3rd SR Crapometer #52

Dear Miss Snark,

The Brights are a family of little joy and few talents. Their only claim to fame is a history of the most beautiful hair in Parch County, Kentucky. Poor Headley Bright is born with a scant seven threads of hair that start on the far left side of his head and flip over his pale crown, giving him a permanent comb-over. His odd appearance and surprising intellectual gifts make him a curiosity in his small town. After hearing his mother say that his father could be living on the moon for all she knew, young Headley finds escape in the stars and dreams of being an astronomer.

He tries to take care of his troubled mother, Shenandoah, as she chases one miracle after another in the hopes of making a better life for her son. Headley’s dreams seem far away until Shenandoah drags him on a pilgrimage to Georgia to visit “The Dale”, a healing, tear-weeping, soda machine imprinted with the image of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. While there, Headley meets Claire Mitchell, a free-spirited girl with plans to go toCalifornia to become an actress. Her energy and friendship are just the kick he needs.

When Headley is confronted on a television show with his real father, he has to accept the truth of his family roots, blighted as they might be. His dad is an infamous con-man, not the idealized hero Headley always imagined. His roots might help make Headley who he is, but they don’t have to determine who he can become. He’s a southern charmer who never loses his sense of humor in his quest to reach Claire, StanfordUniversity and the stars that have been calling his name since childhood.

Moon Pies and Miracles is a 70,000 word, southern mainstream manuscript. It is similar in tone to Where the Heart Is or The World According to Garp. (that's like saying a book is similar in tone to Frankenstein and Paradise Lost cause they're both creation stories)

I have had humor articles published in X and Y Parent magazine. My work has also been published in the anthologies of XYZ , a ABCforcity-based group. My background is in public relations, which as we all know, can sometimes require a bit of creative fiction as well.

Thanks so much,

There's no plot to speak of here.
You're confusing a sequence of events with plot.

I like moon pies as much as the next grits lovin', fried okra chompin' , dr pepper swillin' girl but this dawg don't hunt.

Moon Pies and Miracles

Chapter One

Shenandoah Bright came from a family of little joy and few talents. There was however, one shining trait that gave them a sense of superiority over their neighbors in rural Parch County, Kentucky, and that trait was extraordinary hair.

As far back as anyone could remember (and they have pictures and diaries to prove this) the Brights had the most beautiful, lustrous, full heads of hair in the county. Some said in the state. Oh, there were whispers about a daughter born to a second cousin twice removed who was said to be afflicted with split ends; but no one dared talk aloud about such a tragedy and the cousin had the sense to move to Tennessee where her child could live in peace. Everyone agreed the Bright follicles were pure gold that spun a legend of mystery around the clan.

So as Shenandoah grimaced through her contractions and drove herself to Community Regional Hospital, she expected to welcome a child with the soft, honey-colored curls every Bright baby had been born with for generations. The father was a drifter who blew through town romancing Shenandoah with original poems he said he wrote just for her. Poems like How Do I Love Thee and My Love is Like a Red Red Rose. She fell madly in love (or something close to it) with the brown-eyed stranger who talked so pretty. Sad to say, he and his pretty talk were long gone before her expanding belly gave anyone the notion she was expecting.

When the baby arrived, Shenandoah tried to focus her teary eyes on the crying bundle the doctor placed in her arms. She blinked, sure she was hallucinating. “This, this…is my baby?” she asked.

“Of course he’s yours, honey,” the young nurse said and patted Shenandoah on the arm. “And he’s a big one, too. Weighs eight pounds and ten ounces.”

The baby had a scant seven threads of hair that were so thin you could see straight through them. They weren’t the color of honey, but more the faded brown of a wasp’s nest. The oddest thing was that the strands started on the far left side of his head and looked to be about six inches long.

this is backstory.
You need something zippier to get me to read this.


magz said...

I actually yawned while reading this, yet I'd have taken it to bed with me in a heartbeat. I WILL finish reading since I finish reading every single book I start,
yet ths could be... maybe,
a stronger opener. For Them.

It sux to hear that it's all about Show, for this may be a great story. You GO Author! Regards, Maggie aka Magz

Anonymous said...

Glad to learn Miss Snark knows about grits, fried okra and Dr. Pepper. She might reside in the 212, but she realizes there is life outside there.

Virginia Miss said...

I like this author's voice. The hair stuff and the comb-over is funny.

The query needs serious paring, and it should highlight the conflict.

Wabi Sabi said...

I think your writing is measured - and so it comes across with authority. Original and quirky, too. The writing is strong enough to hold up this back-story as an opener but I think you will need to make 'something happen' soon. KBO as Winston Churchill used to say. . .

Anonymous said...



Freakin' H-A-I-R????

I'm trying to think of a useful comment to help the writer, but all that comes to mind is trim the hair gimmick and introduce us to the intellectual trailer trash, (and there dang well better be a story to this with a beginning, middle, and satisfying END). I can say that since growing up in the seedy south is in my background, but we had more sense than to name family members after geograpical features.

JacklynKy said...

This is my dog...so thanks Miss Snark for your comments. Sorry I made you yawn, Maggie. Heavens, I guess I better get to work!


Sherry Decker said...

Sort of reminds of of Forest Gump, but . . Forest wasn't very interesting. The people around him were. Keep trying - I think you're on the right track. You need something at the beginning though, a grabber line. Good luck.

Nitpick said...

This might be nitpicking...but the last few wasps' nests that I've seen were a gray colour.

Kim said...

At first I thought of Irving's 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' and did an eye roll. Then I hit the part about the Dale soda machine and got the giggles. The opening is a little slow - but c'mon - how can you resist a mother making a pilgrimmage to a healing soda machine with an image of Dale Earnhardt on it??? I don't even LIKE NASCAR and I thought that was kind of funny. Author - work on adding a little zing and run with it :)

writtenwyrdd said...

I read your query and thought Wow! Bald men are smart! Glad you helped me out with that one!

Sorry, that was my overwhelming reaction.

The writing itself wasn't bad, but I might not have read further depending on my mood. A slow start in a genre that I don't generally read might keep me from continuing. I would say this was pretty good, gave me a lot of backstory but in a way that was tolerable.

Get to the good stuff quick, though.

Pamela said...

I think there's a book in here somewhere that I'd like to read. You have a great voice, and I'm with Kim on the soda machine. So this might not have won the Snark stamp of approval as a submission, but as a work in progress, I think it's got great potential.

Anonymous said...

You know, this is the only one I've been intrigued by. But maybe because I'm Southern. I'd definitely read more.

Love the soda machine.

JacklynKy said...

Thanks to all who left a comment. I appreciate the time you took to read this and share your reactions.

It is encouraging to see there is agreement on the what works and what doesn't.

I realize this a quirky little tale that many people will scratch their heads over and say "huh?". But I believe in it and will keep plugging away to make it better.

Thanks again!! Y'all are great.


JLauren said...

I like it. I think you're a good writer. I didn't find the beginning at all boring and I would keep reading at this point.