12.23.2006

HH Com 366

The Vember Mill is a modern fable about a boy whose rural community is on the brink of economic collapse. When the boy discovers a family of river sprites in the hills near his home, he learns they too are near ruin.

(your hook starts here)
Preston Vatticus hasn't adjusted to the solitude of his stepfather's home in the farmlands of Northern Utah. His only friend is Corvery, a talkative young raven. After hearing a painful scream in the hills, Preston and Corvery meet the Trenchers--mythical folks who dig the river beds and shape the river banks. Lately the Trenchers have grown frightened of the creek water. Animals that drink from it have been changing into monstrous beasts, and an old miller is bent on keeping this a secret.

Meanwhile, the creek water flows downhill to the irrigation ditches of the Cache Valley, where desperate farmers have been selling their land to developers, and the rural culture is growing thin. Preston's stepfather has slipped into hopelessness, and Preston's mother isn't far behind. Preston now faces a dilemma. Righting the wrongs of the Vember Mill may require him to push his stepfather over the breaking-point. But ignoring the plight of the Trenchers could bring an even worse fate.

This isn't a hook it's a description of the plot, sort of. It's missing the antagonist and it's not specific enough to hook me. And "modern fable" is one of those phrases that makes me say no no no. I really hate anything smacking of "fable" becuase it implies stock characters and no plot, but that's just me.

6 comments:

dancinghorse said...

I like the idea quite a bit, but the writing as shown here doesn't support it. Too many ideas, not enough substance. Let readers and reviewers bloviate about the book's Main Ideas and Overriding Themes. As a writer, you need to concentrate on the concrete. Who-What-When-Where-Why and How. It's not your job to tell us What It All Means.

Focus on the people and their lives and conflicts, and let the world build itself out of that. The rest will happen naturally.

dana p said...

I remember reading the beginning of this story (on Evil Editor's blog, I think), and I loved it with a big-time love. It was so moody and evocative. Please hang in there, author! I want to be able to read this novel some day.

My favorite part of the hook is: "Lately the Trenchers have grown frightened of the creek water. Animals that drink from it have been changing into monstrous beasts, and an old miller is bent on keeping this a secret." Being frightened of the water... I find that eerie and disturbing. In a good way, of course. :)

Anonymous said...

Don't the animals and people drink from the same water?
If it's the water causing the animals to turn into monsters, what is it doing to the people?
I love animals, to be sure, but in this case, I'd be worried first about the people, particularly if I lived there.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe the hook needs some work, but at least the story is distinctive enough that I remembered reading the query and first page on Rachel Vater's blog three months ago. So kudos for that.

Anonymous said...

I actually like this somewhat. At least it's not the typical find-the-killer-because-I'm-dating-satan story.

You had me interested right up until "may require him to push his stepfather over the breaking-point." I don't know what that is, but I probably need to know before I read the book. It's part of knowing what the story is about.

good luck.

heidi said...

Remind me not to go swimming in Bear Lake ever again.

This story caught my attention, but the hook isn't the best it could be.