Hey there, friends!
(If I still have any friends out there due to my interrupted and extremely tardy judging of the Halloweensie Contest!)
I sincerely apologize for the delay!
You know how, for a while, nothing happens at all… and then all of a sudden everything happens at once?
That’s been the last week or two for me! So I’m sorry it messed with the contest! And I will do my level best to get the judging done and the finalists up ASAP! Friday if possible… more likely the weekend… but that remains to be seen!
Meanwhile, let’s interrupt our regularly scheduled Halloweensie programming for our regularly scheduled Would You Read It programming! 🙂
First things first, though. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty desperate for Something Chocolate! A girl needs her fuel! 🙂 I don’t personally have any leftover Halloween Candy, but for those of you who do, here’s a recipe to use some of it up 🙂
Candy Bar Cheese Cake
Doesn’t it just give you energy to look at that? Never mind taste it… YUM!!!
Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Jennifer. Jennifer Prevost is a wife, mom and picture book writer of the pre-published variety. She’s dreamed of seeing her words in print for as long as she can remember (and feels blessed to have made it this far.) You can find her at her blog, Magnolias & Manuscripts (http://magnoliasandmanuscripts.wordpress.com/blog) where she’s capturing her writing journey and asking questions to authors far more successful than she. If she’s not there, she’s probably somewhere jotting down ideas, playing with her kids or chasing her big, goofy, dog Rex with a cup of coffee in her hand. (Also check IG and Facebook @jennifergprevost, and maybe one of these days, she’ll figure out Twitter)
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Dewey Drops
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)
The Pitch: Dewey heard the rumblings, this rainfall would be a big one. As he peeked over the edge of the cloud to check the drop zone, he saw the thing he dreaded most of all. All he wanted was to make someone smile, but would he ever get the chance?
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 Jennifer 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 a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!
Jennifer is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to finishing the Halloweensie judging for you and getting the finalists up for your vote!
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂
And stay tuned for the posting of the Halloweensie Finalists! IT WILL HAPPEN!!!
(just not quite sure exactly when! 🙂 )
39 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #267 – Dewey Drops (PB)”
Thank you, Susanna!! Dewey and I have been looking forward to today.
Hi Jennifer, I really like the image of Dewey peering over the edge of the cloud, and I’m guessing that he is a raindrop. You might want to clarify that & also add why he wants to make people smile. With a few tweaks, I think you’ll get a downpour of “yesses”.
Thank you! I think that’s one of those questions that I know the answer to so well, I forget that other people don’t. I appreciate you pointing that out! I also appreciate you taking the time to comment. 🙂
Susanna, like you, we did not have leftover Halloween candy but it is still on sale right now! I think I will make this candy bar cheesecake for Thanksgiving dessert! And no worries on the Halloweensie contest! You had 245 entries, whew! We are grateful you have the contest and all you do for kidlit. Patience is a virtue. 🙂
Jennifer, I am definitely intrigued to read ‘Dewey Drops’ based on his name, ‘Dewey’ and the second line in the paragraph, ‘ As he peeked over the edge of the cloud to check the drop zone, he saw the thing he dreaded most of all.’ The opening sentence is all right but if you could cut part of it out and combine part of the second sentence, it would be stronger. This brings me to the other part…who does Dewey want to make smile and what does he dread? I feel these should be included or at least one of these questions answered in the pitch to pull the pitch together. You are more than halfway there with this pitch. 🙂
Excellent! Thanks, Traci, I’ll gladly take ‘more than halfway’! This is definitely one of the areas I struggle with most. I appreciate your comment (and the Facebook share!). You’ll have to let us know how the cheesecake turns out.
The first sentence contains a comma splice. Better to make it two sentences or rewrite it so that it isn’t two independent clauses. Or just add the verb “knew” – i.e., Dewey heard the rumblings and knew this rainfall would be a big one. Also, I wonder whether children would know what a “drop zone” is? Maybe find a way to shorten and combine or rephrase the last two sentences?
I appreciate the technical feedback! The nitty-gritty grammatical elements are not my strength. (I’m sure you figured that out already) Thank you, thank you, thank you!
h dear, Susanna…hope all is okay…and you got SOOOO many entries…that just makes the reading/judging even harder. Sending all good thoughts and positive energy!
And thanks for that decadent chocolate delight…maybe that’s a great way to use up the Halloween candy, right?
Jennifer..I LOVE your title…and your pitch is totally tight. I love the idea of a story from the POV of a raindrop. But my question as I read it was, “Who is Dewey?” I see that some of the other comments mention that also. And I think we need a hint as to what he saw: no room for him to enter the deluge? It had turned to snow and he was still a drop of rain? And I’m not sure why a drop of rain would make someone smile. Here’s a thought:
Dewey heard rumblings, this rainfall would be a big one. He peeked over the edge of the cloud to check the drop zone saw (what did he see?). All he wanted was to give life to a seedling or help fill a lake or quench the thirst of a child, but would he ever get the chance?
Oh, thank you, my friend! I have definitely received great feedback today, yours included. Thanks for asking the (obvious) questions. I can’t wait to rework this pitch.
Jennifer there isn’t enough info for me. I would be reading on just to figure out what the story is about, not because it sounded exciting. I’m sure it’s a lovely story but I need more information to become involved.
Here were my thoughts as I read:
At first, I thought Dewey was a child but realized that wasn’t the case when it is determined he is on top of a cloud. Then, I was clueless as to what Dewey is – a rain drop maybe but they don’t sit on top of clouds. Illustrations will show much but for pitching, I would suggest you write as though there aren’t illustrations.
Currently the pitch reads as one scene from out of a whole story which leaves the reader hanging, but not in a good way. Rewrite giving a summation of the story from start to almost end – don’t give away the ending, but write so we want to know what it is. Also, remember to add a hook – preferably not in question form.
This is the one time ‘telling’ is appropriate so tell it and sell it! I wish you the best 🙂
So true, Vicki! I spend so much time trying NOT to ‘tell’, I probably did Dewey a disservice. Thanks for pointing that out. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts!
First of all, thank you Susanna for the Halloweensie Contest. You got so many entrants, I am sure it will take you forever. As long as you pick me, take all the time you need! (Joking)
As for Dewey Drops, I think I fall in the Yes/Maybe category. I really like the title as it gives me a glimpse into the story and the character while using simple alliteration to help me remember it. As a school teacher for first graders, I would be interested in how I could use it in my classroom. Could it be a supplementary piece to a science lesson? Is it a SEL story? That would make me want to find out more.
As for the pitch itself, giving the cliff of “he saw the thing he dreaded most of all.” I want to know what it is! That tension is great, but I wonder if the beginning of that sentence is a little soft spoken. Perhaps change “As he peeked over the edge of the cloud” to “As he crept to the edge of the cloud” so that the pitch tells you he is part of the cloud? When I read it, I was thinking of something that had to peek around the cloud like sun or a mountain. I also think “crept” helps build that tension.
I have not done many pitches, but I am leery of ending on a question when you have such a dramatic spot in the middle. All the lines work, but I wonder if they should reordered?
All Dewey ever wanted was to make someone smile, but would he ever get the chance? Then he heard the rumblings. This rainfall would be a big one. As he peeked over the edge of the cloud to check the drop zone, he saw the thing he dreaded most of all.
I am intrigued by this pitch and I wish you all the luck in the world. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share in your journey.
Oh, I love your rewrite, Matt! I think you’re on to something. Thank you so much! (PS- I’m a big fan of your wife! She’s answered my questions and been wonderfully generous with her advice. You two are quite the PB Power Couple!) I appreciate your kind words 🙂
It intrigues me and I agree that you need to say that Dewey is a raindrop. As many so wisely pointed out what is his mission? Can you add that or does it give away too much? We need a little jeopardy. Can you hint at it? Also I am just pointing out something picky but I always like all the help I can get. When I re-read it aloud, I saw that you end the next to last sentence with all and start the last sentence with all, so tweak. The title is a grabber and I think with some revision, you have something fresh here. Good luck with Dewey. Oh and yes, if there is anything that can connect Dewey with STEM, mention it.
THANK YOU! Redundancy is such a pet peeve of mine, I can’t believe I overlooked it. (Must be a forest from the trees kind of thing!) It does have a strong STEM element that I’m excited about, I never considered mentioning it. Thanks again for your feedback!
Susanna, you have been burring the midnight oil on Halloweensies – I saw how late it was when you commented on mine WOWsers and wow on the # of great entires. NO worries. We will wait for you. Now to the pitch, yes, it’s tight but as others have commented, we don’t have enough story yet. The MCs name, Dewey, makes me feel this is going to be about libraries via the “Dewey” Decimal system, so I was completely throw off. Also, we need to know more about that estates – what is in her way to getting what she wants? Give us an obstacle or two.I do like the idea of tying the plot into STEM or the water cycle…good luck.
You pose such an interesting (and obvious) point. Should I change the spelling of his name? Dewy as opposed to Dewey? Hmm. You hit the nail on the head, the story does include the water cycle! Thanks for your feedback!
Yes, that water cycle bit needs to be in the pitch! Bingo! And I’d make MC Dewy.
I can’t decide if I’d read this picture book or not. That’s probably not the answer you want to hear. Your pitch seems to read more like the opening lines than a pitch. Intriguing, yes, but without needed information for me to want to read your manuscript. Maybe something like this
Dewey the raindrop looks over the edge of his cloud and sees what he dreads most: [whatever it is]. His only goal in the whole water cycle is to someday make someone smile [how], but with the drop zone always over [where], will he ever get the chance?
If the missing pieces of info were in place, I bet you’ll get more ‘yes’.
And Susanna, one week for posting finalists is too short, in my opinion – what did you get, like 300 entries this year? Give yourself the time you need and enjoy the chocolate – er – candy corn!
But that’s exactly the answer I want to hear! I can’t make improvements if I don’t hear the truth. My struggle is that in the text, I don’t state ‘the thing he dreads the most’, but leave it to the illustrations to show (that it’s a birthday party.) So, I think I’ve had a hard time including the details into the pitch. Going back to Vicki’s earlier post, this is a time where I can ‘tell’ more so I need to take advantage. I appreciate your honesty more than you know!
Take your time Susanna. We’re writers…waiting is our middle name!! No worries! 🙂
Jennifer, I agree with a lot of the previous comments. I love the premise of your story! I just need a little more info about Dewey. Perhaps a little more detail on how he would make (someone – boy, girl, cat, dog? etc.) smile and you’ll have a great pitch. Good luck!
Thanks, Judy! I can’t wait to get back to the ‘drawing board’ with this pitch. I’m so grateful to everyone who took the time out of their day to offer feedback, this means you!
Jennifer, the rumbling cloud and “drop zone” do a great job of creating tension in expectation of the action. Consider mentioning Dewey’s goal before the obstacle and giving brief specifics about both. A better sense of the plot could make reading this story irresistible to me. Good luck with it!
Susanna, please don’t stress over the judging. I hope you’ll save that enormous job for when you can feel more relaxed and have some fun with it. Thank you for offering the Halloweensie Contest again this year!
Thanks, Sydney, tension is what I was going for. I envision the ‘drop zone’ á la paratrooper, and tried to use as many weather words as I could. I think if I rearrange the order of things I’ll be able to accomplish exactly what you suggested. I appreciate your feedback!
YES! I would read it (and I DID read it!). I think a lot of these comments are really helpful, though. Given what I already know about the story, here’s how I might implement some of the suggestions.
Dewey wasn’t sure he liked being a raindrop. Whether it was raining on a parade or a baseball game, raindrops made people sad, but Dewey wanted to make someone smile! Today wasn’t looking good, though. From the rumblings, this rainfall was going to be a big one. As Dewey crept to the edge of the cloud, he peeked out and saw the scene he dreaded most of all. He just hoped he wouldn’t have to fall on the birthday cake.
Jodyyyyyyy! You are simply the greatest. I appreciate your suggestions and your kind words! That’s a high compliment coming from such a talented (STEMy) writer.
Oh Susanna, don’t you cry…over the contest! We are just so happy you didn’t cancel it! Take as long as you need. Sending you chocolate thoughts to help you through! 😁
To Jennifer- this is where the whole subjective nature of this biz comes in… I liked not knowing what Dewey saw! I figured he was a raindrop and it made me want to open the book to find out. Also, the drop zone sounds exciting to me. I haven’t heard of this story concept before, that is also a plus. I think you’ve got a good thing going here and wish you the best of luck!
I appreciate your enthusiasm and support so very much!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Based on the pitch, I wasn’t sure if Dewey was a raindrop and as others have said, that should be made clear in the pitch. Knowing that, I love the idea of a story from a raindrop’s POV and the obvious stem connection is also interesting. My pitch was featured 2 weeks ago and I think we had similar issues – a pitch that wasn’t as powerful as the actual book. Best of luck.
And Susanna, what is this “leftover candy” which you wrote about? Is that a thing? 🙂
Thank you, Laura! It’s nice to hear from someone who was recently here. I remember your pitch! It stuck out to me because we both wrote about clouds. Thanks for your feedback. Here’s to polishing our pitches… Cheers!
Wow, Susanna! I’m surprised you’re still standing. Or sitting. Or even lying down, still awake and not comatose from reading all those entries! Perhaps chocolate is your secret weapon?
It looks like Jen already has enough comments to whip that pitch into shape! I’ll just say that I, too, am wanting to know for sure just “what” Dewey is. And I do feel a sense of whiplash, going from what he dreaded to wanting to make someone smile. I’m not sure how these two things are connected. Good luck!
Jilanne, you know I always appreciate your thoughts! Thanks for pointing out that I swing all the way across the emotional spectrum… I hadn’t considered that. Thanks again for taking the time to nudge me in the right direction.
Jen, just to clarify. I think it’s OK to make that swing. Readers just have to be able to follow the arc, I think. There has to be some kind of connection, and right now, I’m not seeing it. One of my critique groups uses the phrase “what would make it better for me” when critiquing. So this is a WWMIBFM comment.
For me, it would be a ‘maybe” without more information. When choosing books for a younger child, I would want to know a bit more about the story. At the targeted age group, it will most likely not be the child who reads the pitch, but rather the adult.
Just like picture books need to appeal to both the child and the reader, the pitch should be no different, right? I should probably move that to the front of my brain. Thank you for taking the time to offer feedback!
Jennifer, I think your title is very cute. So that pulls me in right from the start. I haven’t read all the other comments, so pardon me if I repeat advice already given…
I wish there were a little more information in the pitch. It leaves me with a lot of questions. What kind of creature is Dewey? I’m pretty sure he lives on a cloud and has something to do with making rain, but I’m not positive. What is the thing Dewey dreads most of all? I feel a pitch should clearly state the MC’s problem, but only hit at the solution. You are hinting at the problem, which doesn’t give me the chance to connect with Dewey and wonder about how he’ll solve it.
I think if you address these issues in your pitch, I would switch from a MAYBE to a YES YES YES! From what I can tell, the premise seems so unusual. Good luck with your writing. We pre-pubs need to cheer each other on. WOO HOO!!!! GO JENNIFER!!
Yes indeed!! Thanks so much for your support and enthusiasm. The only way we’ll get published is if we help each other there, right?
Jennifer, I am not a good giver of critiques, so what I have to say isn’t going to help you one little bit. Just a heads-up there. 🙂
I like your pitch the way it is, but I enjoy a mystery. I wasn’t sure who Dewey was at first, but … duh .. his name is Dewey! Big hint there maybe? I would read the story just to find out what it’s about. It is intriguing to me.
Having said that, the other comments are good and if you are meant to clarify in your pitch I’m sure you can do it easily.
I wish you success and fun with it.