Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Entry 4 Sherry Auger

title: A June Snowstorm in Maine
genre: chapter book
contact: ricksgalsherry@msn.com


Abigail sets out to save a local mom and pop grocery store destined to become a school bus turn-around. The once hated store that doesn't sell junk food has become a store she couldn't live without.

2nd line 1st paragraph 1st chapter

Yes, the store really is called Mr. Pickle's!

1st 250 words 2nd chapter

But now, on the way to Mr. Pickle’s store with Mom, I don’t understand how I ever survived without Mrs. Pickle’s whole-wheat carrot and pineapple muffins, or the heavenly zucchini bread she makes. When we arrived at Mr. Pickle’s he greets us like he always does.

“Hello! Hello Mrs. Snoot, Miss Snoot. How are you on this fine spring day?”

Of course, he doesn’t always say ‘spring.’ He’ll use whatever season it happens to be. Just thought I should point that out.

“We’re just fine, Mr. Pickle. How are you and Mrs. Pickle doing?” asks Mom, handing Mr. Pickle her grocery list. Mr. Pickle always insists on getting our groceries himself. He’s nice that way.

“Well,” begins Mr. Pickle. “We would be much better if we didn’t have to close our store by the tenth of June.”

“What!” I yell. “Close your store? You’ve been here forever. Not that you’re old or anything, but for as long as I can remember, and Mom can remember, and anyone I know can remember! You can’t do it. What would you do? Where would you go? Where would we buy our groceries?”

“Hush now Abigail,” Mom says. “Give Mr. Pickle a chance to explain before you pressure him with all your questions.”

“Sorry Mr. Pickle. Sorry Mom,” I say, hopping from one foot to the other impatiently.

“That’s okay dear,” says Mr. Pickle handing me a crispy and chewy oatmeal cookie. “It’s the highway’s fault really. Someone has decided that another school bus turn-around is needed and it’s being put here. There are more suitable places, but you know how those folks can be.


  1. I think this is a cute premise for a chapter book/younger audience. I love the second line: "Yes, the store really is called Mr. Pickles!" Sounds very authentic, like something a (ten?) year-old kid would say.
    I do, however, I get a little confused when reading your first 250 words. It starts out with me assuming that the young protagonist is already aware that the store is closing down, but then as we read down a little further, it becomes apparent that this is news to her? Do we know, in the first chapter, why the young Miss Snoot does not like the store? And why is she suddenly upset when she learns that the store's future is in jeopardy?

    Good luck with your story! I'm curious to know how Miss Snoot saves the day?

  2. Your pitch makes the think the main character hates the shop, but then you first 250 words makes me think she loves it. So I'm kind of confused.

    As for the 250 words, the sentence "“Hush now Abigail,” Mom says. “Give Mr. Pickle a chance to explain before you pressure him with all your questions.”" stood out to me. I guess I can't imagine my mom saying this. Maybe yours would, it just sounds too formal to me.

    I did this a lot with my first book. I wrote very formal, I had to go back and ask "how would my mom say this? How would so and so say that?" If this is the voice you're going for, then keep it. It's just my opinion.

    What age is this book aimed at? Young children or Middle Grade?

  3. Pitch: This sounds like a great premise for a early chapter book. I am not sure, though, where it falls. Is it middle level? Perhaps you can mention Abigail's age in the pitch?

    Questions/suggestions about the pitch: "mom-and-pop" should be hyphenated. "Once-hated" should also be hyphenated. I would look for a stronger verb to replace "sets out" in order to show more conflict. Maybe "struggles" or "fights". I wondered why Abigail can't live without a store she once hated. That confuses me, but I think it can be clarified in your pitch.

    2nd line: Very cute and fun! Brings our the character's voice.

    250 words: My suggestion--mainly for the dialogue--is to read it out loud. I think you'll want to pare it down a bit, as most people speak less formally and with fewer words. This will make your dialogue sound more like real language heard on the street, so to speak.
    Nitpicky thing: "Just thought I should point that out" felt intrusive to me. I reminds me of movie characters who turn to the screen and speak directly to the audience. I liked it better when Abigail stayed in the scene.

    Good luck!!