12.29.2006

HH Com 577

BONJOUR LIMOUSIN: women’s fiction; 85,000 words

“It's mango," Carine says, patting her newly-coloured hair.
Looks more like mashed potato to me, but there you go. "One of Carrefour's?”
"No, SaveULoads. Ripe Woman range. You name it, they’ve got it - banana, prickly pear, avocado---"
"Aubergine?"
"Car-rine! Mad-e-leine! I haven't got all night…"
Chuck bearskins, balaclava towards coat pile. Join sisters-in-gym. It’s Monday. One is a Gazelle.

*



“Come o-on, you fat slugs… start shifting that blubber, mooooove!
“Shut your gob Sophie, ’snot your tongue that needs exercise… get those knees UP!
“Halt! Stand on your right legs… merde… more crippled hippos than Gazelles…
“… nooooo Babette, RIGHT leg. Uh, try locating your right hand, then look south…
“Na-tash-aaaa… stop cheating! Let go of that wall bar…
“Putain! Someone help her up. Why'd you bother coming, Natasha?”
“So’s I get to hear some heavy breathing, Arlette.”

*

“Supposed to be fun, not a workout for the bloody Olympics,” Sophie moans, pouring Bordeaux Inférieur into 14 glasses. “She’s obsessed with deltoids, trapeziuses and quadricepses, whatever they are ---”

“Bits we don't have, and she knows it. Pass the chocs, Babs. Gossake, take the sodding nougat and be done with it!”

Grab cherry-in-brandy as comfort food shoots past. We’ve adjourned to Le Chien Qui Fume for post-gym bar exercise, wound-licking. Soph's right. Obergymführer Arlette is spitting on our GBSFG charter (gentle bending, stretching, farting, gossip). Nor does she attend Le Chien team-bonding sessions. Not that we’ve ever invited her. Believe she keeps a trained, compliant house-husband.


WTF???

20 comments:

puzzlehouse said...

I second Miss Snark's "WTF???" and add three more question marks. Yeah, it's probably next to impossible to write a 250-word hook for something this off-the-wall, but how else are you going to get an agent to read it?

Anonymous said...

in response to puzzlehouse...

Might help if there were something worth reading. I saw nothing there but mostly incoherent babbling by gym regulars. Who would WANT to read something like that?

I Said said...

I vote WTF as well. While I see the difficulty in writing a hook for this and hoping that the pages instead will suffice, they clearly don't. If you're going to try this tactic, ya gotta send the good stuff.

Rhonda Stapleton said...

Oh my god...what the...this is waaaaaay off-the-wall.

Anonymous said...

I had friend who wrote like this. In letters. E-mail. I discovered that the whole point was to be able to sigh and deliver the explanation of what it all meant. ("I thought you, of all people, would catch the reference to Aristotle's treatise on...")

I wondered what happened to her. Glad to see she's taken up novel writing.

Virginia Miss said...

the last paragraph gave me a chuckle: women gossiping (and licking their wounds, post-workout), at a bar called the Smoking Dog.

blogless_troll said...

Today's assignment: Write a Euro chick-lit novel in the style of James Ellroy on acid.

Virginia Miss said...

"more crippled hippos than Gazelles…"

Yup, that's a good way to describe how I look when I exercise!

The last paragraph made me chuckle. (After a work out, friends adjourn to a bar named the Smoking Dog to drink and lick their wounds)

Anonymous said...

You know...the first time I read this it was all WTF for me...but the second time I really liked it. I get the feeling that reading the book would be a chore, but ultimately rewarded.

rfnostalgia said...

Why are all your WTF????s pure gold to me? Can you imagine what kind of hooks would have been written for Naked Lunch, Ulysses or Remembrance of Things Past ( is that cork I smell burning?) rudy franchi

Anonymous said...

I get it! She has one of those bags full of magnetic words and phrases and threw it at the fridge.

This is the result.

And as crazy as some women's lit may appear on the surface, there truly is more work involved than having a good pitching arm.

LindaBudz said...

Reminded me of those spam emails you get where it's just a bunch of mostly random words in the body. You look at it thinking, "WTF do these people get out of sending me this stupid spam?" And then the graphic for Viagra comes up.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Spoiled, shallow women having spoiled, shallow coversations in a spoiled, shallow way.

And how is someone pouring fourteen glasses of wine from one bottle? Because that's how it reads.

December Quinn said...

Are they WAGs?

picardyrose said...

I got it, and I'd read it if the plot were interesting -- can't tell thus far if it would be or not. (Does anyone have amnesia, or get poisoned? I love that.) I think it helps to have been a ballet student with a nasty, and loud, dance mistress. Not everyone has to be Luann Rice: I refer you to "The London Pigeon Wars," which started with pigeons and not ladies exercising, but in a similar way expected the reader to sit up and follow along. As for the characters being spoiled and shallow, they might be hospice workers blowing off steam, for all we know at this point. I wish there weren't 14 of them, and this certainly isn't a hook, but I'd keep reading.

dana p said...

The problem with this isn't that it's off-the-wall -- the problem is that it's boring.

Thomma Lyn said...

I got a strong sense of tongue-in-cheek here, and parts of it made me laugh out loud. Yeah, yeah, I have a weird sense of humor.

I'd keep reading.

Fuchsia Groan said...

I would read this if it got less telegraphic and settled into a single voice pretty quickly--it's funny, and I love "Obergymfuhrer." Maybe it would work better in a bilingual market, like Canada. (I was wondering if the story's set in Quebec, or in the U.K. with some French characters, or just in France with everyone speaking inexplicably in English. That's the sort of thing you'd explain in a hook, I'm guessing.)

Anonymous said...

Author here.
Despite being WTFed, I'm pleased to have provoked so much reaction. The story's told through the eyes of an Irishwoman (me) living in a small French village. The Gazelles exist. We are not shallow spoiled women btw.
It's aimed at the GB market - more receptive to quirky humour I think. Have to confess I'd no idea what off-the-wall meant. So it's just eccentric, eh? I can live with that, but the constructive criticism has been very helpful. Thank you and a Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

I got this on the second go-round -- there is a distinct and individual sense of humor at work. However, the problem is that virtually nobody got it at the first go-round, which is necessary. I think the voice can work if it is laid on just a little less thick. Humor and individuality are fantastic, but unless you are James Joyce, clarity has to come first.

I definitely think there is something here, though.