it a moment’s thought… so I’d better get down to it pretty darn quick!
I hope you guys are all coming along well with your entries! Such a fabulous array of prizes are up for grabs – very critique-oriented, so lots of winners will get lots of help and pointers to get their writing year off to a good start!
I think we’re going to have tons of fun (and eat LOADS of chocolate 🙂 I mean, that’s what Valentines Day is all about… which makes it pretty much my favorite holiday… although Easter is right up there too… and of course, Halloween… but I digress 🙂 )
Now then, if you all would stop talking about chocolate holidays, we could get down to today’s business! 🙂
First of all, I’m thrilled to announce that the winner of the January Pitch Pick is…
…drum roll please….
Costantia with her PB pitch for Understanding George! Congratulations, Costantia! The readers have spoken and found your pitch to have the highest merit and thus a chance to be read and commented upon by editor Erin Molta. Your pitch is already on its way to her inbox and I’m sure you’ll hear from her as soon as she’s able to reply!
Congratulations to our other talented pitchers as well! You all did a really superb job, not just with thinking up great ideas and writing your pitches and bravely sharing them with everyone for feedback, but also for doing such a great job of revising based on that feedback. The choice this month was one of the toughest, and you should all be really proud of yourselves. I hope you found it an educational and helpful experience even though Erin won’t get to read your pitches!
Now then. I’ve had as long a break as I can stand from talking about chocolate and I’m ready for something gooey and chocolatey and delicious. How about you?
For today’s Something Chocolate, let’s have Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bites (which really by all rights should probably also contain the words ooey gooey in the name! 🙂 ) because they look SO GOOD!
Nom nom nom nom nom…
I think our mouths are going to be full for a while… also, a beverage would be lovely – anything with chocolate and peanut butter demands coffee, tea or milk (or a milkshake) to wash it down!
I feel restored!
Ready to tackle today’s pitch?
It comes to us from Jill who says, “I’m retired, living in the woods. I love to rhyme and take photographs, though usually not at the same time. I’m a lover of music and avocados. In a room full of people, I can be found hiding in the back.”
Find her on the web at:
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Socks Off
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 2+)
The Pitch: A child delights in spending the day feeling the world against his bare feet. The happy feet prickle, muddle and tickle. When a run-in with a cat causes clawing and clashing, a mud puddle leads to a trail of muck. But it’s nothing bubbling and scrubbing can’t fix.
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 Jill 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 March, 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!
Jill is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to the Valentiny Contest which will open in less than 48 hours!!!
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂
26 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #241 – Socks Off (PB) PLUS The January Pitch Winner!!!”
Susanna, you are in good company – I have barely a glimmer of a Valentiny story thus far & a busy few days ahead. Fingers crossed for snow cancellations – my only hope!
Jill, avocados and music – what a lovely pairing! And I think they work well at the edges of any gathering.
I love the idea of a shoeless day wandering. I’d love to learn more about the characters, though. Why is the MC shoeless? Is it his cat with whom he has the run in, a neighbor’s cat, or a stray? What, if anything, does he learn through the experience – how (or is) he changed?
I look forward to learning more details of Socks Off, and hopefully more details of my yet-to-be-written Valentiny entry.
Thank you, PTNOZELL, for your thoughts. I’m glad you asked those questions, and I will consider them when I revise. It’s really interesting to see what I’m failing to address. P.S. The MC is shoe-less because it feels good to run free. Thanks again!
I like the pitch and the story sounds adorable. The incident with a clawing cat sounds frightening and perhaps that bandaids would be needed in addition to the bath.
Thank you, KAYT! I have wondered if ‘clawing and clashing’ would be too violent. In my ms, the run-in with the cat has more of a humorous feel, but I can see that it doesn’t transfer well into my pitch. I will try to find a gentler way of describing it. Thanks again! P.S. I originally tried to introduce bandaids into the story, but bandaids is a brand name…and I couldn’t find anything to rhyme with ‘bandages.’ 😉
Looking forward to the Valentiny Contest as I have my post scheduled to release at the proper time.
As far as pitches go, I would give this one a maybe I would read it. I adore the idea of bare feet exploring and experiencing both good and bad situations, but it seems to me that the author started out with rhyme by using the words “prickle” and “tickle”, but ended with “bubbling” and “scrubbing” which are near rhyme and don’t work in my opinion.
I don’t know if this is what Ms. Richards had in mind, but that is where my thoughts tended to travel.
Wishing her all the very best!!!
Thanks for your thoughts, Aileen! Yes, my ms is a rhyming story and I started out with ‘prickle’ and ‘tickle.’ I can see how the reader may be expecting ‘bubbling’ and ‘scrubbing’ to rhyme, though that wasn’t my intention. Thanks for pointing that out!
I just finished my Valentiny story and am now ready for peanut butter brownie bites.
My son loves to run around barefoot, so I would read this. My suggestion would be the same as PTNOZELL’s, just a few more details and this should be a winner.
Thanks, Gregory! Yes, little boys (and girls) love to run around barefoot. And I will be considering the questions raised by PTNOZELL. Good luck with your Valentiny story!
I would read this to see how going barefoot leads to the conflict with the cat. However, I don’t quite understand what’s going on between the boy and the cat, and clawing makes me think “ouch!” Plus, the conclusion seems to be a bath, which seems too easy a fix. I’d like to have a few more specifics about the MC and cat, and what the stakes are. Good luck!
F.G.M.KALAVRITINOS Thank you for your comments. I can see how ‘clawing and clashing’ obviously seem harsh, so I need to find a way to lighten up that event in my pitch. My ms portrays a ‘slice of life’ with an arc, so perhaps the word ‘fix’ isn’t appropriate in my pitch. I will consider that, as well as including a few more specifics (while keeping the pitch short and sweet!). Thank you for your input!
Okay, I was NOT going to enter the contest this time. I’ll be in NY at the SCBWI conference, and I wanted to concentrate my energies towards making the most of my time there. Well, I failed. I couldn’t resist, and you’ll be seeing an entry from me. Just one (But There are several more days, so don’t hold me to that). Unfortunately, I probably won’t be able to do much commenting on other entries.
I really like this pitch. I want to spent a day with this kid, experiencing the world through his eyes (and feet). This pitch gives me a good sense of how the story is written, it’s playfulness, word usage, and rhyming elements. Also the mention of the cat, and then cleaning up at the end show me there is a story arch and it’s not just a concept book. That is all great. My only problem is that your sentences feel a bit choppy and disjointed. I would like an easier flow of thought. Your first sentence is very clear. The second is just a fragment. In the third, the two parts don’t seem to fit together. And the forth sentence, is very clear again. I think this will make a terrific book.
David, Enjoy the conference! It’s too far away from home, for me, but we know you’ll be have a grand time!
Thank you for your words. I’m glad my story’s playfulness, word usage, and rhyming elements came through. That’s what I was hoping for. I guess I was trying to give a feel of how the story was written – the short stanzas in my ms are, what you would call, ‘choppy.’ Instead, perhaps I should write my pitch with an ‘easier flow of thought.’ Thanks so much. I appreciate your comments!
Jill, this is your pitch and my answer is Yes as I am intrigued but a little cautious.
‘Pitch: A child delights in spending the day feeling the world against his bare feet. The happy feet prickle, muddle and tickle. When a run-in with a cat causes clawing and clashing, a mud puddle leads to a trail of muck. But it’s nothing bubbling and scrubbing can’t fix.’
The first sentence puts me in a state of feeling the earth against my feet as I barefoot everywhere making me believe the book is more of a concept book for young children about all of the sensations that go with it but then I am jolted to being clawed by a cat which does not seem to fit as the timeline does not seem to work and it doesn’t work for only that reason. Without reading this ms, my suggestions are these: My fix is this, add a ‘but’. Ex:
‘A child delights in spending the day feeling the world against his bare feet but when a run-in with a cat disrupts his euphoria, he realizes he can have it back with a bubbling and a scrubbing and a little TLC.’
Something along that line to not jar the reader but entice them to see what the run-in with the cat is about and how the child can get back to his state of being. Hope this helps.
Susanna, I’m still finishing my first draft. My ideas keep changing and morphing. And…now I crave these chocolate delectables.
Traci, your comments and suggestions are so helpful! Yes, adding ‘but’ makes a huge difference. And I can now see how jarring the clawing and clashing must be! I will try to be ‘kinder and gentler’ with my words. You have been a tremendous help. Thank you!
Hi Jill, I love the idea of a story focusing on barefoot adventures and all the sensations those bare feet experience. I imagine you have lots of fantastic sensory details.
The word “muddle” tripped me up a bit because while it can mean “make muddy,” the other two descriptors (tickled and prickled) in that sentence describe sensations. I think you want those three words to function in parallel so maybe three things the feet do (like squish, splash, and muddle) or three things the feet feel (tickle, prickle, itch). Like others, I want to know what the relationship between the cat clawing and the mud puddle is. Does the child seek relief for his feet in the mud puddle and then leave a muddy trail?
I hope this is helpful. Good luck with this fun story!
Gabi, thank you! I hear you – sensations vs actions. I need to choose one or the other. I’m learning so much, here. It’s so interesting to see how well I’ve described the story line by the questions and suggestions I receive. And your last sentence is right on. Thank you for your helpful comment!
Hello Susanna…I’m scheduling my Valentiny post this evening to go live on Saturday…which is my birrhday…woo-hoo!!! So my entry is all about cake because I had cake on my mind. 😉
Jill, I love the idea of a barefoot adventure…I agree with some of the others though…the clawing and clashing took away the joyful free feeling I wanted to have as those barefoot feet experienced various textures and surfaces. I would definitely read the story!
Thanks, Vivian! I am definitely going to reconsider clawing and clashing. I don’t want to take away your “joyful free feeling.” I appreciate your comments!
Yes, I would read this, or at least look at the illustrations. Anything cat or dog and I’m hooked! The claw suddenly sratching the boy’s feet is odd, because a cat will not attack unless attacked. There needs to be a reason the boy gets clawed.
Also, I really thought the mud was going to be worked as a salve for the stinging of the cat scratches, adding a little nonfiction to your fiction.
Mainly, there needs to be a joining moment between the boy and the cat, The “attack,” as it were, is disjointed if not paired somehow before the clawing and scratching occur. Maybe he steps on a few animals (bumble bee–hated when that happened as a kid–a baby rabbit–yep, that too–trip over a log, etc.) on his walk, one being the cat’s tail–an offense worthy of a scratch and claw. Somehow, in the end, the boy and the cat become friends. Kids will like that.
Hope to read your story, soon. Good luck!
Thank you, Sue Morris. I appreciate your comments and suggestions. I can see how I have misrepresented my story, to some extent. So I will be revising, keeping your words close at hand. Thanks so much!
I would definitely read it but I think am wondering if something other than a cat could be used? Other than that I think the premise is great, it’s a very common childhood theme and very relatable to kids. Lots of luck!
Thanks, Elaine. I’m definitely rethinking the cat situation. I appreciate your input.
I’m chiming in late, but hopefully that’s better than never. I love the initial premise, My feet got all feel-sy just thinking about carpet and grass. But I was so engrossed the bit about the cat really made me jump! Perhaps you could leave out clawing? Maybe its integral to the story so I might read it anyway. I think you’re on to something with the topic for sure! Best wishes on this!
Thank you, Ingrid. I’m going to lighten up on the clawing cat. (It sounds more horrifying than it actually is….but just the same.) I greatly appreciate you chiming in. You’re addressing a point I really need to address. Thanks!
I would read the pitch, but don’t think I have to add much more to the wonderful comments here.
Thanks, THISKIDREVIEWSBOOKS! I definitely appreciate your input!