12.21.2006

HH Com 255 (252)

My novel, LESS THAN THREE, explores classic themes in young adult fiction: first loves and first losses, friendship, loyalty and self discovery. It also takes a look at something new, the shifting state of privacy in an electronic age.

“Muahahaha, I am brilliant,” fifteen-year-old Summer instant messages her best guy-friend on the last day of school. She’ll need every spark of that brilliance to find him a girl who isn’t ‘too much work’, to fend off Mom (who wants her to do something ‘meaningful’ this year) and to save her bff from a cheating jerk.

It doesn’t help that the jerk is her boyfriend’s best friend. Or that Brady (Boyfriend Extraordinaire) seems determined to cram Summer into a one-size-fits-all better girlfriend box. Then there’s Dave, the most aggravating boy in the universe. How could anyone, especially a ‘perfect’ boy, be jealous of him?

Meanwhile, everyone’s watching: Mom, bff, guy-friend and the entire blog-o-sphere of tiny New Concord, Indiana. Before the next school year starts Summer will discover: ‘perfect’ can be hard to define and ‘meaningful’ never meant so much.


You have a good idea. This hook doesn't showcase it. You mention the shifting stage of privacy but you never talk about it again.

You have character descriptions, not a hook. Start over. This has some promise.

10 comments:

clarice snarkling said...

It's actually "blogosphere." And that term refers to the collective weblogs of the entire Internet world. It can, I suppose, be broken down into subspheres -- the music blogosphere, the lit blogosphere, the tech blogosphere. But if you're just talking about rumors and confessions circulating on the Internet in general (IM, texting, e-mail), then it's not the blogosphere. Sorry to be picky, but if you're gonna write about technology, you must get the terminology right.

That said, I'm intrigued by this. Like Miss Snark, I'd like to know exactly how these characters' privacy is compromised. I can sort of guess from your hook, but you're not specific enough. You probably know that. I like your voice and your writing is clean. I like that you're one of the few YA writers so far who hasn't written about paranormal elements! I know that's a big trend in YA right now, but reading a YA hook about the "real world"is a breath of fresh air for me. I'd read on.

MichaelPH said...

I like the idea of blogs effecting lives of characters as a medium for local gossip in a novel, especially a YA since teens are the best at new tech most of the time. The novel is intriguing, the hook too messy, might I suggest this link to take a looksy at a hooks:
http://chroniclekids.com
Look at the catalogue, here's a hook:
On the day of his eighteenth birthday, midshipman cadet Chuck Dugan receives a startling letter, including a treasure map drawn by his late father and news that his mother is about to marry a rogue and scoundrel known as "the Admiral." When the Admiral warns Chuck away from his mother, and the Admiral's sons attack the young cadet, Chuck leaps into action, going AWOL from duty to stop the wedding and find the treasure. So begins this delightful illustrated novel...

Rei said...

I'm having trouble following this hook. The cast of characters and their relationship to each other is too much for such a small amount of text.

* Summer
* Best guy friend
* Mom
* BFF
* Cheating jerk
* Boyfriend (who we later learn is Brady)
* Dave
* Perfect boy (Brady?)

wavybrains said...

My two cents: Work on the opening sentence. Lead with the fresh and different part--I learned this hard way from contest feedback--"classic themes" isn't going to win you any points. All YA deals with classic themes in some respect or another--your job is to show how your book does it differently. And you've GOT fresh and different here--you just need to show it.

Anonymous said...

MS - Thank you! Thank you! This wasn't as painful as I'd feared and you saying I have a good idea! Oh harooh, hooray, what a wonderful day!

Clarice - Thanks for the heads up on 'blogosphere' and for your other kind comments.

Michaelph - Thank you for link. I will def take a looksy.

rei - Yeah, I know. It was a big struggle just to get it THIS clear. Any suggestions?

wavy - Thank you for your kind instruction. First sentence, make it fresh. Now to work on the how ;^)

#255 (252)

Kiki said...

I'm with CS on this one. I'm not a fan of paranormal, so I'm glad to see 'real world' YA is still happening.
This one sounds fun. I'd definitely give it a look if I saw it somewhere.

Twill said...

“Muahahaha, I am brilliant,”

Ask a teenager how to spell that on IM/chat. It probably lacks most of its vowels .

Perhaps "MHHHH, I M brllnt!"?

Virginia Miss said...

I was turned off by "classic themes" -- try 'My young adult novel, LESS THAN THREE, explores first loves...'

I like your voice, but I got confused...too many characters. who was bff? Do we need Dave?

Good luck.

Fuchsia Groan said...

This reminds me a bit of a YA novel I reviewed called M or F?, which was about IM-ing with a Cyrano twist. Not that yours is that similar, but it seems like there's a market for stories like this.

Reading the hook, I suddenly had this overpowering sense that Summer is eventually going to fall for the guy she considers a "cheating jerk," after finding out he's not so bad. I kind of hope I'm wrong, because while that story-line is fun, it's been used so many times in YA and chick lit... actually, ever since Pride and Prejudice.

Fuchsia Groan said...

Whoops, sorry. On rereading, it's this aggravating Dave I suspect Summer will end up with. Maybe it is too many characters to introduce in a hook, though I have to say you've hooked me.