HH Com 418

Where can you find a dock for your iPod in 1517 Urbino, Italy? The day before Alana Merriman has to submit her Humanities term paper on Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier, she wakes up in a Renaissance city-state. As a courtier in the court of Urbino, Alana must negotiate its precarious social environment (and figure out why she's suddenly proficient in Italian). After sitting for a portrait, Alana begins to fall for one of the court's talented young painters. Enjoying festivals, learning to play the mandolin, and finding herself embroiled in philosophical debates, Alana becomes an authentic courtier in her own right. But soon the placid world of Urbino's court is questioned as its delicate alliances have drawn the city-state into a costly and treacherous war. How will Urbino, populated by artists and humanists, respond to the threat? Where will Urbino's decision leave Alana?

The Book of the Hipster Turned Courtier is a 55,000-word YA novel.

Clever, fun idea and one I'd want to read.
You're missing specifics on most of the elements of the hook that I'd want to see.

Use the starting point for creating a hook and start again.

This could be fun.

Starting point for creating a hook:
X is the main guy; he wants to do:
Y is the bad guy; he wants to do:
they meet at Z and all L breaks loose.
If they don't resolve Q, then R starts and if they do it's L squared.


Virginia Miss said...

This sounded good to me until we got to "the placid world of Urbino's court is questioned" --

Maybe you should revised this to "soon Urbino's placid world is drawn into war" and tell us how this creates conflict for Alana.

Anonymous said...

This sounds great. (I thought it was a good hook too but what do I know? ;-)

I really like how specific the setting is: artists and humanists in this particular place. I despise generic "long time ago court life". You sound like you know what you're doing.

Inkwolf said...

Your book sounds like it could be a fun read, and the historical period is an interesting one.

(I had to run and check the relevant dates, though, and breathed a sigh of relief that the young painter she's falling for could not be Leonardo DaVinci, and that DaVinci was living in France during these, the last years of his life. Really, DaVinci was getting to be tiresome as an overused literary presence BEFORE The DaVinci Code. But I'm the only one who seems to think so.)

The one thing I wondered about was the Humanities term paper thing. That seems to hint that she's in college, whereas I think a YA novel would be more likely to be successful with a teen protagonist.

M. Takhallus. said...

It'll be a tough sell. We took two runs at pitching YA historical series -- and this was at a point when publishers had to listen -- and no takers. It's certainly worthwhile trying, but don't surprised if they wave Meg Cabot in your face.

Betsy Dornbusch said...

These are tough hooks to write because something happens to the protag rather than the protag taking action. So your hook might work better with a "When she wakes up in a renaissance city-state, she does ___" statement. Give Alana active control and keep her there.

Also, I think "alliances have drawn" is a minor tense glitch--consider keeping it all present tense. Really, though, I think this sounds like a fun read. I dunno, the Treehouse series does very well. It'd be great to see more options for the older set.

roach said...

This sounds interesting but I hope the setting is a bit gritty (fleas, disease, etc.). I hate the santized settings that I've read in a few books where the modern heroine never has to deal with any of the unpleasantries of pre-indutrial life.

randomsome1 said...

I'd really have to see the writing for this one, because the premise (unexplained time-travel and language-hopping?) makes me cringe a little.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly my taste, but I bet my niece would love it. She likes the Pricess Diaries type plots.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought, but you could change the title to The Book of the (strikethrough Courtier) Hipster.

Anonymous said...

Just by happenstance I am reading Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" again. One of the great things about it is his approximation of the speech of the period -- and the fun he has with that. Also, of course, that it speaks of timeless human foibles -- and is as much about Twain's time as King Arthur's.

December Quinn said...

I would totally buy this for my daughters if they were old enough.