Good Morning Everyone!
It’s a Whirlwind Wednesday today!
I’m off to two days of school visits, having just returned from the awesomeness that was NESCBWI. What an amazing, inspiring weekend, and how fun it was to see so many online friends in real life!
Apparently the NESCBWI experience has fired me up 🙂 I was thinking it would be fun to bring back a couple of features I haven’t run in a while on this blog. I’d love to know how you guys would feel about it, and whether or not one or both features are of interest to you!
First, I was thinking about reviving Oh, Susanna! the picture book equivalent of Dear Abby 🙂 where writers can post questions about techniques, process, and business of writing, teachers can ask questions about finding useful books or making writing fun in the classroom, and parents can ask for recommendations on specific subjects of interest (trucks, dinosaurs, etc.) or for addressing areas of concern (monsters, new siblings etc.) for the picture book reading crew at their house.
I was thinking of running Oh, Susanna! on the first Monday of each month.
Second, I thought I might revive Short & Sweets, fun writing exercises we can do on our own or in the group here to get the ideas and words flowing – great for writers, and great for teachers who might want a fun writing activity to do with their classes.
I was thinking of running Short & Sweets on the third or fourth Monday of each month.
So what do you guys think? Any interest in either of those things? Would they be helpful to you? Or is there something else you’d like to see?
Let me know in the comments!
Gosh! All the excitement of contemplating new/old blog series has caused me to experience low blood sugar! I feel the need for Something Chocolate, don’t you?! 🙂 This is a really healthy one, too, because look! Berries! 🙂
No Bake Three Chocolate Cake
Ah! That’s better! I hope you feel refreshed! 🙂
Let’s launch into today’s pitch which comes to us from Emmie who says, “I am a retired first grade teacher. Member of SCBWI. Active in my local critique group and have attended conferences in Indiana. I just recently joined 12 x 12.”
Find her on the web at:
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Jessie’s Dream
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 6-8)
The Pitch: Jessie’s dream is to play baseball with her friends. Her reality is sitting on her porch listening to baseball because she has a halo cast. Until…..that’s what friends are for.
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 Emmie 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 June, 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!
Emmie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on reviving (or not reviving!) Oh, Susanna! and Short & Sweets, or your other ideas of what you’d like to see offered here!!!
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂
19 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #250 – Jessie’s Dream (PB)”
The return of those blog segments sound fantastic!!
The pitch sounds intriguing…I think a halo cast would easily capture kids’ attention! I wonder if you might play around with the last sentence to tell us more about the solution? More information there would provide greater curiosity and satisfaction to the reader. Good luck!
I am intrigued with both the “Dear Susanna” and the “Short and Sweet” ideas. The writing prompts would be beneficial and getting answers to questions is wonderful. Yep, bring them on.
Emmie, I like girls and baseball. This sounds intriguing. I would probably take a peek at it. As for the pitch – what is a halo cast? And I think you need to give at least one example of what her friends do to help her “play” with them or feel included. And then vaguely hint at the ending.:
The Pitch: Jessie [dreams of playing] baseball with her friends.Her reality is sitting on her porch listening to baseball because she has a halo cast. [So her friends _(what is one thing they do/try)________. Until [hint at the ending w/o giving it away].…..that’s what friends are for..
You’re close, just add a little more information to totally hook us and make us invest out time in your story.. I look forward to seeing the story someday. It is interesting. Good Luck 🙂
Hi Susanna, I like the idea of both series you suggest: Oh Susanna and Short and Sweets. I put on weight just drooling over the chocolate and berries! As Maria said, I’d like to know a little more about Jessie’s story in the pitch.
Hi Susanna, wish I’d been around for that picture, but it was fun to meet you IRL @ NESCBWI. What a conference it was! I’d love to see both of the series revived as i wasn’t here when they were new. Like Maria, I do not know what a halo is. Your MC has a great conflict to be solved – wanting to play b-ball but not being able to do so. I so like that our MC is a girl.The last line is sweet and evocative, too. Flesh the pitch out w/at least one detail about how Jessie’s friends help.You only have tow sentences, so you have space to make this much more specific. Good luck, Emmie.
Hi Susanna! I am definitely interested in both options!!
And as far as Jessie’s Dream, I don’t think I have enough information to determine whether or not I want to read it. There seems to have been a jump from Point A to Point Z with data missing in between.
Oh Susanna and Short & Sweets are fabulous–but don’t over commit yourself while basking in conference afterglow! You do so much for everyone already. 🙂
Count me among those who were confused by the halo cast. I’m not sure if this MC has a physical issue, and if so, it it’s something permanent or something from an injury? You do note that it’s for an older pb audience, but I wonder if you might use tee ball (up to age 7 around my way) instead of “baseball”? Happy writing, Emmie!
Hi Susanna, wonderful meeting you at NESCBWI17! Like Kathy, sorry to have missed the photo op, but more important to have met than captured the moment.
Re the revival of the columns, YES, please! I’d suggest either 1&3 or 2&4, but would choose whichever of those has fewer holiday conflicts.
Re the pitch, I’d give this a maybe, Emmie, as, like others have already commented, I’d like to know more: what is a halo cast? has Jessie hurt herself already playing baseball or is she physically challenged? how does SHE (and not just her friends) contribute to the solution & how is she changed by that, ie, what does she learn? how does she grow? Once you revise your pitch to address some of these questions, I’m sure you’ll be changing my maybe to Yes!
I’m so glad (and envious) that you got to meet some of our virtual friends! And, wow, you sure are energized! I think readers would definitely benefit from both your features- just make sure you leave yourself enough time for your own writing and life! I especially love the Oh Susanna feature. So clever and great!
As for the pitch, I echo the other commenters in not understanding the halo cast, and that more info needs to be added. Maybe you could add some fun language, like ” until…her friends pitch in” …but then add a hint of how they do it.
Agree, NESCBWI was phenomenal! I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you in person Susanna, was my first and I did get to meet oh so many! I like both ‘revival’ ideas, wasn’t around yet before but they both sound very helpful and interesting!
As for Emmie’s pitch, I am intrigued and live the idea of Jessie wanting to play baseball, but also would like to see a bit more information. As a nurse, previously in pediatrics, my first thought is what happened? A halo is usually after an injury/surgery and not forever. But definitely a huge obstacle and stressful physically and in her spirit, so could present a major hurdle with positive outcomes. Was she in an accident the day before bb practice started? Is she hoping to have it off before end of season? Best wishes with Jessie!
Can you explain to us what a halo actually is? TY.
Imagine a metal halo supported by more metal, heavy, sticking out all the way around the persons head & shoulders. Pretty traumatic. And awkward and limiting. Jessie overcoming would paint a beautiful victory!
This is an easy yes. Good topic, and your writing is enthusiastic without being hyper.
I’d drop the halo, just say cast. It is enough (unless it is a permanent issue, but cast implied temporary to me). Did Jessie use to play baseball? You can work that in, “play baseball again with her friends”. Having her team show up for her is a great story (and does happen in real life!).
The hint at the climax does feel a bit like “click bait” you see on the internet these days “What happens next is unreal” or “What so-and-so looks like now is insane”. I’m not a fan of that approach. If your climax is special/interesting/creative then give us more, without giving away the details. Such as “Until her team surprises her with a day she will never forget.”
Your pitch is short – you have room to do a little more. But I really like short and you don’t need many more words – I think you are just about there.
Susanna, I’d be interested in both of the old/new blog features you mentioned!
Emmie, I would definitely read your story. I like the combination of baseball and girls! Did Jessie play baseball before the cast? The way the pitch reads now, it wasn’t clear to me whether she has ever played baseball before. But if I’m understanding correctly, the halo cast is temporary. So maybe she dreams of playing baseball “again”? Could you use a short phrase to give readers a mental picture of the halo cast? What if you described it as something like “a halo cast to keep her neck and head from moving”?
Does the protagonist solve her problem with “a little help from her friends”? I keep hearing that agents and editors want to see stories in which the protagonist takes an active role in solving her problems so I wonder if you can tweak the ending to suggest that the solution comes from Jessie but her friends help her make it happen? I hope that makes sense!
I think you have a strong conflict and heart-warming solution here. Good luck!
Susanna, I would love to see both of your former blog ideas make a comeback!
Emmie – Your pitch is intriguing. I had to google what a halo cast was. Google actually called it a halo brace. I don’t know if that is different? Maybe just saying “cast” would be enough for the pitch. I’d like to know a little bit more about how her friends help her fulfill her dream of playing baseball. Good luck!
THANK YOU SUSANNA FOR THIS STAGE TO PITCH OUR PICTURE BOOKS, AND TO ALL FOR THE VERY HELPFUL COMMENTS!!!!!! THIS IS MY FIRST TIME, SO I AM FEELING MY WAY. HERE IS MY RE-PITCH, IF THAT IS PERMISSABLE……..JESSIES’S DREAM IS TO PLAY BASEBALL AGAIN WITH HER TEAM. HER REALITY IS SITTING OUT THE SEASON BECAUSE OF SURGERY REQUIRING HER TO WEAR A HALO CAST. HER FRIENDS PITCH IN TO MAKE HER DREAM COME TRUE ON A FIELD BUILT JUST FOR JESSIE!!
Susanna, I’d welcome both of those additions to your blog. I wonder how you find the energy to do so much for us. Must be the chocolate.
Emmie, this story is intriguing to me because many children want to play sports but have either temporary or permanent physical problems that seem to prevent their participation. Just a couple of suggestions:
(1) Readers in your target age group might relate more closely to “softball.” (2) Elaborating on Jessie’s restrictions with the halo cast would enable you to describe the cast and its purpose. More importantly, it could show that the solution to her problem was not easy. Example: The pitcher offers to throw easy balls for her to bat, but although the (describe it) contraption keeps her head and neck from moving, the doctor said not to twist her shoulders. Their other ideas won’t work because of other restrictions. Finally, they think of something (unspecified) that she can do safely, or their support inspires her to think of it.
Forget my example if it won’t work for the story you’ve written. I like that Jessie finds a way to participate in spite of her physical problem and look forward to seeing your revision!
Susanna, I would love to see Oh Susanna! and Short and Sweets.
Emmie, I would pick up your book! A quick google search told me right off what a halo cast was. I don’t think you need to elaborate on it in your pitch because “cast” tells the reader right away that the MC has a physical limitation. As others expressed, I would be curious to know how they got in the halo cast to begin with and if it is temporary. If it’s temporary, perhaps a different physical limitation could be used instead since the stakes don’t seem to be high enough if she’s only in the halo cast for a limited time.
Oh yum! Oh! Susanna and Short and Sweet both sound amazing. Your days must run way more than 24 hours with all you do. WOW.
Emmie, this is an endearing story with a great message. I too think there should be a clearer explanation for Jessie’s inability to play the sports she obviously enjoys. An illo can show a Halo to readers, but agree with others, in a pitch you just need to show her physical inability. A
Jessie loves baseball. She listens to games and cheers for her favorite players. Her dream is to play ball with her friends. But she knows that’s impossible because Jessie is battling/dealing with [lifelong?] [physical limitation, illness, injury, impairment], until the day she learns anything is possible when you have good friends. Good luck!
Hi Emmie…I like your new revision and how you incorporated the suggestions. Someone suggested raising the stakes by making her injury permanent rather than just for the season. I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes a good point and something to think about!