12.15.2006

HHCom 7

All the Cold War rules lie in the rubble heap with the crumbled Berlin Wall and the failed socialist dream. New opportunities, along with unknown risks and dangers pour through the open borders of East Germany in the summer of 1990.

Zara Gray, a high-tech consultant, and T. K. Drummond, a failed spy, are seeking an amiable sociopath who has fled the US with his company's ahead-of-the curve computer software and his sex-spy girlfriend. T. K. is expecting easy money and a plummy assignment. Blackmailed by her greedy bosses, Zara (POV) has been pushed into this assignment against her will. Zara is nervous about working with T. K. who has no reason to love her and every reason to betray her.

Crumbling old Baltic casinos and a classic sailboat are backdrops as an international cast of miscreants vies for the digital jewels in World of Mirrors, (96,000 words). The "Marquis de Sade on Steroids," a Russian naval captain, ex-Stasis, a former wall dog, and a North Vietnamese guest worker take the stage as treacheries multiply. Zara and T. K. must rely on the software pirate and the Vietnamese laborer to sail them to safety as they play a deadly game of cat and mouse through the shipping lanes of the fog-shrouded Baltic.

The middle paragraph is the only thing that holds my interest. The rest is just a blather of description.

And this plot is so old it has whiskers. You need a new twist.

11 comments:

Rashenbo said...

The voice here is ok... but this particular plot doesn't appeal to me.

M. Takhallus. said...

I'd check it out for milieu alone. This one works for me.

Mig said...

His sex-spy girlfriend? Huh? "Treacheries multiply?" Awkward.

HawkOwl said...

Um, what? It sounds like you don't know your setting, and I have no idea what all the rest was talking about.

wonderer said...

Way too many adjectives, cliched phrases, and characters for one hook.

Anonymous said...

That's Stasi, for the East German secret police dudes.

Stasis is what happens to the contents of Tupperware tubs in the back of my freezer.

A sex spy? She spies on sex? Kinky! Try Ellora's Cave.

The writer is directed to read Adam Hall. Stat.

Benja Fallenstein said...

Hi, Author #7,

There is just nothing here that makes this feel fresh and new to me. Sorry.

The thing is, I like the backdrop of the fog-shrouded Baltic, with ex-Stasis and a former wall dog. I'm not so keen on computer software MacGuffins, greedy bosses, Russian naval captains or North Vietnamese guest workers, because they smell of cliché and of ethnicity as a substitute for character. And I don't know what a "sex-spy girlfriend" is. But I could look past that -- except that I don't see anything about your plot except for clichés.

My advice, for what it's worth, would be to focus on what makes your plot unique and interesting. And to stop using clichés as descriptions of characters, it seems to have the opposite effect of what you're hoping for :-)

- Benja

Anonymous said...

Struggling author thanks Benja for some honest-go-god useful advice.

Anonymous said...

What's a wall dog?

Benja Fallenstein said...

You're welcome! :-)

- Benja

Anonymous said...

A Wall Dog (ex-wall dog) is a dog who perfomed guard duty along the Berlin Wall and especially the Death Strip surrounding East Germany. The dog and his handler hunted down hapless folks trying to escape. When the wall came down, there was a huge debate in Germany about what to do with these dogs. According to Peter Schneider, whose book I read, most of the dogs were adopted into happy homes, and only a few of them remained vicious. The brouhaha demonstrated that Germans are as seriously dotty as the English when it comes to animals. I have an ex-wall dog in my book.