HH Com 18

Dr. Tabatha Gray doesn't have a particular fondness for the dead, but the dead have a desperate affinity for her. Tabatha is a necromancer who can not only resurrect the dead, but hear the souls of the recently departed. This ability she has always considered a curse may be the only gift that can save her life and those of her friends. (saving Miss Snark is out of the question I guess)

After being shunned and banished to a boarding school by her mother, Tabatha spent years denying who and what she is before retuning home to New Orleans to face her past and start her private practice as a psychiatrist. Almost immediately she's threatened by the radical group GAPS (Guardians Against Paranormal Sinners), who want her and anyone like her dead. She joins forces with an unlikely pair of friends--a firestarter and a shapeshifter--to fight the deadly organization.

Detective Derek Bainbridge tries to ignore the instant connection he feels with this stranger and possibly dangerous necromancer, but he instinctively knows Tabatha is the only person who can help him solve a string of brutal killings that are holding the city in a grip of terror.

Family secrets, lies and treachery all combine to make Tabatha's efforts harder as she races to save the last victim.

Your hook is paragraph 1 and the reworked second half of the sentence that is paragraph 3.

You can't say "races to save the last victim" and not have me laugh out loud. When Miss Snark sees a necromancer racing toward anything she sticks her foot out to watch them go ass over teakettle.

Your first sentence is the best of the lot. Keep that. Throw out the rest. Focus. Try again.


Anonymous said...

I liked the first sentence too. Kinda got lost after that, but I like the idea of a psychiatrist necromancer.

Dave Fragments said...

Saying silly acronyms is bad, bad, bad in a hook:
"threatened by the radical group GAPS"

Anonymous said...

Woops, I have silly acronyms in my hook, and I'm afraid it's way worse than in this one. Kinda wish I'd read some of the hook comments before submitting mine. Dah well, maybe next year. :D

HawkOwl said...

First I hated it. Then you said "New Orleans" and I was intrigued. Then you said "shapeshifter" and I hated it. I can actually totally buy urban fantasy, as long as it's set somewhere around New Orleans, but not shapeshifters.

Let's just say I shook the hook.

Stephen Prosapio said...

keep working on this one author!!! You definately have some good ideas here!

Anonymous said...

I wet my pants reading this. I cannot stop laughing.

Let me get this straight; Tabatha is a practicing psychiatrist and a necromancer. Does she have a license and is she anywhere near this atmosphere? I need to know because I would enjoy reading any of her scholarly journals. Wow talk about a split personality. What I would like to know seriously, is where you got the idea for the Guardians Against Paranormal Sinners and what is it?

This just does not fly with me. I don’t consider this SF or Fantasy. In fact, I think it is in a class by its self.

Don't worry Miss Snark I'll save you!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, I think I read some of this on CC. And I did like the story and writing itself, but getting a reader to that point with the hook is difficult, lol.

Liked the first sentence, but yeah, the rest of the letter just doesn't entice me to read on. (It kind of sounds like a plot for Hellboy to tackle--but it doesn't have Red.)

I did start snickering over the GAPS thing--I think leaving it at a radical group would be enough, so it doesn't sound goofy. Also taking out some of the phrases that sound trite (a city in the grip of terror? unlikely friends? racing to save the last whatever?) and tightening the whole thing would probably help.

You can make the hook/query good, I'm sure. Keep at it.

Anonymous said...

Why do I get the impression that this is just another version of Laurell K. Hamilton's "Anita Blake" series?

Anonymous said...

Anita Blake versus Necroscope, I'd say.

Benja Fallenstein said...

I mostly just agree with Miss Snark on this one. Keep the first sentence, throw out the rest, focus and try again.

Let me add that I think you need a lot more about your actual plot, though. Right now, all you have is, "...Tabatha is the only person who can help him solve a string of brutal killings that are holding the city in a grip of terror." As it stands, that's an empty generality from the cliché book. I think you need to tell us enough about it to make it sound interesting and enticing :-)

- Benja

Anonymous said...

I read this story on CC and it is nothing like the Anita Blake series. And GAPS is Guardians Against Paranormal Sinners, a group out to rid the world of anyone with paranormal powers. I can't believe this author entered the crapometer. She can be thin-skinned and very sinsitive, but she works hard to take all suggestions and comments so she will improve her work. She has talent. What she doesn't have is confidense in her talent. I hope she reads these comments for what they are, just your opinions.

Anonymous said...

It is a great first sentence.
And I think this query and your responses more than prove that what 'works' for one audience may be totally wrong for another.
This query WON Kate Duffy's Best Query Contest at Heather Graham's 2006 New Orleans Writing Workshop. What the book is is Paranormal Romance and not at all like LKH from what I have seen.
I wish the author the best of luck with her book and her writing career.

Anonymous said...

Author -
I like the premise and your voice. I'd read this book, though it's not my usual genre. Try not to take the opinion of the anonymous poster with the wet pants personally.

Tabitha sounds interesting and personable, so maybe you can be more specific about her and lose some of the generalist "save the world" stuff. Also, how does she feel about Derek, and why?

Instead of describing the antagonist as being GAPS, perhaps you could describe a specific antagonist and his particular motivation. Why does he, as a member of GAPS, want people like her dead?

The first line is definitely the best, so can you elaborate on why the dead have such an affinity for her? What service does she provide?

I look forward to reading this someday. Keep going!