HH Com 104

Her hippie upbringing came back into her life in way she never imagined. Not that anyone would suspect that an uptight control freak like Sage Ingram could have come from such a liberal background. Certainly not husband Ted. At first Sage had wanted to tell him but where would she start? “Remember that image of the naked little girl in the Woodstock movie? That was me!” The past’s the past and now she’s up to her neck with
the present, running a business and raising a troubled teenage stepdaughter. Her past reasserts itself when she receives a call and learns that her estranged father has been dead for 35 years.

Sage reconnects with her hippie roots when she returns to Upstate New York to bury her dad. She visits the defunct commune which dredges up memories of pot smoking, drug taking and the communes’ cash crop: marijuana. She remembers better aspects: eating homegrown food, playing with pig bladder balloons, and falling asleep to folk songs.

She makes a disturbing discovery when she finds a lighter that belonged to Trip, another commune member, in her father’s personal effects. Trip was a Vietnam Veteran who became her mother’s lover. How did her father end up with his lighter?

My novel, Hippie’s Child is 80,000 words, and was inspired by my childhood spent in the heart of the commune scene in upstate New York. Anyone curious about what commune life was like for a hippie’s child will enjoy Sage’s journey of self discovery.

You've got an interesting idea here but it's buried in unfocused, chronological blather. A hook does not have to begin with the first event of the book or even a description of the heroine. Start with the interesting stuff: her father, estranged from her for 35 years, dies and she's in charge of burying the old fart. You don't need to tell us she was a hippie child overtly; you can show us by what you talk about.

And "journey of self disccovery" is never ever something I want to see in a query letter, but that may just be me.


anon13 said...

...learns that her estranged father has been dead for 35 years.

...returns to Upstate New York to bury her dad.

Miss Snark seems to have read this as being estranged for 35 years, but I got sidetracked by wondering what would be left to bury after 35 years of being dead. Perhaps you could clarify it a bit?

cm allison said...

I was a bit confused, from the way the sentence read I thought she'd just found out her father had been dead for 35 years. Then i wondered why she was going back to bury him 35 years after his death. Reburial?

December Quinn said...

I thought maybe he'd been missing for 35 years and the body was just found, because I didn't get that either and it was the only explanation I could come up with.

Anonymous said...

Please make it a better clue than a lighter. I've brushed with commmune living myself and the item exchange is all over the map.

A mere lighter--unless it's a super special lighter the Nam vet NEVER loaned, had a freak out when it went missing (hard to see that), was famous for his loooove of that lighter--ain't gonna cut it. A jock strap, a diary, a scrapbook of his arrest records might work better.

Southern Writer said...

A jock strap? How would she know it was Trip's? Does it have his name written inside? That's funny!

Time anomaly aside, I'd read this because I was a hippie girl and think you gave the characters very fitting names. I never mind being swept back to those times. I always feel a little sorry for those who never got to experience them.

Anonymous said...

"Her hippie upbringing came back into her life in way she never imagined."

Maybe it's just me, but I stumbled trying to pick up an antecedent for "her", which doesn't appear until halfway into the second sentence. I would put the name first, and alternate with the pronoun as needed for clarity and rhythm.


HawkOwl said...

The concept is very done, and I too wonder what there is to bury when someone has been dead 35 years, and why his personal effects are still intact, and who cares if he has someone else's lighter. Lighters change hands a lot, especially when owned by potheads. Plus it's another "uncovering hidden truths" kind of thing.

Xiqay said...

1. I could guess she had Hippie parents. Hell her name is Sage. 35 years ago, "normal" parents weren't naming their daughters Sage.

2. Was her father dead for 35 years? Why wasn't he buried then?

This would be a no in my book. But congrats for getting Miss Snark's interest, if only fleetingly.

wonderer said...

An interesting twist on the "returning to hometown" plot. Condense and refocus: Sage has a hippie past that conflicts with her present; she goes to bury her father (or father's bones?) and discovers a mystery; add more plot points here.