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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2011
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    Newest hook--Part One

    How to Be Me.
    Start off poor. Dirt poor. Be embarrassed that your family is on welfare and food stamps. Be pissed at your parents for fighting all the time. Be pissed at you father for cheating on your mother and never working. Be pissed at your mother for spending all her time trying to ďfind herselfĒ in E.S.T. training seminars. Keep those feelings with you for the rest of your life. Move in with your father after your parents get divorced because your mother is such a bitch. Start smoking as soon as you turn thirteen. Get a job selling newspaper subscriptions door to door and sell ten times as many as the other kids. Be cute and tell jokes to your customers. Put on a show for them. Smoke pot in the streets as you knock on doors and bull**** your ass off. ďItís only one dollar per week and the paper will be delivered every day. Besides, you can help me to win a ten-speed bike.Ē Be pissed when your father moves in with his girlfriend. Pay the bills and support yourself and you brother. (You can do it. Youíre the best newspaper salesman in New Jersey.) Be pissed about it though. Be happy that your mother found a new husband to support her. Be happy because sheís happy. You donít need anyoneís help. Youíre fifteen now, and you can support yourself, but donít forget to be pissed about it for the rest of your life. Wake up every morning and smoke your bong before school. Get stoned, work, stay in school. Do this all through high school. Keep selling newspapers until youíre old enough to go to college with all the financial aid your father on welfare can get for you.
    Move into the dorms and party your ass off. Be thankful that you have such a great place to live. Forget about making money for awhile and concentrate on girls as much as possible. Thank God there are so many girls living in the dorms with you. Drink, smoke, do drugs, and chase girls. Never study. Enjoy your vacation. Cheat in all your classes. Always take the makeup tests and get the answers from your friends who took the original. For classes you canít cheat in, drop them as soon as your financial aid gets processed. (Your dorm room will still be paid for.) Be jealous of the other kids in the dorms because they have a home to go back to on the weekends. Listen to your father when he calls you and tells you of his plans to become a professional poker player. Donít judge him. Listen to your mother when she calls you and tells you that she is taking a trip around the world with her new husband. Donít judge her. Since you only have six credits, spend your time selling pot in the dorms. Have a nightmare about getting caught selling drugs and being raped in prison.
    In between semesters, move down the shore with one of your frat brothers. Buy a Sabrett hot dog push cart. Approach the manager of a hopping nightclub, and tell him you want to put your hot dog cart outside his bar at night. Tell him you will give him 25 percent of the gross and to notice that they donít currently sell food. After your hot dog cart starts bringing in $500 a night, buy another one and put it the other club they own in the next town. Do the same thing for another bar too. Then you will have three locations. Cook your hot dogs in beer. (They will taste better that way.) Have the best tasting hot dogs in New Jersey. Sell hot dogs. Sell thousands of hot dogs. Learn how to line up six hot dog buns at once up your arm and flip the hot dogs in one at a time. Put on a show for the customers. Rent a bigger summer house with all your frat brothers. You and your partner can buy three more carts and all your friends can work them. Let them work in six different locations, and party your ass off. Go inside the bars while your friends are outside working the carts. Drink and meet girls. Take the girls back to your disgusting summer house that smells like sauerkraut and onions. Hose out all the equipment in the back of the house. Donít worry about the rats. Wake up in the morning and eat hot dogs for breakfast. Spend most of your profits going out to expensive dinners and drinking with your friends. Donít think about the future. Since you lost your financial aid for not having enough credits, donít go back to school anymore. Move to Florida with your other buddy who got kicked out of school.
    Take your hot dog money and open another business. Find a store for rent, and build a pizzeria in it. Put in floors, booths, counters, pizza ovens, hood systems, refrigeration, and everything else thatís supposed to be in a pizzeria. Spend more money than you have. Drive back to New Jersey six times by yourself to beg people for money. Make promises you canít possibly keep and finish building your business. Drink beer and smoke pot while you build it. Build it day and night until your fingers bleed and bones ache. Get stoned and learn how to make pizza. Make all kinds of pizzas. Use bottled water in the dough. (This will give your dough a better consistency and make it taste more like pizza in New York and New Jersey.) Have the best tasting pizza in Florida. Learn how to flip up two pizza doughs at a time and catch them behind your back. Put on a show for the customers. Sell pizza. Wash dishes. Drink beer. Make dough. Clean tables. Smoke cigarettes. Make meatballs. Make sauce. Smoke pot. Make sausage. Cook the books. Spend sixteen hours a day, seven days a week in your self-built pizza prison. Donít ever go out. Work all the time. Miss your friends from college. Wish you were back in the dorms where all the girls lived. Pity yourself into a state of despair. Blame all of your problems on your parents. Know that you have to work so hard because they didnít. Do this until you canít take it anymore, and then close your pizzeria and move back to New Jersey.
    Find an apartment. Find a job. Find a girl. Drink, smoke and relax. Enjoy working eight hour days, five days a week for awhile. Deliver pizza, valet park cars, take tips and drink every night. Make giant stacks of empty beer cans in your room. After the party is over, get a real job. Go to work for an employment agency. Become a corporate clone. Sit at a desk with a phone. Use fancy work jargon. Find jobs for people and charge enormous fees to companies. Sell employees to companies. Sell companies to employees. Be cool and funny. Put on a show over the phone. Lie cheat manipulate. Be the best personnel consultant in New Jersey. Display your monthly performance awards on the wall behind your desk. Get your picture in employment agency magazine, centerfold. Be a big shot. Make money. Get cocky. Steal all the files from your company and open your own agency. Go out every night with your corporate friends to happy hour. Drink until closing and show up for work hungover every morning. Close the door to your office and let your employees do all the work. Live off of their efforts until the recession of 1989 hits hard and everyone gets laid off from their jobs. Cry into your drink because companies wonít pay fees for employees when all they have to do is put an ad in the paper and receive thousands of resumes from all the people who are out of work. Watch your bank account dwindle and close your employment agency.



  2. #2
    Member
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    Jul 2011
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    Just my two cents worth: I think you need to break this up into paragraphs to start. It is hard for me to read writing when I see no breaks.

    I do think the content has potential though.

  3. #3
    Amy Lou
    Guest
    Hi Greg, yes this needs to be broken up more. I do like the content though and I believe it has potential. I was drawn in, anyway

    How to Be Me.
    Start off poor. Dirt poor.(show me what it looks like to be dirt poor - don't just tell us. give us a rich example, noting cliche though) Be embarrassed that your family is on welfare and food stamps. (again, I need more than just you telling me your embarrassment over food stamp/welfare: Be embarrassed that you mom had to purchase toilet papar using food stamps, a basic human need.) Be pissed at your parents for fighting all the time(Show me what it looked like for them to fight all the time). Be pissed at you father for cheating on your mother and never working(More again with the cheating and why didn't he work - Be pissed at your father for cheating with the checkout girl at the store mom had to use food stamps). Be pissed at your mother for spending all her time trying to ďfind herselfĒ in E.S.T. training seminars (see, here is a good example of going deeper and showing us what it looked like for your mom to find herself). Keep those feelings with you for the rest of your life (this sentence feels like a conclusion and yet you go on, I think this could be moved down) . Move in with your father after your parents get divorced because your mother is such a bitch(how is your mom such a bitch? show me!). Start smoking as soon as you turn thirteen. Get a job selling newspaper subscriptions door to door and sell ten times as many as the other kids. Be cute and tell jokes to your customers. Put on a show for them. These last couple of sentences are good, they are showing me your personality as a young man.

    I'm going to stop here, I think you get the idea. But there's something about the way these sentences read as a very very long list that causes me to lose interest. BUT what you're saying in these sentences is very interesting. I just think you could tell your story better than listing all the ways to be you. I hope this helps and you stick with it. I did enjoy this section.
    Amy

  4. #4
    Robin Teeter
    Guest
    It's an interesting scenario because people can relate to your character and this type of lifestyle. There are a few cliches throughout. You're telling us your mother is a bitch when you could show us why your protag thinks she is a bitch.

    I like that you've demonstrated empathy and contempt for the MC.

  5. #5
    Robin Teeter
    Guest
    It's an interesting story.

  6. #6
    Member Lawrence Tabak's Avatar
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    "You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head. "

    Second person is tricky, but can be interesting. For the 1,335 words you present in this excerpt (I had to paste into Word and add paragraphs to read it!), the premise is initially compelling, but in toto, seems to this reader unsatisfying. It's too big of story in too much shorthand. I assume it is an introduction to the elaboration of this lifestory, and I'm very much interested in the details. But I don't think you want to force the reader through this whole synopsis.

    Perhaps you can consider boiling this down to a short paragraph which teases the story, and then immersing us in the particulars of the chronology. The Horatio Alger tale underminded with a true-life "Million Little Pieces" dysfunction sounds like a winning formula to me.

    Will the whole tale be told in this voice, or is this just a conceit for the intro? In any case, you call it a "hook" in your title and this is just too much -- it attempts to tell almost a lifestory complete with the psychological insight from years of therapy. A more traditional hook would be to start the narrative with the penultimate success, perhaps receiving an award or promotion or buying the utiimate toy, in the context of the rags to riches storyline, with the confessional conclusion of how empty an achievement it actually seems. And then we go back to the paper route and slowly build the story to this moment.

    P.S. You've got two cases in the 1st graph where you write "you" instead of "your."

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2011
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    It just wore me out. Breaks would have helped. It was too staccato and too much to go through. Sorry, and you don't have to go by me. I love Bright Lights, Big City, and it was told using second person.

    Amy Lou, I got a kick out of your quote by Mayonnaise.

    Good luck, Greg. I mean that. If this is your writing style, go for it.

  8. #8
    Amy Lou
    Guest
    Amy Lou, I got a kick out of your quote by Mayonnaise.
    hehe~thanks claire!

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