12.16.2006

HH Com 64

After more than a decade, superstitious, anal retentive, Amelia Schwartz finally stops mourning her parents' and brother's deaths and vows to direct her own destiny. When she abandons the dating world of gay, married and arrogant men to pursue single motherhood, Amelia ends up as an unparalleled branch in a controversial, twenty-first century family tree. She adopts a frozen embryo from her niece, Summer Curtis.

Amelia's quest to have a baby involves a group effort: Chandy Markum, a South African, Jewish immigrant fertility doctor, provides the technology; Summer, a young, married, over achieving attorney provides genetic ingredients; and Amelia provides a womb. Chandy is preoccupied with the loss of her first love in Apartheid-torn South Africa. Summer has zealous career ambitions, demanding bosses, and friction with her husband over when to start a family. Amelia attempts to apply superstitions, which normally rule her actions, to unprecedented preparations for giving birth to her biological cousin.

Ultimately, these three women's participation in the groundbreaking procedure of embryo adoption intertwines their lives in unexpected and heartbreaking ways. The players must confront the reality that no matter how humans devise technology to manipulate reproduction, prolong life, and construct family units we have not yet mastered complete control over our beginnings and our ends.

So, what does the doctor being Jewish have to do with anything. Nothing annoys me more than using religion or race or appearance as shorthand for CHARACHTER. It's the worst form of lazy ass writing.

Also you've got the same problems with issue driven fiction we saw earlier. And your main character needs to get in touch with Dykes on Bikes and release her inner lesbian cause any woman who thinks all men are either arrogant, married or gay has a problem with men that might be better explained at the local GLBTG walk in counseling center.

Your story is a woman gives birth using assisted reproductive technology. So what? Millions of people do that. It might have been groundbreaking 10 years ago. It's so old hat now Jerry Springer can't even muster up outrage over it.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't get why the 'young' neice would have a frozen embryo if she and her husband haven't started a family of their own yet. Frozen embryos are step twenty in trying to get pregnant, and (in my experience) you don't get there until you've tried plenty of other routes and passed a good five to ten years from start to finish.

I'm also wondering why Amelia doesn't visit a sperm bank. It's easier and cheaper. ('Course it's also been done and done and done.)

hqczfny

Anonymous said...

Underneath all this, you might have a story worth telling. Amelia's brothers died and therefore abandoned her so now she abandons all men? Her parents died and abandoned her and now she's in favor of single parenthood? She has a Jewish name and chooses a female Jewish doctor (alter ego with an implied historical connection?) who is concerned with social-political changes in South Africa?

You have a lot of interesting connections going on here. Figure out how they fit together under the surface. Go slow, go deep, and keep digging up the good stuff.

jeanjeanie said...

Wouldn't it be her biological grandneice?

Anonymous said...

Mmm. I think we can all feel good that a superstitious, anal-retentive woman who hates men and obsesses about the past is going to be in charge of raising a little human being all by herself. Yay!

HawkOwl said...

Totally push-button.

Anonymous said...

"anal retentive" is how I felt when I read this.

No, stop, look and listen theres...vanilla ice career died.

HopefulWriter said...

I don't know. I thought it was interesting and I'm surprised it's old hat. I've never heard of a story about adopting a frozen embroyo. But then again, I don't read alot of women's fiction. I didn't like the character run down, but I really liked the last sentence. I thought the writing was quite good.

Kim said...

The baby wouldn't be Amelia's cousin, it would be her grandniece. And why can't she use her own egg and a donor?
Why would Summer have frozen embryos if she and her husband are arguing over when to start a family? Frozen embryos aren't really something that you'd just have lying around. There would be huge commitment, both emotional and financial to consider.

Too many whys and I don't get why I should care about these people when their actions don't really make a whole lot of sense in the first place.

word ver rvdld - short and sweet!

Anonymous said...

This hits home for me as someone who had to go through reproductive assistance myself. I think the biggest mistake the author made was mixing serious issues with flip ones and that is what made it not work. I think the author was trying to be funny when she said gay, married, arrogant men, but it was so jarring after the more serious sentence beforehand. You have to pick one voice and carry it through. The whole hook reads serious except for the one line that clearly everyone had a problem with. I think your hook is Amelia's single motherhood story and how it is impacted by inability to get pregnant herself, relationships with family and friends and other such issues. If you revise to refocus, I bet you would have a nice story about the pursuit of a dream and relationships. Good luck author.

Anonymous said...

Here's where I'm confused.
Amelia gets a frozen embryo from her neice.

The baby she'll give birth to would be her neice's baby--not a bio cousin to Amelia. Right?

I also didn't recognize Chandy as a woman's name at first (wasn't sure it was a man's either).

Your story has three women characters-the doctor, the lawyer and the mother-to-be. It sounds very professional and boring.

You mention Amelia is superstitious twice, but this fact doesn't connect to anything else in your query. Is it important? why?

Good luck.

thraesja said...

Technically, a great-niece (aka grand-niece) is also a first cousin, twice removed. However, no one would ever phrase it that way, so it is indeed confusing.

I also don't understand why Chandy being Jewish is important enough to be in the hook. I don't think it would have affected her status under Apartheid, but I could be wrong. Apartheid was all about skin colour and perceived status as "civilized". Since Amelia seems to be Jewish, it really doesn't make sense to specify that Chandy is. If Amelia is not Jewish or of Jewish descent, you'll probably want to change the spelling of her last name.

Are you using superstitious and anal retentive to mean Obessive Compulsive? If so, perhaps you might just call it that.

Anonymous said...

I am the author of "HH Com 64" and I wanted to chime in only to thank you all for the constructive feedback. Writing 250 words to convince someone to read my novel has proven much more challenging than was writing the novel! I'll take all of the input here and recraft my hook. I appreciate all thoughtful and constructive feedback.