12.19.2006

HH Com 183

Reese Sampson is 21 years old. He doesn’t go to school. He doesn’t have a job. He rarely leaves his apartment. His only friend, Willis, is a tool and Reese doesn’t even really like him.

Reese doesn’t like anyone, really. He spends his days watching TV, reading books, ridiculing other people and stalking a girl he has never talked to. Oh wait, he doesn’t stalk her really, he is only “getting to know her a little before actually trying to talk to her.”

Reese is lazy and he likes it that way.

Then his life changes. Well, it tries to change anyway. He gets into a bar fight and suffers severe brain trauma. When he wakes up he discovers that he can read people’s minds.

What does he do with this ability? Nothing. At least, not at first. He’s still lazy. He finds the ability amusing, but “whatever.”

One day, Reese inadvertently uses the ability to stop a crime. The problem is, he just botched a major bank heist set up by the city’s most notorious drug dealer. Reese becomes a marked man.

His life becomes a battle of wills. Reese still doesn’t want to do stuff. He doesn’t want to avoid being killed. That requires too much work. Reese now must struggle with his desire to stay alive, his laziness, his extraordinary new power, and pleasing his mouth-breather friend Willis, all while trying to win over a girl he has never even talked to.


Yup, that's a hook. It's got energy and vitality that just leap off the page, which is hysterical given the main character is a lazy bum.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

This reminds me a lot of the movie: The Big Lebowski, but I liked the hook. I would just take out the redundant sentence "Reese is lazy and he likes it that way." You don't need it. It's too much bonking us on the head with it sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

Not my type of book, but the hook made me laugh. And okay... Just from curiosity, what does it mean when you say his friend is a 'tool?' My first thought was Tom Hanks and his friend the volleyball, but I'm guessing that isn't it.

RT

Anonymous said...

It's a hook, but I do hope the author gives us some reason, some inkling of inner goodness, to make us want to follow his MC until his character arc kicks in. (There is one, right?)

Interesting premise, a la the first Spiderman episode. This could be fun.

j.c.

angie said...

A tool is an insult - someone who is a follower, who can be easily manipulated & used.

This is the first mind-reader premise that I've liked. There are an awful lot of words like "really" and "actually," though. I get the slacker/young guy thing, but a little less could work more. Also too many "like" usages.

This sounds like a fun read and I'd pick it up in a bookstore.

Tundra said...

"He doesn't want to avoid being killed" and he's lazy? He stops the bank robbery inadvertently? I've been taught over and over that having a passive protagonist is bad thing. Isn't that what Reese is?

But I cannot write a hook to save my life and you have done one well. Congrats author.

Heidi the Hick said...

I can't wait to read this book!

I'm curious to see if Reese stay alive and stay lazy at the same time!

Arthur said...

Ignatius J. Reilly fused with Peter Parker. Nice.

wavybrains said...

One of the neat things about the Crapometer is even among the good hooks, you see the wide divergence of taste--I found this to be low-key in a "My Name is Earl" kind of way--I read this several times looking for the "energy and vitality" that Miss Snark saw--and I'm not seeing it. I find I learn the most from hooks like this where it doesn't immediately separate itself from the slush in my mind and I have to work to see what Miss Snark saw. I look forward to seeing the pages on this one.

shannon said...

It's interesting to note, this hook consists of short, neat, "summing-up" style sentences. And it works. It doesn't waffle, it doesn't give flowery descriptions or use too many adjectives. It's simple, it sets it up nicely, tells us what we need to know and nothing we don't.

writtenwyrdd said...

I'd love to read this one. A complete slacker who does good despite himself? It follows that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished and his comfy lifestyle is screwed up.

This has a lot of subtle things going for it. I like how you take the lazy guy, who would in traditional stories get punished like Cinderella's stepsisters, and have him win instead. If this isn't a dark comedy, it ought to be.

Sounds like a great read to me.

katiesandwich said...

You know, I've noticed something during this Crapometer. I'm reading each hook with my mind focused on noting the form, the language, and all these other things. And then, once in a while, a hook comes along that makes me forget that I'm learning. Because learning has become fun. I'm so wrapped up in the idea the author is putting forth that I've completely forgotten my objective. This was one of those hooks. This is awesome!

Anonymous said...

A turquiose hearse is a cliche but mind-reading is fresh?

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone. (Especially Miss Snark.)

The odd part is that I had forgotten about the crapometer until two hours beforehand. So I really just had to whip up this hook quickly. Which was hard, because the book is strange, and it was difficult to capture its essence in less than 250 words.

That also might explain some of the gratutious like/actually word usage. I didn't have time to fret over "how many are too many?"

Who the heck is Ignatius J. Reilly?

puzzlehouse said...

Good job!

One question: how does the notorious drug dealer know it's Reese who's responsible for messing up the heist? (Unless he can read minds too?)

I'm also with anonymous j.c. - I'd want some inkling that this is a character I'd grow to care about.

Then again, to cast such a great hook in only 250 words, I guess I can't expect every question to be answered. :)

Virginia Miss said...

I love the idea of such a lazy protag, and when we finally got to the premise I liked it, but the repetition got to me.

Dave said...

An apathetic anti-hero!
I can just see him in high school leading a cheer:

apathy, apathy is our cry
A... P... A... Aw the hell with it

g said...

Well, I always thought when you called someone a tool you were calling them a d*ck, but I looked on urban dictionary and it seems many people think it is someone being used. learn something every day.

cm allison said...

I do have one question: how does he live (pay rent, utilities, food) if all he does is sit around watching tv? That stuck in my head right off the bat.

Anonymous said...

He pays the bills with drug testing.

Naf said...

I'm with wavybrains. I just don't see it.

HawkOwl said...

I thought it was very tedious and didn't make much sense. If the guy hardly leaves his house, how does he end up in a bar fight? Let alone a brain-damage-serious kind of bar fight? I bet not. And mind-reading is so overdone.

But as far as hook-writing, yes, it's competently done.

Kim said...

I like this one - totally agree with the whole 'My Name is Earl' theme (and that is one of the funniet shows on tv!)

I like it. I really, really like it!

grumpy said...

This reminded me also of Ignatius Reilly ("hero" of the hilarious A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole), though with (potentially) its own brand of lunacy.

LadyBronco said...

I love the premise, and the main character sounds like an old high school friend of mine.
I would definitely buy this book based on the hook.

batgirl said...

A lazy hero isn't uncommon in folktales. Lazy and simple-minded but good-natured, usually wins by doing random favours which are paid back in ways that help him win the princess and so on. Some folktale heroes win by being cruel, even.
Those stories don't get reprinted with glossy art the way the more moral ones do, though.

xiqay said...

Hooray for a lazy bum MC!

I liked this a lot. It sounds like it balances humor and thriller-an unusual combination.

Stalker and all, it got through the HH COM--good job.

MWT said...

It reads along very well, which is what makes it a good hook. Very nice for something whipped up in two hours. Could use some tightening, obviously.

The part where it most slows down for me is the second paragraph. At first it looks like a repeat of the first paragraph; "Reese doesn't like anyone, really" doesn't say anything that "His only friend Willis is a tool and Reese doesn't even really like him" hasn't already said. I think those first two paragraphs can probably be combined. Then drop that standalone third sentence as someone suggests, as that's just more repetition.

Anonymous said...

I've been taught over and over that having a passive protagonist is bad thing. Isn't that what Reese is?

Try reading A. Lee Martinez's In The Company of Ogres. His main character is passive for a good portion of the book. In fact, his greatest accomplishment is dying frequently. The book manages to be both funny and energetic nonetheless.

Jodi Meadows said...

It sounds awesome! (I love lazy psychics.)

Just one thing about the hook. You kept saying things, and then, well but no... So my immediate response was not to trust anything you said. Once--maybe twice!--is probably okay, but the hook is short, so keep me trusting you the whole time.

Good job!

I Said said...

The "really"s and the "anyway"s turned me off; the "No, wait," was intrusive, and the fifth paragraph is 'in-your-face.' All this made me wonder about the writing style. But the premise is great, the creative mind of the author will surely offer a great adventure, and I guess I'd want to read a few pages to see if the coffee-clatche voice doesn't interfere in the book.

Anonymous said...

Crap, if this is what Miss Snark considers a good hook, then I'm doomed.

Yasamin said...

okay I'd read that and I'm a picky bitch about the books I read. :p

Ryan Field said...

Great hook. I'm glad someone defined "tool"...I thought it might be something dirty. But I'd be interested either way.

Anonymous said...

This 'hook' lost me in the first paragraph; I had to force myself to read the second. By the time I reached the fourth it was an exercise in masochism.

The guy's lazy. He doesn't like people. He's a hermit who doesn't like to leave the comfort of his telly and junk food haven.

And a great yawn to you, too. Energy? Didn't see it. But, then, maybe that was because it put me to sleep before we reached the energy part.

Richard Lewis said...

Putting aside the fact that there is nothing new under the sun (old fairytales and all that), this fizzes with originality and voice, something I've found missing in many of the entries (just personal opinion, mind, I'm just me, not an agent, editor or exceptional dude). I'd read this book.

Anonymous said...

I didn't like this at all. The writing seemed floppy and annoying to me.

Anonymous said...

"Who the heck is Ignatius J. Reilly?"

Author -
Please read A Confederacy of Dunces! Ignatius is a very unique, lazy anti-hero who still wins the readers' sympathy. I think he and your character would get along, well, horribly, now that I think about it. Ignatius has a very high intelligence as his best feature, and social skills bordering on autism as his worse. The book won a Pulitzer prize. You'll like it.