The First Version Of The Hook

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Ok folks, if you have been keeping up with my blog, you will have already read my previous post on the subject of the Hook. If not here is it’s link – https://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/writing-the-hook/.

Now then, all I need from the three hundred and twenty-two people who currently follow my blog is for you all to read through the first version of the Hook shown below.

Don’t just click ‘like’ and move on, or ignore it. Here is your one and only chance to partake in the birth of a new novel. I really need your totally unbiased opinions. Even if science fiction does nothing for you, I still want to know whether or not the Hook works. In other words did it get your attention to the point where you want to know more? One other thing, forget about the character names. At this stage of the proceedings, they are very temporary. I just used them to give you the two character’s points of view.

***

   Dark pitiless eyes surveyed the scene one last time. Satisfied that the threat was eliminated, it turned to head back to its hiding place. Something on one of the screens temporarily caught its attention. More trouble was on the way down to the surface.
                                                                                         ~~~
  “Why us?” Cal grumbled. Like Mike he already knew the answer. Tradition demands that the questions be asked by anyone crazy enough to have agreed to be sent on a mission like this. Both men were ex-military. Mike was a former sergeant in the Military Police, while Cal was an ex fighter pilot, making them ideal as trouble-shooters in the eyes of the company, even though they were not expected to survive. If they managed to work out what had happened, all well and good. If not, someone else would be sent in their place. “What’s so all-fired important about an automated mining operation on Mars?” Cal continued, “and why the hell are we on this stinking ancient solar transporter. Why didn’t they get us seats on something more luxurious for the trip?”
“Quit bellyaching will you! Even though the system is automated, techs are still needed to keep an eye on the machinery and fix things when they break. Plus the ore has to be taken from the surface up to the space port to be loaded aboard unmanned transporters like this one for the return journey to Earth, which means someone has to fly the cargo shuttles. The whole operation demands that a small population lives in an accommodation block down inside the mine in Valles Marineris. According to the company, the last load of ore to arrive back home was six months ago. Before that the mine was sending regular monthly consignments. We’re being sent to find out why the operation has stopped. Any more questions? No? Good. Now let’s get down there.”

***

Ok, now you have read it, please think about it first, then leave your opinions below in the comments section. No idiotic ones thanks TSRA. For me, and every other published writer, this is a serious game. None of us are in it for the laughs – there are non to be had.

PS – until I’ve read all of your comments, I won’t continue on with the first chapter. So get busy, please..

😉

18 thoughts on “The First Version Of The Hook

  1. Ok! I read the hook. It’s good. Chock full of info too. I actually read it twice, once to get my bearings and feel of the environment, and then again to get my constructive critique engine whirring…the first part, the “dark pitiless eyes”…was definitely a good start. It made me want to know who it was doing the watching and why it felt threatened by the two guys arriving down on the surface. I was only slightly distracted by the first sentence talking about the eyes, then in the second sentence, the pronoun modifier “it” to reference a being. By all accounts, and without another sentence in between the two, I thought that “it” was still a reference to the eyes and that we had gone singular. But it was a small thing, really, because as I read on, it was clear we were now talking about the being itself, not the eyes, like the first sentence lead me to believe…

    I really liked the fact that the company knew that they put these two on a one-way suicide mission, but the guys are oblivious to it. Very quickly there are personalities emerging, and that’s good, at least for me, because, I tend to want fast paced action near the beginning. Telling us about Cal and Mike’s background was slightly contrived, meaning, the description of their qualifications took me out of the story a little, and I only mention it here because it happened through both reads. Not sure how to solve that though, and perhaps it’s just me being super picky since everything else was so well done. Maybe split up their credentials and reveal them in dialogue? Not sure, but it just seemed only slightly clunky and I was able to move through it quickly.

    There is a lot of expositionary stuff that Mike has to tell Cal, and while it’s great that it is being done through the dialogue instead of just telling the reader, I’m not sure that Cal would be on a mission of that nature without already knowing the details of what they were trying to accomplish, especially considering his background.

    Overall, I think the writing is great and the emerging idea is intriguing enough for me to have wanted to read more. So I think the hook works. Thanks for allowing me a glimpse at it. I hope this is the constructivity you were looking for, otherwise, just ignore me…I tend to ramble on incessantly… 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had no problem relating the eyes to a single creature (it could have been creatures and still worked for me).
    I completely concur with Bill regards the dialogue between Mike and Cal, I.e., too contrived and clunky. Guys like these would not be having the conversation in the tone or words used Jack.
    Take Mike’s very civilised (polite) response:
    “Even though the system is automated, techs are still needed to keep an eye on the machinery and fix things when they break. Plus the ore has to be taken from the surface up to the space port to be loaded aboard unmanned transporters like this one for the return journey to Earth, which means someone has to fly the cargo shuttles. The whole operation demands that a small population lives in an accommodation block down inside the mine in Valles Marineris. According to the company, the last load of ore to arrive back home was six months ago. Before that the mine was sending regular monthly consignments. We’re being sent to find out why the operation has stopped. Any more questions? No? Good. Now let’s get down there.”
    It would more likely be something along the lines of:
    “If you’d stayed awake at the briefing you’d have heard them tell us that the automated system for getting the ore up from Mars to the Transporter needed people living on the ground to check it. There’s been no consignments reach Earth, or contact with the people on Mars, for the past six months. Our job is to find out why.”
    “Any more dumb questions?”
    “No?”
    “Good. Now quit bitchin’ and let’s get down there.”
    (Sensible enough comment Jack?)
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jack, first let me tell you that this is great writing and sounds incredibly interesting. I won’t be as detailed as the comment before (great critique, btw), but I’ll tell you that the dialogue between Cal and Mike is not believable in my opinion. I think there’s too much information in Mike’s reply. All the facts he’s giving are supposed to be known by Cal if he agreed to the operation, right? And also I don’t understand why Cal is complaining if he ‘knows’ they aren’t even expected to survive. Or maybe they don’t know it… that’s not to clear to me. I’m sure your excellent writing skills (yes, I’ve read some of your stuff through TSRA blog) will help you figure out all those details. Keep us posted and good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I got the hook, but like Bill, I had to read it twice to get my bearings. I think this could be a prologue or the first chapter in itself. This is just my opinion, but I would start with
    According to the company, the last load of ore to arrive back home had been six months ago. Before that the mine had been sending regular monthly consignments.
    “What’s so all-fired important about an automated mining operation on Mars?” Cal grumbled, “and why the hell are we on this stinking ancient solar transporter. Why didn’t they get us seats on something more luxurious for the trip?”
    Then you can put in the information about Cal and Mike.
    Finish with dark pitiless eyes. Sets up the next chapter perfectly and sets the hook dangled in the very first sentence.
    What do you think? I sort of looked at it like fishing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes I liked the hook too, although I did pause on both my readings to puzzle about trouble being ‘on the way down to the surface’, which stopped the flow of my reading.
    While I am not a sci fi reader I did enjoy my read. My only other observation was within Mikes conversation beginning ‘Quit bellyaching’. I was interested reading it initially, but after a time the conversation became less ‘true’, and more a way of filling in details necessary for the story, which I accept as necessary, but maybe not within this conversation.
    Overall I thought you did a good job of setting up a story, and creating two characters I am already interested in and to a small degree am able to imagine. You have also left me wondering what ‘it’ was.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Two points I would make. As other comments have said the dialogue sounds like exposition. I think you can bring out the two characters’ personalities – one disciplinarian company man, one begrudging grumbler – in a more everyday banter style. And if the banter is not related to the plot, say they’re discussing a news event or a film star, the shock of what is waiting for them might be heightened.

    Secondly, I thought the creature with dark pitiless eyes should have been given a few more sentences. Make more of what it sees on the screens drawing its attention. There’s potential for a really sinister moment as ‘it’ watches something descending to the surface. . . . Then we cut to the two men discussing a news item or whatever, unaware they’re being watched all the way down.
    Chris

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: The Guardian Begins | Have We Had Help?

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