12.15.2006

HHCom 10

When ten aspiring novelists hide themselves on a remote Maine island, asking nothing but to be left alone to write for a month without interruptions, they expect to find bad food, bad manners, and bad coffee. Instead, they get murder.

In Ten Little Novels, the budding writers start dying off one by one. Who — or what — is responsible for the deaths? They're trapped on the island by a freak storm. They first turn to each other; then they begin turning on each other. Still, the death toll mounts.

Is one of them a demented Agatha Christie fan? Are the freakish coincidences they uncover part of a larger plot? Who or what is guiding the murderer as he (or she) takes yet another victim? As each dies, the behavior of the remaining writers becomes more bizarre. Still, these are ten writers, and so only Death will stop each of them from recording what has happened. When the end of the month comes, each of them will have left a record of everything that happened here. Making sense of the ten little novels, and understanding the clues they contain, will be the final challenge for the last man (or woman) standing.


Miss Snark killed them.
Trust me.

Over over over done.

25 comments:

Eleora said...

I think this sounds like a hilariously good read...provided the tone is supposed to be light and mocking.

Seanachie said...

My personal favourite take on this idea is Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler. Published back in 1979.

Anonymous said...

JMO, but I liked the first paragraph. It made me laugh, 'course as a budding writer, I'm biased. The hook lost its power in the second paragraph though. Too many questions, not enough plot or specific characters.

dkdht

Don said...

I thought for sure that this must have been a parody submission. Surely no one would actually think that this would be a viable submission.

A good rule of thumb: If your main character(s) is(are) a novelist(s), then the writing has to be REALLY good. I wasn't left with a sense of good writing in this hook.

Of course I could just be cranky because I've written next to nothing this week.

Anonymous said...

*Haunted* - Chuck P.

ORION said...

This sounds like Agatha Christie's 10 little Indians

Dave said...

hey expect to find bad food, bad manners, and bad coffee. Instead, they get murder.

What did you expect? Gay love affairs? Raging sex?

LindaBudz said...

I thought this one sounded fun ... am curious as to the format ... is it actually told as 10 individual stories?

If so, I'm thinking 10 might be too many ... quite a challenge for an author, though, to tell the same story from 10 perspectives without getting too repetitive or boring! My hat's off to you!

HawkOwl said...

Metafiction. I like. Oh, and sentences with meanings. I'd want to know whether this you pull this off. Colour me hooked.

Kristi said...

Ummm...it sounds like the movie Clue. But I think it could be fun. Throw in a little monkey brain soup and singing telegrams and I'd read it.

Seriously. I'd read this.

Anonymous said...

I liked Agatha Christie's novel. A new novel with the same basic idea but a different twist is something I'd take a look at.

nbm said...

Yeah, I'm with the "could be fun" club. Of course it sounds like Christie's Ten Little Indians, it's an overt hommage! But I too am afraid of the difficulty of managing ten separate narratives.

Anonymous said...

You know, if Steven King wrote this, it'd be a damn good book, a best seller, and a terribly adapted film script that would make crappy movie -- unless William Goldman was the one who adapted it (Misery, The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid).

Just hold this one back till you're a famous writer, then write about writers....

Anonymous said...

If Stephen King was one of those writers I might read it.

Having spent time with a lot of writers, I can state we prefer to hang out, booze up, and kvetch about our spouses, editors, agents, ungrateful fans, and horrible cover art and rarely, if ever, think about killing each other.

Gimme the gay love affairs/sex orgy angle. Now THAT's a writing retreat I wanna see!

wonderer said...

I'd read it.

Anonymous said...

I'd buy this book. The deliberate homage to Agatha is funny and the plot seems smart and fresh. I'll bet some agent out there will bite.

Anonymous said...

Count me as another who'd check this novel out, especially if it's told as ten separate accounts and the truth lies somewhere in between (a la An Instance of the Fingerpost). It's almost unfortunate that Christie had ten characters, though -- the concept would probably work better with five or six threads instead of ten.

Ski said...

I like it. Ten stories, each leading us closer to the truth. Who wouldn't want to know? Good Luck.

Rgds..........Ski

helen said...

More than all the others so far, I think it's impossible to judge this one without a writing sample, but if I read this on the back of a book I'd definitely be intrigued enough to have a flick through the opening pages.

Virginia Miss said...

I agree with Helen. This intrigues me but I'd have to see the writing.

Ten said...

Thank you very much for your insightful comments. I am learning what works, and what doesn't work, in the construction of a "hook".

As the author, who has a manuscript in hand, I have to say that lindabudz, hawkowl and nbm as well as others hit the nail on the head. It became unmanageable because of the number of voices I had to write. There's got to be a way around that problem, but for now, it sits on a metaphorical shelf waiting for The Muse or an improved skill-set to visit me and make it work. High concept, difficult to execute.

I truly appreciate the collective efforts of Miss Snark and the commenters in making the slushpile a better place for everyone.

Benja Fallenstein said...

I'm with Miss Snark on this one. Sorry.

This might work on the back of a book, where you're assuming that the publisher has weeded out the bad stuff and has a reason to put this out. As a hook in a query letter, it pings my "author writing about authors" warning signal (I'm not an agent, but I read slush for a magazine and stories of this type all too often seem to be dreadfully boring attempts at in-jokes), and there's nothing here to make me care about the characters.

But with so many commenters liking the idea, there's hope :-) Good luck with this!

Mig said...

If the novel is a well written as the hook, this should be a fun read. Good work, IMHO. The only thing missing is a central character that the reader can root for or against. If the story is told from the POV of ten characters of equal importance, this might be a difficult novel to pull off.

Anonymous said...

I rented this exact movie in Hollywood Video. Kelly Martin is in it.

Anonymous said...

Ten-
Try reading an experimental novel called A Few Corrections (not to be confused with THE Corrections, which came out about the same time.) This book takes an obituary and repeats it in each chapter. This is not boring, because in each chapter, a nugget of the deceased's life is clarified and the obituary is "corrected". What starts out as a humdrum life ends up with many layers. The obit itself is a red-penned mess.

Is there a brief element of your story that you could repeat in each of ten chapters, with each character expounding on the element from his/her perspective?

Experimental fiction isn't for everyone, but when it works, it's great!