Would You Read It Wednesday #343 – Wired To Worry (PB) PLUS The October Pitch Winner!!!

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday!

And tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which means (technically) I should be vacuuming.

Rating household chores on a scale of 1 to 5, where

1 =  “I am filled with joy at the prospect of making my little home sparkle no matter what the task at hand, 🎶tra-la🎶”

and

5 = “GAH!!! why is this MY job?!”,

cleaning the bathrooms comes in at 963 (“What kind of animals LIVE in this house?! and seriously who scrubs tile grout with a toothbrush?!”

but vacuuming, due to a recent moment of sheer genius, comes in at a mere 37 (“Hmmm…. maybe I can teach the dogs to vacuum up their own hair!”)

Since I haven’t taught them to do it yet, though, and they’re currently exceedingly busy with other more important jobs

telling secrets on the stair landing. . .        and catching up on their beauty sleep. . .

IMG_7805 IMG_7003

it looks like I’m on my own for now so I’d better stop lollygagging about and get to it!

So!

Down to business!

I’m happy to announce that the winner of the October Pitch Pick is Sri with her ER/PB pitch for Mighty Little Nikita!  Congratulations, Sri!  Your pitch is on its way to editor Erin Molta for her comments.  I’m sure you will hear from her at her earliest convenience!

And congratulations to our other fabulous pitchers as well!  Since it’s Thanksgiving, here is a virtual chocolate turkey for each of you 🙂

TurlkeyXL

And while we’re on the subject of chocolate, how about a little Something Chocolate for everyone?  I’m thinking it’s a perfect day for Thanksgiving Pecan Pie Brownies!

Thanksgiving Pecan Pie Brownies

 

Do those look scrumptious or what?!

And I know I don’t need to tell you how healthy they are!  Everyone knows that pecans are an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants and that brownies are an excellent source of. . . brownies 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Megan who says, “I am a former early education teacher, marketing manager, and photographer.  I am also a mom of two, Art Literacy volunteer, library junky, and bookstore crawler.  Living in my children’s world provides constant inspiration.  And now that both of my children are in school full-time, I am lucky enough to be able to pursue my dream of writing.”

 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Wired To Worry

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: Every day new Bitty Bots arrive on doorsteps in smiling boxes ready to lead perfectly programmed lives.  But what happens when two Caring Bots notice an extra worry port on their new Bitty Bot?  Returns are not allowed.  The instruction manual is no help.  And all Bitty Bot’s clicking, shaking, and leaking is driving them mad.  Is Bitty Bot’s attempt to mail himself back the solution or the jolt they all need to manage their feelings?

Megan also shared the inspiration for her story: Inspiration: My daughter struggled with some significant anxiety as a young child.  When a local Portland, Oregon artist (Gary Hirsch) visited her elementary school to share his Botjoy Project, I knew I wanted to write a story about robots and feelings.  What better way to explore the overwhelming power of feelings than with something not meant to have any at all?

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 Megan 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 February, so you have 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!

Megan is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to when my dogs learn how to vacuum!  That is going to be a banner day, let me tell you! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

And a happy, healthy, love and family-filled Thanksgiving to all those who will be celebrating.  I hope you all have much to be thankful for.  ❤

 

20 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #343 – Wired To Worry (PB) PLUS The October Pitch Winner!!!

  1. Katie Engen says:

    Very unique premise. I had to read it twice (would an agent/editor?) to get the basic plot and Bot’s problem. I think it’s b/c it’s so different & I didn’t have a well-known trope come immediately to mind so I could set the pieces into very easily (and this uniqueness is a good thing). Maybe one very short intro sentence along the lines of ‘In a robot-filled world, sometimes feelings don’t compute.’

    • Megan Anderson says:

      Thank you for your feedback during this busy holiday week! I have many incomplete pitch versions squirreled away, some of which I believe address your concern. For example, “…the delivery of a new Bitty Bot with an extra Worry Port introduces feelings that just might overload their systems.” Your example is helpful!

  2. ptnozell says:

    Megan, I like the premise of your story, but I confess to being somewhat confused in the pitch. I think if you focus at the outset on one Bitty Bot it might help. I’m also not clear whether the Caring Bots are adults or children, whether they, or Bitty, are the main characters, and what Bitty is analogous to: a new baby, pet, or an iRobot type of vacuum (I think Susanna has filled my brain with visions of a clean house – something I desperately need!).

    I hope these comments help as you revise the pitch. Kids love robots & I think exploring their feelings is a great theme for a picture book!

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m off to teach my pups to vacuum!

    • Megan Anderson says:

      I appreciate your input during such a busy time! The story only focuses on Bitty Bot and his Caring Bots, but it seems like that wasn’t clear in the pitch, so I will fix that. It takes place in a robot world where Bitty Bots are the children and Caring Bots are the main care givers, whether that means parents, grandparents, foster parents, etc. (Backstory in my head included the futuristic aspect of mail order babies, everything is electronic, and humanity is diminished in the face of technology, setting the stage for a heightened focus on feelings. That was all a bit much, though.) The story is told from Bitty Bot’s perspective, but I see now that the pitch doesn’t make that clear either. I will work to clear up these questions in my revision! Good luck with the vacuuming!

  3. matthewlasley says:

    I am a maybe. I love the concept and the middle of the pitch. “No returns allowed. The instruction manual is no help.” Working with young kids myself, worry is a big issue.

    The troubles I am having is three part. First, the pitch feels too long.Part of that is the questions which don’t really lead me down the arc.
    That leads to the second issue, (I will put aside my opinions about questions in a pitch) both questions lead me to the Caring Bots. Bitty Bot (cute name) I believe is the main character, but the focus is on the Caring Bots. This pulls me out of the pitch because it is not about a “kid” but the parents.
    And lastly, questions in a pitch. In my opinion, they should only be used to advance the thoughts of the character when there is no other way to demonstrate them and they are crucial to the plot. Think of it like coming home to the smell of freshly baked pecan pie brownies. You smell the warm chocolate, the sweet pecan pie mix and your mouth waters. Then you go into the kitchen to find the brownie pan soaking in the sink and all the brownies gone. You know they smelled good, but no amount of describing it will ever let you know how truly great they were.
    Let them smell the brownies and let the lead them to the kitchen where they will find delicious brownies and as what is in them!

    Good luck with your story as it does sound like a cute concept.

    • Megan Anderson says:

      Thank you for your thoughts, Matthew! I agree the pitch is a bit long and doesn’t make it clear that Bitty Bot is the main character. The story is told from Bitty Bot’s perspective, so I will make that more apparent in the pitch. I have other pitch ideas that are shorter, but weren’t right for one reason or another. I will go back to the drawing board and see if they will inspire me to trim it down in a more effective manner. A couple of partial ideas include: “Feelings can be new and overwhelming, especially for a Bitty Bot delivered with an extra Worry Port.” and “The delivery of a new Bitty Bot with an extra Worry Port introduces feelings that just might overload their systems.” I promise to write a version without questions and see where it takes me (and the reader). Thanks again for your time and thoughts during a busy week!

  4. Kim Larson says:

    You have an intriguing premise, Megan! But I confess, it took me a couple of reads to better guess at what the story will be about. You packed in a lot that created questions – not always bad. But it left me with too many. Like why does the Bitty Bot click, shake … ? Since you mention emotions, maybe state it’s from anxiety or whatever is going on. I agree with Katie that it might be more helpful to just focus on one Bitty Bot in the opening. And if returns are not allowed, why is Bitty Bot attempting to mail himself back? Is Bitty Bot meant to help manage feelings or is this the outcome of it not knowing how to manage its own feelings? What is his purpose? Pitches are so hard! So keep trying. Your story concept sounds great and I’d read it!

    • Megan Anderson says:

      I appreciate all your questions! When you develop a world in your head, sometimes things that seem obvious to you are not obvious to others. So, thank you! That is one great reason why we have other people critique our work. To answer some of your questions:

      Bitty Bot clicks, shakes, and leaks due to all his extra worry. This includes new situations, trouble connecting with other robots, and typical fears for kids in this age range (translated into robot fears). Possible worries include: mice chewing through his wires, water making him rust, space invasions, laser malfunctions, wondering whether its parts are too scrappy, its wheels are too different, and if it can compute answers as fast as others, the great darkness when the power goes out, or running out of oil and microchips (food).

      Bitty Bot is the main character and the story leads immediately with only him, but that wasn’t clear in the pitch, so I will fix that.

      You might not be allowed by your parents to have candy all the time, but that doesn’t stop you from sneaking a piece or two sometimes. Bitty Bot thinks maybe he can trick them into sending him back. It’s a very subtle nod to how desperate people can become when they worry a lot and become depressed. The ultimate desperate escape being suicide, which is certainly discouraged, but doesn’t stop people from attempting.

      Bitty Bot’s purpose is the same as any other person (robot in this case)–to live life to the fullest. He (along with his Caring Bots) has to learn how to manage his feelings in order to function his best. He has to learn how to overcome the extra worry so that it doesn’t prevent him from doing the things he needs and wants to do.

      I hope this answers your questions! I will do my best to improve the pitch to reflect this. Thank you for your support!

  5. Angie says:

    I would definitely read this story! I am working on a robot story as well, and I would love to read your version. I did struggle with the first read through of the pitch. It took two reads to understand that the Caring Bots are parents (unless I misunderstood) and Bitty Bot is their baby. I know illustrations will help clear this up, but as a pitch, somehow the connection needs to come through. I love the anxiety issue, as that is so common. Is there a way to include that with Bitty Bot? Not so much that the parents are anxious about the worry port, but that Bitty Bot is anxious. Consider which point of view you need to use, either from the parents or Bitty Bot. I would love to read your story to see how you deal with Bitty Bot and his anxiety. Good work!

    • Megan Anderson says:

      Good to hear! I would love to trade stories and critiques if you’re willing.

      Yes, the Caring Bots are the guardians of Bitty Bot (child). Families are diverse, so I chose to focus the name on their generic role instead of a specific one. I will try to make that more clear.

      Bitty Bot and his anxiety are definitely the main focus. The overwhelming consensus is that I haven’t done my job making this clear and I see that now. There is too much emphasis on the Caring Bots and their perspective in the pitch. This is not what I want! I will be sure to change this in my revised version.

      Let’s see if we can connect. Thanks again for your input!

      • Angie says:

        You are welcome, Megan. I think you are on the right track! Do, let’s connect over our robot stories! 🙂 Maybe after this crazy Thanksgiving weekend…have a great day!

  6. Corine Timmer says:

    I like the idea behind your story and would like to find out more. However, I am confused by your pitch. I am not sure who the main character is and what the main character is. Is he/she a robot or an artbot? What are the obstacles he/she needs to overcome? Perhaps start your pitch with the main character? The illustrations could be fun! Good luck!

    • Megan Anderson says:

      Yes, I definitely need to make the main character clear in the pitch, because it’s not the Caring Bots! Bitty Bot and his anxiety are front and center. They are all robots living in a robot world. I thought the word “Bot” explained this and pictures would help, but if that’s not clear enough, I will try to do better. Obstacles to overcome? Bitty Bot needs to figure out how to function properly despite the extra worry he has. From experience, that’s quite an obstacle. In a previous comment, I give specific ideas regarding the types of things he worries about and would need to overcome throughout the story.

      I appreciate your insight! Have a wonderful holiday. 🙂

  7. Writer on the run says:

    Megan,
    Great premise and story idea! I agree with other comments about being confused and I got lost in the pitch. Basically, I would work to get the pitch down to one sentence that summarizes the story without giving the end away. “Two Caring Bots are overjoyed with the arrival of their new BittyBot until they discover an extra worry port and glitches in its functioning.” I do like the No Returns policy comment as that heightens the stakes and creates the problem in the story. What do they discover about themselves because they are forced to deal with the BittyBot problem??? That’s your theme(I think)! “Because of a No Returns policy the Caring Bots learn…..” Are they learning to deal with worry and anxiety?
    Good luck!

    • Megan Anderson says:

      I can definitely condense the pitch. What do they discover about themselves? I should know this. That’s an excellent question I need to explore further. Character development is important! I have a general idea, but need to make it more specific. It will give my story better direction. I think something to the effect of, “You are always stronger than you think you are.” Something that validates feelings of all kinds. They should feel empowered to emphasize the beneficial aspects of emotions and downsize the destructive aspects. Perhaps something about discovering an ability to gain control during times when things feel distinctly out of control. Apologies — my thoughts are quickly becoming fragmented as my children vie for my attention! Yes, they are learning to deal with worry and anxiety.

      Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  8. Angela Brown (@ALBrownwrites) says:

    Congrats to Sri and I look forward to the feedback.

    For today’s WYRI, I am a yes. Others have commented on wonderful ways to improve the pitch, so I look forward to seeing the updated pitch. Interestingly, this brought to mind a PB version of Robots the movie. In that sense, it may lean towards commercial appeal. Plus, addressing the topic of anxiety in a kid-friendly fashion seems like such a great use of the PB way.

    • Megan Anderson says:

      I appreciate your support and look forward to revising my pitch with the help of everyone’s critiques. It was definitely a goal of mine to address a challenging topic in an inviting way for children. Having researched books on anxiety to help my daughter, I feel like there’s a lack of engaging books on this subject. Thanks again and have a wonderful holiday!

  9. Jocelyn Watkinson says:

    I think your concept is bang on! We need more books addressing this issue! I’m not sure I can add too much to all the good suggestions above but just wanted to mention I know there is a Tim McCanna book called “Bitty Bot” so not sure if you would want a duplicate name out there. If there are Caring Bots, maybe they are Worry Bots?

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