HH Com 404

All Nikki Peters wants is what her former therapist called a fully-realized life and she thinks she’s finally found the elusive key to enlightenment: you have to break a few eggs and solve a few homicides. When it seems that she’s the only reporter at the local newspaper who realizes that there’s something methodically sinister and deliberate about a string of “accidental” deaths that has plagued the city for the last six months, she is secretly thrilled. The story is her big break—her journalistic destiny. Unfortunately, given her inexperience, she is the last person the newspaper would consider for the story, so she takes matters into her own hands and investigates anyway. Kevin Grey, the killer, has less than no respect for destiny or enlightenment and has few qualms about playing cat-and-mouse with “the fat, black chick with frizzy hair who thinks she’s Oprah or something” and even fewer qualms about using force to shut her down permanently, if necessary. And he’s the least of her worries. Her clandestine investigation causes her to clash with an arrogant police detective, a duplicitous fellow reporter, a scheming local politician, a wannabe scriptwriter with a grudge, and her decidedly miffed boyfriend. And as if that wasn’t enough, her family demands that she entertain her perpetually irritating cousins and imperious great aunt, who are visiting from Miami. In the end, Nikki realizes that effecting A CHANGE OF LIFESTYLE is easier said than done, but the road to enlightenment can be satisfying indeed.

You've probably got a good story here but you're so busy telling us about the charactes you've forgotten the plot and what's at stake.


jamiehall said...

Everything up to "Unfortunately, given her" is gold: tight, smooth writing, clearly defined plot and main problem laid out just right.

Everything from then on is a series of character sketches and a listing of minor plot arcs. These minor plot arcs feel like annoying flies buzzing around the MC's head rather than like they have any direct tie to the main plot arc. If they are important, tie them in better. Otherwise, just mention in passing that she is extra-burdened by relatives and other annoyances.

Ski said...

I am obviously not learning anything! I thought this was good cuz it peaked my interest. I am no longer just the dimmest bulb in the box - I'm the one that fell and broke on the floor...


p.s. Merry F'in Christmas.

Angus Weeks said...

If she knows who the killer is (which the form of your hook implies), shouldn't she tell the police? I mean, this guy sounds like a serial killer.

If in your story she does tell the police, I'd suggest mentioning this specifically in the hook, because otherwise she sounds like one of those ambulance-chasing journalists and this makes her character extremely unsympathetic.

I'd also leave out the line of dialogue describing Nikki. Just describe her. I'd drop the first sentence in its entirety too.

Anonymous said...

i liked it, too. what's at stake? if solving the murder is her journalistic destiny ... and she's seeking a fully realized life ... and a murderer is on the loose ... those sound like stakes to me.

and she's got a plot. her hook may not be structured to everyone's liking, but it's there.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I felt a strange shift at some point in the hook when she went from Woodward and Bernstein to Jessica Fletcher. I liked it more when it felt serious in the early part of the hook. If anything, the hook should get more serious as it goes along, particularly if she's after a killer.