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#1 Sojourner

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 03:44 PM

Hi All from the Newest Guppy (Just joined yesterday).

 

I would appreciate your help on the Hook for my completed MS: The Lexus Hotel: Mid-Life Crisis, Menopause and Car Camping (Not Necessarily in That Order). This is my first attempt at a Query. I realize that it is somewhat unconventional, but that is by design as the Genre doesn't really fit the fiction or non-fiction template. It is a travel memoir/adventure/true story, 83,341 words. Thanks in advance for your comments.

 

-- Sojourner --

 

 

 

 “Sojourn: journey of the soul. Respite: to spite again. Lexus Hotel: car camping extraordinaire. Father Chris says the body is a glove and the soul is the hand inside the glove. My hand is damaged. What better time to go on a Sojourn, seeking respite, in my Lexus Hotel.”

 

 “Respite:   to spite again; to re-offend, to compound the damage from one wrong with yet another wrong. Wait…wait. That’s what it should mean, but instead we use it to describe a rest, a pause from the act that is exhausting us, a chance to recover, time to catch our breath so that we can carry on. Time to work on getting better – that’s what I told my husband as I hugged him with my one arm and then drove away.”   (Excerpts from Chapter One)

 

 

The Lexus Hotel is a retelling of a six week solo road trip – a Sojourn -- from Colorado to Vancouver, Canada while on medical leave from my career as a lawyer. To add yet another wrinkle to the Sojourn, I was sporting an enormous bright red cast that went from my bicep to my fingers. This travel memoir chronicles the adventures such as spelunking, kayaking with the whales, getting attacked by squirrels, exploring the Canadian culture and the sites and scenery of British Columbia, and of course, car camping – not out of necessity, but by choice. The book also delves into the pain emanating from numerous family crises that caused me to abandon my husband and children for six weeks in an attempt to avoid a melt down that is often triggered by a Mid-Life Crisis, and an attempt to find peace. Throughout the trip, I told a lie to everyone who asked about the cause of the injury; after the Sojourn, I was finally ready to tell the truth.

 

 

 

 

 



#2 lnloft

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 02:58 PM

So, I think you're a little confused on your terminology. The hook is the first line, that grabs the attention, compels the reader to keep going. This appears to be your entire query, which is the entire letter that is sent to entice the agent (kind of the cover letter of getting published, roughly). So the hook is just the first line or two of the query. And if you're saying that list of definitions is your hook... please no. Good hooks can be tough to write, but you don't want your hook being vague. Definitions of relevant words could mean your story is about almost anything. Your story is about YOU and your travels, so that's what you want to convey in your hook, in some interesting way. And then you want to go back and rework that query. Don't include an expert of your book, for one. Once you've done the reworking, I'd suggest posting in the query critique board, where you'll be likely to get more responses. Good luck.



#3 Sojourner

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 12:47 AM

Thanks Inloft. I appreciate your advice and candor. Do you think that the first paragraph,
"Sojourn: journey of the soul. Respite: to spite again. Lexus Hotel: car camping extraordinaire," is a decent hook?
I agree that the first version is far too lengthy to be a hook. I will continue to re-work the query. The book is not comprised of many definitions. I just chose two paragraphs as examples. I can make the hook more specific, but my intention was to have the vagueness add to the allure. Thoughts from other posters would be appreciated.

-- Sojourner --

#4 lnloft

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 10:09 PM

To me, that doesn't really feel like a hook at all. I know it's tempting to be vague, but more often than not, vagueness is not helpful in hooks. The hook needs to give us an idea of what the story is about, and what you have is just far too broad, to the point that it's actually not intriguing. A very specific, but maybe not particularly exciting, hook, would be something more along the lines of, "In 2014, I took a six-week road trip from Colorado to British Columbia, abandoning my husband and children in order to find peace in the face of family crisis and mental anguish." (Apologies for taking liberties definitely with an arbitrary choice for year and potentially some with your reasons for stuff. Just trying to make an example.) Now, this is far from a perfect hook, either. For one, the way I've phrased it would make you seem like a jerk who has just ditched her family rather than how you presented above as someone taking a temporary leave-of-absence for the well-being of all. You definitely don't come across as a jerk in what you wrote above, I want to clarify. Just the way I wrote my example, part of why it's definitely imperfect. It's also, as I noted, not the most exciting thing. I've just put this together as an example of the framework of what a more traditional hook might look like. So now your task is to find a way to meet in the middle between what you've tried and what I've given you, something that provides some allure while also grounding itself enough to give an idea of what the story is about. The other wrinkle is that you have a memoir, while I'm more familiar with hooks for fictional pieces. I'm not sure what's out there, but you might try googling to see if you can find hooks for books that have a bit more of a similar bent as yours (Eat, Pray, Love? I haven't read it, so I don't really know, but it's what comes to mind of a story of someone's travels...). But see if you can find out what sorts of things those authors did. You might get some inspiration that way. Good luck.



#5 Sojourner

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 07:23 PM

Here is the latest attempt at writing a decent Hook. Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions -- especially you, Inloft. Excellent advice.


In the midst of a family crisis and my own mid-life crisis, I left my life behind and went on a Sojourn -- a journey of the soul, to repair the wounds that this weary world left on me before I did something irreversible and unforgivable. Not knowing the destination or the duration, I took a solo road trip to Canada in search of myself. After weeks of car camping, seeking peace and accepting the new world of my second half of life, I returned a changed, more self-aware and quietly content person.


-- Sojourner --

#6 Nessa

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 09:56 PM

Here is the latest attempt at writing a decent Hook. Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions -- especially you, Inloft. Excellent advice.


In the midst of a family ​and mid-life crisis and my own mid-life crisis, I left my life behind and went on a Sojourn, a journey of the soul, to repair the wounds that this weary world left on me before I did something irreversible and unforgivable ​Last part of this sentence is fluff. Takes up space but doesn't really offer details. What was your breaking point?. Not knowing the destination or the duration, I took a solo road trip to Canada in search of myself ​Is there something unique you can mention here? Soul-searching isn't very distinctive.. After weeks of car camping, seeking peace and accepting the new world of my second half of life, I returned a changed, more self-aware and quietly content person.​So, I'm not into the memoir scene, but I think your pitch should follow the formula for a fiction piece. MC + conflict + hook. You're the MC, the conflict is [insert something that's eye-catching and differentiates your story from all the other soul-searching ones], and your hook is [insert something unique]

 

​Good luck! :)

-- Sojourner --


I love dogs


#7 Niambi

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 08:17 PM

Here is the latest attempt at writing a decent Hook. Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions -- especially you, Inloft. Excellent advice.


In the midst of a family crisis and my own mid-life crisis, I left my life behind and went on a Sojourn -- a journey of the soul, to repair the wounds that this weary world left on me before I did something irreversible and unforgivable. Not knowing the destination or the duration, I took a solo road trip to Canada in search of myself. After weeks of car camping, seeking peace and accepting the new world of my second half of life, I returned a changed, more self-aware and quietly content person.


-- Sojourner --

 

 

It's still not a hook or a logline.  



#8 Sojourner

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 04:18 PM

Thanks to the commenters. How about this one?

Title: The Lexus Hotel: Mid Life Crisis, Menopause and Car Camping (Not Necessarily in that Order)

In the midst of a family crisis and a mid-life crisis, I left behind my life as a mother, spouse and nationally-known lawyer, and went on a Sojourn -- a journey of the soul, to repair the wounds that this weary world had left on me. Not knowing the duration or destination, I took a solo road trip to Canada with "Big Red," an enormous red arm cast that stretched from my bicep to my fingers, as my traveling companion. After weeks of car camping, navigating the absurd events that occurred from sporting a club-like piece of hardened fiberglass in a foreign country, lying repeatedly about the cause of the injury, and ultimately finding solace, I returned home at peace with the oncoming second half of life.

#9 Niambi

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 03:09 PM

It should be more like:

 

"A mother in crisis takes a journey through Canada to find herself; her only companions are a red arm cast and a thousand lies about how she got it."







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