Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

LIFE WITH BOB (nonfiction)


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 AMcClanahan

AMcClanahan

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:In addition to the Healthy Place blog, I have been published at imperfectparent.com and in the Sosland Journal.

Posted 21 June 2011 - 04:19 PM

PLEASE SEE REVISION POST #8 - THANK YOU!

What do you do when your child is sick and no one wants to help? When it's all you can do to find a doctor willing to treat him at all? When the treatments, themselves, are experimental at best, and cause life-threatening reactions (while leaving his symptoms untouched) at worst?

You cry. And you fight. And you threaten to give up, but you can't bring yourself to actually do it.

Such is life when your child has a psychiatric illness.

"Bob", now nearing age 10, was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD at age six--but his problems began much earlier. A first-time mother, I learned quickly to determine what was "normal" and what wasn't; to run interference with child care providers and other parents; and to advocate for my child when no one else would.
LIFE WITH BOB is our story, told from my perspective as Bob's mother. From my initial denial of anything being wrong during Bob's tumultuous toddlerhood, to my remarriage and our attempt to create a family in the midst of chaos and everything in between, LIFE WITH BOB is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and rarely uneventful. While my words will certainly resonate with other parents of mentally ill children, LIFE WITH BOB appeals to a much broader audience--including parents of neurotypical ("normal") children and non-parents.

A former recipient of University of Missouri-Kansas City's Ilus W. Davis award for expository writing, I am also the author of the blog "Life With Bob" at HealthyPlace (dot) com, which received a silver award at the winter 2011 Web Health Awards. I am excited to present LIFE WITH BOB to you in more detail.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

#2 JohnS

JohnS

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 13 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 22 June 2011 - 06:05 AM

I like it. The only thing that struck me was that you use the title too often in one paragraph.

#3 khaulamazhar

khaulamazhar

    I need chocolate

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 354 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I write articles for Dawn(Pakistan) magazine,Ferozsons (Pakistan)has published a short children's story I wrote,I have written one YA novel that is being published and one that I am still editing.

Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:21 AM

What do you do when your child is sick and no one wants to help? When it's all you can do to find a doctor willing to treat him at all? When the treatments, themselves, are experimental at best, and cause life-threatening reactions (while leaving his symptoms untouched) at worst?
although the story seems interesting and readers may want to read on(especially if they are mothers), tips on querying usually suggest you not ask questions in your hook etc. Also I think you should avoid brackets.

You cry. And you fight. And you threaten to give up, but you can't bring yourself to actually do it. I think it is odd that you would threaten to give up, who did you threaten? You could reword this and show how you felt like you couldn't go on and stuff like that.

Such is life when your child has a psychiatric illness.

"Bob", now nearing age 10, was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD at age six--but his problems began much earlier. A first-time mother, I learned quickly to determine what was "normal" and what wasn't; to run interference with child care providers(not sure if you can use interference like that"run" I mean-but I could be wrong) and other parents; and to advocate for my child when no one else would.
LIFE WITH BOB is our story, told from my perspective as Bob's mother. From my initial denial of anything being wrong during Bob's tumultuous toddlerhood, to my remarriage and our attempt to create a family in the midst of chaos and everything in between, LIFE WITH BOB is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and but rarely uneventful. While my words will certainly resonate with other parents of mentally ill children, LIFE WITH BOB appeals to a much broader audience--including parents of neurotypical ("normal") children and non-parents.

A former recipient of University of Missouri-Kansas City's Ilus W. Davis award for expository writing, I am also the author of the blog "Life With Bob" at HealthyPlace (dot) com, which received a silver award at the winter 2011 Web Health Awards. I am excited to present LIFE WITH BOB to you in more detail.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.



I would definitely want to read this book

#4 khaulamazhar

khaulamazhar

    I need chocolate

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 354 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I write articles for Dawn(Pakistan) magazine,Ferozsons (Pakistan)has published a short children's story I wrote,I have written one YA novel that is being published and one that I am still editing.

Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:21 AM

What do you do when your child is sick and no one wants to help? When it's all you can do to find a doctor willing to treat him at all? When the treatments, themselves, are experimental at best, and cause life-threatening reactions (while leaving his symptoms untouched) at worst?
although the story seems interesting and readers may want to read on(especially if they are mothers), tips on querying usually suggest you not ask questions in your hook etc. Also I think you should avoid brackets.

You cry. And you fight. And you threaten to give up, but you can't bring yourself to actually do it. I think it is odd that you would threaten to give up, who did you threaten? You could reword this and show how you felt like you couldn't go on and stuff like that.

Such is life when your child has a psychiatric illness.

"Bob", now nearing age 10, was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD at age six--but his problems began much earlier. A first-time mother, I learned quickly to determine what was "normal" and what wasn't; to run interference with child care providers(not sure if you can use interference like that"run" I mean-but I could be wrong) and other parents; and to advocate for my child when no one else would.
LIFE WITH BOB is our story, told from my perspective as Bob's mother. From my initial denial of anything being wrong during Bob's tumultuous toddlerhood, to my remarriage and our attempt to create a family in the midst of chaos and everything in between, LIFE WITH BOB is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and but rarely uneventful. While my words will certainly resonate with other parents of mentally ill children, LIFE WITH BOB appeals to a much broader audience--including parents of neurotypical ("normal") children and non-parents.

A former recipient of University of Missouri-Kansas City's Ilus W. Davis award for expository writing, I am also the author of the blog "Life With Bob" at HealthyPlace (dot) com, which received a silver award at the winter 2011 Web Health Awards. I am excited to present LIFE WITH BOB to you in more detail.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.



I would definitely want to read this book

#5 mwsinclair

mwsinclair

    Elephant with a trunk full of novels

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,611 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented, media
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Journalist covering U.S. nonprofits, foundations, and life in general. President and Chief Elephant Officer of Elephant's Bookshelf Press, LLC. Since establishing the company in 2012, we have published ten books, including short stories by several AQC writers and debut novels by AQC authors A.T. O'Connor (aka Cat Woods), "ScubaSteve" Carman, and R.S. Mellette. Heading into 2016, we're aiming to publish at least two books, including the second Mellette novel and an anthology. In 2015, I saw a few memoir/nonfiction pieces published in Red Fez. I expect to do more of that in 2016 and beyond, while also looking to add freelance editing and writing clients.

Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:25 AM

Aside from it striking a note of fear in my mind, because I have young children, I found myself wondering about the opening. Questions in a query letter can rub people the wrong way. At leat they're not Yes/No questions.

But you answer them, and if I were an agent, I might say, "Well, that's done." In all seriousness, one of the questions an agent would be asking is whether this is a book or a couple of magazine articles. I don't get enough sense of where things are going from the query or whether they've been resolved. Is there an end? Is the book looking at the journey from pre-diagnosis to diagnosis to treatment (hopefully successful)? Are you and your child still in a series of steps forward and backward?

I like that you say you have a blog about this (I've not yet checked it out), because this demonstrates commitment and the potential for an audience. But at this stage, the query just hasn't grabbed me.

#6 Dorothy

Dorothy

    Dorothy

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 118 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Yes please...!

Posted 22 June 2011 - 09:35 AM

An event that began your process towards gaining new insight into your son's condition... or the event that sparked your first concern. This sort of 'visual' hook is something that we as readers can really hold onto. It might make a good hook for this fascinating story. As this is your story and your son's story, I want to know what the underlying spark was that forced you to communicate your experiences. I am already imagining the way this all pans out and i want to read it too!
GDE

#7 AMcClanahan

AMcClanahan

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:In addition to the Healthy Place blog, I have been published at imperfectparent.com and in the Sosland Journal.

Posted 22 June 2011 - 11:30 AM

thank you all for the feedback so far. :) i truly appreciate it!

#8 AMcClanahan

AMcClanahan

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:In addition to the Healthy Place blog, I have been published at imperfectparent.com and in the Sosland Journal.

Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:58 PM

REVISION:

When your child is sick, you want answers. But when no one wants to help, it’s all you can do to find a doctor willing to treat him at all, and treatment options are experimental at best and life-threatening at worst--what do you do?

You cry. You fight. You threaten to give up, but find you can't bring yourself to walk away.

Such is life when your child has a psychiatric illness.

"Bob", now approaching his tenth birthday, was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD at age six--but his problems began much earlier. A first-time mother, I learned quickly to determine what was "normal" and what wasn't; to run interference with child care providers and other parents; and to advocate for my child when no one else would.

LIFE WITH BOB is our story, told from my perspective as Bob's mother. From my initial denial of anything being wrong during Bob's tumultuous toddlerhood, to my remarriage and our attempt to create a family in the midst of chaos, LIFE WITH BOB is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and rarely uneventful. While my words will certainly resonate with other parents of mentally ill children, the story appeals to a much broader audience--including parents of neurotypical ("normal") children and non-parents.

A former recipient of University of Missouri-Kansas City's Ilus W. Davis award for expository writing, I am also the author of the blog "Life With Bob" at HealthyPlace (dot) com, which received a silver award at the winter 2011 Web Health Awards. I am excited to present LIFE WITH BOB to you in more detail.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

#9 JMB

JMB

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 500 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:29 AM

Hi, I can see why other young parents who are struggling with raising their own kids (especially difficult ones) would read your blog. I found it interesting. I know of several stories of very young kids being diagnosed (or misdiagnosed) as bipolar (including my sister's 5 yr old son, who has been kicked out of every private day care in her area) so this is a hot topic. That said, I think your book needs an angle--something more epic than I will share with you my stories of my son. Did you fight to keep him in public school? Did doctors suggest sending him away and you decided to keep him home? You need a story arc around which to weave your day-to-day struggles. Something for me to root for. A reason to turn the pages.

I also think you need to show us how your book is funny and how it is heartbreaking. Don't just tell us. We won't believe you unless we see signs of it in the query.

Twenty years ago, when my eldest son started pre-school, he and dozens of other boys in his school district were diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. There were no technical or anecdotal books for struggling parents to read. Now the market overflows with them, including fiction (Curious Incident of the Dog ...). Make sure you know the market and your place in it. If your blog has lots of followers, it might help establish a market for your book.

JMB

#10 kellyann

kellyann

    Recent Graduate of Guppy Pond

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 177 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:Short story - on Woman's Memoirs website

Posted 23 June 2011 - 05:40 AM

I agree with all previous suggestions. One question - why is bob in quotes?

I am not a parent so am one of those you want to become part of your target audience but I would leave out anything that is more suited for a proposal. I wouldn't say anything about it appeals to parent mainly but....just let the agent and myself decide that. You are obviously passionate about the subject and your son's struggles (and yours) let us "hear" that.

I do have friends that are bipolar so you COULD help me. Let me/agent know that in a hook. I personally like quick ancedotes i.e. At age..Bob... the teachers told me...while the doctors told me...I was...but as discouraged,scared (whatever you felt) I would do anything; this is my son! Someone had to help us.. That kinda of thing but just my opinion. Did you have insurance issues? changing meds all the time? Finding help? did you find help in the least expected place?

I only mention these particular things because my friend is bipolar etc..and I am trying to help him get Social Security Disability but I don't know if it's considered a medical condition or psychological disorder and he doesn't really know either. See you probably have all the answers for me and I hope to read your book!

Good Luck
It’s never too late to shoot for the stars regardless of who you are- Nickelback

#11 Cat Woods

Cat Woods

    Juvenile Junky and Clairvoyant Ninja

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,157 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:As Cat Woods: adult short stories in the Seasons Anthologies. Middle Grade Anthology: TALES FROM THE BULLY BOX (2014). Middle Grade Novel: ABIGAIL BINDLE AND THE SLAM BOOK SCAM (2015).

    As A.T.O'Connor: short stories in the Seasons Anthologies. YA Novel: WHISPERING MINDS.

Posted 23 June 2011 - 07:14 AM

I understand your project and respect your drive to get this book out there. However, I think JMB hit the nail on the head when she said, "...I think your book needs an angle--something more epic than I will share with you my stories of my son. Did you fight to keep him in public school? Did doctors suggest sending him away and you decided to keep him home? You need a story arc around which to weave your day-to-day struggles. Something for me to root for. A reason to turn the pages."

As a resource, you can check out Lynn Price at Behler Blog. She's an editor for a small publishing company that specializes in nonfic. She's cheeky, but I've always found extremely helpful information in her posts.

Best luck~

Cat Woods
Juvenile Junction Group Moderator


Words from the Woods~ Blog for Cat Woods
From the Write Angle~ Group Blog

Whispering Minds~ Blog for A.T. O'Connor

 

SpringFeversthumb.jpg   thefall_front_cover.jpg


#12 AMcClanahan

AMcClanahan

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:In addition to the Healthy Place blog, I have been published at imperfectparent.com and in the Sosland Journal.

Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:11 AM

@KellyAnn--bob is in quotes because it's a pseudonym. i included the "target audience" info because it was requested by the agent i plan to query; normally, i'd leave it out. :)

again, i appreciate all the feedback so far. particularly the "what's your angle" stuff--the real story isn't over yet and i'm not really sure WHAT my angle is. guess that would be a good thing to figure out...

#13 Eric

Eric

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 32 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:39 AM

When your child is sick, you want answers. But when no one wants to help, it’s all you can do to find a doctor willing to treat him at all, and treatment options are experimental at best and life-threatening at worst--what do you do?

You cry. You fight. You say you're going to give up, but find you can't bring yourself to walk away. (Not sure this works, but I would use a word other than threaten. I think this is an internal conflict.)

Such is life when your child has a psychiatric illness.

"Bob" (I would take out the quotes. I understand using them to indicate a pseudonym, but I think you could always tell an agent about that later without a problem if you get that far) now approaching his tenth birthday, was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD at age six--but his problems began much earlier. A first-time mother, I learned quickly to determine what was "normal" and what wasn't; to run interference with child care providers and other parents; and to advocate for my child when no one else would.

LIFE WITH BOB is our story, told from my perspective as Bob's mother. From my initial denial of anything being wrong during Bob's tumultuous toddlerhood, to my remarriage and our attempt to create a family in the midst of chaos, LIFE WITH BOB is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and rarely uneventful (I agree with the other comments, you need to show these). While my words will certainly resonate with other parents of mentally ill children, the story appeals to a much broader audience--including parents of neurotypical ("normal") children and non-parents.

A former recipient of University of Missouri-Kansas City's Ilus W. Davis award for expository writing, I am also the author of the blog "Life With Bob" at HealthyPlace (dot) com, which received a silver award at the winter 2011 Web Health Awards. I am excited to present LIFE WITH BOB to you in more detail.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

I might put the blog information at the top, since I think agents are attracted to popular blogs that become books.

#14 anne

anne

    annequinn (mother's maiden name)

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 137 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:two op-eds Hartford Courant; miscellaneous op-eds in local journals; two short stories and a couple poems in Long River Review; recepient of Jennie Hackman Memorial prize for short fiction two consecutive years. Most recent publication @ amazon.com a psychological thriller, The Sins of Dom (a novella) and They Think That I Am Somewhat

Posted 23 June 2011 - 12:36 PM

I was drawn to both your blog and video. My question is does Bob, your son, agree to your book about him? How does he feel about being exposed if the book were to get published? As you were writing about him was he involved too? The topic itself is a hot one as others have pointed out and with some tweaking, you can certainly get an agent's attention. But my allegiance is for the one with the disability who must endure the medications and struggles to fit in and seem normal. Yet, your query emphasizes parent (it seems) and what you've endured. Advocacy means arguing in your child's best interests. But you mention you learned (or accepted) early on (daycare) what was normal. Do you mean to say it was forced on you? Or did you belive Bob was abnormal? You express ambiguity in diagnosis, medications etc in your blog--Your query could hint at that inner conflict. I don't accept bipolar diagnoses in children, btw. But I realize it is what it is. Thats why I stick to fiction. GL

#15 mabim2002

mabim2002

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 14 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:Continuum. Patmos. The Indianapolis Star. Tikkun. Several book chapters, journal and Encyclopedia articles.

Posted 30 June 2011 - 11:06 AM

I was drawn to both your blog and video. My question is does Bob, your son, agree to your book about him? How does he feel about being exposed if the book were to get published? As you were writing about him was he involved too? The topic itself is a hot one as others have pointed out and with some tweaking, you can certainly get an agent's attention. But my allegiance is for the one with the disability who must endure the medications and struggles to fit in and seem normal. Yet, your query emphasizes parent (it seems) and what you've endured. Advocacy means arguing in your child's best interests. But you mention you learned (or accepted) early on (daycare) what was normal. Do you mean to say it was forced on you? Or did you belive Bob was abnormal? You express ambiguity in diagnosis, medications etc in your blog--Your query could hint at that inner conflict. I don't accept bipolar diagnoses in children, btw. But I realize it is what it is. Thats why I stick to fiction. GL


Involving Bob is a very important point. Bob's response to being written about is crucial. As a 10-year old, he is old enough to have a say in this. Has he read the blog, the proposal, the book (if you have a draft)? As a mental health provider, I would highly recommend that you give to him everything you write about him and take very serious his response to it, lest you may inadvertently damage your relationship with him in the years to come.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users