12.16.2006

HH Com 58

Becky Smith, a religious housewife, prays to be delivered not just from evil but from difference, and worships at the altar of Mercury Feeny's perky evangelical website. Now, though, Becky's developing allergies to her makeup, clothing, and church. Doctors can't explain it. Her television bombards her with gay sitcom and lifestyle shows she considers 'immoral pornography' when she's alone, and she can't change the channel. A gay magazine arrives in the mail, addressed to her. When she asks who ordered it, she learns she did so herself.

The short hair, overalls, and flannel shirts required by the "allergies" make her look like the stereotype of a mannish lesbian, which alienates most of her family and makes her the shocked target of gay-hating groups she once would have joined. Feeling like a female Job failing every test, Becky reaches out to her idol Mercury, who reads the passionate appeal as a come-on and rejects her. Finally Becky finds herself in an uneasy alliance with a group of gay activists. They defend her, while urging her to explore whether the changes are more than physical. A new self-confidence, a possible love interest, deeper faith, and a more integrated life await her when she breaks free from Mercury's influence.


Redemption by flannel.
This isn't a hook, its a recitation of plot.
And my dog almighty..who is going to read this?
Lesbians? Not likely.
Christians? REALLY not likely

You've got message mixed up with story.
And is she having lesbian psychotic breaks manifesting as random drive by magazine ordering?
Heaven forfend.

Think story, not polemic

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Um... remember, publishing is a business not a platform for authors' rants or a charity for authors who wish to see themselvers in print. As Miss Snark says, who the heck would ever read this? What's the target market? How would it be positioned at a sales meeeting? Good God, scrap this whole thing.

Anonymous said...

This could be interesting. In order for it to have wider appeal, it would have to written astoundingly well. Quirky stuff can breakout but only if its writing quality is off the charts and its not too predictable.

carlynarr said...

Actually, I think this is kind of funny. I might read it. It does seem a little too overly preachy and judgmental to me, though, and it could be better written.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes. All lesbians wear flannel shirts and no make-up. Yawn.

word verif: lxpdamn. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

I'd probably read it if it was written in a humorous, tongue-in-cheek manner. To note, I am neither a lesbian nor a Christian.

Anonymous said...

Neither am I (a lesbian--unless bisexual counts--or a Christian). And yes, it was humorous, with emphasis on the website-owner. I do think some people would have found it fun and funny besides my friends and other readers of a gay gossip site, but I could be very wrong.

Of course, the audience was GLBT and straight-but-not-narrow. As for polemic, I pruned what I found in the text, but apparently dumped it all into the hook by mistake. As to my bigotry: the pages or query the pages and/or query would've revealed that flannel and overalls was the stereotype held by the evangelical protagonist and her community, not what I think lesbians look like. (My mom and her friends wore great clothes). But now I'm just getting apologetic, and that's not why I wrote back.

The reason I entered the COM is that I've been trying to get published with 4 different novels over the course of 10 years. Had an agent and got feedback on a mystery and a family saga... but no sales. With the other two (a corporate satire and an internet comedy of manners), I got agent interest, lots of requests for partials and fulls. But still nothing sold.

Now I think I see the point I missed in the replies I got: no one (but me) would buy these books. A pretty clear pattern. Time to shelve this newly-started one and try my hand at the thriller I abandoned years ago, see if I can freshen it up and make it appeal to someone besides me. Maybe I'll lay off the GLBT angle and see if I can write without it.

This is a valuable exercise, even for those of us who get our asses handed to us, because so few agents say anything at all these days (even a full read might net you just a "not for us" or "chick lit isn't ready for bisexuals" email now).

Anyway, I'm glad I participated, and I might try again next year with the thriller. If I can get it to thrill by then.

--#58

p.s. Thanks to the people who see this as a spectator sport, too. Objective comments are worth a lot, even "yawn". It was supposed to evoke laughter, not boredom and disgust.

HawkOwl said...

I was bored and I thought the other people's reactions to the protagonist were completely unrealistic.

wavybrains said...

The movie Citizen Ruth comes to mind here. If the voice were similar, I'd watch this as a movie, but probably skip the book.

Anonymous said...

Is it a satire? if yes, I might be interested.

Anonymous said...

What the hell man. This mostly sounds offensive. My mom's a lesbian and I'm bloody tired of stupid cliché that have nothing to do with actual lesbians.

Anonymous said...

You might want to focus your writing efforts to one genre and write several books in it until one sells. Agents don't like to rep writers who write a thriller, then a lesbian comedy, then a corporate satire and so on. It may not be fair, but that is the way the business is. If you like comedy, then look at previous work and revise it with an eye for a market and then target agents who specialize.

Anonymous said...

With the number of chick-lit clones out today, I find this idea to be refreshing, quirky, and attention-grabbing. It's exactly the kind of book I'd grab off the shelf in a bookstore and then find a chair to sit in so I could read the first chapter. I hope you continue writing it.

Anonymous said...

I thought this sounded great, and was surprised to read the comments here by people who were offended, until I realised that I'd assumed the novel was comedy and that this doesn't seem to be the case. It's a great premise for comedy, so why don't you make it one?

Anonymous said...

GLBT stories written by writers who target us as an audience, but don't bother to do their homework, are often received as offensive.

For example, if such a character is essential to your plot, some of the correct terms for "a mannish lesbian" include "butch," "bull dagger," and "dyke." However, not all lesbians are "mannish," even if they do have short hair. Kate Clinton is a case in point.

When you've ready to do your research, revisit the story. Until then . . . uh-uh.

Leah said...

I like reading GLBT, but I wouldn't read this. It sounds like it was written based on stereotypes. I like reading about the process of discovery of identity, but this is just too contrived.

The only thing that could redeem it was if it were screamingly funny. I can't see that it is from this hook. Post the opening at Evil Editor and let us keep looking.