Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are You Hooked? #18

TITLE: A Presidential Bash
GENRE: Comedy, Political Intrigue

The two main candidates for President of the United States, Governor Ayita Starblanket and Governor Arturo Arnez are forced to work together when one disaster after another threatens them and the democracy they both hold dear. They settle on a message to their unknown assassins. They'll join each other's ticket so no matter what happens, the American public will get the man and woman they want to run the country, but will they kill each other first?

Governor Mary Ayita Starblanket's head swam with confusion, her vision focused like a bad camera, yet she knew from the smell, and the tubes irritating her arm, she was in a hospital bed. A doctor whispered she'd be okay. A man matching the blurry description of Governor Arturo Arnez, her unworthy presidential opponent, held her hand, for a reason beyond her muddled mind.

Her eyes fluttered. She slurred. "It's you."

"Thank God you're alive, Ayita."

He seemed sincere.

"What happened?" Some memories trickled back to her, a roast. She shook Arturo's hand for a photo op and then got squashed against the back wall.

"They tried to kill us." Her vision repaired, mostly, she noticed Arturo's blotchy red eyes. She tried to reach up to touch his cheek.

"Don't move yet Ayita," a doctor said.

"Can't move."

"Let the drugs wear off."

"Somebody, Jason here?"

"Yes ma'am, we lost both vice-presidential candidates and others," Jason was her secret service team leader.

"How could this happen?"

"We'll need to give her some peace and quiet for a while. Evac the room, everybody," the Navy Captain and doctor said.

She summoned her God given strength and said. "Belay that order." As a former NSA chief engineer, then CIA director, she knew how to command counter-terrorist activities and shut-up doctors.

"But Governor."

"I'll take fifteen minutes," she said. "I need a quick debrief from the secret service and get me the President. My dear Arturo, I know you're distraught, but could you please let go of my hand."


  1. Ayita's voice is solid. The setting is believable (and I love the comment about shutting up doctors!!).

    You've got some punctuation errors that were more like annoying gnats than actual distractions. I know that's the kind of thing you will clean up later.

    (Well, you'd better. Or I may slap you. ;P)

    For example:

    Her vision repaired, mostly, she noticed Arturo's blotchy red eyes.

    It should read:

    Her vision (mostly) repaired, she noticed Arturo's blotchy red eyes.


    Her vision repaired (mostly), she noticed Arturo's blotchy red eyes.

    I understand you want "mostly" to be parenthetical, but placing commas on either side of it is incorrect.

    Also, you've got the genre marked as a comedy, but so far it's not reading that way (except for Ayila's last name). Until the last line, that is--her comment about his letting go of her hand. Because the tone prior to that sentence isn't, perhaps, overtly comedic, the statement comes off melodramatic.

    I know that's not your intention! I'm just wondering if you can ramp up the comedy aspect a little bit (just a little bit!), because right now I think it may feel more serious than you intend.

    Good job!

  2. The premise is intriguing, but to concur with Authoress, if this is a comedy, the reader needs to smile or chuckle or laugh on page one. Because so far, to me, this seems quite grim and serious. That being said, I like it.

  3. I question the premise. If the two enemies join forces, does that mean the people have no other choices for whom to vote? And like the others said, if it's a comedy, it better make me laugh on page one. Not hooked.

  4. Yeah, I didn't see any humor either, but I really liked the last line.

    She kind-a jumped too fast from being a patient hooked up to tubes to a Governor giving orders.

    Her first words "It's you" didn't ring true to me, and I don't think you need that sentence at all. Just let him say, "Thank God you're alive, Ayita."

    Also, she just heard the VPs and others died, and she had no emotion, not even shock. Perhaps the drugs numbed her?

    I didn't connect with Ayita. Sorry.

  5. I liked this, I'd definitely read on, I'm intrigued.

    Just one thing, when you say 'some memories... a roast' - well that's only one memory so it sounds wrong. You need to add more or change it.

  6. Sorry for the confusion on genre. I'm only thinking comedy in the classical sense (happy ending),as opposed to tragedy. I was afraid of listing this cross-genre freakoid for fear the autobot would reject it as too long.

    Perhap intrigue, spy and techno procedural, with touches of romance, politcal intrigue, and satire.

  7. I think I must disagree with those who didn't see humor here. I definitely got the tone and knew more smile-worthy scenes were coming.

    My big problem was with punctuation issues that confused me and took me out of the story. Examples: "memories trickled back to her, a roast." and "shut-up doctors." I say, go ahead, add a few more words to clarify or buy an em dash. And lose the hyphen in shut-up. Unless they're really, you know, being locked up.

    With that stuff cleaned up, I'd read on.

  8. I like the premise, but I find that there's a lot that you take for granted that we, as readers, need to know.For example, I don't need to know that the Doctor is also a Navy Captain. One or the other, right at this moment, is fine, because the person I most care about is Starblanket.

    Also, the flashback is a bit wonky - I had to read it a few times before I realized that her getting squashed into the wall was happening in her memory.

    Most people would disagree with me, but I would love for this scene to open on Starblanket waking slowly, and catalogueing her hurts, the room, adn her memories. That way when the people burst in adn the hysterical hubub begins, there's a huge juxtaposition between the relative peace of unconsciousness and the mess of media and hangers on in the aftermath of the shooting.

  9. This is a good start. I'd read on. I love the tone. I'd like to see where it is going.

  10. Great setup of dynamics between the characters and a nice touch of humor. I was confused by "Somebody, Jason here?"/ wasn't sure if she was asking if Jason was there or calling Jason over. I love Ayita's reaction to Arturo's concern. Well done. :-)

  11. The log line reminds me of a Jack Lemmon movie from the 90s. I think Walter Mathau was in it too. That movie was purely a comedy. I don't think your premise will hold up as both a comedy and something with political intrigue. As bad as the attack may be, it's hard to imagine it being something that makes people with opposing political views put aside those differences to run together. The only way that would work is if they are from the same political party and that makes it considerably less dramatic.

    I worry about where you're starting the manuscript. Beginning at a debate or some sort of standoff where their opposing views can be presented in a humorous way (since this is a comedy) makes more sense and sets up an adversarial relationship. As it is, you've got a presidential candidate who is getting grabby with his opponent after an attack. Speaking of which - the attack would make a better starting point if you're focusing more on the political intrigue part than the comedy. Instead, your MC is waking up (a big no-no) and then having a flashback to rehash what just happened. Why not start with them about to shake hands and then being thrown against the wall? I think that would make a much stronger opening.

    Adding tags to the dialogue would help me understand the flow better and give more opportunity to know the characters.

    The line "she noticed Arturo's blotchy red eyes" is telling, not showing. There are missing "-"s in a couple places and a few misplaced commas.

    I'm not hooked.

  12. From the lead-in and the genre (Comedy/Political Intrigue) I thought I'd hate this ... but I didn't. Oddly, I liked it. I would keep turning the page.

  13. I feel like if someone's coming to after an event of that magnitude, then you can afford to make them more of an unreliable narrator. Ayita can think she's swimming, or something caused by the painkilling drugs-- you can really got to town with your opening and play on all the senses of your readers.

    That being said, I like the weirdness and craziness of the plot from the logline. I agree with what others have said about the dialogue being a bit choppy, even if it's typical federal curtness, there's a way to present police-talk that's beautiful to the reader (try Jeff Lindsey's Dexter in the Dark).

    I'm intrigued by the plot, but to draw me in would probably take a bigger hook.

  14. I would keep reading, especially if grammar was cleaned up. Also I don't think you need the full name in the opening sentence. If you're telling this from Starblanket's perspective, she knows her own name. Work it in later.

    I love the premise!