12.19.2006

HH com 192

A Better Life begins with rural and poor Hollis Dixon looking for an escape from his small Montana town and miscarried family. Bright and striving, college promises the way for him until his young wife dies suddenly while giving birth. As a single father, plagued by fear of failure and impoverishment, Hollis begins a career as a fast talking, number massaging car salesman. While Hollis builds a battlement of financial security, his children must face expectations, failures, and the hierarchy of dysfunction that haunts their family before they can each begin the better life they all so desperately want.


This is a fraternity prank right?
(the writer is a college student; I redacted the specific college to protect his English teacher from immolation on the spot).

"builds a battlement of financial security"?
"miscarried family"?
"hierarchy of dsyfunction"?

You don't need a hook.
You need more practice.

9 comments:

Writerious said...

"rural and poor Hollis Dixon" -- by phrasing it this way, I'm guessing that the author is or was neither of these.

"miscarried family" -- ???? His family members all died in the fetal stage?

"Bright and striving, college promises the way for him..." -- the college is bright and striving? And does the author understand the enormous barriers that stand between the rural poor and college?

"until his young wife dies suddenly while giving birth." -- Puh-leeez. While it does happen in modern times, it's rare.

I'm going to recommend the Communication Across Barriers website (http://www.combarriers.com/) to the author. Get Dr. Donna Beegle's book ("See Poverty, Be the Difference") and read it. She went from generational poverty to Ph.D. and writes eloquently on the barriers people from generational poverty face as they try to move from survival mode to middle class.

cm allison said...

"misscarried family" had me spewing tea on my (work!) keyboard. oops!

Anonymous said...

"Puh-leeez. While it does happen in modern times, it's rare. "

With all due fairness, just because it's rare, doesn't mean it can't be part of the plot. How many "rare" events are in writing these days? AFAIK, only Seinfeld sets out to do nothing.

Elektra said...

One thing is: I don't know how old this MC is. It confuses me that he would get married in high school (unless it was a shotgun marriage), and still plan to go to college. After all, college means you can't work full-time, and he needs to pay for pre-natal care for his wife and housing/food for them both.

Writerious said...

Okay, I should have said it's rare AND it's cliche. Rare in real life, altogether too common in histronically-dramatic fiction.

Much more realistic if she gets fed up and leaves him.

Anonymous said...

i don't think it's so bad --- "miscarried family" is an interesting way to put it ... and i know car salesmen, they do massage numbers.

maybe a case of bad hook, good pages?

single father stories - you don't see those all over the place.

McKoala said...

"until his young wife dies suddenly while giving birth." -- Puh-leeez. While it does happen in modern times, it's rare. "

Like you say, it still happens and yanno it's sh** when it does, so please, be nice.

writtenwyrdd said...

Sorry, big words don't mean intelligent content to the writing. I suggest you work on finding the right word for what you mean next attempt.

I have no idea what this is really about. Sounds like I wouldn't like it, because the wording smacks of pretention. Doesn't mean it wouldn't sell; but, based on this, I wouldn't even use it for t.p. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

"Doesn't mean it wouldn't sell; but, based on this, I wouldn't even use it for t.p."

And how is this supposed to be helpful? Oh, right. Insults are fabulous motivators to improve writing skills.

I'm not crazy about this hook or plot, but I don't see how t.p. comments are useful, either.