HH Com 124

Colin Metcalf sat hunched at his tying table, in a silent, third floor room.

Until a few moments before, his careful ministrations at the fly tying vise had been accompanied, even punctuated, by the steady ticking of the grandfather clock. But now the chains hung slack; the weights lay on the bottom of the case; the pendulum only quivered.

Colin stared down at his future, an untidy bundle of fur and feathers clamped tightly in the vise’s jaws. His eyes narrowed.

The fly might be made of dead animals. But why did it seem to smell of dead animals?

He'd spent forty five minutes tying a single artificial fly, far too long a period of time even allowing for the interruption of olfactory hallucinations. He’d left everything too late, of course. **When he’d first sent off the proposal eight weeks of prep time had seemed like an extravagance.

The sun was insistent; it was time to stick a fork in winter. The last remnants of snow disappeared from the roof of the century old Tudor monstrosity across the road and ran wetly down the shingles. And far outside the city, Colin imagined, the ice on a prairie lake candled and cracked and, under a strong south wind, gave up the year’s first glimpse of trout-infested water.

Across the room, on the other side of the hall, someone from the tenant-infested lower levels of his house knocked insistently on the stairwell door.


This is a first page I'd guess ...but WTF is it? And the sentence after ** has no connection to what came before.

You desperately need a hook in a query letter here so you can tell us what you're trying to do. Think of a hook as map, or a list of freeway entrances to the Narrative Autobahn.


chris said...

"Trout-infested water"? You make that sound like a bad thing. I'd think a guy who ties flies would see it more like "teeming with trout."

Kelley Bell said...

Oh Miss Snark...
(Kelley says in a sing song voice.)

My dear,

I think your leg is being pulled all the way to Atlanta, at night.


Anonymous said...

You've got it, but you're trying too hard. Stop forcing the writing to sound good and just write. Stop worrying about being cleverly competent and just write. The story will arrive more clearly on the page when you just write.

Cheryl Mills said...

I was bothered by the use of 'infested' twice in close proximity. Author, might want to see how many other places you've used it; it's an unusual enough word (especially used in this way) to become a joke to the reader.

Other than that, I am interested in this fly-tying guy. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that things don't remain normal for long.

HawkOwl said...

Exactly. WTF.

JPD said...

Am I insane for thinking this was another sarcastic submission to the CoM?

"Across the room, on the other side of the hall, someone from the tenant-infested lower levels of his house knocked insistently on the stairwell door."

JPD (staring upwards into the abyss below him...)

Seanachie said...

Count me hooked. Shades of Richard Brautigan here, mixed with a little Barry Yourgrau - though the actual writing does need some finessing.

I really want to know more about this mysterious proposal, and whether or not Colin catches anything, so I'd certainly ask for pages.

One of the best so far - though I am a sucker for surreality.

Anonymous said...

It bothers me that people would waste the time of a generous person with hoaxes.
I guess it's the same sort of person who says spiteful things to the winners.
The kind of person I hope I'll never understand.

Kristi said...

Maybe I'm crazy but I really like this writing. A lot. It flows nicely, other than the extra 'infested' and the lack of an actual hook. Get it? Hook? Fishing? Baited breath? Anyone? Bueller?

I liked it.

Anonymous said...

If it's really a joke:

Once you realised Miss Snark had 700 of these things to read, why didn't you withdraw it? I withdrew one of mine because I had two submitted and I felt greedy.

If you were being serious, I am truly sorry that people are calling your work fake.