12.22.2006

HH com 342

When Martin, a drug-addicted bisexual man, is found stabbed to death in a crack-house, Isabel re-lives their affair and how it led to her descent into near-madness.

Their history unfolds in Isabel’s diaries and letters, which gradually reveal the extent of Martin’s cruelty to her. While considering their affair in the light of his murder, she is forced to ask herself why she, attractive, still young, and a successful lawyer, put up with his abuse.

Isabel realizes that although she is broad-minded and well-read, she is not equipped to understand the evil of which Martin is capable. Nor, she comes to understand, were the other lovers who endured similar treatment from him, some of them her friends and acquaintances.

Is one of them responsible for his murder? Or was his death simply a random killing by a fellow-addict, as the police appear to believe?

This isn't a hook. This is a run down of the plot. And a tepid one at that.

10 comments:

December Quinn said...

Is she reliving the affair, or are we reading her old diary entries and letters?

dustywriter said...

Oh well, it was my first attempt ever to write a hook. Thanks, Miss Snark. I think it was pretty tepid, now that I've read some of the others.

Still think the story is a pretty good one, though it needs work.

And yes, dquinn, we read Isabel's old diaries and letters, along with her.

Anonymous said...

Having been-there, done-that with exactly that sort of abusive jerk, I'd be more concerned that the lady didn't bump him off herself.

The backstory doesn't interest me so much as how Isabel is dealing with current events. This might make a good murder mystery, but flashbacks and diary entries could too easily bog it down, especially if the writer is working through personal pain.

Everyone agrees that guy was a tool. Now what?

Anonymous said...

I like reading about people working through things, if it's done well. Good first effort, Dustywriter.

Miss Snark, you're halfway through!!! Thanks for all your effort and the invaluable help.

Dave said...

Too many words is my trademark.
You have too many words.
Take fir-instance: "When Martin, a drug-addicted bisexual man, is found stabbed to death in a crack-house, Isabel re-lives their affair and how it led to her descent into near-madness."

Drug-addicted and crack-house inply the same thing.

And, If may make a case so bold, the words "affair and how it led to her" are also redundant. That's Because one we say "Isabel, his lover, relives their descent into addiction and near madness..." we really make the story clear.

Now what does that get us:

When Martin is found stabbed to death, his lover, Isabel relives her descent into addiction and madness.

The same meaning and much more concise wording.

Now to the other parts of the plot. He is dead. Why do we care about what harm he did to anyone? We aren't interested in reading about how big a bastard he was, but how it affected her and her friends and their recovery.

Further, if he treats her so badly, whey does she care if he was murdered? I don't know the answer to that, you the author, do. Why does she and why is it important to her?

dustywriter said...

There's a seed of personal experience in here, but only a seed.

And anon, you've gotten at part of the point I was trying (too vaguely) to hint at in my hook-that-wasn't: you are supposed to wonder if Isabel killed him herself. Unreliable narrator, you know? Or - is she?

The backstory isn't backstory; it's the novel itself. I thought if I put the death at the start instead of the end of the book (in a prologue), I could awaken interest in why/who/how. I was trying for something Ruth Rendell-ish.

Anyway, I suppose I shouldn't go on about this here. I've learned a lot, and still have a long way to go.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"...she is forced to ask herself why she, attractive, still young, and a successful lawyer, put up with his abuse."

Somehow this sentence troubles me. I suppose that if a woman isn't pretty, or has passed 35 or so, she wouldn't be expected to balk at being abused. Frankly, that sentence would cause me to put the book down then and there.

Anonymous said...

dustywriter,

I like the idea of this story. My best friend was drawn into a relationship like this and, though her evil asshole didn't die, we all wished he was dead by the time it ended.

I think this would be a hard story to write a hook for but the book could be good.

Keep at it.

Anonymous said...

What would turn me off here is that it sounds like the story of a victim. I want to read the story of a survivor.

Anonymous said...

Agree completely about the line that made laura put the book down. It screams of Mary Sue-ism, even if you've carefully made your protag multi-layered and interesting.

It also does what laura suggested--implies that UNattractive, UNsuccessful people would be more likely to put up with abuse. Not a very likeable concept.