12.20.2006

HH com 233 (229)

Like opening Pandora’s Box, the opening of an envelope containing a twenty year old newspaper clipping sucks Tennessee Sheriff Tony Abernathy into the mystery of three murders, long gone cold.

Thus begins the longest week of his life. His search for answers about the cold case is entwined with the lives of oddball characters that reside in this normally quiet mountain area. Tourists arrive. Work piles up. Yard ornaments are abducted at an alarming rate. (your hook starts here) Queen Doreen, the mayor’s wife, is murdered and her body left at the fledging museum organized by Tony’s mother and aunt. Her corpse is covered with an antique quilt known prophetically as “The Murder Quilt”. As he sifts through the facts, Tony solves one problem only to have two more take its place, each more serious than the last.

Be specific about those problems (that's where you can bring in the envelope but you need to be specific about what's in it). The nice thing about a sherrif as a character is we know he has to solve the crime; it's his job. We also need to see some cost to him if he doesn't and not just job-wise.

We also need a sense of an antagonist.

Make sure you keep the lawn ornament line when you revise. It's hilarious.

8 comments:

xiqay said...

I like mysteries. And I like this one. Hope you get it sorted out.

fwiw:

I like the murder quilt.
The abducted yard ornaments just reminds me of my teen years, so I didn't find it quite as hilarious as MS did.

I hate the opening line as is. (Pandora's Box isn't a good reference here--things came out of the box. It didn't suck people or things in. Unless you want to say the clipping that comes out of the envelope produces chaos like the problems from P's B).

jamiehall said...

The opening like is convoluted and clunky.
I would vote for keeping the line about the lawn ornaments.

Jenny Haddon said...

Er - Lawn Ornament? Do we have Ms Snark at her most ironic here? Your interlocutor wrote "Yard ornament".

"Lawn ornament" is, indeed, hilarious. Particulalry so in Terry Pratchett's "Wyrd Sisters", where an insult is translated from a Tolkienesque dwarfish language as "Where's your fishing rod, Lawn Ornament?"

Which gives rise to interesting ancillary questions. What is homage? What doesn't matter? And what is straight pinching? And how much do you want to risk that your reader won't be generous? After all, in a pitch there are no explanations, no excuses.

Anonymous said...

"The abducted yard ornaments just reminds me of my teen years, so I didn't find it quite as hilarious as MS did."

The idea was fresh and new to her. I'm guessing there aren't a lot of lawn ornaments to swipe in the 212.

thraesja said...

I love a character in small town Tennessee called Queen Doreen. I imagine no one but the mayor is actually sorry she's dead. Maybe even the mayor is secretly pleased. Or maybe he's the murderer.

I agree with Xiqay; Pandora's Box is not a useful metaphor(ok, simile) here. I got caught on this line. I assume you're going for a bunch of problems start when the envelope is opened, but I'd find another method of saying so.

Rachel said...

I'd scrap the first paragraph, but from the rest of the hook I'd definately read this. It sounds fun - I love the yard ornaments and The Murder Quilt!

Hypergraphia said...

I have to agree with the lawn ornament line; atypically comical! I'm on the fence & a bit confused about the murder quilt. Maybe each square of the quilt points to a clue?? There are some quilts that I've seen where each square was sewn by a different individual and the quilt tells a story. Could be interesting. I like this one. Good luck writer!

Rei said...

I really like both the murder quilt concept and the lawn ornaments line. I hope you keep them.