12.19.2006

HH Com 164

Abe Lincoln is an eccentric, 25-year old, 10th grade history teacher in a small Midwestern town. He has grown accustomed to his famous moniker and is a magnificent educator and student favorite. One night, a guy with a mustache and a chick with an eye patch kidnap Abe. They stuff him into the trunk of their white Ford Taurus and drive north, across the border, into the remote areas of Manitoba. Along the way they meet a bizarre cavalcade of strange characters, including a well-groomed, three-legged wolf, a mannequin dressed up like a fisherman, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer with a penchant for juice, palindromes, and candy necklaces, a family of traveling evangelicals, and a fugitive Elvis look-alike who may or may not be the real Elvis. When the kidnappers relay the ransom demands to Abe’s family, they are met with reluctance. The negotiating goes on for six months: All while Abe becomes infatuated with his abductors and begins to hope he is never rescued.

Ruthless People meets The Ransom of Red Chief

Focus. The moniker thing isn't germane to the hook as far as I can tell. The parade of characters isn't either. What's the conflict in this book? His family doesn't want him back? Why? He's a "magnificant educator" (a phrase fast tracked for the Clunk Hall of Fame) and a "student favorite". You've set us up to think he's a nice guy. Maybe his family is a bunch of losers...but you don't tell us that at all.

Focus.

15 comments:

Jodi Meadows said...

Try some semicolons in that list of characters, since you've got a lot of commas running around.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a lame rip-off of the song 'Adopduction' by Les Savy Fav from their Go Forth album, which is about a guy who gets kidnapped and grows affectionate with his abductors. Here's the beginning of the lyrics:

Kidnapped!
I was kidnapped.
I dreamed I was kidnapped.
By a guy with a moustache and a chick with an eye patch...

BernardL said...

This hook needs some hint of humor, badly. The funny part might be the king's ransom it would take to support a group of kidnappers like this for six months. I hope Abe's the love child of Donald Trump. :)

Ski said...

I like the premise. My impression is that this is light-hearted with a possible twist or two into serious issues. I wish you Good Luck.

Rgds..........Ski

Virginia Miss said...

What's the ransom demand?

The kidnap and characters look interesting, but there's no hook here.

I thought the first two sentences, and the final sentence, are very weak. In what way is he eccentric? Give us one interesting detail instead.

By the way, the situation of dragged-on negotiations and infatuation with captors was done brilliantly by Patchett in Bel Canto.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of Stephen King for some reason. And, I can't get the sleep med commercial with Abe Lincoln and the woodchuck out of my head.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't need to be kidnapped. He can be fed up and run off with the couple, then learn lessons from the kooks along the way or something.

It's better for hero to make decisions (like running off) than have things taken from his hands (like being kidnapped). When he makes a perhaps unwise decision, then he has to deal with consequences. Push your guy over a cliff and see if he flies or kisses dirt.

And c'mon--unless his family owns a bank the couple is pretty dang dumb to kidnap a teacher. (A profession infamous for low salaries.)

Crys said...

that's a whole lot of characters to deal with, is all i'm saying.

but it's definitely not uninteresting.

angie said...

I don't understand why Abe was chosen to be kidnapped. I couldn't get over the randomness here. I have to confess that I'm just not a fan of Stockholm syndrome, either.

Some of the quirky characters were interesting, and if you come up with a strong engine for the story it could be a fun read.

Anonymous said...

and it might be better if "Abe" were a lesbian...

Crys said...

that last comment made me har

writtenwyrdd said...

This reminds me of Tom Robbins' style of writing. The characters sound odd enough to be interesting; but the bits of plot you describe don't interest me, probably because I am not a fan of Stockholm Syndrome either.

Writerious said...

If he's only 25, he couldn't have been teaching long. Teaching requirements vary from state to state, but where I live, the four-year Education degree is vanishing and most high school teachers have a Bachelor's degree in the subject that they want to teach and a Master's in Education or an MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching), which usually takes a year to a year and a half to earn. So if someone goes straight from high school to undergrad to grad school, they'd emerge at age 22 or 23 at the youngest.

I think 30 would be a more believable age.

Why was he kidnapped? Just for ransom? A high school teacher -- held for ransom? Just how much money do these kidnappers think teachers and their families earn?

Anonymous said...

It IS a rip off of that song. It was totally inspired by the Les Savy Fav. I am planning on acknowledging such if it ever gets published.

I'm impressed that someone noticed.

Anonymous said...

To answer questions:

Yes it's based on Les Savy Fav song.

His family is rich.

A 25 year old teacher is not unrealistic. I am 23 and a teacher myself.

The ransom is high, but his parents are uber conservative and they "don't negotiate with terrorists" (That's why they don't pay.)

Maybe Abe should be a lesbian...