230 (226)

NOT MINE TO KEEP/women's fiction; 85,000 words

The nurse placed a bundle in my arms. “It's a girl.”
I had no idea. They hadn't told me.
“You have half-an-hour,” she said, closing the door behind her.
Thirty minutes.
An I Love Lucy episode. A quiz show. The six o'clock news.
A lifetime.
I never expected to hold my child. The girls at the convent said it wasn't allowed. They scared me witless with their stories, the rumors they'd heard. We'd be blindfolded, they said, so we wouldn't see our babies when they were born. We'd have to wear earplugs to shut out the crying, and our arms would be strapped to the table because the nuns didn't want us contaminating our children with our touch.

(your hook starts here)
Maddy never told anyone about the baby she gave away thirty-five years ago. Back then, unwed mothers were told to forget their children and never, ever to search for them. But when her husband abandons their childless marriage for his pregnant girlfriend, Maddy decides to break her silence--and the law--by searching for her daughter.

She takes a job, caring for a prickly teenager and her shy, five-year-old sister who challenge Maddy's dormant mothering skills and remind her of what she's been missing. Frustrated by red tape and false leads, Maddy attends an adoption support meeting and falls afoul of an angry adoptee whose bitterness toward all birthmothers forces Maddy to face the very real possibility her own daughter might not even want to be found.

then what?

You've got the start of the story here. We need to know what the stakes are. If she can't come to terms with not looking for her child? If she does and she breaks the law is she going to jail?

(And if this is your story, written as fiction therapy, and you placed your child for adoption, well, simply, thank you. Many among the extended Snarkastrians are here by choice rather than biology. We love them beyond measure, as you did, and do. )


A Paperback Writer said...

Of course, Miss Snark is right, but some of this sounded really interesting. I liked the first part (that wasn't the hook), too. Keep working with this thing. I hope to find it on a shelf at my favorite independent bookstore sometime in the future.

wavybrains said...

I'm intrigued. And I'm with Miss Snark--if this fiction therapy, hats off to you. If it's not fiction therapy, make sure you have a good grasp of the law in this area--it's not illegal to search for an adoption reunion. Many states (like Oregon) now make it easier for adoptees and birthmothers to find each other. It IS illegal to hack databases etc, but it's not illegal to ask questions and try to piece together facts. You've got a kernel of something really great here though--I hope you stick with this. I really liked your voice.

Geminipen said...

Hey Thimble -

Was glad to see your hook up here! I remember your story and how anxious I was to read more on CC. You have the makings of a great novel.

Good luck on perfecting the hook!

You should look at mine (#138). It got ugly at times.... :)

Dave said...

They have to meet. Mother and daughter have to meet. Regardless of the outcome of the meeting, happy or sad.

The first paragraph is heartrending stuff. (they are playing Mahler on PBS tonight and I'm always emotional over Mahler) No other story is more compelling than a parent searching and finding a lost child.

Anonymous said...

I've read this book and I too hope to see it on a bookstore shelf in the near future. Just too bad the hook didn't snag Miss Snark.

HawkOwl said...

Your title is absolutely awful, but that's ok, marketing will change it. The topic is great. I hope you rock it.

Zappadong said...

I would like to read this story. Paragraph 1 did it for me - wonderful language.

I got enough info from the rest of the text to convince me - be it a hook or not.


Kim said...

This story strikes a note here, on a topic near and dear to my family. I would read on, but I do have to wonder why it is breaking the law to search for her daughter? As far as I know, there is no reason why a parent can't search for a child, or vice versa, even if the adoption records have been sealed. Especially nowadays, when searching for birth people isn't uncommon. As long as you aren't hacking into the databases, like one of the other commenters suggested.

That said, that opening paragraph made me choke up, and made me want to go upstairs and squeeze my baby boy. And I hope the story ends well for your heroine - good luck with this!

on a lighter note, my word ver was quxapoo. Go figure

Hypergraphia said...

I do agree that this has great potential. A definite on my "I would read it" list.
I agree - make sure you study up on the adoption laws and the practicality of searching for a birth mother. My sister found her husbands' birth mother in less than an hour on the internet. Maybe you could pre-date the story to a non WWW era?
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

First off, I loved the title.

And I loved the "non-hook" part. Very moving and, I thought, realistic (although admittedly not from personal experience).

I would read it. Good job.

kates said...

I love this! It has a vaguely similar theme as my novel-in-progress, so I'd be sooo interested to read it. Good luck!