Monday, November 21, 2011


When writing a hopefully great hook for a memoir just remember to stick with the same tone and voice that your manuscript is written in and remember make sure your hook is:
* exciting
* new
* needed
* timely

For my possession memoir I decided to start, not with a statistic (such as "the number of exorcisms performed in America has risen drastically over the past 50 years") but with an anecdote. After all, I'm not writing about the state of exorcism in America. I'm writing about how I felt about and dealt with (or refused to deal with) my own possession. Here's my hook:

They say every girl dreams about getting married, but I don’t ever recall dreaming about marriage…wait a minute, that’s not quite true. There was that one dream I had where Satan appeared to me in flames and married me in front of an upside down cross. Being married to Satan—what a bummer

We’ve all seen the horror of the Exorcist; we’ve experienced the drama of Emily Rose. We’ve read Malachi Martin’s fascinating collection: Hostage to the Devil and Michelle Smith’s creepy memoir Michelle Remembers.  We’ve watched heads spin, bodies contort and we’ve seen holy water sprayed as young girls scream and thrash about. But what we haven’t been offered is a candid account of possession from a first-person perspective. Travel with me into the mysterious world of spirits, ghosts and demons. Awaken yourself to a world that isn’t supposed to exist, a world that’s as intriguing as it is sinister. And then emerge as a new person—invigorated, aware and intent on living in the light. Saving Mary: Not just another story about a girl and her exorcist.

From this hook I'm hoping the agent will get a sense of my character and my attitude toward possession---being married to Satan is creepy and serious, but I see the irony in it. (F.Y.I --I became possessed when I was sixteen, during a channeling session. I joined the channeling group hoping to get divorced from Satan and instead became possessed--more irony!) The second part of my hook is to show why my manuscript is new and timely: there are lots of books on possession (people love a good possession story), but mine is different!

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