HH Com 290 (289)

Carla Rae Torres, high school senior and sometime Thespian, desperately craves her father's approval and escape from the narrow confines of her island life in Saipan with its future of beer, barbecues and children. She's certain she'll fulfill these ambitions with a college education in the mainland USA, but then her mother, Nang, relocates Carla Rae and her younger sisters and brother to Guam and accuses their father of killing the family maid.

When Nang dies in an accident, Carla Rae shelters herself and her siblings from the gossip, suspicions and her own unexpected indecision, but can't escape Nang's indictment.

Will Nang's legacy cloud Carla Rae's future forever with falsehoods and shadows, or worse, with a truth that means her father is a felon and Carla Rae is in danger?

The plot is finding out if your mother was right? Trust me, your mother is ALWAYS right.

There's no plot to speak of here and not much that's compelling.

"cloud her future forever" is hypberole. Avoid that as the stakes.
Gossip, suspicion and indecision are not effective as peril either.


Anonymous said...

Beer, barbecues and children is bad? It has at least one good ingredient in the mix, excuse me while I crack open a cold one at nine in the morning.

Sounds like you're holding back the thing she is after on the mainland. I don't think I'd do that in a hook. Put that out there so the agent can see it. If it's worthwhile, and difficult enough to achieve so that there are foreseeable obstacles, it would make the hook far more compelling IMO.

Bernita said...

Was disappointed it didn't read "beer, barbeques and brats."

Anonymous said...

"Gossip, suspicion and indecision are not effective as peril either."

Really? That's not how I remember high school.

Dave said...

I think the struggle would be getting out of the mundane life and to college. A comlication is her father murdering a maid. She's not an adult, only a high school senior and anothe rpart of her struggle is to grow up fast.

skybluepinkrose said...

Avoid beer at a US college?

Why is Carla Rae in danger even if her father did kill the maid? Are you saying that Nang's death makes Carla suspect her accusation is true, and Carla is going to have to keep her mouth shut or end up like mom? Is her indecision about whether to accuse him or keep mum?

Does CR escape her father and the clouded future by going to the US? If so, that's a pretty easy outcome to guess.

Termagant 2 said...

Don't novels about sometime Thespians belong in the alternative-lifestyle fiction shelf?

Just wondering.


the unfortunate author said...

Thanks Miss Snark and snarklings for the comments.

(wipes tears)

A life of beer, barbecue and children (excuse me but brats makes me think of those German sausages!) can be stifling, especially if you're smart and creative and have bigger ambitions.

This process, as painful as it can be, will help me clarify this story.

Thanks, Dave, for getting the gist of the story, and anon 2 for remembering high school.

aries said...

I agree with skybluepinkrose, why is Carla Rae in danger? If the crux of the novel is her struggle to escape the mundane while dealing with external complications, it's lost in all the blather and backstory. There are several original themes in this (YA?)novel, like growing up outside mainland USA and dealing with class issues. But instead of playing to these strengths, the hook gets lost in specific plot points that detracts from how compelling the novel could be.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunate author, I was intrigued by your story because it is set on Saipan and on Guam. That's very cool.

The family has the surname Torres. So they are local people?

If that's the case, then I can see why gossip and suspicion would follow Nang and the children from Saipan to Guam. Guam may have a larger population, but there are plenty of inter-relationships between people on Guam and on Saipan--at least between people who are from the islands. Mainland people who live there for a few years are another story.

Great choice of setting, unfortunate author. CNMI and Guam offer such a complex social environment. And don't even get me started on the intriguing geo-political links to the United States, and to Asia.

Good luck with your novel. I guarantee you'll have at least one reader if you publish it.

One of the Chosen Authors said...

I know I shouldn't be doing this since it was a friend's hook... So I'm really really sorry... I did comment and help with cleaning up your hook, didn't I?

So I was arguing with my mother (personal grammar nazi and vocab builder who tells it like it is--though I'm getting other comments from other people too.) over a line to cut while she was helping me edit my 750 words when she said, "It's amazing how consistently right I am." So, I gave this to her.

"The plot is finding out if your mother was right? Trust me, your mother is ALWAYS right."

And she said, "Miss Snark wrote that? What a wonderful woman."

I don't think she knows about you aligning with the devil and loving gin and George Clooney... but you can forgive her right?

BTW to the authors, my mother also said: If you're trying to impress Miss Snark, you'll have to do it within the word limit. In your whole book, you don't have to introduce every crucial point that early. I reluctantly have to agree...

I also found out that people will *want* you to cram everything in your hook into the first 750 words. Don't let them! I don't care if you got chosen or not, it's bound to happen in the future. I'm sure the rest of you will someday get chosen too, so keep that in mind.

the unfortunate author said...

Thanks for the comments (since my last thank you).

I'm giving this more thought, of course.