Would You Read It Wednesday – The 37th Pitch… And A Challenge!… With A Prize :)

YIKES!

I moseyed on over to my blog to write today’s post and everything looks totally different and unfamiliar!  We’re not in Kansas anymore!

What happened to blogger?

I guess this is that new format they’ve been threatening and I’ve been avoiding.

Well.

Let’s just hope this post goes up the way it’s supposed to!

Harrumph!

First things first.  Your friend and mine, Phyllis, cutest and fuzziest of all groundhogs, is still on tour.  Wonderful, amazing, awesome people are still hosting her and putting up terrific posts about her visits.  So if you have a second, please hop over and see what kind of high jinx and shenanigans she got up to with Saba in Washington!

Next, I’d like to throw out a challenge to all of you – and this is for everyone because you don’t have to be a writer to do this.  In fact, some of you teachers might be really good at this!

It has come to my attention that I’m very bad at distilling picture books (or any other books for that matter) down to the nitty-gritty of their themes.  So for anyone who would like to take pity on me (and I’m guessing there are a fair number of others out there who could benefit from this as well :)) please be so kind as to give the title of a well-known picture book in the comments today along with a few words or a sentence that crystalize the theme of the book.  You may also do the plot if you want, but it’s really the theme I’m interested in.

So, for example, what the flinging’-flangin’ heck is the theme of Fancy Nancy?  Pinkalicious?  I Want My Hat Back?  I mean something like “love conquers all” or “if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying”… that kind of thing.  Gosh.  They sound like proverbs.  Is that how this works?  You can see I need help 🙂  So PLEASE help!  For every book you put with a theme in the comments below today or tomorrow, I will put one entry into random.org and then on Friday, during Perfect Picture Books, I will give one lucky winner a copy of the brand new and fabulous Puzzled By Pink (of which I also can’t state the theme) by Sarah Frances Hardy!!!

See how this works?  My desperation equals a great exercise for you and the possibility of an awesome book! 🙂  Nice, no?

Third, by popular demand, we will be doing one (or possibly a couple) of Q&A posts with editor Erin Molta, so if you have questions for her, please get them to me ASAP, either in the comments or by using that handy Email Me button over there on the right 🙂

Now then.  Time to get down to business.  Would You Read It business, that is.  Today’s pitch comes to us from Anna who has a background in teaching and strives to entertain and teach children about different cultures in her writing.  (I believe this book has been self-published, but Anna is still hoping to strengthen her pitch for marketing purposes.)

Ready?

Working Title:  A Bug Who Needs A Hug
Age/Genre: Picture Books (ages 2-7)
The Pitch:  A Bug Who Needs A Hug is about a fuzzy little bug that goes out into the forest looking for someone to hug. The vivid and colorful illustrations in the book emphasize the importance of friendship and leave a positive message for children at the end of the story.

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 Anna 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 the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in early July – not that far away! – so go ahead and send your pitch for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!
Anna is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!
And I am looking forward to your succinct statements of picture book themes and your questions for Erin!
Have a happy Wednesday everyone! 🙂
Wait!  Stop the presses!  I forgot to say that if anyone hasn’t had a chance to read Monday’s interview with Lisa Thiesing and enter the awesome book giveaway, there is still time!  Hop on over!

Smorgasbord Friday!

(Today’s post contains 3 very important items: 1) the first Pitch Pick Winner, 2) 5 great writing opportunities, and 3) my First Campaign Challenge entry.  If you’re in a hurry, please feel free to scroll down to the part you’re most interested in 🙂  Also, for those who haven’t had a chance to comment on this week’s Would You Read It, please go here.  Okay, here we go!)

My fingers are actually tingling!

And, NO, it’s not because I’ve had too much coffee.

Really.

It’s 5:30 AM.  How much do you think I could have drunk already?

No, my friends!  I am tingling because the BIG DAY is finally here!  The BIG DAY on which I will announce the winner of the first Pitch Pick, the one whose pitch will be sent to editor Erin Molta for comments and insight.  Ah, the thrill!  The excitement!  The suspense…

But first, I want to tell you a story about paint drying.

You see, we need to paint our downstairs hallway…

Tee hee.  I’m just foolin’ with you 🙂  (We do need to paint our downstairs hallway, but I’m not going to tell you a story about it.  Not now anyway.  Not while you’re dying to know who the winner is.  That would just be cruel.)

Okay.  Are you ready?

Really?  Are you sure?

Alrighty, then.  Drum roll please!

The winner of the first Pitch Pick for July/August 2011 is none other than the fabulous

ALISHA!!!

Congratulations, Alisha!!!  Your pitch will wing its way across cyberspace momentarily and land in Erin’s inbox, ready for her priceless expertise!

Before we move on to item 2 of today’s smorgasbord, I just want to say, congratulations and good work to everyone who participated.  You all wrote strong pitches, and your books all sound wonderful!  I’m sorry there could be only one winner.   But please remember – you are of course allowed to send more pitches!  So feel free to try again for a spot in Erin’s Inbox!

Item 2 on today’s agenda is about fun, fun, fun for the writers in our audience.  There are a number of opportunities either currently running or coming soon that I think you might find interesting:

The Lucky Clover Picture Book Writing Contest:
Held by Christie at WRITE WILD, this picture book contest is run four times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter), with categories for Early PBs, Regular PBs, Non-Fiction PBs, and Rhyming PBs.  The prize is a free critique, and entries for the Summer Contest are open until the end of September.

The Rule of Three Blogfest:
Held by J.C. Martin at J.C. MARTIN, FIGHTER WRITER and Damyanti at WRITING ON WRITING: AMLOKIBLOGS as well as a couple others, this is a month long blogfest that takes place in a shared fictional world within which you will create a story.  Sign up by October 3.

The Synopsis/Query Stand Out:
Held by Cynthia at RANDOM THOUGHTS, Stand Out Synopsis/Query is a weekly feature posted on Mondays where authors can get help on their synopses and/or queries.  It is a slightly different take on Would You Read It Wednesday 🙂

The Hooked On Hooks Event:
Held by Kimberly at ZOOKBOOKNOOK, the Hooked On Hooks event is a chance for writers to hone their hooks.  Stop by on September 30 and add your hook to the linky list!

And, last but not least, the new Choose Your Own Adventure:
Fun for writers and readers alike, Kerri Cuevas at CRAFT JUNKIE is hosting her 2nd Choose Your Own Adventure Story.  19 writers (including Yours Truly!) will be participating in this fun, fabulous bloghop.  (I believe the list is now closed, but if you want to join, ask Kerri.  She originally said she would take as many as 30, so there may still be a possibility of spaces.)  It will take place at the end of October.  More details to come 🙂

Item 3 on today’s agenda is my entry for Rachael Harrie’s First Campaign Challenge which, as of the time of this late writing already has 352 entries!  The Challenge is:  200 words beginning with the words, The door swung open and ending with the words, The door swung shut.  Here is my entry:

The door swung open with a hiss and a clunk.

Red and yellow lights flashed a warning.

“Up you go, Liam,” Mom said with a smile.

Liam looked at the steps.  Steep steps.  BIG steps.  Steps he might trip on.  Steps that led into the rumbling yellow belly of a monster.

“No!” he said.

He was not going forward.

Liam wanted to turn around and hold on tight to Mom, but eyes watched him.  Lots of eyes.  Maybe a hundred!

He could not turn back.

Mom squeezed his hand.  “It’s going to be all right, Liam,” she said.  “I promise.”

Liam looked up at her.  He wanted to say something, but his throat was too tight for talking.  He had to blink six times in a row to make sure no tears spilled out.

Mom ruffled his hair and gave him a gentle nudge.  “Go on,” she said.  “You can do it.”

Liam took a deep breath and stepped into the monster.

He looked down the monster’s throat.

Hey!  There was Connor.  And Justin!

“Hi, Liam!” they shouted.

Liam sat next to Connor, waved to Mom and smiled.

This might not be so bad after all.

The door swung shut.

Phew!  Sorry for the long post!  I told you it was a smorgasbord!  Please post your comments for our Pitch Pick winner below, as well as your comments on the Challenge piece.  And please enjoy a few minutes checking out the writing opportunities!

Have a great weekend everyone 🙂

P.S.  For any fellow campaigners, should you happen to like my Challenge piece enough to “like” it on Rach’s site, I’m number 355.  (I’ve discovered I’m having trouble finding people on there so thought this might be helpful!)

How Younique – Challenge #1!

First things first… there are only a couple hours left to bid on my books at Write Hope if any of you happen to be interested…

Now, onto today’s topic: uniqueness (which doesn’t quite sound like a real word…)

When I go on school visits, I’m always telling kids about the importance of their voices – because everyone is different, everyone’s experiences and how they experience them are different, and no two people will tell a story the same way.  But I think it would be fun to see how true that really is….

So.  I’m hoping at least some of you are like me and can’t resist a challenge 🙂

I will give you a sentence to complete.  (Actually, in the interest of encouraging more people to try it, I’ll give you a couple to choose from – please feel free to do more than one!)  I hope lots of people will give it a try.  I won’t post your responses until tomorrow and then we can see how different they all are!  (Really, we’re like scientists here!)

1.  I never expected that one day I’d open my closet and find…
2.  It was obviously going to be an unusual day when my mom came into the bedroom and said…
3.  He was afraid, but he called upon all the courage he had as…

Tomorrow I will give you three words and see how different the sentences you come up with are (Challenge #2.)  And Wednesday we will take cliche’s and try to make them new (Challenge #3.)

Please join in if you can.  We are conducting important research for the benefit of kids’ education 🙂  I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!  And what better way to take a little break from Monday’s work?  Who knows, by finishing the sentence, you may come up with a story starter for yourself!  (Or when I post the responses tomorrow, you might find a story starter in someone else’s sentence!)

P.S.  Due to an underwhelming response on Monday (*cough*) I’m going to leave this post up for another day in the hopes that I might get a few more participants, and do the 2nd and 3rd Challenges later in the week.  Please join the fun, the excitement, the ground-breaking scientific discovery!

The Second Challenge

So I’ll probably be the last one to post for the Second Crusader Challenge, but better late than never, right?

This time, the challenge is to write a flash fiction story of 100 words or less beginning with, “The goldfish bowl teetered…”  For an extra challenge, you can try to write in your own genre.  You know me.  I love a challenge…

The goldfish bowl teetered in the basket of Jessie’s bike.
“Be careful!” said Jenny.  “Without the fish, the deal is off!”
Jessie pedaled more carefully.  Jenny trotted alongside, hauling the red wagon, ready to grab the fish if it fell.
When they reached Bryan’s house he looked the fish over and nodded in satisfaction.  “It’s a deal,” he said.
Jenny handed over the handle of the red wagon.  “Bye, Joey,” said Jessie and Jenny.  “Remember,” they told Bryan, “no backsies!”
So easy!  All it took to get rid of their pesky baby brother was a single goldfish!

97 words!  Not bad for the Queen of Longwindedness!  Anybody else want to try?

P.S.  A set of my books, inscribed to the winner’s specifications, will be available for bidding on Write Hope tomorrow.  Please spread the word and bid if you can.  It’s such an important cause.

UPDATED LINK FOR THE AUCTION!!!  Susanna’s Books on Write Hope