12.29.2006

HH Com 579

When I met Henry Ford on the river boat in Brazil, I knew he'd been dead for more than forty years. But I'd been in the jungle for two months—riding boats on the rain-swollen rivers of the Amazon the whole time, and I wasn't compelled to question the authenticity of his story.
Besides, authenticity was what I was having trouble finding. That's why I had set off for South America with a backpack and a vague plan to find Fordlandia, Ford's failed rubber-tree plantation in the middle of the Amazon jungle.

You see, I didn't want to be another tourist. I didn't want to sit in hostels with Israelis and Australians imagining how adventurous we were all being. I wanted authenticity. I wanted something that didn't feel like practice or play-acting. I wanted adventure.

So I went to find Henry Ford's ghost town—the one that wasn't in the guidebooks or on anyone's itinerary.

What I found I wish I could have left in that jungle. But Henry Ford wouldn't let me. "You wanted to discover what authenticity was," he said. "And now it's yours to keep."


Ok, so shoot me, it violates half of everything I've been yapping about non stop for 578 posts.
It's also a pretty damn good hook.

16 comments:

I Said said...

While it doesn't give a real plot, it does introduce a sense of character and adventure that beguiles.

Just Me said...

That's what makes a great hook, I suppose. It answers the musical question: Would you keep reading this?

Nice work, author! Sounds like a great read.

Virginia Miss said...

I liked parts of this, but found it too repetitive.

For example, So I went to find Henry Ford's ghost town—the one that wasn't in the guidebooks or on anyone's itinerary. is completely unnecessary, since we've already been told this. I suggest you cut this sentence, or else cut the earlier one: That's why I had set off for South America with a backpack and a vague plan to find Fordlandia, Ford's failed rubber-tree plantation in the middle of the Amazon jungle.

I also don't like how the author uses authenticity four times

I do like the line "What I found I wish I could have left in that jungle."

Anonymous said...

I would read this. I like the author's style. -JTC

Dave said...

What this does is to very quietly draw the reader into a mystery.

We all like to solve mysteries. We all want to know what is behind the door (to borrow a cliche), under the rug, or hiding back there.

Anonymous said...

What I found I wish I could have left in that jungle. But Henry Ford wouldn't let me. "You wanted to discover what authenticity was," he said. "And now it's yours to keep."

Umm... Just my opinion here. All of this is good. I agree with the above that 'What I found...' is good. And ' "You wanted..." ' is also good. But they're both 'Worthy' sentences. Full of deeper meaning and portentiousness. They know how good they are. Putting them both together sounds ponderous and pretentious. Use one. Or the other. Or split them up a bit more.

Anonymous said...

Or I could have just written 'Portent' there, huh?

Inkwolf said...

Jungle adventure is always good!

But what did he find? Besides the ghost of a famous industrialist, I mean.

A Paperback Writer said...

I loved the first sentence! However, I'm rather confused at the rest. I might read a few pages to decide whether or not to buy the thing.

McKoala said...

Sounds like a great story. Style, mystery, location, portent, it's all there.

writtenwyrdd said...

I'm with Miss Snark. I can't figure out what rules of writing a hook (her rules!) which you actually followed, but I'd want to read more, too. I desperately want to know what the guy discovered and what Henry Ford meant.

michaelgav said...

BANG.

Adrian said...

I agree with Miss Snark this time: it violates almost everything and yet is pretty good. Still, it leaves me wanting a bit more information. I still don't know what the book is going to be about, nor can I get a sense of what kind of book it's actually going to be.

Past tense. First person. No antagonist (unless it's Ford's ghost). Vague conflict. All we really get is a sense of the main character and a set up. What's the story about?

xiqay said...

Funny, I think it sounds like a crock...

Congrats on getting Miss Snark's attention. Good luck.

MWT said...

I read this one while I was drowning in hooks and very tired, and this was the only one in a long line that kept my attention all the way to the end.

I can't quite put my finger on what specifically is right, while the others are wrong. For the others, there was always some point halfway through the first paragraph where I just stopped reading and went scrolling off to see what Miss Snark said. This one, I read the whole thing. During a time when I was looking for any excuse whatsoever to go on to something else. It's not really my type of story, but the hook flowed along very well.

You're doing something right. :)

Fuchsia Groan said...

Lots of echoes here. Heart of Darkness meets Fitzcarraldo meets The Beach. Henry Ford's ghost sells it, though. Are there any facts behind this Fordlandia thing?