Friday, November 30, 2007

Let's try this hook thing again...

Thanks to more feedback, I give you:
Nine years have passed since the Dead ended civilization, leaving only tiny splinter societies behind. Darrell Williams, a black doctor in a rural white town, is one of the few survivors in a countryside of roving monsters and encroaching wilderness. When his house is stormed by his undead neighbors, he escapes with his daughter, Lela, to find asylum with refugees in an abandoned electronics factory.

Yet something about the post-civilization world is changing. The uneasy equilibrium between the survivors and their supernatural tormentors is suddenly lost. The Dead are becoming erratic and aggressive, and seem to have a particular interest in Darrell’s family. Four-year-old Lela discovers clues to the twisted logic that drives them -- but then she disappears. Darrell is left to search for answers and his daughter with only the help of strangers in a hostile, ruined world.

Nothing is simple with hooks, is it?


Anonymous said...

I'm not in love with the first sentence. I still don't think it's snappy enough.

But I do like the rest of it. It's to the point and interesting.

Christopher M. Park said...

Yeah, to be quite frank, something about that one sentence just doesn't seem quite right to me, either -- but it's the best I've come up with so far, so for now it stays. At some point I'll figure out something better, I'm sure. That's part of why I'm working on my hook so early. It would be horrible if I was under short-term pressure to get this thing right so that I could send it out.

Glad you like the rest of it, though! Thanks for all your help on this!

Karen Mahoney said...

This is an even bigger improvement. I like that the heart of the conflict appears much sooner in the hook - there's also a greater sense of mystery and menace. Good work!

Christopher M. Park said...

Thank you, Karen! I'm glad to hear that...

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm here from Anne Mini's blog and, like everyone, I've got two cents to spare. :)

This sounds pretty interesting to me, but there seems to be a lot of unnecessary detail. Why mention the nine years if the action is happening right now? The black-doctor-in-a-white-town angle is intriguing, but only because it sets up a relationship between your protag and his society, which now seems to be defunct since his society is now made of dead people. I like abandoned electronics factories, but if you're not going to tell us why that's important, couldn't you just say "factory"?

In general, I'd say that the zombocalypse scenario is familiar enough that you don't need to spend too much time explaining it.

You might be able to front-load the action. "After nine years of shuffling around moaning for brains, the Dead, suddenly becoming erratic and aggressive, target Darrell W. and his four-year-old daughter, Lela. While hiding in an abandoned electronics factory, Lela uses two transistors and an iPod to figure out why the Dead are changing--only to disappear that night. In desperation, Darrell (learns to drive a big rig, steals a bloodhound from the remnants of the local police force, or otherwise does specific things toward getting her back)."

Feel free to ignore, FWIW, and so on...good luck with this!

Christopher M. Park said...

Hi 150, thanks for stopping by the blog, and for you comments! I think that a certain amount of detail is necessary in order to convey a sense of the story, but it's entirely possible that I have my details in the wrong places.

The point of the "nine years have passed bit" is to point out just how far along this is after the zombie's take over. For instance, gasoline has soured, batteries are all long-dead, and there would be no remnants of any older organizations, police forces or otherwise, as pretty much all of those would have fragmented and scattered. So it's a bit of a different scenario from your average zombie takeover, which usually takes place with cast-off resources of society are still present and relatively plentiful (I AM LEGEND, all the Romero movies, etc). Mine takes place after all that stuff is gone. I may need to make this more explicit, but that's hard to do in this brief form.

And the black-doctor-in-a-white-town aspect is still a problem for Darrell, even now that most people are dead (there are plenty of living people to be troublesome, as well as the roving Dead).

The actions that Darrell takes to get Lela back, and the way in which Lela finds out about what the Dead are doing are complex and involved, and are probably something I can't explain simply in so short a passage. Needless to say, all that's inextricably interwoven with other sub-plots that shouldn't be brought up in a hook.

At any rate, thanks for your comments, and I'll be sure to give some more thought into ways in which I might be able to front-load the action even more, or explain certain uniquenesses more, etc.