Friday, July 2, 2010

Hook Victorine #2

Here's the next installment of Hook Victorine.  This is the first 400 words from New Coastal Times, by Donna Callea.

Same drill.  I'll critique as I go, inturrupting when I feel like it.  At the end I'll tell you if I was hooked.

It wasn’t Yvette Carlyle’s fault that the beach washed away and the condos and hotels collapsed into the sea.

I like this beginning sentence. I want to know what she did, and why she’s being blamed for this. You know, “It wasn’t her fault the earth blew up. She didn’t mean to push that button.” It almost has a humorous ring to me; although I’m not sure the author meant it that way.

She’s only one person, after all. And you certainly can’t hold her responsible for all the people who died when the buildings toppled, or all the struggling hordes rendered homeless and dependent, or the total human and fiscal fiasco that’s been at least as bad as (if not worse than) the recent string of other really horrible natural disasters.

Now here we lose the humor, and I’m getting a little disappointed. Maybe I just took the first sentence wrong. I’ll clear the humor out of my head so I can get into the horror of the story. I think Donna has successfully painted a picture of disaster here. My only nit pick would be the words ‘really horrible natural disasters’. The word ‘really’ is a weak word, it doesn’t describe the horror, it weakens it for me. I’m intrigued by this picture of disaster. I’d say it is a mild hook for me.

Not to downplay them. I wouldn’t want to downplay them.

The climate is changing, and not for the better. Everyone knows that now, though maybe Yvette didn’t then. Or maybe she just didn’t think much about it then. And every major catastrophe is —well—catastrophic.

To me, this doesn’t add a whole lot to the story, so I’m starting to get a little bored. I’m still wondering why they’re blaming Yvette for the destruction, even though it wasn’t her fault. I’ll read on to see if it’s dealt with.

But from a purely local and personal perspective, Hurricane Walter really was the worst. Because it happened where we were. Because it seemed to be the beginning of the end for so many— the start of everything falling apart. Because some of the devastation really could have been prevented. By Yvette, had she known. Maybe, a little bit, by me.

Hmm, I’m wondering how anyone could say Yvette might have prevented some of the devastation. What in the world did she do?

Anyway, Yvette is as sorry now as anyone. And you really can’t blame her for everything. Not for the hurricane, obviously. Plus you’ve got to give her this. She’s got spunk.

When we were all holed up on the fourth floor of the old and creaking New Coastal Times building, in the dark and powerless newsroom, as the wind lashed at the windows and the foundation shook, didn’t she come out of her plush private office to give us hope?

The author is doing a good job of making me not like Yvette here. I’m not as drawn into the story as I would like to be, though. I think I’m distanced from it by the narration, and the ‘looking back’ perspective, rather than ‘here we are in the moment... huddling in the dark while the storm is hitting us’ kind of thing. But this is quite subjective, and could just be me. Well, of course it’s just me, everything I say is just me. ;)

Tall, big-boned Yvette, her blonde pixie-cut trimmed to perfection, her eye shadow and mascara and glossy red lipstick as garish as ever, her smile superior, her crow’s feet caked with makeup.

Yep, not liking Yvette at all.

She was never pretty. That was the problem. Or at least one of them, as far as her career was concerned. And despite extensive cosmetic surgery (she was due to have her eyes redone when the hurricane hit) she looked all of her 57 years.

She considered herself a beacon of bravery— an inspiration to us. She could easily have been elsewhere.

Yvette emerged from her recently remodeled fourth floor executive sanctuary, where at least there was light (which we could see under the door), followed by Patty and Paula, her ever-present identical twin administrative assistants.

I wonder why there’s electricity in her office and no where else. That has to be unusual. Looks like we’re pulling in closer now, the narration isn’t so distanced. I do prefer that.

Patty and Paula— helmet-haired petite brunettes who never dressed alike because that might cause confusion— carried battery-powered lanterns …

Awe, I wanted to read more. That’s a good thing! I’d say you were successful in hooking me. Great job! My only nit pick would be how long I felt distanced from the scene. I liked the beginning sentence... and I liked the hint that the narrator is somehow to blame for some of this. The rest of the narration I could have done without. But I’m really an action lover, so I do tend to gravitate to the action part of the story. As far as the writing goes, I think this was well written. In the end, I was hooked and wanted to read more, and that’s what matters most.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts