HH Com 125

In 'Caught Dead,' four ghosts are trapped for might be eternity in an abandoned New England prison. One of the ghosts possessed by some unspeakable evil, which the other three ghosts suspect also resides in the prison. Entertainment is scarce when you’re dead and trapped, so they make do with what they have by terrorizing the few paranormal television shows that come to town.

Things change, however, when two couples buy the prison and demolish it, replacing it with a swanky resort. One couple comes from old money New England, and the other is an attractive young entrepreneur and her deadbeat husband. The ghosts watch as she and the other owners butt heads over various issues in the resort, all the while trying to deal with the anonymous evil force, which seems to be growing stronger as time goes by. While the entrepreneur’s marriage is falling apart and she finds herself becoming more and more attracted in a very eerie way to one of the ghosts, the presence of the force becomes known even to the living and paranormal experts are called to find a solution. The ghosts are forced to form a bizarre alliance with a ghost hunter, her cameraman, and a chef and a waitress from the resort in order to save their own butts and perhaps the entire world. When all seems lost, help comes from an offbeat bartender with a love of exotic drinks and more than a few ties to the Big Man Upstairs.

Trading Spaces meets Ghost.

Focus. Who's the main character? What's the problem? If the problem is that this chick is attracted to a ghost, well, hell, who hasn't been? If it's the anonymous evil...oh yawn. Evil can't be anonymous. It not only needs a face, it needs fava beans and bib.

Focus on the person who carries the story.


cm allison said...

Why does this remind me of "Beetlejuice" ? Please show how it is different.

Anonymous said...

"Evil can't be anonymous. It not only needs a face, it needs fava beans and bib."

Wow. That's brilliant and unforgettable way of putting it.

shannon said...

"... in order to save their own butts and perhaps the entire world."

Why is the world at risk? Maybe I'm blind but I don't see a connection. And why "perhaps"?
I don't think stories have to take on the whole world in order to hook a reader, or accomplish their goals.

It seems like it would be less complicated if there was no "evil" possessing a ghost. Of course, then it's a bit like Beetlejuice! But it does lead me to ask: who are the main characters here: the ghosts or the humans? As the reader, who am I supposed to sympathise with?

Ditto Miss Snark.

ello said...

I thought your first paragraph was great. Really interesting. It's the second paragraph that got me a bit lost. Miss. Snark points out that you need to focus on your MC and this is exactly why your second paragraph gets so confusing. What is your main plot and what are your secondary ones? I may be wrong, so forgive me if I am, but I think the hook needs to focus on the main plot, slightly touch on secondary characters and plots, and leave us wanting more.

I think unspeakable evil is cliche - perhaps just tell us what that evil is, the spirit of a mass murderer, a demon, etc. The other thing that is cliche is the save the entire world statement. I think you've got a really interesting story here. I would read it.

Southern Writer said...

I love ghosts. I'm in.

Dave said...

Vincent Price once discussed scary movies. In every really good scary movie, the villian must reveal the "face of absolute evil." It's the revelation that marks the villian as profoundly and absolutely evil, a character that will harm the protagonis,destroy the world, etc...

A good example is one of Price's own movies - Tha Abomidable Dr Fibes - where price plays a sophisticated, urbane and slick villian, until the climax where he removes all of his makeup and faces the camera sans face, sans ears, sans everything that would make a person normal. At the same time, he wishes his fate on the helpless and innocent son of the hero. No matter what we thought before, Dr Phibes now enters the realm of villian never to be redeemed.

There must be one moment when the characters face their end, and that is this revelation - the reader must see the face of absolute evil. You don't capture that moment and you lose the reader.

Writerious said...

Newly widowed/divorced woman starts to fall for a ghost.

That would be The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

Not that it can't be done again in a fresh new way. Are the ghosts those of prisoners who died while incarcerated? You could go for a paranormal version of We're No Angels alongside.

HawkOwl said...

I was liking the thing with the ghosts until you mentioned the paranormal TV shows. That took it from odd to mundane. Then it turned into just run-of-the-mill cheesiness with the obligatory "attractive on-top-of-things young woman with loser husband" thing and the deus ex machina thing and the... actually, was there anything else? There just wasn't much of a plot going on. No.

JPD said...

An example of truth being as strange as fiction...

Danvers Massachusetts mental hospital lies abandoned for several years, haunted by its ghosts, becoming a legendary landmark and subject for a Hollywood movie while graffiti artists and hemp smokers deface it's mysterious halls at night.

The land is subsequently purchased by Avalon Properties and converted into swanky condos, producing one of the "top business blunders of 2006," or so the critics said.


Anonymous said...

JPD answered my question concerning "two couples buy the prison and demolish it, replacing it with a swanky resort" --which was, has anyone ever DONE that?? It was my huh-what? moment.

Seems to me it's cheaper to convert a small section of the prison into living quarters for the investors, clean up the rest to satisfy the insurance company, then open one hellishly COOL paintball / laser tag mega-center. Take one month to ready living space, set aside a the snack bar and T-shirt/equipment sales area, then kick back and collect the money.

Dang, I wish there was a place like that HERE!

Heather said...

How the hell can a ghost be posessed by anything? Don't you have to have a body that can be possessed to be possessed? Ghosts could possess others, but how are they being possessed, and what the hell would want to possess a GHOST?