12.20.2006

HH COM 220 (216)

On Star's first night back to work at after a brief hiatus, she meets an intoxicating stranger who offers to make her dreams come true. She doesn't know if he's threatening to fuck her or kill her because in her recurring nightmare, she enjoys both. Turns out, he isn't a man; he's an incubus. In the end, he fucks her, and he kills her.

She doesn't mind. She's asked for it in both cases.

Tied to nightlife by a growing aversion to daylight, Star discards her given name and her past. She works as a stripper until she crosses paths with Elias, a demon who knows too much about her, including details of a dream she's never shared. He tells her she's transforming into a vampire. Her nightmares and her increasing allergy to the sun are only a few of the symptoms. Worse, she's now locked in a chilling symbiotic relationship with his species for the rest of her immortality.

With only her sex appeal and an ability to manipulate men, she must make allies and learn how to be a vampire in a contemporary world where demons feed on her kind.


Dog knows I let fly with "fuckin a right mofo" on a daily basis but I assure you that "fucks her and kills her" isn't going to be a on jacket flap at Warner Aspect anytime soon. Thus you might want to desalinate your diction before sending this out. It's an absolutely perfect verb for this, but for some reason, people are sensitive to it. Fuckin' puritans.

Your hook starts AFTER she's made the transformation because the plot is that she has to learn to deal with it or she's breakfast for demons.

We'll need to see one of those demonic Breakfasters as well. Nameless Faceless demons are boring.

11 comments:

Dave said...

I think my eyeballs popped out of my head on this one.

It's like Angel, Buffy, Dead like Me and Desperate Housewives thrown together.

I like it, I like it. Immortal life as a hooker.

Anonymous said...

I think the last thing we need is a novel promoting gendered violence. "He fucks her and kills her, and she asked for both"? If that doesn't sound like a promotion for rape culture I don't know what does. This premise sounds utterly offensive.

murm said...

anonymous:

not to mention that her super power is "her sex appeal and an ability to manipulate men."

perhaps if you're planning to write for a 1950s pulp magazine. otherwise...

gag.

HawkOwl said...

As much as I love the f-word, f' no.

Anonymous said...

Whoa - I agree with Anon. You could go for a Clive Barker-ish 'the incubus knows her darkest dreams and inflicts on her what she secretly desires', if you handle it skilfully, but, well ... Put it this way: scanning the page half-awake, I assumed that 'she's asked for it' was spoken from the point of view of a serial killer. Rape and murder are extremely sensitive issues. You can do them if you do them right, but you have to be very, very careful, and right now you're over the line.

Also, Miss Snark is right - you need to talk about what the plot will be. Right now, all we know, really, is that she comes to terms with being vamped. And has lots of sex.

There is going to be a plot rather than just a long stream of sex scenes, right? Please tell me I'm right.

December Quinn said...

She doesn't mind. She's asked for it in both cases.

That is a fantastic line. Tells me about her, tells me about the story, all in one.

The hook isn't perfect, but I think the books sounds like it could be great. If it's all as well-written as that line, I'm squeeing.

Anonymous said...

I'd cut out the first line to make it more powerful, starting here:

Star doesn't know if (he's) threatening to fuck her or kill her because in her recurring nightmare, she enjoys both. Turns out, he isn't a man; he's an incubus. In the end, he fucks her, and he kills her...

And that "she asked for both" line is excellent.

After that, it seems to lose steam and focus for me.

"promoting gendered violence" Please. It's a book for Christ's sake--and while your at it, take a look at the world around you--if it offends you, don't read it.

yes, I am a woman--enlightened and not atop a moral soapbox.

Terra LeMay said...

Miss Snark, thank you for looking at this. I was, in fact, concerned that the language was too strong. It just, as you said, seemed like the right verb for the job.

I've used this in a handful of queries and gotten several very positive handwritten comments from agents on my rejections, but my query letter version is significantly more detailed. I'm afraid I overtrimmed this for you. Live and learn. I got what I needed to know out of this though, and that was to find out if the language was over the line. Thanks so much.

To the commenters:

I don't watch much TV, I'm afraid, so I don't know about the Angel, Buffy, etc... thing.

I never mentioned anything about rape. Last time I checked "fuck" was not synonymous with "rape". I looked in OED, but I still couldn't make the connection. Maybe you know something I don't.

If it makes anyone sleep better at night, the protagonist doesn't ask to be raped.

Unfortunately, most of the comments here aren't helpful because they don't apply. That's my fault because my hook is too vague, leaving out most of the plot.

Try this:

When demons torment her with ghosts from a past she's tried to escape, Star, a stripper-turned-vampire, must discover her desires and fears in order to find names for the demons so she can force them to help her reconcile with the dead.

Of course, that's a terrible oversimplification, but I just wanted to make it clear that my book was about more than just sex.

And thanks again to Miss Snark, and any commenters who tried to be helpful.

Anonymous said...

Original anonymous here. I wanted to clarify my point for the author. What I meant from "rape culture" isn't necessarily a reference to the act of rape itself, but also to the reasons it happens and justifications surrounding it. "She/he asked for it" is one of many, very common, justifications for rape. And so I'm clear: I'm not referencing specifically men as rapists, or women as victims, but any combination that also includes men/women who blame the victim (male or female).

So, back to the original point of the exercise: If I were a reader, yes, I would put this back on the shelf. If I were an agent I wouldn't ask for pages. However, what I should have mentioned in my above post is I do recognize the theme I read into so prominently was not your intent. Based on the comments trail, it's obvious others saw different points in the hook that worked for them. Still, if this theme is not your most prominent or important, I'd suggest rewriting it so it reflects a theme that more adequately describes your novel.

terra lemay said...

I'd suggest rewriting it so it reflects a theme that more adequately describes your novel.

Ah, yes. I agree and intend to do my best to improve it.

Anonymous said...

"In the end, he fucks her, and he kills her.

She doesn't mind. She's asked for it in both cases."

I LOVED this... as a woman with no issues! fantastic! I love the idea of someone who has a death wish getting what she wants and then finding out it's something different. Go for it, author, this is a really, really nice twist and I have not seen this done before...