HH Com 454

What's a girl to do when a menacing black dog that only she can see reveals itself right before it near fatally attacks her? She gets herself stranded in a town harboring even darker secrets then the ones she's hiding.

In Macmalion (population unknown and dropping), people regularly go missing; sometimes disappearing entirely, sometimes turning up dead – only to disappear again. Quiet rumors of posthumous sightings add to the mystery that unfolds with each day Elsie spends in the strange town. With the help of a co-worker who knows more then she's letting on and a man facing his own supernatural dilemmas, Elsie begins to unravel Macmalion's secrets. What she discovers will not only connect to the night she held a dying man in her arms but also provide her with the answers she's spent the past two years looking for. The only catch is that the answers come with a hefty price: her mortal soul.

This is a great line: In Macmalion (population unknown and dropping).

the rest isn't.

Start with Elsie. Focus on her problem. Build from there. Be specific.


Inkwolf said...

I love the idea of a book based on the many Black Dog legends, but there's just not enough in the description to get my teeth into.

Angus Weeks said...

Who is Elsie and why is she in this place? It's clear she wasn't born there. Without this basic information, I was confused throughout the hook - I started off assuming she was a child.

I'd cut the first paragraph entirely and start with Miss Snark's favourite line, then in the next sentence introduce your protagonist and briefly explain why she is in the town, and then introduce the conflict.

Also, each time you use 'then' in your hook, it should be 'than'.

Anonymous said...

I liked it until the price was her mortal soul. That's both pretentious and vague.

Bernita said...

Is the Mauthie Doog part of the unfolding plot or just a convenient introduction?

writtenwyrdd said...

My first thought: Another black dog of the damned, damn it. These black dogs are indeed out of legend; but they are pretty common in horror and fantasy these days.

How about a new sort of menacing creature? I still find the Cheshire Cat's fading away until nothing is left but his grin incredibly menacing.

The hook should probably start with her arrival. She's looking for the answer to X but an (accident?, lead?) gets her stuck in Macmalion. Then something tries to stop her (dogs?) and it seems the search ends here, but the price is Y (her soul?)

Or something like that.

There must be a compelling reason she braves all this stuff, and I'd like to know it. You imply it has something to do with the dying man, but he's dead and out of the picture.

Twill said...

However you end up writing the hook, please tighten, tighten, tighten.

For example -

"What's a girl to do when a menacing black dog that only she can see reveals itself right before it near fatally attacks her?"

At the very least, the words "reveals itself right before it" are redundant, leaving

"What's a girl to do when a menacing black dog that only she can see [nearly] fatally attacks her?"

It still feels clunky.

If you can find a single superior word for "menacing and black", then please do. English has a large nexus between darkness and evil and danger, so there should be a single word in that range you could use.

There also ought to be a direct word for "near fatally attacks" - something like "maims"?

Try turning the sentences around to subject- direct verb - object and see what happens.

"A black dog appears and attacks Elsie. Her escape strands her in a town harboring even darker secrets [than] the ones she's hiding."

Better, but you can probably do a lot more.