Straight From The Editor x 6 – A Pitch Polishing Extravaganza!

Okay… so it’s possible I didn’t post this Saturday or Sunday…! 🙂

But hey! It’s a great way to start the week, isn’t it?

What could be better than a Monday brimming with expert advice on how to polish pitches from an experienced and distinguished editor such as Erin Molta?

(The answer to that is a Monday brimming with expert advice on how to polish pitches from an experienced and distinguished editor such as Erin Molta accompanied by a delicious chocolate snack 🙂 )

I’m pretty sure I have some brownies… hang on… yep! (There are pretty much always brownies at my house 🙂 )

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Now then! Expert pitch advice! Let’s dive in!

January/February 2018

The pitch winner was Erik with his pitch for STOYANOVICH IN PARIS (MG Historical Fantasy)

Nikolai Stoyanovich Krisayev is the last of a long line of Russian rat nobility, living in exile in 1880’s Paris. When he rescues a visiting mouse princess from armed kidnappers, he is thrust into the midst of a silent war being waged secretly in the streets and sewers of the city.
With only his wits, his father’s sword, and the aid of a shadowy figure who may or may not be on their side, he will have to fight to save both the princess and the city he loves.

Erin’s comments are as follows:

While this pitch is intriguing it’s also very confusing. In order for an editor to agree to ask for it, you might be better off simplifying. While mysterious is good, an editor especially wants to know what’s the heart of the story. For instance, Nikolai is the last rat of the royal line, but I am assuming he’s not the last rat alive, correct? Make that clear, especially since he apparently rescues a mouse princess…Aren’t rats and mice normally enemies? Are the two rodent populations fighting this silent war that’s destroying Paris? Try to be more clear and I think this has potential.

March 2018

The pitch winner was Jean with her pitch for A LITTLE WITCHY (PB ages 4-8)

After Beatrice decides being a witch is more appealing than being mortal, she begins acting a little witchy. But her failed attempts at casting spells and mixing magic potions land her in lots of toil and trouble! And her bumbling exploits soon attract the ire of witches, who offer to help her improve her witchery skills. Now Beatrice must decide rather to become a witch or be the best mortal she can be, and leave the witching to the real witches.

Erin said:

This is cute! Though I would go through it and watch the repetition, especially of witches, witchery… Even using sorceress or something like that would work better.

I’d also cut the last part of the last sentence and do something more like: Now Beatrice must decide whether to remain mortal and make the best of it or become a witch—good or bad.

April 2018

The pitch winner was Corine with her pitch for Willamina The Wolf Spider (PB ages 6-9)

Willamina the wolf spider wants more than anything to keep her spiderlings safe, but when her tummy starts grumbling, she knows it’s time to hunt. Not an easy task with three hundred spiderlings on her back! To make matters worse, it is full moon, and she is not the only one who is hungry. Willamina has to outsmart an owl, a shrew, and, in the end, a woman with a broom—an incident that forces her to release her spiderlings, but not before telling them they are going on a flying adventure.

Erin had this to say:

This is cute. Sometimes I suggest clarity but in this instance I feel it’s not necessary to tell the ending, unless the story is about the spiderlings’ adventures? If not and it’s about a wolf spider mama trying to keep her babies safe, then I wouldn’t let the reader know that she was forced to send them out into the wild wild world—in a pitch. I’d end it something like: Wilhelmina has to outsmart an owl, and a shrew, among others. Can she keep her spiderlings safe from the hungry predators on the prowl?

May 2018

The pitch winner was Jackie with her pitch for One Smart Cookie: The Story of Ruth Wakefield and the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie (NF PB ages 4-8)

For years the invention of the chocolate chip cookie has been hailed a happy accident. Perhaps it was, or perhaps it was the clever invention of a clever lady. Devour every morsel of this mystery and decide if it was a lucky mistake or the creation of one smart cookie.

Erin said:

Sounds delectable! See my tweaks to get rid of the repetition and hopefully make it more pithy.

For years the invention of the chocolate chip cookie has been hailed a happy accident. Perhaps it was, or perhaps it was the ingenious invention of a clever lady. Devour every morsel of this mystery and decide if it was a lucky mistake or one smart cookie creation.

June 2018

The pitch winner was Patricia with her pitch for Amy’s Birdsong Aires/American Composer Amy Cheney Beach (NF PB ages 4-8)

Amy wasn’t an ordinary child. A musical prodigy, she could accurately sing any song she heard. Amy wanted to sing, play the piano, and write music, but girls in the late 1800’s didn’t grow up to do such manly things. Despite the times, her talents blossomed and she gained recognition.When a professor learned that Amy had perfect pitch, he asked her to help him ‘name the birds’, which ended up being a very important thing.

Erin’s comments were:

I like the idea of this story but in order for the pitch to catch an editor’s attention you need to clarify and simplify a bit. For instance, “naming the birds” until you read the story doesn’t make sense so you need to tell us exactly what the professor wanted  from Amy and what she did. Tell us because that’s what’s interesting. I’d also shorten it a bit by omitting some of the extraneous info. See below.

Amy wasn’t an ordinary child. She could accurately sing any song she heard. Amy wanted to sing, play the piano, and write music, but girls in the late 1800’s didn’t grow up to do such manly things. But when a professor learned that Amy had perfect pitch, he asked her to help him ‘name the birds’, which ended up being a very important thing. (tell us what exactly she helped the professor do.)

July 2018

The pitch winner was Greg with his pitch for The Remindeer (PB ages 4-10)

Wally has a very important job, to make sure everything goes smoothly for Santa on Christmas Eve. After going through his checklist and seeing Santa off, he discovers a present for Laurie has been left behind.

Unlike the other reindeer, Wally can’t fly. He calls a delivery service and finds out they are too busy to deliver the present. He’ll have to find another way to deliver the present and save Christmas for Laurie.

Erin had these comments:

How synchronistic that I’m reading this actually in the Christmas season! And it sounds great. My one suggestion is to tighten it up a bit and leave us with more of a question of how Wally will save the day. See my tweaks below.

Wally makes sure everything goes smoothly for Santa on Christmas Eve. But after seeing Santa off, he discovers a present for Laurie has been left behind.

Unlike the other reindeer, Wally can’t fly. He calls a delivery service but they are too busy. How will Wally get the present to Laurie and save Christmas?

Whew! That was a lot of pitch practice!  Have another brownie!

I hope you all found Erin’s input as helpful as I did! It’s great to get advice Straight From The Editor’s mouth!

One of these days, when Erin and I get our ducks in a row, we will finish the Straight From The Editor’s for 2018.  There are three more – one for September, one for October, and one for November/December.  But we’re still working on the last two pitch picks!  Seriously! Where is my brilliant, organized, volunteer personal assistant when I need her! 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone! Happy writing!

(P.S. and I hope some of that happy writing is on your Valentiny Contest entry! 🙂 )

Would You Read It Wednesday # 226 – Madeleine’s Crowning Moment (PB) PLUS The June And July Pitch Picks!!!

Good Morning, Everyone!

It’s Hope-You-Ate-Your-Wheaties Wednesday today!

We have A LOT to do!

(Which means you are excused from me waxing poetic about tomorrow being the first day of Autumn… or doing any form of interpretive dance to celebrate the very-nearly-here season premiere of Gray’s Anatomy… or practicing my sheep-song-in-progress which I’m composing in anticipation of the upcoming NYS Sheep & Wool Festival… or any of my other tomfoolery… because we have no extra time!  Lucky you 🙂 )

So let’s get right down to it, shall we?

You’ll be thrilled to know that at long last we are ready for the June and July Pitch Picks, so here goes!  (And a little side note: I don’t want to influence your choices by telling you which ones, but one of these pitches is for a story that has since sold for publication, and one of them earned its author a contract with an agent!  How awesome is that?  WYRI and all the help you guys give each other is really paying off! 🙂 )

June Pitch Pick

Please read through the 5 pitches below and then vote for the one you think most deserving of a read and critique from editor Erin Molta by Sunday September 25 at 5 PM EDT.  Winner will be announced next Wednesday (Sept.28)

#1 Susan – BOSSY BIRD (PB ages 3-8)

Bossy Bird is the largest, loudest and bossiest bird of the bunch.  When the fed up flock ruffles HIS feathers, he leaves the safety of the group.  With danger crouching around the corner, Bossy Bird must find a way to save the birds that sent him away and discovers that being the boss is not as important as being a friend.

 

#2 Greg – THE BATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE (PB ages 3-8)
Bogie wakes up to a strange new smell in his puppy nose. He goes to investigate and discovers a tray of paint in the living room. He dives in and enjoys the wonderful new scent and texture.

His brother discovers a paint soaked Bogie and decides to get him cleaned off before their parents return. His brother uses Bogie’s favorite toys and food to lure him into the bath with no luck. What will it take to give Bogie a bath, or is he destined to remain a colorful pooch forever?

#3 Sam – Crab And Gull (PB ages 4-8)

Gull wants Crab’s sandwich. Crab wants Gull to leave him and his sandwich alone. But when Gull goes missing, Crab’s treat just doesn’t taste as sweet. He packs up his food in search of Gull, and finds that sometimes cooking up a friendship a more important than cooking up a seaweed sandwich.

#4 Lindsay – BREAKDANCE BERTIE (PB ages 3-8)

With a grand-prize pool at stake, Bertie the emu wants to wiggle her way to victory in a breakdancing competition, but when hail destroys the boombox, Bertie and her barnyard pals must build their own beat.

#5 Lydia – Dancing Through Space (PB ages 3-7)

3-2-1- Blast off! Dr. Mae Jemison launches into space and accomplishes her childhood dream. Despite challenges along the way, she never gave up and went on to become the first African-American woman to orbit the earth.

July Pitch Pick

Please read through the 4 pitches below and then vote for the one you think most deserving of a read and critique from editor Erin Molta by Sunday September 25 at 5 PM EDT.  Winner will be announced next Wednesday (Sept. 28)

#1 Susan – PIZZA FOR THANKSGIVING? (PB ages 3-8)

As Thanksgiving approaches, Lennie is determined to save himself and the other turkeys from their dinner fate.  After his adoption plan, escape attempt and turkey slim down plan fall short, the gobbler must turn the tables with a dinner scheme that will deliver the rescue they need before they all become the main course.

 

#2 PJ – CAMP CRAZY MEATBALLS (PB ages 3-6)

CAMP CRAZY MEATBALLS is a zany picture book about siblings Matt and Morgan. Mom insists they go to camp for a week to break their routine of TV and computer games. But this camp isn’t quite what the kids expected. First, the counselors are talking animals, and second, everything—and I mean EVERYTHING— is made out of meatballs. Even their beds! And meatballs is the only thing on the menu! At first, the kids are thrilled—what kid doesn’t like meatballs—but meatballs morning, noon and night soon drives everyone crazy. In the end, the kids dream up a clever way to solve the dilemma and develop a new appreciation for broccoli.

#3 Robyn – FEAR ON THE MOUNTAIN (Upper MG ages 9-12)

What was supposed to be an idyllic birthday of fun and horseback riding becomes a grueling test of survival.
Thirteen-year-old Anna, a diabetic, doesn’t plan on getting lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina without her insulin bottle. But that’s what happens, thanks to the carelessness of Claire, her best friend.
When Claire’s horse gets loose they leave the trail to find him. They find themselves lost with nighttime closing in. Wild animals, a storm, and devastating injuries won’t stop Anna from searching for a way down the mountain. Or will they?

 

#4 Amy – Grizzie Moon Does NOT Like Cats! (PB ages 3-6)

When Bob the cat accidentally ruins Grizzie Moon’s extraordinary ghoul stew, he must find a way to save the recipe and win the favor of this persnickety witch before her Stitch and Witch Club arrives.

Phew!  All that reading and trying to decide which of those amazing pitches is the MOST amazing and deserves your vote is hard work!  I think it’s time for Something Chocolate (though of course when do I ever NOT think that? 🙂 )  How about some No Bake Brownie Batter Cheesecake?!

I thought you’d like that!  How can you go wrong when the title includes the words “no bake”, “brownie batter” and cheesecake”?

I believe second helpings are in order… there were TWO pitch picks after all… 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Tina who says, “I am Tina  Shepardson , age 50, completing my 27 th year of teaching . Currently I teach grade 6, most of those years have been in the middle school level . My husband and I have a 13 year old daughter , Payton. Our other children are 2 furry Akitas , a breed we adore.  I am working on my next career as it would be a dream co e true to write and visit children and teach in a different way.”

Find her on the web at https://www.facebook.com/tinamshepardson

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Madeleine’s Crowning Moment

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

The Pitch: Madeleine, a dog living in a shelter is looking for a sense of belonging and desire to make a difference. She has always wanted to compete in a pageant and discovers and opportunity to compete . Her experience leads her to learn a great deal about others . Will she achieve her goals and make a difference?

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 Tina 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 October, so you have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Tina is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to getting my kitchen sink fixed!  The sprayer broke, so every time I turn the water on, the sprayer sprays wildly and no water whatsoever comes out of the faucet.  It’s like an April Fool prank every time 🙂  The plumber assures me he can come fix it Saturday (by which point I will probably have soaked every item of clothing I possess by turning the water on with my mind on whatever story I’m writing and forgetting about that sprayer 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂