12.24.2006

HH Com 414

Nyra escapes a life of drudgery on her native factory planet when she signs up for the
Space Service. Posted to an escort ship, the Captain assigns her to guard the leader of
the rebellion fighting the same bureaucracy that oppressed her home planet. Her job:
guard him until they drop him on a prison planet. When she loses the prisoner to rebels
posing as prison guards, she vows to find him and not let him get away a second time.

(your hook starts here)
Shunned as a failure for permitting the man's escape, she gets lousy assignments until an
opportunity arises. The Captain sends her to the rebels as a hostage to guarantee that
his ship stands down from a battle. Now, she has her chance to get back at the man who
ruined her reputation. Unless, of course, he can convince her to join the rebel cause.

Telling her secrets about her family she had never known, he convinces Nyra that her own
grandmother was the original leader of the rebels, murdered by the bureaucratic faction.
Nyra's family protected her by keeping the family history secret. Once she knows the
truth, she realizes she must turn traitor against the Space Service she loves even if it
places her remaining family at risk. Using her skill in the obscure martial art of Ffegga,
she joins her Sensei and the rebels in the final battle against the oppressor bureaucracy.

If you've been following these posts with any regularity you can see that this plot doesn't have anything fresh or new. You can write about space and aliens and conflicts and magic all you want but there has to be something compelling to get you out of the slush.

10 comments:

jamiehall said...

Is it just me, or is the hook flavored heavily with "Star Wars" inspiration?

Following in the steps of your ancestors can be compelling, but you make it sound dry here.

Also, what is the motivation to turn rebel if it means her remaining relatives are likely to be slaughtered? Wouldn't her first mission be getting them out of harm's way? Unless you can manage to justify this within the space allowed by a hook, it might be better not to mention that she's perhaps doomed her relatives by joining the rebels. Otherwise, it just makes the MC seem stupid or uncaring.

shannon said...

This is predictable from the start. It's more "space opera" than science fiction. I agree with Jamie, it's very dry. Where's the spice? Where's the twist in the plot?

I don't read a lot of science fiction, but try reading Consider Phlebus by Ian M. Banks to get an idea of an unpredictable plot, and the dark grittiness that good sci-fi makes the most of. Just a suggestion.

A Paperback Writer said...

I liked the idea of a factory planet and the Space Service. I think there's something there. But Miss Snark is right; it just didn't leave me wanting to read it.

Anonymous said...

"Telling her secrets" was a difficult sentence for me...it took a bit of work to establish that HE was telling secrets TO her, not that she was telling her own secrets.

Also, the name of the martial art made me laugh (not in a good way).

roach said...

I agree the factory planet and Space Service sound interesting but the rest of it just doesn't. The bit about the "family she has never known" sounds cliched. And if losing a prisoner only means she gets crap duty instead of shipped to the prison planet herself, I start to wonder if all her challenges in the novel aren't so easily met.

Marva said...

Yup, lousy hook, but a better book than it describes. The story's not trite, dry, based on Star Wars, not a space romance. I'll try harder now that I've had a chance to examine all these hooks.

Thanks, everybody, for adding comments. Every bit helps.

j h woodyatt said...

The monolithic architecture planet, i.e. "factory planet," "prison planet," is a howler, but Miss Snark is right about one thing— you're committing an even more serious sin: using SF/F for no discernable purpose. (It might be in the story, but it doesn't seem to be in the hook.)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Star Wars immediately came to min for me as well. If that is in fact not what your book is like, then you'll have to find different plot highlights to accentuate in a hook or I'm betting you get no interest. I love space rebellion, but it needs to come in some form other than Star Wars or The Foundation Trillogy. I've been looking for it for a long time, so I hope you come up with something.

Anonymous said...

I can never buy the idea that an entire planet is devoted to one industry or purpose (or made of a single climate, for that matter). If we achieved space travel why would we designate a whole planet for a prison? Couldn't we just use a continent like we used to?

Marva said...

Eye of the beholder, I guess. Star Wars never came to mind once when I was writing it.

No light sabres, no mystical powers, no aliens, no cute robots, no cute Han Solo, no princess, no important person lost at birth, yes on an evil empire, which happens to be a business conglomerate and run by a Board of Directors. How was it like Star Wars again?

That's okay. You guys wanted to see Star Wars in the plot only because I didn't present it well enough. Live and learn.