12.15.2006

HHCom 11

If a murder takes place in a forest, does it make a sound? Appalachian Trail hiker Julie Greene hopes she doesn't find out in my new psychological thriller, WHITE HOUSE LANDING.

After graduating from college, Julie Greene and Joshua Towne are hiking the A.T. as a prelude to their wedding. While making their way across Maine's Hundred Mile Wilderness, they find a stranger's journal inside a shelter. The couple decides to take the diary with them, not knowing it is the sole companion of the forest's most dangerous inhabitant. The owner of the journal is a savage recluse, a wild man who has turned his back on society. In the woods people rarely cross his path, but when they do, he recounts the violent results in his diary. If these confessions were to leave the forest, he knows his solitary life would come to an end.

When the wild man discovers his journal is missing, he begins to stalk Julie and Josh. He follows them for twenty-four hours, attacking them and setting traps along the trail. They realize they must escape at the next river crossing or spend another night in the forest without shelter. The final showdown at White House Landing determines whether the couple survives or suffers an agonizing end.


You're giving a rundown of plot rather than a reason to read it. And remember, the idea that the couple suffers an agonizing end is rather appealing when you're reading the slush pile. In a query letter, I'm not emotionally invested in whether they survive unless you've given me a hint they are..yanno...poodle lovers or something.

Besides, being stalked by a feral stranger who just happens to leave his journal in a shelter along the Appalachian Trail requires more suspension of disbelief than my hammock can handle.

13 comments:

Seanachie said...

I think the savage recluse in this hook is responsible for the deaths of the authors in the last hook. Just my theory.

Rashenbo said...

Lol, seanachie... combined together that probably could make an interesting little tale.

Anonymous said...

I don't usually read stuff like this, but the hook had me hooked. Good luck!

Dave said...

Try this:
While hiking on the Appalacian rail, Julie and Joshua find a stranger's journal and take it. Unknown to them, it belongs to a psychotic killer, a savage recluse, a wild man who kills anyone crossing his path and then recounts the deaths in his diary. In the 24 hours that follow, Julie and Joshua must battle traps, pitfalls and things (you can fix that) set by the psychopathic stranger.

and this still needs an ending sentence to clinch it.

HawkOwl said...

You were down at the first line and my inner soundtrack made a toilet-flushing sound.

Bill Peschel said...

Consider what effect being hunted would have on Julie and Joshua. Would they cooperate? Would they separate. If Joshua has a fear of heights, would he be able to climb the tree to set a trap for psycho Grizzly Adams?

How feral would they get to defend themselves?

Kim said...

Um... why wouldn't the wild man just find another place on the Trail to live? And where is he getting his paper and pen or pencils?

Just curious

Ski said...

This is the kinda story that scares the bejesus out of me. I still get nightmares from that banjo music in "Deliverence." This is a...good premise. I wish you luck. But I have to ask - how do you sleep at night?

Rgds........Ski

Benja Fallenstein said...

I think I could accept the conceit on this one. But like Miss Snark, I don't care about the characters. And the plot doesn't make me care about the book, because it doesn't stand out from so many similar plots.

You have the form of the hook right. For what it's worth, I think you should think about why the reader should care about this book and revise the hook based on that.

I think that in this case it's probably the interesting characters that are missing, not something about the plot. But I don't read this genre much, so take this for what it's worth :-)

Anonymous said...

I liked it but suspense/thrilllers aren't really my genre.

thraesja said...

Clearly the pens and paper come from the authors he murders. He stalks another every time his supplies are getting low.

This isn't my genre, but it may have potential. Please rework the hook, as every sentence is similar. Clause A is followed by a comma, and then comes Clause B. You get the idea, I don't like the rhythm.

Joel Hebert said...

Is it possible to make a reader care about characters within the limited confines of a short hook? How would one do that-"Julie, who treated old people with kindess and tutored juvenile arsonists in her spare time, was now being chased by a backcountry savage." Any thoughts?

Kim said...

Oy - I never thought of stealing pens and papers from the authors...

wildman goes on killing spree - for supplies...

details at eleven.