HH Com 458

"Hand me another cigarette, El."
Eleanor reached into the glove box, gingerly lifted the handgun, and grabbed a pack of Marlboros. She put a cigarette between his lips and lit it.
"Thanks, El."
"Welcome, daddy." She opened her newest book. The one Lloyd had stolen for her the day before.
"What's that French book about?"
Eleanor smiled. "A thief."
"Really?" Lloyd chuckled.
"Really. And someone convinces him to give his life to God and become a good man."
"Hmmph. Well, maybe he was a good man all along. And it was everyone's perception of him that changed."

She laughed and looked out the window. The air conditioning was out and the wind watered her eyes. Fine tears rolled down her face. He's wrong, she thought. Valjean changes.

Maybe something will happen in this next town. Maybe something will change.

(your hook starts here)
Lloyd and Eleanor Georges are on the road. Always driving, always running toward their next town. No school, no home, no changes; until they reach Elizabeth, Texas. And for the first time, Eleanor is forced to confront her father's failings.

"The Swindler's Daughter" is the story of summoning the courage to face your demons, even if your demon is your own father.

Until they made a movie about it and changed the title, Addie Pray, was one of my favorite undiscovered novels. I love this book a lot. If you can write something as wonderful as this with a modern twist, I'd read it in a heartbeat.

Even with that HUGE fact in your favor, I woudn't read this cause there's not enough here to hook my interest. Tell me what the book is about specifically.


Kristi (I wrote this one) said...

I've never read the book, but Paper Moon is one of my favorite movies. Thanks for the advice, Miss Snark. I'll clean it up and get the new version to you tomorrow.

Just kidding.

dancinghorse said...

Study great dialogue. Analyze what makes it work, what is in it and what is left out (the latter is very important). Note the difference between fictional dialogue and real-world ditto, and also the difference between dialogue and small talk. Study, further, the stage business that makes great dialogue work--what characters do, how they speak, whatever else you happen to notice.

Dialogue is probably the hardest thing to do well in fiction. Unless you are truly brilliant at it, you don't want to lead off your query or hook with it.

Anonymous said...

Jean Valjean always was a good man. He was sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread -- not exactly a capital crime.

writtenwyrdd said...

Paper Moon for the 21st Century! I hated that movie and I didn't read the book. Probably because of personal issues and my faulty personality, I don't like bad daddy makes a change for the better themes.

Despite this prejudice, though, I do think you have a timeless theme to explore. We don't see the kernal of truth the girl discovers or explores, though. Give us a compelling need to know her story.

takoda said...

Hi author, I really liked this. It's one of my favorites, and the only one I've posted on. (other than my own, number 92). I'd love to read your ms, if you'd like to do a swap. In any case, best of luck with this. I'm going to put Addie Pray on my list to read. I LOVE these kind of books that focus on two or three characters and you get to know them really well.

Kristi said...

Dancing Horse - Thanks for the advice on the dialogue...by the 100s I realized this wasn't going to work as a hook.

Anonymous - Remember? He stole from the silver from the priest? And then the priest said he exchanged the silver for his soul? Remember?

Writtenwyrdd - What I should have put in the hook is that this is a 16 year old girl struggling with her drug addicted father. It's really not a road story or a buddy story or anything like Paper Moon, though the comparison doesn't bother me at all. If I'd written a better hook I could have conveyed the difference. :)

Takoda - Thanks for the encouragement. I'm in the process of editing and cleaning the story up and I have a few folks helping me out with the process. In the meantime I'm going to check out your hook. Thanks again for the nice words.

And thanks for the comments y'all. I appreciate any advice I get.