Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are You Hooked? #9


Goop pulled the spike from his tool belt, his eye on a boulder that looked like a rotten pumpkin in a patch of grey limestone scree. The boulder was streaked with fissures, its face mottled with black, orange and green lichen. It seemed unnatural and out of place. It was perfect, in other words.

He grinned. If he was right, the treasure was hidden here and his family would never be poor again. He waved at his father who was standing near a tree a hundred feet below, keeping lookout. All day Goop had been knocking rocks loose, sending them careening down the mountainside. His father had to dance a jig to avoid them. Goop wedged the spike into a tiny gap. He wiped sweat from his forehead with his dirty sleeve, picked up the sledgehammer with both hands, reached back and swung with all his might.

He was shocked when the spike pierced the rock as easy as a pitchfork into hay, leaving nothing but a two-inch hole behind. Bits of rock crumbled around the edges. Goop heard a dull clang in the darkness--metal bouncing off rock. There was an echo.

"Dad!" he shouted. "I've got something."

Disbelieving his luck, he peered into the black hole. Cool air blew against his eye, drying it.

He reset his stance, grinding his shoes into the scree. Secured now, he raised the sledge and struck the pumpkin face dead on. It imploded, collapsing inward. Falling rocks grabbed the sledge.


  1. So Hooked. Love love love this type of story.;-)

  2. Love how quick you pull the reader into the story, but I can't get over the name Goop. I'm sure it's just me, but for some reason it pulls me right out of the story.

    Great imagery, though, and nice build-up of tension.

  3. One Goop too many. The last one could be 'he' He heard a dull clang. For that matter, 'A dull clang in the darkness . . caused an echo. (we know it's Goop hearing it.)

    I liked this. Using Goop IMO was just one more hook to make me read on.

    I like that you set the inciting incident (get out of poverty) in a strong minded MC with great description. I also like the switch of father and son roles.


  4. Hooked. Would read on in a flash.

  5. I liked this a lot. Very readable! I didn't mind the name 'Goop' but it made me wonder whether he was human or not. If not, I need more clues. If so, maybe something to humanize him more? Otherwise, I'm hooked. The pace is good, the details are intriguing and I would read more.

  6. The 'Goop' threw me off but then it was why I kept reading after the first line. *grin* I think I'm hooked. I like the feel and the atmosphere. I would read on.

  7. Goop threw me off, also. I think it's because it's the first word and we generally take goop to be a thing rather than a person. If we saw it capitalized in the middle of a sentence, we'd know immediately it was a person.

    I did like this but thought it could be tightened a lot. I wondered how big this boulder was, since you compare it to a pumpkin (I realize, for color) which generally isn't as big as a boulder. I also wondered what the treasure was. It seemed he knew what he was looking for, and if that's the case, the reader should know, too.

    The first two pargs were strong and showing. The third and fifth weaken what you have with the telling. Perhaps do more showing there. Show us his shock. Let us hear the clang.

    I'd give it a few more pages.

  8. Hooked.

    The name Goop made me reread the first sentence.

    "Goop heard a dull clang in the darkness" this made me think of nighttime, not a dark hole.

    I want to know what's in that hole.

  9. I'm adding to the "Goop doesn't work for me" school of thought. Maybe it is because I refer to any mess created by my kids as goop.

    Loved your very visual description, and the nice twist you did at the end of the first para, with "It was perfect, in other words." (Did you consider trying it as "in other words, it was perfect" rather than the inverted form? To me it flows more smoothly that way.)

    The only other phrase that caught and stopped me was "disbelieving his luck." It feels, to me, a bit too lofty and formal for a guy named Goop. Would it work to have him voice his surprise to himself? Or inner dialogue? Just a thought...

  10. I don't have any issues with Goop as a name, but I'd probably introduce it differently. I also thought the word referred to a thing and not a person, so I had to read twice. And "disbelieving" also caught my attention as too formal.

    I really liked the detail about the cold air drying his eye.

  11. So many comments about the name! did stand out to me as well. It makes me think I will have a hard time taking this character seriously -- and he seems to be in a pretty serious position.

    For the most part, though, I really liked this.