12.30.2006

HH Com 678

Garnet Gold and her husband Clyde are reporters jumping from newspaper to newspaper -- overworked, underpaid, and burned out. When Garnet’s grandfather Joe dies, he leaves Garnet his bait shop and house with a challenge to his nomadic heir: Fish or cut bait. Garnet and Clyde sell their meager possessions, buy a Harley and a truck, and move to central Arkansas, to continue running Joe’s Bait Shop and Boat Rental.

Six months later, Garnet questions her sanity as she realizes that she is now underworked but still underpaid. She is addicted to soap operas, checks out fishermen for America’s Most Wanted, and is crafting her way through the bait shop creating everything from a fishing fly shadow box to a decoupaged tacklebox. But her investigative reporting itch kicks into high gear when a former Miss Arkansas sashays into the bait shop and claims to have been Joe’s friend.

Garnet soon discovers she’s inherited more than one bait shop, Joe’s four poker buddies, and six aluminum Jon boats. She has also inherited a sixty-year-old mystery that the former Miss Arkansas threatens to unravel. Unfortunately, some things are better left alone. The beauty queen turns up dead. Worse yet, when Garnet begins to believe her grandfather’s death wasn’t as natural as it seemed, she finds herself a target of a person willing to kill to keep the past quiet.

Fish or Cut Bait is a 50,000 word cozy mystery. (short word count)


Generally people who are overworked and underpaid as newspaper people are so by choice. They've got college degrees (usually) and they LOVE what they do. Trading it in on a bait shop would require some precipitating event.

I'm as fond of raw fish as the next New Yorker but this one is as contrived as California roll.

11 comments:

jamiehall said...

This sounds like a synopsis, not a hook.

As to Miss Snark's complaint - that overworked reporters love their jobs and thus the MC's job change doesn't seem realistic - I felt that you had explained the job change well enough. Burnout does lead to a desire for a change, any change, and your main character obviously wasn't happy away from her work.

Anonymous said...

I like this voice.

One sentence that made me trip: "...inherited more than one bait shop..." I figured out that it's the beginning of a list, but at first I thought there were multiple bait shops.

girldog said...

I think Miss Snark might be suffering from a little burnout herself. I love your voice and your premise. Good luck, author! I'll be watching for this one.

Zany Mom said...

I have a couple of college degrees, my own business, and I'm grossly underpaid. I'd chuck it all in a heartbeat to go paint interiors. Seriously. So I can relate to Garnet a bit.

Yes, as a young hotshot professional I didn't care about the pay; now 18 years into it I'm sick of making less than a plumber. I'd take the pay of a painter just to get rid of the daily headaches of business ownership.

So this plot thing didn't trip me up. I think a lot of people yearn for a simpler life and want to leave the rat race behind.

Anonymous said...

NOPE! The Arkansas beauty queen ain't kilt. She takes up with the "DUCK MAN" who makes all them duck huntin' videos showin' off his quacker-noises. And then duck karma comes runnin' at 'em commencin' duck ghosts hauntin's causa all them pissed-off kilt ducks. And ever boat what's given her gits a hole in it and ever stitch of camoflage turns purple. Then they quit that and open up a butt-hut, (featurizing topless girls that duck dance), located outside a Little Rock on a backcountry gravel road where Arkansas politicians commit nef-errous doins - with the girls and ducks! THE END

Haste yee back ;-)

Inez said...

This sounds like a fun read, and I love the voice.

The precipitating event is an easy fix -- one too many rounds of verbal abuse from a small-town city editor would make a dead fish look positively seductive.

Good luck, writer -- I think you've got a winner!

Mark said...

I have a journalism degree and never got my first job. Alas, I had to revert to my last career as a scientist. By the time reporters get to the NY Times and other top papers they are none of the above. I suspect the same holds true for novelists. Chucking it for a baitshop business plays well in my house as a premise.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the sound of this one. I did think that there were multiple bait shops, but that didn't turn me off.

Sounds like a cozy read, author.

Inkwolf said...

I though it sounded pretty good. :)

~Nancy said...

I don't know...it sounds interesting to me.

And chucking it all for a simpler life running a bait shop...well, why not? :-) I suspect that lots of people suffer from burnout, whether they enjoy their jobs or not. (It's certainly something I wish I could do.)

Good luck, author!

~JerseyGirl

Anonymous said...

I've got to differ on the leaving newspaper jobs would take a big event thing. Many journalists I know would leave their jobs at the drop of a hat. I finished J school two years ago, having worked for my college paper all four years and done four summer internships--loving every minute of it--and quickly found (to my absolute shock) that I cannot stand the newspaper business. Of the ten of us who did the majority of the work at our college paper, seven are already (in two years) out of journalism, and onto something that pays better. Two others are looking to get out now. I and my friends went to school knowing the pay would be crap (can we say average of 24,000, starting out), loving the profession, adoring the work, and quickly found out what lots of people in the industry find out fast: living on 23 K is tough, working 40+ hour weeks with generally poor benefits and little vacation time sucks, most people in the office, wherever that may be, have lousy attitudes because they're burned out, daily story turnover makes writing unfulfilling, and you could get paid more after a few years working at Wal-Mart. So, no, there would not have to be a catalyst for these folks leaving journalism. That would be common.