12.22.2006

HH Com 307

Novel title: What I Hate About Dogs (Killer Yapp is deleting his christmas card to you)

DAISY Pettersen, 18, is an outsider, the human equivalent of the planet Pluto. In a blue-eyed Wisconsin town she alone has Chinese eyes, the legacy of unknown ancestors. Despite efforts to please her beautiful adoptive mom, GLORIA doesn't value her. When Gloria intercepts a letter written in Chinese, Daisy retrieves it from the trash. The translation is her dream come true: an invitation to meet her biological mother, JASMINE, who will be in Chicago soon. Other letters from Jasmine (written in English) have vanished.

Daisy, who doubts anyone will ever love her unconditionally, is unaware that someone does: her friend and mentor, SAM. Sam supports her goal to become a chef by giving her cooking lessons at his cafĂ©. Decades older, he’s a Vietnam vet with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and direct knowledge of Gloria’s family history. Gloria remains haunted by her beloved father’s suicide twenty years earlier. Daisy decides to find out why someone who apparently had everything would hang himself. Sam, who once worked for the man, describes him with contempt. Gloria fears that Sam will tell Daisy a “gross distortion of the truth”, but her campaign to discredit him backfires, propelling Daisy even farther into enemy territory. On learning that Sam was first to arrive at the death scene, suspicion takes root in Daisy's mind. Was it an “assisted” suicide? Ignoring Gloria’s histrionics and her own misgivings, Daisy’s off to meet Jasmine—accompanied by Sam.


Who's the main character? Daisy? Why are we talking about Gloria? If it's Gloria, why are we talking about Daisy. Focus on your main character and her story. You've got to much going on here for me to figure this out without a map.

What seems simple and obvious to you, the writer, is brand new to me. Short declarative sentences and razor sharp focus help me see what you want me to know. Time enough for all the other stuff when I read your pages.

10 comments:

just passing by said...

My dog's name is Daisy. MANY dogs have the name Daisy. Perhaps change the humans name from Daisy, unless secretly she wishes to be a dog and not a dog hater. :)

cm allison said...

What i had a problem with was an adoptive mother NOT being supportive and loving of her adopted child. Considering the problems of adoption, the heartache that often leads to that decision, the paper mountain to complete, adoptive mothers usually are the most supportive and loving mothers in the world! It's the mother's who "didn't want to get pregnant, but I had you anyway" who might be "the pits".

Inkwolf said...

"A blue-eyed Wisconsin town?"

I think you're in the wrong state. There has always been a high population of native tribes in Wisconsin, and we have Hmong all over the place these days. The black population is spreading and increasing as well, and we are getting to the point where our small-town library is worried about catering to those who speak only Spanish.

I think you'd have hard work finding a Wisconsin town that wasn't racially mixed to some degree. Even those that aren't would be most likely to find too wide a mix of European ethnic groups to make it the white-bread Anglo-Saxon community you seem to be hinting at.

You're not from hereabouts, are you? :p

wavybrains said...

I like the idea of a book about a transracial adoptee dealing with issues of identity. And there's plenty of good/bad adoptive parents to go around--adopting doesn't make someone a saint or guarantee that they'll be the greatest parent.

BUT--unless this is fiction therapy, you're going to need to do your research--Chinese adoptions are among the hardest for reunion seekers--babies are often left anonymously b/c of fear of persecution, a birth mother would have a difficult if not impossible time locating adoption records from the state run system, birth mother is unlikely to be named "Jasmine" unless she's part caucasian. I'm not saying it's impossible, you're just going to need to do your homework and give her a backstory that overcomes all the odds against Chinese reunion. Vietnam and Korea might be alternative settings--more reunions, easier to track down, etc.

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, the title is ironic and comes from something Sam says to Daisy. What I hate about dogs is NOTHING. I would sooner be in my snarcophagus than be without my two lovely German shepherds. (Send the card, KY.)
#307

jamiehall said...

To me, this sounds like a list of characters and events. It is dry, and a bit confusing to someone who isn't already familiar with the story.

chimeralife said...

Again with the basic rules of human reproduction. She is 18. Her 'beloved'-suggesting she knew him-father died 20 years ago.

See ya next time.

Anonymous said...

Pluto is no longer a planet:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060824-pluto-planet.html

But I don't wanna believe it.

Anonymous said...

Chimeralife, unless I'm confused, Daisy's the one who's eighteen. It's Gloria's father (Daisy's adoptive grandfather) who died twenty years ago.

Reproductively speaking, they're good to go. But this goes back to one of the problems with the hook: this confusion happens because it's unclear who's the main character.

Virginia Miss said...

I liked the phrase "the human equivalent of the planet Pluto."

Some Wisconsin towns are populated predominately, if not exclusively, by Americans of Scandinavian descent, so I would accept that, in your character's p.o.v., a town could appear "blue-eyed."

I like the name Daisy, to me it connotes a female person's name, not a dog.