Stubborn Pancake

22 Oct

Rewind to a month before Mister is born…

I slide my fork into the pancake that looks more like pie and take a big bite.  At the same time, the B&B guest next to me decides to get chatty.

“So what do you do?” he asks.

The pancake is rich and sticky and does not go down easily. I gesture to Husband while I try to chew.

“She’s a writer.” he says.

“Oh, how interesting,” Mr. Chatty says. “What do you write?”

I keep working on my stubborn pancake and motion for Husband to keep going.

“She writes children’s books.”

“Really? What about?”

By now I’m able to sip some water to wash the rest of the bite down.

“I write picture books. And a chapter book about a tomboy.”


I really need to practice my elevator pitch. And take smaller bites.

I have a conference coming up (WPASCBWI) and I signed up for a one-on-one critique with an industry professional. Thinking I will probably sit down and get the question (What is your book about?), I need an elevator pitch. I’d really like your help with my pitch. Please. If you’d be so kind as to leave your feedback in the comments, I’d really appreciate it. Here is what I have so far:

Blossoms Are Always Prepared is a chapter book about a tomboy named Mabel who is good at a lot of things, but following rules isn’t one of them. That is why she saves a spider (which girls are not supposed to do) and eats all of the cookies for the cookie sale (which Blossoms are not supposed to do). But when Mabel’s rule breaking gets her kicked out of the Blossoms troop, she must decide how far she’ll go to find her biggest adventure yet.

What did you like? What seemed weak? What is your own elevator pitch?


Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Admitting You Write, Conferences


Tags: , , , , , , ,

5 responses to “Stubborn Pancake

  1. mary

    October 22, 2012 at 9:59 am

    As a tomboy, I was a little worried about how Mabel’s character would unfold. Would she be over the top/stereotyped? Would the Blossoms be too girly? Would she struggle to gain support from her family and find friends who respect her way of seeing the world? I only read the opening chapter but I think you nailed her intial character development. But BECAUSE I think you handled Mabel so graciously, I don’t think the pitch should include a “rule” that is based on gender bias (ie girls are afraid of spiders). God forbid the professional with whom you meet is more oversensitive to this than I am. Having “rules” framed by gender bias is risky — it might keep the professional from REALLY hearing you (and, more importantly, it might keep him/her from getting to know Mabel). Perhaps she could be characterized as having an independent streak? Maybe she is bold? Or fearless? Or plucky? Just as your writing so warmly introduced me to Mabel, I am sure you will be able to find just the right character trait to describe Mabel to the professional.

    • cocoanqueso

      October 22, 2012 at 10:19 am

      Thanks, Mary, for your comments. Not being heard is the opposite of what I want to do, so I really appreciate your help. I hope I’m not being too greedy with advice, but I thought if I add a little more information, you might be able to help me even more. I included the rules thing because they are a central theme to the story. Each chapter title is what another character tells Mabel is a rule (including that girls don’t like spiders). Do you think it would be cleared up if I included that they aren’t real rules, just other characters’ perceptions? Or should I ditch the mention of them entirely? I included it in the pitch because I thought it was something that made the story unique, but if you think it will hurt rather than help I can certainly change it. Thanks again!

  2. mary

    October 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Maybe the “rules” should (just for this meeting) be couched as “lessons.” I bet she is supereager to learn all sorts of big things in Blossoms, such as how to build a campfire/use a compass. I bet she is dying to learn all the words and hand gestures to “Hi, My Name is Joe” and to perfect a method of tree climbing that doesn’t ruin the tights her mother MAKES her wear. But I bet she has to learn some other, trickier lessons too, such as patience for people who think spiders are icky. And how to control her sweet tooth long enough to hold a successful bakesale. As I’ve not actually read the whole book, I doubt I’m characterizing her issues and personality traits properly, but you get the idea.

    • cocoanqueso

      October 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      You got pretty close to her, actually. “Lessons” sound good. I’ll give it a shot.


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