12.21.2006

HH Com 277 (274)

In the beginning everything is the same as always. You and Derrick load a cargo and carry it across the sea to where people wait in the night to receive it. Then you sail off and deposit your money into one of a hundred banks on one of a hundred islands in the Caribbean.

Usually there is no trouble but sometimes thing go badly and sometimes people die. It does not happen often that people die but it does happen and you try not to think about those times.
Then in a town on the coast of South America you meet a girl. A girl who reminds you of your daughter. You let the girl sail with you to Aruba but there are men in Aruba who want you to carry drugs and they take the girl as a hostage because you do not want to carry their cocaine up to the United States.

You know that the men cannot let you live after you deliver the cargo so you kill the ones who come out in a boat to meet you and you rescue the girl and then you sail back down to the south. But the men find you in the passage into the Caribbean and even though you cripple the boat that follows you and you sail away you know that it cannot last. So you make a plan and you sail back to Aruba and you wait for the men to come.


wellllll. This doesn't fit the template of course, but that' ok. It's also in second person, which never ever works (except it might in this case).

The problem here is the plot. It's pretty much been done to death (drug dealears must be vanquished).

IF you've got something else up your sleeve, you'll want to show it.

If I got this in my slush pile I'd read the pages to see if the writing was splendid and if it was I'd ask if you had something with a better plot.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow. And to think I was looking for a big purple WTF???? at the end of this one.

Brady Westwater said...

You need a reason WHY there is money in smuggling something from one country to another - and then have your problem organically out of that rather than the deus ex machina of drug smugglers.

For example, back in the 1960's when there were currency controls in Peru, and one might smuggle out antiques and art that could be sold overseas and converted into dollars.

But then what would happen when one of your guys mops the floor of a local bar with some muscle head and his three bodyguards and deposits them in a dumpster in the alley - and then that guy ends up being the head of the military unit in charge of stopping the smuggling and suddenly a sketch of your best friend's half-brother is on every TV channel in the country...and he's standing right next to you when his image comes up on the hotel lobby TV just as the policed are coming to search the hotel.

Rei said...

I don't get it -- what was good about this query that would make you read pages? You only listed bad things.

Here's another that I'm surprised you didn't mention: clunky sentences. Like this:

"You let the girl sail with you to Aruba but there are men in Aruba who want you to carry drugs and they take the girl as a hostage because you do not want to carry their cocaine up to the United States."

Fuchsia Groan said...

The style is total Hemingway pastiche: the long sentences lacking in punctuation. It's sort of hypnotic, so I can see the appeal; it's definitely not bad writing. Not my thing, though.

katiesandwich said...

This is nitpicky, but I've been doing research on the Caribbean for a short story I'm writing... and there are over 7,000 islands there. Which is more than hundreds. Otherwise, yeah, I thought this hook was kind of neat. Second person is interesting if it's well done.

Anonymous said...

Author here.

I appreciate the comments. An outside viewpoint is very useful.
I wrote two versions of this. The first used YOU and the other HE. I preferred the former but have to admit that I only spent about 30 minutes on the whole thing. The book uses HE.
My biggest problem was deciding what to leave out to keep it under the 250 words. No room to fully explain the situation.

I was a bit taken aback by the Hemingway reference. I haven't read him in 20 years. I can only suppose that he made a bigger impression than I had ever been aware of.

Anonymous said...

I didn't dislike this, but I agree with rei a few posts up. I think your sentences could be reworked; they felt much like a list to me: "Then you go here, and then you do this." You could cut out quite a few words and trim up your sentences. It sounds like a thriller, so try to accomodate that pace.