12.16.2006

HH Com 53

“That which does not kill me leaves me scarred” is the underlying premise of my narrative non-fiction, It Looked Good on Paper. In 45,000 words, I detail my rollercoaster life – from childhood klutz – to Silicon Valley startup CEO – to homeless shelter trash – to medical experiment survivor. I candidly relate the trials of coping with 15+ diagnosed chronic conditions and diseases, more than 20 major operations, uncounted hospitalizations, and, perhaps most tragically to some, an unfortunate allergy to alcohol that has deprived me of the blessed effects of gin.

Although the issues are deadly serious, their treatment is anything but! Humorous anecdotes illustrate survival skills I developed as alternatives to despair and suicide. Because these sketches are true, I modified most names and backgrounds. (Although my sister has begged, I still haven’t figured out how to disguise the family relationship.) Thus, I regretfully, but honestly, expose my shame, frustration, and anger as I recount the challenges of managing – and losing – careers, marriages, friends, money, and even such basics as a roof over my child’s head.

With a BA in BS and a Juris Doctor, I am uniquely qualified to analyze and explain the difficulties of the downwardly mobile. My manuscript details real-life experiences with medical professionals (“When it says magna cum perfect on the diploma, I’ll stop asking questions.”) and the situations that brought me their attention. I use laughter to provoke a willing suspension of disbelief that so much misfortune, tragedy and disaster can befall one person.


This isn't a hook, it's a query letter.

You're telling me it's funny without showing me much (other than the gin comment which of course is only funny here).

This kind of "my life" narrative, particulary at 45,000 words is an almost impossible sell.

8 comments:

Sonarbabe said...

While I certainly agree that it sounds like a query letter, I must admit that this does sound somewhat interesting. I'm not a big fan of non-fiction at all, but if the author showed us some examples of how this could be viewed as humorous, I might pick it up and skim through to see if I want to spend $8 on it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe these topics aren't funny. Maybe you don't need a willing suspension of disbelief for a non-fiction book. Maybe I'm suspicious of writing as therapy. Maybe I missed the point somewhere inside the parentheses.

Anonymous said...

this is too wrong but, funny "With a BA in BS and a Juris Doctor."

Please look this up before you send this out. All wrong.

Writerious said...

This is memoir, right?

A few -- very few -- authors have pulled off spectacular success with memoir: David Sedaris, Frank McCourt, Christopher Reeve, among others. Memoir can be either fascinating or stultifying, and there's not a lot in between so far as I can tell. Reading memoir that has succeeded might help guide this work and the query and hook as well. I dunno, I'm not a memoir writer myself.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, I think I'd give this the benefit of a few pages.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying this isn't a good idea for a book, but I read about the self-destructive behavior of people all the time in their blogs, and it's become common place. You'll have to delve into something quirky in the hook in order to get anyone's attention. Got any aces up your sleeve? Use them.

Anonymous said...

If the book's as funny as you claim it is, why isn't there any evidence of this in the hook?

Anonymous said...

I thought the whole hook was just BS - a joke which Ms Snark missed.