12.23.2006

HH Com 364

SUNSHINE KIDS MAKE MONEY

The nameless twenty-something narrator doesn’t really like people. He doesn’t like cars, either. He hates fish and likes to smell everything. He has a subscription to EQUESTRIAN DREAMS, but doesn’t own a horse. He hates Tuesdays and loves Wednesdays. His grandpa left him a house when he was killed by a lawnmower. He has no idea what alcohol is and he hates small talk. Coca cola commercials frighten him, and he talks to his toaster.

No one knows what’s wrong with him, because he’s never been to the doctor.

It could be the result of being raised by his insane, senile grandfather.

Maybe he’s just nuts.

Maybe not.

See the world through his eyes as he becomes obsessed with an immoral door-to-door sales program called The Sunshine Kids. During his quest to become a top sales person and win a mountain bike, he discovers a dead body in an alley near his house. He shifts his focus and becomes determined to discover the killer and solve the mystery. (Didn’t I mention that he loves mysteries?)

The world he occupies is offensive, sick, dark, complex and maybe a little crazy. Okay, maybe it’s very crazy. (stop here) But you may just find yourself laughing as the narrator awkwardly squirms his way through a populace he loathes to solve a mystery he’s obsessed with, all while trying to sell enough baked goods and trinkets to become a Sunshine Kids All-Star.


Now THIS is a character Miss Snark identifies with. I wonder if he'd consider an apprenticeship at a literary agency??

Why this works: it's vivid, it's energetic, it's not the usual fluffy kid saving the world. I'll overlook the lack of "why this matters" cause I like the writing a lot.

14 comments:

Bonnie Shimko said...

This has just the teensiest feel of the Mark Haddon book, The Curious Incident... I loved that book so much. It's brilliant. If I were in middle school, instead of old enough to be dead of natural causes, I'd marry it. When I stopped crying after I finished it, I started reading it again and laughed and cried some more. Your story has that offbeat, nutsy flavor I can't resist. Keep working on it till it's perfect. Nice going!

I Said said...

Neat writing means it's likely a neat novel, especially with this character.

Just one of those times the writing and the idea overcome the usual necessary elements of a hook.

Crystal Charee said...

And the fact that he's completely insane covers why he doesn't just call the police and instead wants to solve the mystery himself. Well done.

Anyway, interesting. I like it.

Zappadong said...

Freaky. Yes, I'd read that one. Definitely.

Angus Weeks said...

Personally, I'd leave out

"Maybe he's nuts.

"Maybe not."

You don't need to overemphasise something the reader is probably already thinking. (Actually, I'd leave out the entire last paragraph, too, but since Miss Snark didn't say so, I'd listen to her over me).

The reason for my suggestions: I like the way in the first paragraph you made the character's unconventional way of looking at the world seem straightforward. I think retaining that tone throughout the hook, as you otherwise do, makes it more compelling. Throwing all the 'crazy' accusations about is selling your own story idea short. It's stated clearly enough already in the bit about the grandfather.

Hope that helps. Bear in mind I have a disorder that makes me empathise with this character already. He sounds like if a shrink got hold of him he'd be diagnosed with Asperger's, or Schizotypal Disorder and/or Schizoid Personality Disorder. We need more stories about unconventional people who don't need shrinks. Good job.

A Paperback Writer said...

Sick. Bizarre. Twisted. I kind of like it. Nice work, author.

Brady Westwater said...

I think his secret is that he's actually a horse! My horse used to like to smell everything, wouldn't eat fish, hated small talk, didn't drink alcohol, hated cars with a passion, was afraid of commercials filled with singing children and while he didn't talk to my toaster, he once tried to eat it to get at the toast.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Bonnie on this -- reminded me of Haddon's book also, in a good way.

Anonymous said...

Hey, who's been spying on me?!

Oh, never mind -- I hate *Sundays* not Tuesdays. This must be about some other guy.

Whew.

Virginia Miss said...

This didn't do anything for me. I got bored by the overlong list of eccentricities. He "has no idea what alcohol is?"

Then he's trying to sell baked goods and trinkets to win a bike; sounds like a kid, but he's twenty-something, not twelve.

clerambault said...

I think this has way more than the "teensiest feel" of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, a book I liked a lot, fwiw. Haddon produced a remarkably convincing voice, and I'm not persuaded this author's will be anywhere as good, still less better. But pages would be the proof.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I really like this. Out of 364 "hooks" I think I've liked 10. I was a little disappointed to see a body and the chase-the-killer game. After reading all these CoM entries, I'm wishing we'd see more creativity. I suspect every time a writer needs to plump up a plot they throw in a body.

Don't get me wrong, but isn't there anything else interesting in the world?

Ski said...

I like this and I recognize it because it's my life. I sure wish you Good Luck. I would really enjoy reading this and I don't care how goofy you make it. You have this style down pat.

Rgds.........Ski

Anonymous said...

dear anonymous,

tired of the same old find the killer plot?

I do understand completely

us too, but don't worry, we assure you that this book is FAR from the standard murder mystery.

if you ever get a chance to read it, you'll see.

sincerely,

the authors