Would You Read It Wednesday # 294 – Firestarter (MG)

Happy Wednesday, Chickadees!

Wait til you hear this one!

I was getting into my car yesterday – nothing acrobatic, just getting in normal-like – and my phone somehow fell out of the back right pocket of my jeans, across the seat and out the driver’s side door on the my left (how??? I ask you!!!) just at the exact moment that I was slamming the door shut…and it fell right between the door and the car CRUNCH!  I mean, you couldn’t do that if you tried!  It was some kind of mystical confluence of physics or something!  But anyway, my poor phone screen shattered!

I felt so bad 😦  I have never damaged a phone before (well, except the time it accidentally fell into the toilet… but that was fixed easily enough by a lot of lysol and a bag of rice 🙂 )  So now I have to take a little jaunt to the Genius Bar today and see if they can fix it for a reasonable amount or whether I have to get a new phone… which I hope I don’t because it will be new and different and new and different technology is always Very Intimidating!

I’ll show you a picture, but if you’re easily upset by graphic horror avert your eyes and scroll down quickly! ( 🙂 )


After all that trauma, I am seriously in need of Something Chocolate.  You probably are too, what with the sympathy trauma you’re likely experiencing on my behalf 🙂

Since it’s hot out, let’s skip the baking today, shall we?  I opt for Easy No Bake Coconut Chocolate Bars!  (Plus coconut is so tropical and summery sounding!)

Easy No Bake Coconut Chocolate Bars

I’m pretty sure coconut counts as either a fruit or a vegetable – maybe both – so in addition to being a no bake summery choice these are pretty much health food and YUMMY! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sherry who says, “I am a woman of many passions—mother, blogger, child advocate, author, and friend, but grandmother is the most rewarding. Watching your child’s child move into the world with their wide-eyed innocence is inspiring. I love it, and it is what led me to writing for kids.”

Find her on the web at
Twitter @hungerdragon

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Firestarter

Age/Genre: MG Action/Adventure

The Pitch: 12 year old Cody’s mother left on the last day of school, and the care of his sisters and the small farm became his responsibility while his father works from dawn to dusk. Anxious to get away from his sisters demands and his father’s constant belittling, he makes plans to run away. But when smoke appears on the ridge above their home, he has to make a choice—fight the fire or leave his family to fend on their own. And to make matters worse, he has a secret that could cause him to lose his family for good and land him in jail.

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 Sherry 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 September which will be here before you know it, so polish up your pitch and send it on in for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Sherry is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to having a phone I can actually read/see!  Wish me luck in my Genius Bar Adventure! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

18 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday # 294 – Firestarter (MG)

  1. sarahheturadny says:

    I wasn’t sure until I got the part about the secret and then as soon as I read he had a secret I was hooked and I had to read it ! Good Pitch!

  2. Katie Engen says:

    So many layers & reasons to care about Cody! I want to learn more.

    Would he really struggle with staying? He doesn’t sound like he’d leave his sisters in imminent danger.

    Picky points: A hint at the era may help ground the fact that Cody is just 12. Does it matter that mom left on the last day of school? As in, does school have anything to do with the rest of the plot (or is it just a time stamp for summer dryness/fires)?

    • sherry alexander says:

      Hi Katie, it was more of timestamp, but now that you asked, I’m thinking I might want to clean that up a bit. Thank you for taking the time to read my pitch. Sherry

  3. ptnozell says:

    Oh Susanna! Such a traumatic start to the week! I think you deserve a double dose of those coconut chocolate treats!

    Sherry, you intrigued me with your pitch. I must say, though, that my head was reeling a bit, as you packed quite a lot in there. I’d suggest splitting the first sentence, perhaps, to focus on Cody & his feelings when his mother leaves. You could then provide some context – where’s the farm, what era, and the ages of the sisters. I also was unclear if his dad was working on the farm, or elsewhere.

    I look forward to reading a revised pitch – this seems to be a high stakes/high action story with great kid-appeal!

    • sherry alexander says:

      I like the idea of adding the girl’s ages and the era definitely. My first sentence is: The night before the small town of Timber, Washington went up in flames, 12 year old Cody Williams decided to run away.”

      I always write my first and last sentence with my chapter outline. It keeps me on track. Thank you so much for your help. Sherry

  4. authorlaurablog says:

    Susanna, this tale of woe with your phone reminds me of my handwritten story (only copy I had) sliding out of my journal on a writing retreat through the slats of the porch, never to be seen again! Under the porch was blocked by intricate latticework so I wasn’t able to retrieve my writing. If I was given 1000 chances to drop papers through the porch slats, it would never happen.

    Sherry, your story sounds compelling and high interest for this age group. A few questions: the pitch makes me think Cody or Cody’s mother started the fire and also reminds me of a movie with Drew Barrymore so I might rethink the title.
    I’m curious if this is historical fiction or set in current times, I think that should be made clear in your pitch.
    I don’t write MG but I’ve read a lot of it and this hits the right notes to attract that age group.
    Good luck!

    • sherry alexander says:

      It’s actually set in the 60’s when a small town in Washington, not one called Timber, did burn, and the reason for the fire was never discovered. Yes, I remember the movie she was in. I will give your suggestion some consideration. Thank you for the encouragement. Sherry

  5. matthewlasley says:

    Good morning Sherry!

    I will say first off that this would be a yes. I want to know more. Your strongest line is the last one and your weakest line is the first one.
    The last line builds the tension, but paired with the title may give too much away. Or it could be a clever redirection for the reader.
    The first line seems clunky. I think if you take out his age, it flows a lot better. Since it is a middle grade, the age is not necessary. Example: On the last day of school, Cody’s mom left him watching his little sisters, and never came back.

    I agree with the title issue. You have a very famous book and movie by the same name and if you go to Amazon and plug it in you find some other titles by the same name, some definitely not for kids.

    Good luck. I hope to hear more about this book!

    • sherry alexander says:

      Thank you. I cal see it from a different angle now thanks to everyone and the title definitely needs work as does the first sentence. Thank you for helping me out with this project. Sherry

  6. Gregory E Bray says:

    Sorry for the injury to your phone, Susanna. Hopefully it can be fixed for a reasonable fee.

    I would read this. When I first saw the title, I thought of the Drew Barrymore movie as well. I’m interested in Cody’s secret. I wonder if there is a way for you to elaborate on that without giving too much away. The above comments should be helpful to you too. Good luck with this.

  7. sherry alexander says:

    Gregory, thank you for your input. The title and the pitch need work and with all the suggestions, I know I can rewrite it so that it grabs the reader without giving too much away. Much appreciation, sherry

  8. Suzie Olsen (@MomeeZee) says:

    If the town is called Timber, maybe the title could play off of that…Fire in the Timber or something (since as a couple of people stated above Firestarter is famously taken)? I do think it’s an intriguing premise and can’t wait to read the rest!

  9. jeanjames926 says:

    When are they going to develop a bubble wrap phone case? So sorry to hear about your phone damage. I would definitely read this book. I loved the pitch. I would reconsider the title. Firestarter is such a famous Stephen King book/movie, that could easily overshadow your story. Good luck to you.

    • sherry alexander says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think the consensus is that the title needs to change, and I agree. sherry

  10. Eleanor Ann Peterson (@EAnnPeterson) says:

    I agree with PTNOZELL, about the era and ages. The last sentence could be omitted. It seems as if Cody set the fire because you mention he could end up in jail, and the title Firestarter says it all. I would read this book, but I don’t think Cody would abandon his sisters. I wish you the best with this.

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