Week 6 – Summer Short & Sweet Challenge – Have You Been Bullied?

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This week, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Week 6 challenge is to come up with a pitch for a picture book. I offered sweets in my first pitch.

Badge created by Loni at http://www.loniedwards.com

A writer needs to include three key elements for a successful pitch—character, conflict, and stakes.

Susanna’s definition is a:
“[Character] who [a unique, special, or defining characteristic of said character] wants/needs [goal] more than anything but can’t get it because of [obstacle(s)].

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write an awesome pitch (or 2 or 3) for a picture book. The fun part? It doesn’t have to be for a book you’ve written. Or even intend to write.

It can be a pitch for something you think up right here right now this very second! Or a pitch for a work-in-progress! Or a pitch for a bit of an idea you’ve been ruminating on since breakfast! Or a pitch for someone else’s published book – you take the story and boil it down into a pitch! Or take the idea from someone else’s published book, or a nursery rhyme, or a fairy tale, and change a detail of the plot, setting, character, POV etc. and make it into a new pitch idea! Anything goes!”

The challenge got me thinking about bullies.

Tracy Campbell - Whimsical Work of Art

Tracy Campbell – Whimsical Work of Art

Here are four scenarios:
Your boss threatens your job when you refuse to work weekends
Your ex-spouse threatens to keep your children from you
The new kid in class threatens to beat you up
The big, bad wolf threatens little red riding hood

Yes, bullies exist even in fiction. And no matter our age, we’ve all encountered a bully or two.

So here’s my first pitch on a fairy tale.

Timid, red riding hood needs to swallow her fear when the big, bad wolf breaks into her cottage, snatching her last batch of oatmeal cookies.

Here’s a second pitch from my middle grade novel.

Working Title: “Georgia Rose McLean and the Poisonous Paper Plane”

A new boy in class jams bubblegum into eight-year-old, impulsive, Georgie’s ponytail. When her hair-brained scheme for revenge backfires, she thinks she can never go home.

My pitch needs work. A pitch should be no more than 25 words. An ideal pitch is 12 to 17 words.

For more information on what makes up a good pitch, check out Janice Hardy’s blog post

To find out what some of the top fears and concerns parents may have about sending their children off to their first day of school, check out Positive Parental Participation’s blog post. 

Have you dealt with a bully? How did you handle the bully? Would you have handled it differently?

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20 responses »

  1. WOW! Tracy, I love the fresh perspective on bullying…writing pitches about different bullying scenarios…I think you’ve hit on a great writing exercise for elementary grades and above that would also help kids verbalize their concerns about bullying. 🙂
    I’d be excited to read your story in the second pitch…I need to find out what happens. 🙂 In the first pitch with red riding hood…is that a fractured fairy tale you are in the middle of writing?
    Thank you so much for the link and mention…you rock!!!!

    • Yes, I truly believe kids don’t know how to verbalize their concerns about bullying and that’s how I came up with the idea for my middle grade novel. I’m thrilled you want to know what happens. I’ve completed my draft and am very slowly editing and rewriting. I chuckled about your comment on red riding hood. The pitch just popped into my head as I was writing the post. At this point, I haven’t a clue how little, red riding hood will get her last batch of cookies back. That’s that the beauty of writing, characters decide what happens next. And you’re most welcome about the link which I thought tied in beautifully. You rock too, Vivian!

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  3. I think your 2nd pitch sounds pretty unique. Nice illustration of the bunny! Maybe you can write a kids’ story to go with that, too!

    • Where oh where will I find the time to write and draw your wonderful suggestions, Tina?
      I hadn’t given any thought whether my bunny illustration might be the start of a story. Thank you for that.
      Into the idea folder it will go.

  4. Ah the chemistry of the artistic/scientific cauldron. Precise yet creative. Oh the challenges…….well met Tracy !!!!

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  6. Tracy I must give another Thank You to YOU for the little nudge you gave me just to write it and not think too much…You probably didn’t even know you did it but you did and Thank You from the bottom of my heart…I did week 2 and 3 today and will do 4 and 5 later after some fuel for the brain…It’s fun and especially when it’s not taken too seriously…Thanks for the nudge…

  7. Thanks very much Tracy and for all your comments and taking the time to read them…Lots of work to be done in writing but it is fun to learn…and if we don’t try we never learn…so thanks for inspiring and being easy about it…

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