12.29.2006

HH Com 614

Just paperwork, the shrink says. No people, no photos.

It's not like I'm going to see a lot of action shooting a crime scene. Worst that can happen is I slip on a bloodstain or stick myself on some junkie's needle. Or die of boredom flipping through 10-cards to match a print.

I'll be fine, I tell her. Everything's come back except those couple of weeks right around my car accident, and that's normal, right? I only lapse into Ukrainian when I'm overtired, I've prepared a talk for the brain injury society. And I've almost cured myself of touching the scar by my eye every twenty seconds like some obsessive-compulsive nutjob.

Fine. Jesus. Who am I kidding? I'm sitting here nodding and smiling while the oriental rug keeps trying to be muddy green water. I can feel the hot throb in my head, like a bullet's just slammed into the base of my skull. I can feel the rocking, lapping pull of the waves, the scuff of mud and weeds beneath me, my life leaking away.

The thing is, none of that stuff ever happened--at least not to me. I don't know who this guy is, but I know the nape of his girlfriend's neck smells like cinnamon. I know someone blew his brains out and dumped his body in water, but I have no idea why.

And I have no clue how or why his memories are in my head.


oh crap, remember how I absolutely insisted that first person didn't work in a hook (I think I might have even said ever); and of course this IS a first page probably, and yes, there's not an antagonist or plot in sight....yea well...too bad. Of course I'm going to read this. Why? I want to find out what happens. Bottom line for a hook: does it make me want to read it. You can violate every rule in the book but if it works, I read it. The template I've been yapping about is a tool, not a solution. You use it to get oriented, figure out what you need. If it helps you great, but don't be a slave to it. This works, and this is no more XYZ than Miss Snark is 201.

21 comments:

Sam said...

Love this - can I have first dibs on the ARC?

xiqay said...

I was pulled in, especially at the "I only lapse into Ukrainian ..." line. Then I was falling out of interest by the time I got to "nutjob." Then I was unsure /ambiguous about my interest at the "oriental rug keeps trying to be muddy green water." And then I read the last paragraph of this--that's what set the hook and made me want to read more.

Interesting.

Congrats on the request for pages and good luck.

Virginia Miss said...

I was disoriented during the first two paragraphs, but the last four hooked me.

Someone else's memories in his head? Been done before, but maybe not with such a great voice.

Anonymous said...

I've done the brain injury, PTSD, disassociative trip - and you've expressed the feel of it very very well. Thanks for getting it right! Keep that authenticity consistent, and you'll do fine!

J. Carson Black said...

Brilliant, and what a fine voice.

Zuleme said...

There was another first person one that worked, remember the kid writing his will because of "what happened today" and "Pieter can have his chessboard back, hes been dead for five hundred years but in a minute I'll tell you where to find him?"
I think it was number 92 and one of my favorites so far.

Dave Kuzminski said...

For this one, I might violate the P&E rule about only reviewing books about writing and publishing.

BernardL said...

This works for me. Nice job.

Rhonda Stapleton said...

Agreed - very interesting story hook. I got a bit confused and waffled a bit, but the last few lines really hooked me on it.

I Said said...

Super writing here. It suggests strongly that the book will be interesting reading--as long as the story line is there and while it's only hinted at here, I suspect the author knows what he/she is doing.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this one pulls. Hook formula be dammed, it IS a hook.

puzzlehouse said...

*author blushes* Thank you!

Crazy part is, I was sure this entry was going to earn me a big fat "WTF???" I spent days tweaking and polishing and obsessing over my "good" hook, and then tossed off this one in about ten minutes.

You guessed it: my "good" hook was bad, bad, bad. All plot description, no conflict, and worst of all, no voice. It got royally snarked, and I deserved it. This one came from the heart, and I guess it paid off.

Reading all the hooks (and snarks) has been amazing -- and educating. Thank you!

Maria said...

Gorgeous writing.

Anonymous said...

Looking over the ones Miss Snark has decided to ask for pages from, seems to me that many, if not most, violate the rules.

XYZ apears to be for writers who don't really understand what they're doing, while those who've mastered it break the rules, yet draw the reader in, hooking them deeply.

Miss Snark's said it so many times, it's all about the writing.

McKoala said...

Just such nice writing. I'm hooked. I hope that the book is in a similar style.

MWT said...

It's not so much that they're breaking the rules, as they are putting in the XYZ as implications and hints rather than explicit statements.

But before you can do that, you first have to write out the explicit statements. At least to yourself. XYZ is a key intermediary step because it forces you to figure out what your story is actually about. Only after you know that, can you write a great hook.

It's also the difference between first and final drafts for any piece of writing, not just hooks.

My take on it anyway. :)

dana p said...

Wow. I'd barely cracked the 3rd paragraph and I already knew that I MUST READ THIS. And then somehow it managed to pull me in even further.

Love the Voice (with a capital V). I look forward to reading pages!

~~~
To mwt: I think you've nailed it. ...I'd like to comment further, but you've said it so well there's nothing to add. :)

Joshilyn Jackson said...

It was the nape that smelled like cinnamon that got me. VERY VERY NICE. If this is a first page, and if the rest of the book hits this mark, then wow. Just wow. Can;t wait to read the rest.

Yea, send me the ARC, too, please.

Kim Stagliano said...

This reminds me of a book I just read: Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris. Harper Connelly can find dead bodies and "see" how they died. I couldn't out the darn book down. I'd read this one for sure too! I love that Miss Snark is flexible in that what works, works, regardless of form.

Emmy Voter said...

Count me in as another reader eager to have this book on my nightstand. Author, what # was your other version? I'd love to compare it.

Anonymous said...

DANG I want to read this.

Can I be on the ARC list as well?