Would You Read It Wednesday #302 – Weeping Willow (PB) PLUS The July Pitch Pick Winner!!!

Apparently, it is Wednesday.

I’m not sure how we got here… TARDIS? The twilight zone? The yellow brick road? The Starship Enterprise?…but I skipped right over Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.  That is what days holed up in front of a deadline will do to a person.  Along with eating apple cinnamon cheerios for dinner so you don’t have to take time away from work to shop 🙂

Anyhow, one way or another, here we are at Wednesday, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, shampooed and dressed in outdoor clothes and ready to take on the world!

Or possibly take a nap 🙂

But really, who can nap when the winner of July Pitch Pick is Greg with his PB pitch for The Remindeer!!!  Congratulations, Greg!  Your pitch will be on its way to editor Erin Molta any minute now as I try to regain control of my email after days of ignoring it!

And congratulations to our other fabulous pitchers who all did a tremendous job!  I hope the experience was helpful to you even if Erin doesn’t get to read your pitch.

Now, onto the next item on our agenda:

No Pitch Pick this week! 🙂

I could have done September, but I figured you guys had really earned a break!  So… next week 🙂 And thank you from the bottom of my chocolate-loving heart for being so wonderful about voting for weeks in a row!

Speaking of chocolate… How about Something Chocolate? I don’t really think we can go far wrong with 24 Layer Chocolate Cake!!!

24 Layer Chocolate Cake

I’m not sure I have the patience to actually bake and assemble that beautiful thing, but you can count on me to eat it! 🙂 Breakfast of champions – that’s what I say! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Meghan who says, “My name is Meghan. I am an aspiring author. When I’m not living with my nose in a book or a piece of writing I’m working on, I am teaching third grade, working out, spending time with the people I love, or binge-watching my favorite movies and television shows (I love to Netflix and chill on my own). I have loved books for as long as I can remember, and now I’d like to use that passion to create timeless works of literature for all ages.”

Find her on the web at her author page: https://www.facebook.com/Meghan-Wiley-563844300401335/

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Weeping Willow

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-10)

The Pitch: Todd is a young boy that faces an unexpected choice: one that could ruin or fulfill his new friend’s deepest dreams. She is a tree that yearns to be made into something magical, but the consequence might be too much for Todd to bear. Can he handle the pressure?

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 Meghan 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 November, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Meghan is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to that nap I mentioned…except I don’t actually have time for a nap, so maybe I’ll just have a second helping of the 24 Layer Chocolate Cake (fortification, you know – gotta keep my strength up 🙂 ) and forge ahead, plowing through my inbox, boldly going where nobody has gone for many days…

If you don’t hear from me within a reasonable amount of time, send out a search party! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


35 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #302 – Weeping Willow (PB) PLUS The July Pitch Pick Winner!!!

  1. Nadine Poper says:

    Good morning Susanna and Meghan! That chocolate cake looks amazing!!! But, yeah, I certainly can’t bake that.
    Meghan, your pitch is off to a good start. I would be a little more specific with the boy character and what his choices might be. I know you may not want to give away too much about the tree and what her yearning is, however to avoid “she probably wants to be made into paper (or something expected) from the readers, I would give a little more detail about the desire and/or about what the boy is struggling with. Good luck and I look forward to any revisions you may make.

    • Meghan Wiley says:

      Thank you so much for the feedback! That is definitely one thing I’m struggling with; trying not to give too much away! I will have to work on giving away just enough. Thank you, again! I look forward to using your comments to help me recreate this pitch! Have a great day, and thank you for taking the time to read my pitch! 🙂

  2. Cheryl Keely says:

    Hi Meghan
    Yes, I would be interested in reading this. I love stories about trees and friendship with trees. I have a tree in the neighborhood I call the waving tree and wave at it every time I go by. I have my own story perculating in the back of my mind for that tree. But back to your story! It may be the early hour, but I had to re-read several times to make sure the tree was the friend. I’d suggest making that clearer. I’d also give more of a hint as to what Willow dreams of becoming and why Todd has to make the decision. It’s her dream after all— why wouldn’t she get to decide what she does? Keep at it. And then celebrate with a piece of that cake!

  3. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, so happy to learn you survived your latest deadline. Nothing like deadlines to put everything else on the back burner (and thanks for the reminder to stock up on cereal for upcoming deadlines!).

    Meghan, I like the idea of personifying the Willow. I’d like to know more, though: the upper age you mention is high for a PB – is Weeping Willow dealing with a difficult topic or #STEAM? Does magic play a role in the story’s outcome? If so, how. I think if you add a few more details, readers would have a better sense of the heart of your story, and from what you’ve told us so far, it seems as if this story has lots of heart. I look forward to learning more!

    • Meghan Wiley says:

      Hi, PTNOZELL!

      Thank you for taking the time to comment on my pitch! To be honest, the age is something I’m working on. I feel like the topic is good for all those ages, but that the older ones will understand what’s going on a little better? Now that you’ve asked, I’m not too sure now. LOL!

      Also, it is quite hard to describe the magic taking place in this story. It’s not necessarily magic, but what makes reading magical, I guess??? Hm, that’s hard to answer for me.

      Perfect! Yes, definitely lots of heart in this story! I will be sure to take your comments and use them to help me modify my pitch!

      Thanks for your help,
      Meghan 🙂

  4. authorlaurablog says:

    Good morning, I’m skipping right over the chocolate cake which I believe means I’ve already lost a few pounds this morning. 😉
    Meghan, I’m a maybe because I don’t know where your book is going from the pitch. I know there are weeping willows so I’m not sure if this is a play on the word weeping and that your tree is going to be crying or if that’s not where you’re going. I think you might want to include what the tree’s dream is. Does she want to become something that will make her mobile and leave him? I’m confused but curious.
    Also, I think the first sentence needs to be stronger. Tell us that his friend is a tree.

  5. matthewlasley says:

    Good morning Meghan.
    Your story sounds interesting and I want to know what Todd has to do to his friend Willow, so I am a maybe.

    You do a wonderful job of hinting to the problem in your pitch as people are speculating what kind of dream could a tree have and how could the boy help.

    I agree with the other comments that the opening sentence needs to be more concise. Since this is a picture book, we can assume that Todd is a young boy, so you can take that out to accelerate the pace. In order to make the pitch pop, I would try to have Todd tell it to us. Example: Todd is worried that if he helps his new friend Willow fulfill her dream to be something more magical, something might go horribly wrong.

    I would caution with ending in a question. You want the editor and agent to come up with that question to pursue it. Think of it as a mystery novel. If you picked it up and it read the first chapter where the victim is found and the author tells you who killed the person, why and with what before the detective arrived, you are kind of let down. Where is the mystery?
    Set it up so the agent or editor are compelled to ask the question on their own and want to turn the page and help the detective solve the murder.
    Example: Willow longs for Todd to help her and Todd does not know if he has the courage to lose his friend.

    Good luck Meghan. I hope this helps you and I hope to see your book on the shelf one day.

  6. Gregory E Bray says:

    That cake looks like it would take 24 hours to make. Thank you Susanna and everyone that helped me perfect my pitch. I’m looking forward ro Erin’s comments.

    I would read this. I don’t have much to add that others haven’t covered above; details on Todd’s choice, etc. Does the tree have a name?

    Good luck!

  7. Wendy says:

    My initial reaction is that I’m not sure who the MC is. Is this WIllow’s story (why does she have this wish to be something different?) or Todd’s story (helping/not helping a friend)
    Good luck with this!

  8. viviankirkfield says:

    First of all, Susanna…I just glanced at your sidebar…look at all the 2019 books you have coming out…woo-hoo! That is FABULOUS! And the piece of chocolate cake is also fabulous…and fortunately, no calories, until I get so hungry from looking at it that I have to rummage through my pantry to find something to eat!

    Megan, I love Weeping Willows…so your title made me want to read it and the friendship between Todd and a tree is definitely somethig I’d turn the page for. But I agree with the others…I need to know MORE…about tree’s wish and about Todd’s dilemma. I don’t think that telling a bit more would be giving it all away. All good wishes with your story!

  9. bababloggayaga says:

    Aye matey, I be a maybe also. I be liking the tree friend thing. (I has me a tree friend too; fortunately she is never asking me to do anything). But I’m not sure from the pitch if she be asking Todd to fulfill her dreams. I also thinks you should ditch yer last sentence. You’ve already suggested that this be pressure for Todd.

  10. fspoesy says:

    Susanna, I don’t know who came up with the idea for a 24 layer cake but I’m really curious what made them think a 25 layer cake would be just too much. 🙂

    Megan, currently your pitch is a maybe for me. I agree with much of what others have said in the comments above. I’d like to know the tree’s name. I’d like to understand Todd and the tree’s connection and to know more specifics about the choice that needs to be made and the consequences. I like that Todd may not be up to the challenge but I agree you shouldn’t end the pitch with a question.

    I am on the fence about keeping things a mystery. When I pitched a story to two agents (separately) at a conference last year, I included a mystery at the end of my pitch and as soon as I finished the pitch, both of them asked me what happens in the end. Once they heard the ending, they both requested the manuscript. So, while a mystery is good for leading readers through a book, I’m not sure it is the best thing for a pitch. I think the agent or editor wants to know the whole story so they can decide if they want to see how you handle the story. Of course, I’d love to hear other’s opinions on this.

    Grammar wise, Todd is a young boy “who” faces something, not “that” faces something. And since the tree is personified, I would suspect she should be a tree “who” yearns, rather than “that” yearns. I know this can seem persnickety but I believe agents and editors have refused to read a pitch for much less.

    Best of luck with your rewrite of the pitch. I look forward to reading it soon!

  11. Corine Timmer says:

    Meghan, I am intrigued. I like the fantasy aspect of your story but would love to know what it is that Willow wants and how it could be problematic for her and her friend, Todd. What are the stakes? Is he afraid to lose her as a friend? For me it is not very clear who the main character is. Is it Todd or the tree, Willow? Your title suggests it’s the tree but it is not clear in your pitch. Like Gregory, I too wonder if the tree has a name apart from Willow. I think if you want to keep Willow perhaps call the boy Junior, Bud, or Sonny? The names are not compible at the moment but that’s just my opinion. So, I am a maybe but could easily become a yes when I know a litttle more. Good luck!

  12. Kari Gonzalez says:

    Susanna- you always have the most delicious chocolate. I am not sure that I would make it to 24 layers, I’m an eat as I go kind of gal!

    Meghan, I am also intrigued by your pitch. You have done a good job creating tension and intrigue. I love the hints of magic that you included and the idea of Todd and the tree forming a special bond. But I would love to know the stakes, the tree’s name since she is personified, and what magical item she wants to turn into. Wishing you the best of luck!

  13. Katie Williams says:

    I’m a yes that wavered on ‘maybe’ for a second. The pitch was a bit confusing to me and I had to read through it a couple of times before it made sense (of course I get woken up all night by my little one, so my brain is extra foggy!).

    For me, it would be helpful if you clarified that the tree is the best friend by saying something like, “his best friend, a magnificent willow tree”, or something along those lines.

    You can take out the part about him being a young boy–that’s usually a given in a PB and takes up precious space, especially if you’re pitching in a twitter contest where each character counts.

    Also, the part at the end where it says “Can he handle the pressure?” made me pause. It’s not exactly pressure he’s dealing with, it’s more about making a very tough decision with no clear answer.

    Your age range is a bit large, and is probably more accurate at 4-8 yrs.

    I LOVE the idea behind the story though and while it definitely reminds me of The Giving Tree, it sounds like the boy has a much more caring attitude toward his tree in your story, and I do feel compelled to read more to see how he deals with his tough decision!

  14. Ciara O'Neal says:

    Hi Meghan! There has been so much great advice already! I would echo ending with the question. It’s hard not to, right? I find myself wanting to do the same thing! I would also echo honing in on one of the characters. It will help the reader get a better idea of your plot. Good luck!

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