Friday, May 21, 2010


For Bryan's Hookline Blogfest at Time Guardian.

Thanks, Bryan, for suggesting and hosting such a useful blogfest.

The Gladiator's Son
On the isolated slopes of the western Andes, a soldier guarding America's supply of lithium awakens an earthly Andean spirit that attacks his child, and is cast into a dreamlike battle to save his son thousands of miles away.

Walk With Me Into the Darkness
Set in rural East Texas, Walk With Me is a disturbing look at the lives of two children abandoned by their parents, one trying to escape a life of abuse and rape as a Beaumont prostitute, the other forced into solitude as a lone specter haunting the East Texas Piney Woods.

Evander's Forge
Centered around the idea that everything happens for a reason, Evander's Forge follows a pair of men bent on ending their lives to kill their emotional pain, one obsessed with shooting himself, the other haunted by dreams of a blue-faced and emotionless God who will not let him die.

New Texas
When the agrarian culture of New Texas is threatened with extinction by Earth's Consensus, the Sutter sons must unite the planet's most powerful ranching family with the outlaw band of Black Raiders, and resurrect the skills of a dying breed of cowboy.

The Keeper
After making a hole-in-one on his golf course, greenskeeper Harold Murphy realizes his greatest wish is granted -- the power to kill anyone he names -- and his obsession with killing threatens not only his soul, but that of his daughter.

- Eric


Anastasia V. Pergakis said...

Great hook lines! I think I like the one for "The Keeper" the best!

I think the line for "New Texas" could use a little more to it - like who is the MC? What happens in the conflict - I mean it's a gunslinging New Texas - great but what happens there specifically? Death? Corruption?

The other ones were great but I just like "The Keeper" the best! It was a surprise there at the end!

Charity Bradford said...

Oh, goodness, I can tell I'm going to be as bad at critiquing these things as writing them.

First, New Texas sounds the most like something I would read (personal taste only), but I don't really know what it's about. What's at stake?

Second, The Keeper is the best because it pulls you in with that, "Wait, what?" Golf, supernatural power to kill with hole-in-ones? Great!

Mmm, reading them again, The Gladiator's Son is probably the best written. I think you can just say Conrad though instead of his whole name. This one looks and feels the most like all the examples that I read when trying to write mine.

If it makes all that writing above look better, I hope you know I think your loglines are better than my pitiful attempt. :)

Andrew Rosenberg said...

None of them really call to me because they're fairly vague. I think The Keeper is the best of the bunch. Even in one-line summaries there needs to be conflict. And don't ask questions in log won't like the answer.

So tell me what it is the main character whats, and what is stopping them. What is their main choice?

Eric W. Trant said...

Harley: Thanks! The Keeper was my first and most fun novel. I got serious after that, and honestly, I'm thinking that might be the wrong direction. I tell people my serious story tags and their eyes glaze over.

Then I tell them about the fun ones and their ears perk like cowdog hearing moos. (God that's a bad analogy. Please forgive me.)

Charity: I modified New Texas. That's one my brother and I were writing a few years back that I set aside when I got stuck.

Maybe I need to get back to that novel and The Keeper, eh, and lay off the heavy stuff.

Andrew: I punched up the tags and cut the questions. You are right about that -- I got too Hollywood on the questions. Check out the New Texas book. It's a futuristic Steampunk about cowboys of the far-distant future.

- Eric

Andrew Rosenberg said...

Hey Eric, keep the original up so I know what changed ;)

The problem with the New Texas one is that there is no character mentioned. I just want the plot line for the main character. That's what's nice about The Keeper.
Also just delete the whole "On a distant...future" and replace it with "When". Then replace "its inhabitants" with a two-word description of the MC. Angry farmer? Vigilante steamman inventor? (ok that's 3 but whatevs)
What makes the darkest regions dark?
"Show, don't tell" still applies to one-liners!

Eric W. Trant said...

Andrew: I delete the old with extreme prejudice. No sense seeing the bad... I re-rewrote the New Texas plug and it reads a lot better now!

Man, you're hired as my editor. Good advice.

- Eric

Unknown said...


Well I have to say that The Keeper was the one most likely to make me pick up the book (a real hook there).

In fact, where can I get a copy?

All of them are good in terms of one-line-summaries, though I agree that perhaps a name or two would help (don't do what I do and put TWO names down, that apparently doesn't work either)

; )

Yours most sincerely, Tessa the Wench

Andrew Rosenberg said...

I disagree with Tesse--two word descriptions are the way to go in these things because names don't show who they are.
New Texas is much better. I'd like to hear what other people think of the new version.
Also change "lithium" to "unobtainium" ;)

Sangu Mandanna said...

I like The Gladiator's Son best, though I think that's partly because it appealed to me most as a story and also because it was well-executed.

You're really good at these, I'm so jealous!

I would suggest making the phrase "spiritual battle" a bit clearer, because we really haven't got a clue whether that means he's silently tormented by his son's choices, or if he's actually doing something spiritual/spirit-wise, or any other possibilities.

Hart Johnson said...

Great job with these! I like #1, 2 & 5 enough that I would probably start thumbing through. #3 & 4 seemed a little more confusing to me, but it may be just a less 'speak to me' than because they are actually confusing.

RaShelle Workman said...

Great! All of them sound interesting enough to want to know more.

Dawn Embers said...

Nice work. I like how you took different approaches and different books. The two that have the book titles are interesting because they remind me of what would be on top of the query letter while the others seem more like the quick verbal pitch.

Gotta agree that The Keeper does catch the most attention for its amusement value.

Myne said...

Wow, I like your stories. The hooklines for Walk with me and Evanders forge are really good. I want to read them, now. :)

Nighfala said...

Wow, you've got some really killer concepts there! (no pun intended)

Anonymous said...

Keeper to me is the best. As Andrew was saying (and I need to go back and do this to mine, too): where's the risk/consequences?

Try to get more specific about the main conflict of the story and leave the reader hangin'.

Nice job, and thanks for joining the blogfest!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

All of these sound like powerful stories. But the first one confused me, because I couldn't figure out what the lithium mine had to do with the son or what the main conflict/goal was.
The only thing I would suggest is letting us know something about the stakes in all of them.
For instance, in The Keeper what does having that power do to him, or what does he realize is a problem with it?
These are all well done.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Wow, rock at this! I wish I could hire you to write mine. The Keeper was the best, I thought.

Pulled me in, simple, eerie...reminded me of one I saw for Button, Button by Richard Matheson.

Jealous and seething over here...great job.

Unknown said...

Number three fascinates me the most: good luck with your writing.

Just Wendy said...

It appears you are the master of 'hook lines'

I liked "New Texas". It intrigues me.

Mia Hayson said...

Wow, this were all excellent.

My favourite was The Keeper as Charity said it just drew me in and then I went "wait, what?" and then I had this urge to know absolutely everything about it/

Awesome stuff :)

Elizabeth Mueller said...

I thought your New Texas hook sounded complete--the others sounded more like a report than a one-liner.

I know that they are riddled with conflict in themselves, but how does it affect the characters?

Just a question, are Walk With Me Into the Darkness, and Evander's Forge biographies?

Come by and see my logline! :)

Eric W. Trant said...

Thanks for all the comments everyone! ESPECIALLY the CRITIQUES. Saying it's good helps my ego, saying it's bad helps my tagline.

Tessa: The Keeper seems to be the most popular, and it is the only one I have never submitted for publication. Perhaps I should.

Andrew: No unobtanium on my planet. Your input has been enormously helpful. I like the lines much better after adding your suggested edits.

Sangu: Thanks for the input on Gladiator's Son. I modified the tag based on your input and it's clearer now. Thanks for the suggestions. This is my current work, and believe it or not, adding the tagline may help me focus!

Tart: You being confused doesn't surprise me one bit. ;)

RaShelle: Thanks for stopping in and commenting.

Dawn: Again, someone likes The Keeper. I need to revisit that book, revise it, and submit it. It might just be bad enough to publish! ;)

Myne: I think you like the hooks that are the most literary in nature, the ones nearest to mainstream fiction, because that's what you're writing, correct? And the fantasy folks tend to like the fantasy the best and so on. Interesting to see that each hook has its own audience.

Christine: Killer concepts, funny. Yeah, someone dies in every book, that's my money-back guarantee. ;)

Bryan: I wasn't too enthusiastic about this blogfest until I digested on it for a while. Then I thought: Freakin genius idea! Such a useful, necessary exercise for anyone seeking publication. Thanks for the input as well as the hosting!

Tricia: I modified the confusing points on my hooklines. The lithium mine is a critical point of the story, which is why I bring it up. Good point on stakes. I modified the tags a bit to hopefully hone them a bit sharper.

Raquel: Thanks! I'll take the job as your hook-writer, because I would love to read your work.

Elaine: Ah, you like the suicide story and the blue-faced God. That one's a bit of an acid trip.

Wendy: Thanks! New Texas was turning into a trilogy faster than I could write it. After this blogfest, I have it on my to-do list right after I finish my current WIP.

Mia: Again, The Keeper. Gads, I gotta go back and submit that one, huh.

Elizabeth: New Texas was the one I put the most work into, thanks to Andrew (Iapetus). Were Walk With Me and Evander's Forge Biographies?

Astute observation. Yes. Those were the two book that I HAD to write before I could continue on with works of strict fiction. They captured the pain of my parent's bitter divorce and the abandonment my bro and I felt, as well as the difficult time I had synthesizing my own divorce (though far less bitter and destructive than my parents').

Thanks all for the comments. Look for me on your blogs if I haven't already stopped by.

- Eric

Lovy Boheme said...

I enjoyed the logline for Gladiator's Son since I read an excerpt from it already.