12.21.2006

HH Com 271 (268)

Where were you on the night of December 30th, 1999?

My narrator was under a palm thatch roof in an open-air beach bar in Costa Rica, drinking Pilsens with two-dozen of his newest, closest friends. The bartender had cranked up the stereo for an extended Dead jam and forgot to turn it down. As a small TV silently flashed images of anonymous crowds at millennium celebrations he thought about how much he loved the beach.

His love affair had started when he was teenager in California in the early ‘60s and continued after he sold his computer business and moved to Kauai. Then his wife developed island fever and demanded Xanax and a return to the mainland. Boy gets beach, boy loses beach and now he was back at a tropical beach party on the Pacific. In all of human history few had ever been lucky enough to enjoy life like this.

So why did he have a sense of foreboding? He looked out into the darkness across the bay toward the Osa Peninsula, the most biologically diverse place on earth, where Dr. Hoang had given him the bad news. The planet was slowly cooking. Future generations would soon be cast out of this paradise and condemned to live lives of brute survival. “It’s the End of the World (as we know it)” is my 119,000 word comic social novel and I’m seeking representation.


I'm seeking sunscreen.

This isn't a hook, it's a query letter filled with backstory.

Boy finds beach, boy loses beach is damn funny but it's not going to save you from the dreaded start over.

If the conflict is global warning, don't start over: stop. You can't have a novel about global warming. You can have a novel with characters who CARE about global warming but global warming is neither a character nor a plot.

And if the problem is global warming..what's he doing to do? Become Al Gore?

This doesn't work. Start over.

12 comments:

wavybrains said...

I love the idea of a comic novel about global warming. Then again, I'm also one of the few who actually liked "An Inconvienent Truth." I think you might have something here if you keep the humor high and add some madcap plot elements to keep it from being commentary.

Anonymous said...

Weren't most of the celebrations of the new millennium held on Dec. 31st? New Year's Eve? Even though the true new millennium didn't start til 2001?

Michele said...

Does global warming cause any of the characters to make a major change in their lives?

For example: When global warming raises the ocean level, New York sinks beneath the waves. Miss Snark and Killer Yapp have found shelter on a cruise ship headed for the Carribean. Unfortunately, so has Dr. Doom.

Lisa McMann said...

Thirty days has September,
April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
(except February, blah blah blah).

Sometimes it's the little things. I assume the author means Dec 31.

thraesja said...

I think if you take the line presumably written by Miss Snark, and tack it on to the end of your query, it's damn funny.
"It’s the End of the World (as we know it)” is my 119,000 word comic social novel and I’m seeking representation.
I'm also seeking suncreen.
Sincerely,
Author #271.


Anyway, I think less backstory and more examples of the comidic kind would be good. Find the bad guy. Make him George Bush, Big Oil CEOs, or farmers with too many farting cows, but make one.

Best of luck. If you can write a funny book that people want to read on this topic, that'd be great.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I took the hook the wrong way. I thought the scientist had told him the meltdown was coming but that the guy would turn out to be wrong and this guy in the hammock blew all his money etc..., thinking the end of the world was near. Guess the hook should be clarified a bit.

Anonymous said...

You...mean December 31, right?

Anonymous said...

despite an inadequate hook, this writer has a comic style i'd like to read more of.

Wabi Sabi said...

I wanted to read this.

Agree with MS that issues can't replace characters but I'm sure you could work on the characters so it becomes plot-driven AND you make us care about global warming all at the same time.

We're so used to conservationists banging on about global warming and that may (or may not) appeal to our heads, but writers and other arty types now have the opportunity to get the message across by appealing to people's hearts.

Hope you persevere with this.

xiqay said...

I like the island-loving boy.

(I've got 22 years of living on a remote tropical island--guess I relate).

good luck.

Anonymous said...

The title of the book is also the title of a fairly well known R.E.M song. Instead of whatever you're trying to envoke, I'm now thinking of R.E.M and bands from Athens, Georgia and wondering what I've done with all my B-52's albums.

Anonymous said...

There's a Gen-X trend of naming books after 80s songs. See Douglas Coupland, Girlfriend in a Coma, and I think somebody also wrote a book called Life During Wartime. Anyway, I'm that demographic, so I don't mind.