HH Com 129

The Bridge (aka The Money Song) is a story told through a systems programmer for an ATM network who, past middle age, growing bored and disillusioned with his career, becomes increasingly obsessed with risk taking.

Of the young woman—a compulsive slots player trapped in an abusive relationship with a corrupt OPP officer—whom he selects as the first victim of his sophisticated, bankcard cloning scheme; and of their evolving relationship which threatens not only his marriage, but his life.

Of the bright young Amish boy on rumspringa whom he befriends and grooms as his professional protégé—even though he has never used a computer, or a telephone.

Set around the quaint tourist town of Elora and surrounding southern Ontario communities, it reaches out to encompass Canada and the world.

A tightly interwoven story, augmented with memories, reflections, exposés, anecdotes, commentaries, themes, motifs, allusions and a recurring dream that becomes increasingly urgent as the plot unfolds.

An articulate, clear voiced, well cast, open minded, multi-tiered novel that is stark and believable and yet hauntingly surreal; vividly and yet sublimely sexual; brutally violent and yet tender and empathic; highly technical and yet readable and ethereal; informative and yet blatantly opinionated; alert and funny; satisfying on many levels, to the end… and beyond.


Here is the CLASSIC example of why I beg and plead with you not to tell me what your story "is". That last paragraph is a ludicrous list of attributes for a novel. "open minded". Dog spare me.

The only thing worse than that paragraph is the one before it.

DON'T DO THIS. It makes you look clue free.

Now, about the first four paragraphs. Who's the protagonist? The guy cloning bank cards and wrecking people's lives? Tell HIS side of the story. You've said he's disillusioned. Why? What happens if he gets caught? Is he risking more than jail?

You can recover from this mess. You've got a nuggat of a good idea.


MichaelPH said...

If I were the author...I'd hit <--Backspace so fast on those last two 'graphs faster than you can say "Worldwide embarrassment". Of course it'll go away with a touch of a button. Except on this webpage of course.

Chumplet said...

I'm not sure about the story and how a scam connects with Elora, except for the Amish kid - but I've been to Elora and the gorge nearby many times. I hope you've woven that beautiful countryside into your story.

Forgive my ignorance, but aren't the Mennonites more common in that area? You should probably make the kid a Mennonite.

ello said...

I am wincing for you author. I'm sure you are hitting yourself on the head over those last two paragraphs. Things seem like a good idea when you are working by yourself in the wee hours of the morning. It reads like what you would find on the flap or a review so you probably thought you were on the right track. But now, the big problem is that I can't even remember your story - all I can remember is those last two paragraphs. And I'm sure that is not what you were going for. I went back and blocked out the last two paragraphs in my reread and the story itself sounds like it would be interesting if you had more detail.

Good luck.

KingM said...

I don't think this is a regular reader of the blog. Any regular reader could have heard that "aaaaarghhhhhhh" barrelling down on them as they poised to click send.

HawkOwl said...

Roget's Disease: the ludicrous overuse of far-fetched adjectives, piled into a festering, fungal, tenebrous, troglodytic, ichorous, leprous, synonymic heap.

And unlike Miss Snark, I don't think your plot is worth rescuing. Especially the part with the abusive relationship. Everybody writes up abusive men as all-around jerks such as corrupt whatever whatever. In reality, you can be a great person to your friends and your job, and abusive to your life partner.

MWT said...

Of those first four paragraphs ... they're so convoluted that it takes me at least three reads (each) to have any hope of comprehension. I read that second one twice to confirm that there is, indeed, no main verb anywhere in it. This puzzled me until I got to the third one, and I could see what pattern you were trying for. After that I stopped, so at least I never got to those last two paragraphs that caused the "arrrrrghhh". ;)

Try for clarity. Say what you mean. Don't be frilly about it.

shelby said...

I do think there's a nugget of a good idea here, but don't buck the form of a hook, or any form for that matter, until you have completely mastered the form itself. Also, just pick one title and stick with it. No need to list all of the other ones you like. At the end, when you're describing what your book "is," you're basically describing all of the ways you're a wonderful writer, and nobody wants to hear that. I like the Amish boy, I think (not enough detail, really), but I agree in that area to consider making him Mennonite. Good luck with this one--I think you can make it work.

Anonymous said...

My two cents, maybe three.

My advice and I have learned this by reading many books about agents and publishing delete the last two paragraphs. Let the editor or agent decide that your story is “A tightly interwoven story…”

Your hook is not clear but, I understand the premise…it has been done before. That does not mean the story cannot be used again; it just means it needs a refreshing new start. I would write the hook by just explaining the jest of the story. Try not to put to many eggs in one basket, which is the synopsis job.

Good Luck!

A Paperback Writer said...

I think that last paragraph reads like a singles' website profile -- at least I've read a few like that.

Anonymous said...

I think he did give us the "jest" of the story! ;)

The structure of the second and third paragraphs really bothered me. Didn't make sense to me at all.

And I echo the others' sentiments about the last two paragraphs.

But I think there's a decent idea here.

Sandymount Songs said...

No comma after "sophisticated". The Amish youth is an original character but characters do not a story make. And the hero appears to be unappealing.
To be honest though I feel the writer does want to tell a story and there could be a TV movie here.

Heidi the Hick said...

As a baptized, pickup truck driving, radio listening Mennonite from southern ontario...I beg you to do your research on Amish and old order mennonite culture!!!!

There are differences that even I would be hard pressed to describe. Do not screw this up. Most of the world won't know the difference but little things can really ruin any veracity you're trying to achieve. I can tell you that personally I hate seeing this faith misprepresented. Please know what you're talking about!

Heidi the Hick said...

I'd like to also add:

quaint + amish= boring. It's been done- even the amish are sick of it!

Kristi said...

Too much descriptive language. You probably figured this out already. But I bet if you cut out half of the flowery stuff, this could turn into something good. Keep trying.

Anonymous said...

Um...nice suggestion for a TV movie. Know any good directors or producers? Even published authors don't get deals for TV movies, and this adjective fest is nowhere near getting published.

Anonymous said...

Do not EVER tell an agent or editor how jaw-droppingly wonderful you are. Ever. Ever.

For one thing, they might want to decide that for themselves.

For another thing, it's taken for granted. Every single author who submits his or her book anywhere thinks that it's good. Using two paragraphs to explain that is like using two paragraphs to explain: 'What happened first was that I got the idea for the book, and then I wrote part of it, and then I wrote another part, and then I wrote another part, and then I wrote another part, and then...'

For a third thing, I read slush for a few years and a self-worshipping cover letter was an insta-reject - because we all knew from experience that this indicates, without fail, a truly terrible book.

Kit Whitfield said...

Based on the hook, I wondered whether any of the characters were a self-portrait. If that's the case, you'll need to be careful not to idealise him or her too much, and look up Mary Sue on wikipedia.


Anonymous said...

I think this can work in a Paper Moon kind of way. As long as the interaction between the kid and the adult is cool enough. But, yeah, in your hook, lose the self-promotion of the last couple paragraphs.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't realize this crapo thing was done. Had to google to find this great feedback. This is the first "hook" sub I've tried and can totally see where I've shot myself in the foot. I confused the agent pitch with the jacket hype... and even so, arggghhh. Needless to say if I ever to try to get this publihshed, I'll take all of this to heart. Thank you all very kindly for your honest remarks and help, especially you Ms. Snark.

Chris (author of this embarrassing hook)