12.26.2006

HH Com 473

Strip: A Novel

Kristen was 19 and in danger of spending her days in a backwater town, flipping burgers until "Mr. Good-Enough" came along. However, what she lacked in money and connections, she made up for in blond hair, long legs, and determination. When she heard of a career opportunity in Boston, she jumped at the chance. She didn't care that it was 2500 miles from home. Neither did it matter that the career entailed dancing naked and allowing strange men to worship her and express their devotion with cash.

When she landed in Boston, she became entangled with Tom, an arrogant, intelligent, and witty lover. Even though he was married, Kristen soaked up his knowledge and affections, and he became her mentor. Offsetting Tom's presence in her life was Kristen's roommate Jenette, who was also a stripper. Jenette was emotionally damaged and teetering on the edge of madness. Kristen had enjoyed Jenette's company, but as the psychosis ensued, the apartment became darker and more dangerous. As Jenette descended from lucidity, her emotional state grew more and more frightening.

While Kristen learns strip club politics and grapples with the possibility of losing her heart to a man she cannot have, she fearfully watches Jenette. Will Jenette survive, or will rage and regret overtake her, threatening her sanity, her life, and the lives of those around her?


Well, you've stripped this down to the cliche level pretty well.
And just exactly how is Tom "mentoring" Kristen the stripper?
Teaching her to strip to Bach?

I think Carl Hiassen pretty much set the bar for stripper novels with Strip Tease. After that, everything else looks dull.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

To me this seems like a modern day Memoirs of A Geisha.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment...about strip tease looking dull. Of course no one can compare Haissen, but we are talking about a multi-billion dollar industry (adult, stripping, exotic dancing, etc...)and they're making money while publishers are firing the sales force and BOMC hangs by a thin string.

Anonymous said...

Not for nothing, but if there's a worse town to be a stripper in than Puritanical Boston, I'm not sure what it is. If it's not somehow integral to the plot, I might consider having her move somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Strange that you have Kristen "watching" Jenette, as if Kristen is another outside observer along with the reader.

The last line of the query makes me think the book is really about Jenette.

Not sure if that is the case, or if the query just needs help. Is Kristen really only watching Jenette? Does Kristen do anything to help Jenette? Verbs like "watching," "waiting", "seeing", etc. are so uninteresting when compared with what the character is actually doing. The character has to be doing something, or else you wouldn't be writing about her.

Inkwolf said...

Why doesn't anyone write about MALE strippers for a change? :p

clarice snarkling said...

The tense problems in the hook distracted me. I'm not sure why the author uses past tense in most of the hook, and then abruptly switches to future tense for the final paragraph. Author, my advice is to use present tense to describe the events of your book.

Also, the line about the main character "flipping burgers" caught my eye. Why is this the default go-nowhere crap job? It's a cliche, even if it IS a job that I wouldn't let anybody pay me to do. If she works in fast food, maybe she's the drive-thru girl, or the one who always gets stuck taking orders at 11 PM when all the bored teenagers and midnight snackers start coming in. Or maybe she folds tank tops at The Gap. Perhaps this seems nitpicky, but those cliches jump out at a person.

I know of one book about stripping -- a memoir -- coming out next year. What sold it -- I presume -- is less the shock value of the book (this stuff may have been shocking in 1955, but it's not anymore) than the author's writing style (lyrical, literary) and her atypical path to stripperdom -- educated at Cambridge, moved from the UK to NYC to write, lived in the U.S. illegally for a time, I believe.

I suppose my point is that I don't think this story will sell on its lurid factor alone. That's been done. The prose, the voice, the structure... one or (preferably) all of those elements has got to be something really different and special for this to succeed in the marketplace. Best of luck, author.

Elektra said...

Arg! I hate Carl Hiassan!
No, that's not true, actually. I read his novels with great interest, and then immediately forget about them. Which is good, because then I can read the next one (good, tree-hugging guy gets chased by evil corporation's, incredibly STUPID--sorry, regular stupid just isn't enough to describe these guys--lackeys). But the books are great plane reads.

Anonymous said...

When someone yet again writes a stripper character without benefit of having ever stepped foot in a strip club, actual strippers not only know but we laugh and laugh and laugh...

Leave the Hollywood cliches to the housewife-pandering glossies.

author said...

Geez, I was a stripper for 3 years. I have had the benefit of stepping into a strip club! (In Boston as well as other cities in New England)
Anyway, thanks to Miss Snark and all the commenters. This exercise has been really helpful. Writing the hook helped me refocus the book, and obsessing on the hook and reading the opinions on it are helping me refocus it further. The occupation is becoming backdrop, and the psychological struggle between Kristen and Jenette are becoming the story.
I appreciate all the comments, and welcome more of them. :)

stick and move said...

Well, author, if you're ever in Florida and would care to keep your stripper skills sharp, I'll be happy to throw a dollar or two your way ;-)

HawkOwl said...

You know what this reminded me of? Evita. Except minus the "riches" part of the "rags to riches" deal. I think I'll pass, though. "Descent into madness" seems so done these days. Good luck with it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not interested in a protagonist who's so dumb that she sees stripping as her only way out of her home town--and is screwing somebody else's husband besides.

Convince me that she's got a better motivation for stripping than being too lazy to work her way up a career ladder or go to college. Yes, I get it that she's not a girl of means, but hello? Student loans?

HawkOwl said...

One of the smartest people I met in university put herself through six years of college by stripping and then got a full scholarship to her first choice of Ph.D. program. Stripping isn't a sign of stupidity.

Elektra said...

Hawkowl, I think what anonymous was saying is that the stuidity lies in not seeing other options, not the stripping itself.

HawkOwl said...

See, the author never suggested that Kristen saw stripping as "the only option," though, so I still don't see Anonymous as having a point.