12.27.2006

HH Com 498

The desert was a stark and beautiful place if you weren't born there, didn't live there, and had no means to escape. Being nineteen, pregnant, and caring for a dying aunt offered little in the way of hope for Alison Newberry. Even her one, true talent of painting lay squandered and buried beneath an endless string of sign painting, finger painting with children, and repainting furniture. Then one dusty, summer day while hiking along the backroads outside of Flatrock, Alison found the gleaming Harly Davidson emblem of a motorcycle, exposed in the wash from a recent storm. With one small effort, Alison's life abruptly changed.

A strange, exciting young woman meets her as she walks back into town, riding a harley oddly enough, and there is an instant connection. There is also instant trouble. The woman seems to be noticed by some, and not by others. Her mother and aunt completely freak when she tells them of this interesting new friend. Alison discovers that she has met this woman by no good fortune of her own, but in fact was sought out. The woman had been to Flatrock before, some forty years earlier and had died there as well. Alison's grandmother had come back and wanted her to unearth the long buried secret of her disappearance that had ruined a family and divided the town. Maybe living in Flatrock wasn't such a boring thing after all.


This isn't a hook. It's the premise of your novel.
Start over. Get your XYZ ducks in a row then rev your engine and roll.

4 comments:

jamiehall said...

These are the things I tripped over:

The first few sentences made me think that your book is a survival novel of a woman and her aunt lost in the desert.

Then I got confused about the motorbike. Who is riding it? The MC or the ghost?

Anonymous said...

Hello, author -

As Miss Snark says, this is a premise, but not a hook. Some things you might look at: what makes the young woman Alison meets exciting? Women on Harleys are not unusual, so take a look at what about this woman Alison finds attractive. Does she embody the freedom Alison does not have? Is it the contrast between this biker gal's apparent lifestyle and Alison's dreary life of smothered dreams? *Is* that contrast of freedom/lack-of-freedom a strong point in your story?

What is the conflict for Alison? Does she intially want to claim this strange woman as a friend in order to spice up her own dull life? How does she react if some people can't even seem to see her biker friend? What does this woman want from Alison? What does Alison want from her? What does Alison want more than all other things - and how does this mysterious biker girl complicate or help that?

Ask yourself questions and look for conflict. Look for those things that Alison wants, the biker woman wants, her family wants - and how those wants and secrets can collide. Juicy secrets and dead sexy motorcyle babes who reappear from the grave strike me as a fascinating idea. You just need to take a longer step back and find that one, clear, defining phrase or thought that says "THIS is my story."

Go for it. Good luck. :-)

December Quinn said...

The woman had been to Flatrock before, some forty years earlier and had died there as well. Alison's grandmother had come back and wanted her to unearth the long buried secret of her disappearance that had ruined a family and divided the town.

A lot of the writing needs tightening--there's a problem in that first sentence, for example, when you say "weren't born...no means to escape", but both of these sentences are passive and should be fixed. Plus, I don't understand--is the woman Alison's grandmother, because that's how it sounds.

"The woman died in Flatrock some forty years before, and wants Alison to unearth the truth about her murder and the scandal that divided the town". Something like that.

Anonymous said...

Fix your tenses. You're jumping all around (past in first paragraph, then suddenly present).

Watch your punctuation and grammar. It's important that you convince agents not only that you have a story to tell, but that you can write well enough to tell it.

This--"lay squandered and buried"--is clunky. If you've got clunky in a hook, people will suspect the book has it, too.