Would You Read It Wednesday #316 – Trapped In Trash (PB)


spring banner

Spring has officially sprung, and that calls for Something Chocolate immediately!  What better to way to celebrate than with Whoopie Pies?!

Whoopie Pies

There may not be any grass to walk barefoot in quite yet (at least not in my neck of the woods! 🙂 ) but a little Whoopie Pie indulgence on the back porch in the sunshine works just fine!

Have two! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah, whom you will remember from several previous pitches (but not the same Sarah as last week!) Sarah says, “I am an Optometrist, mother, and lover of the outdoors. I live in NH with my husband and two children. I love to paint in my free time, when I’m not writing.”

Find her on the web at www.sarahheturadny.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Trapped In Trash

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)

The Pitch: Matt, Bratt, and Scit-Scat are three rat friends who leave the rat pack and find their own feast.  They become trapped in a trash receptacle.  Nudging not a budge, that can just won’t take a shake.  The whole pack is summoned, and the friends re-think their initial plan.

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 Sarah 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 is one opening left in May, and more in June, 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!

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing a PDF of my long-awaited ALPHABEDTIME!  It’s been promised, and hasn’t arrived yet, but it could at any minute!  You never know! Keep your fingers crossed! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


34 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #316 – Trapped In Trash (PB)

  1. Nadine Poper says:

    First day of Spring…Yeah!!!
    Sarah, I would certainly read this because rats stuck in a trash can is like me trapped in a library, I don’t know if I’d really want to get out LOL!!! Things must be pretty bad in the trash can if they want to escape.
    “Nudging not a budge, that can won’t take a shake” sounds fun. Something about “nudging” and “budge” doesn’t feel quite right here for me though. Perhaps it is the “ing” ending that I don’t see on “budge” that is on “nudge”. And “take a shake” sounds like it matches your fun tone that is in the story. I like that line. I read advice somewhere that the tone of a pitch should give a sense of how the story is written and I get a sense of that with your use of these words.
    This is a great start. I think I’d like to know just a little bit more about either why they left the pack and/or one thing they experienced in the trash can.
    Good luck!

  2. sarahheturadny says:

    Susanna thank you for posting my pitch today! I am so excited to hear all the wonderful advice I know will come… especially as this particular manuscript is the one I am bringing with me to the spring NESCBWI conference!! (I love whoopie pies!)

  3. Writer on the run says:

    What a clever premise- rats in search of a new feast only to get trapped in the trash! I would read it, but I think the pitch needs to be more enticing. Instead of leading with their names (which I’m not sure you need to even share and it slows down the action) I would start with something like:
    Three rat friends leave their pack in search of their own feast (why? Did they get tired of sharing, was there not enough food, did it get too crowded?) They find the perfect trash can only to discover their new can will not budge a nudge.(I like this phrase, but it’s more vague than saying there’s no way out) After trying _______, and _____, help is summoned and the three friends learn ________ (?)

    Just food for thought! Good luck!

  4. Kathy Halsey says:

    Happy Spring, Susanna & Sarah. Whoa – look at those whoopee pies!
    Good luck at NESCBWI! First I love the fun language and the rats’ names -so cute. I have been focusing on titles lately and your title alone made me stop scrolling and read today’s post. Yet, i expected an NF PB on trash – so maybe add a word or 2 to the title… How about Rats! Trapped in Trash – or lady with it so the title reveals a bit more. Like Nadine, I want few mores specifics re: plot – why did they leave? Were they pushed out for some reason? What was their initial plan, their goal?

  5. ptnozell says:

    Happy spring, Susanna & Sarah! I saw crocii on my way to the library on Monday, the softball teams have appeared in the fields, & one brave daffodil is swaying in front of my building. Green grass can’t be far behind!

    Sarah, this sounds like such a fun, rollicking romp. The “ick” factor of trash has great kid-appeal. Is this a rhyming picture book? The many rhymes in the pitch seem to indicate so, but I don’t see it stated anywhere. If it’s not rhyming, you may want to consider featuring less in the pitch. I also agree with the others that a bit more detail will make the trash can caper even more enticing.

    Good luck as you revise & workshop this manuscript at NESCWBI!

    • sarahheturadny says:

      Thank you PTNozell. It’s not a rhyming picture book (shudder… I have no rhythm), but it’s… oh jeepers, I don’t know what to call it. There’s lots of rhythm and rhyme within it? The reason I’m taking THIS ms to the NESCBWI conference is that my critique group loved it (I myself am afraid it’s too much of a hybrid between a rhyming PB and a prose PB), so now I figure I really need an opinion from someone deep in the field.

  6. Wendy says:

    Can you believe I’ve never had a whoopie pie, Susanna? Too busy to make the recipe myself right now, but I think this should go on a gourmand bucket list.

    Sarah – this sounds like a fun story! Perhaps you can tighten the first sentences: “Matt, Bratt, and Scit-Scat leave their rat pack to find their own feast and become trapped in a trash receptacle.” Then I agree, the nudge/budge sentence sounds awkward, and maybe unnecessary – it just says they’re trapped, right? So perhaps use a final 1-2 sentences to tell us the stakes with a few story details? I agree with Pat that the pitch makes it sound like a rhyming story so, if it is, great!

  7. Judy Sobanski says:

    The birds are chirping this morning and hopefully their songs are announcing “Spring is here!!”

    Sarah, I love the idea of 3 rats stuck in the trash! I agree with others that the names are fun but could be omitted in the pitch. Perhaps giving some reason for the rats to go off on their own to find food would help clarify things? Re-thinking their initial plan is fine, but what did they learn? Maybe that “the rat pack has their back?” 😉 You use wonderful, fun language which hints at the tone of your story! Best of luck with your story!

  8. authoraileenstewart says:

    I would definitely read this story. I love the rat names but the nudging not a budge leaves me in a quandary. While I am able to decipher its meaning, I doubt small children would be able. And I agree with the comment above, why do the rats want to go off on there own. Otherwise, good work!

  9. Katie Engen says:

    Quite a unique problem and setting! I like the varied yet rhyming names. I hope they indicate distinct personality traits, too. Is it critical that we know they went off on their own (as in… Is full team work or family a major theme of the book?) If not, just start the action when trouble starts (nobody will be too shocked that rats are in the trash). ‘Nudging not a budge’ reads a bit like a wordplay ‘darling’ that could be great in the story but isn’t super-informative here. The last sentence is unclear – How is the pack summoned, esp. if the trio is trapped in a locked-down can? If everyone’s there is this problem really be so tough? What was the initial plan? How is Plan B so much better/scarier/funnier/whatever-er than Plan A?

    • sarahheturadny says:

      Oh thank you for the compliment. I’ll just roll in it and relish it for a bit – amongst a pile of recent rejections (other stories, I’m not submitting this story yet). *sigh* 😉

  10. Ashley Congdon (@AshleyCCongdon) says:

    Yes, I would read this book. The three characters have rhyming and fun names that are sure to be remembered. And I feel like they will use some teamwork to get out of that trash. I agree with the nudging not budge line. I like the use of nudge, budge, and shake. I think just reworking them around will give a nicer flow. Good luck!

  11. matthewlasley says:

    Good morning Sarah.

    I am mixed on this one. I think the idea has potential and you love wordplay, but it feels like you were more focused on the wordplay than the story. This makes it feel choppy and raises questions like How? and Why?

    Some others have already covered the biggest “how”. I can tell this is not a reflection of the story. Unless your story is written in couplet, I would stay away from the fun word play (once or twice is nice, but not thrice). I want to know what motivates the rats to leave the pack and what was so tantalizing in the trash (drop receptacle; too big for a kid).

    Good luck with this story.

  12. Angie says:

    Yes, I would read this! Fun premise! I can see the theme here, of belonging to the group. I was a little confused at the last statement and had to consider what you meant “re-think their initial plan.” I had to go back and reread to figure out the initial plan (going out on their own). I like the idea of the whole rat pack coming together to help them get out of the trash. Love the working title.

  13. dedradavis03 says:

    Those pies are killing this girl on a diet, Susanna! Yumm! And Sarah, this sounds like an adorable story. One thought…can you add “trash” to this line—“that can just won’t take a shake.” I had to read it several times and finally realized you are talking about a trash can, but I was reading the word “can” as a verb. It tripped me up a bit. Other than that—yes! I would read it!!

    • sarahheturadny says:

      hahaha, I didn’t even think of that… thanks for the heads up. This is why this blog idea of having other people read a posted pitch is SOOOO invaluable! Thank you, Susanna and Dedra!

  14. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    I would definitely read this. I love rats trapped in a trash can. It’s just dumb luck that it doesn’t happen more often. Or does it? Ugh. I suddenly hate trash cans. Anyway, great idea. And needing the pack to get out is a great message. The “Nudge not a budge…” sentence seems forced. You can ditch it with no harm done. I’m also curious how they get the message out to their friends. You may want to mention that. Good luck.

  15. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    Hi! I like how you have fun with words! The nudge/budge sentence is a bit of a mouthful, so read aloud to see what rolls off the tongue easier. Also, the name Bratt has a negative name calling connotation to it…did you want that? Finally, clarify the heart/theme of the story—it seems to have something to do with family sticking together (pack coming to help) but perhaps make that more clear! I bet an editor would be drawn to your originality and your fun tone/word choice! Good luck!

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