Heart Like A Hole

Book Cover



Paula C. Deckard

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When a woman follows the path of a heart surgeon only to mend a broken heart and recover her sense of sexual climax, she is bound to face dark consequences, unable to maintain the tension between her career and disturbing sex life.


Suspense / Thriller, Drama,Black Comedy,Drama,Other,Family,Suspense/Thriller,Romance,Horror

Short Summary

It opens with Ellen's flashback as a traumatized teenager having sex with an older man. Then, we change to the present, where we see her in New York as a junior heart surgeon performing a minimally invasive heart surgery that ends with her patient dying. Her psychological journey becomes apparent.

Success brings no joy, nor does the love of her life. Ellen becomes aware that she has to face her unrequited childhood love, which hints at abuse throughout the book. She returns to her old home and captures her perpetrator. The twist, in the end, suggests Ellen's uncontrollable obsession with him.


New York

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

,Revolt against the meaninglessness of life,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Other

Plot - Other Elements

Twist, Philosophical Questions,,Coming of Age,Philosophical Questions

Mature Audience Themes

Nudity, Language/Profanity, Sexual Abuse,Sexual Abuse

Main Character Details

Name: Dr. Ellen Parker

Age: 33

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Complex, Crazy, Decisive, Narcissistic, Power-hungry, Sexy, Sophisticated, Blunt, Funny, Perseverance, Seductive, Confident, Secretive, Aspiring, Aggressive, Educated, Lone Wolf, Skillful, Beautiful,Aspiring,Charming,Modest,Narcisstic,Sexy,Crazy,Blunt,Power Hungry,Decisive,Engaging,Outspoken,Secretive,Seductive,Sophisticated,Leader,Manipulative,Lone Wolf,Unapologetic,Skillful,Honorable,Educated

Additional Character Details

Name: Dr. Stuart McCormick

Age: 39

Gender: Male

Role: Mentor

Key Traits: Sarcastic, Skillful, Sophisticated, Complex, Gracious, Masculine, Outspoken, Blunt, Empathetic, Honorable, Funny, Leader, Engaging, Faithful, Strong Moral Code, Aspiring, Confident, Decisive, Educated,Funny,Masculine,Modest,Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Heroic,Secretive,Seductive,Sophisticated,Leader,Honorable,Educated,Sexy,Aspiring,Selfless,Outspoken,Skillful,Blunt

Additional Character Details

Name: Dad

Age: 60

Gender: Male

Role: emotional

Key Traits: Confident, Empathetic, Funny, Selfless, Aspiring, Clumsy, Educated, Faithful, Strong Moral Code,Adventurous,Modest,Aspiring,Charming,Decisive,Blunt,Selfless,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Funny,Skillful,Sophisticated,Honorable,Heroic,Educated,Outspoken

Additional Character Details

Name: Norman Brooke

Age: 41

Gender: Male

Role: antagonist

Key Traits: Empathetic, Engaging, Outspoken, Secretive, Underdog, Aggressive, Complex, Decisive,Underdog,Modest,Blunt,Skillful,Secretive,Complex,Aspiring,Confident,Decisive,Unapologetic,Visionary

Development Pitch

Heart surgeon Ellen Parker dives into the New Yorker hospital life to alleviate the demons of the past. Ellen's routine and aspiration to climb the ladder keep her sane. She constantly hungers to discover the human body's intimate secrets, both on the operating table and in her sexual odyssey. While she ignores all her dedicated admirers, her narcissistic tendencies sabotage her balance and drive her deeper into the past. When the ultimate heart surgery fails to satisfy her needs, her dark secrets reveal in ever more nightmarish ways until she finally confronts them. Imagine a psychological yet colorful horror à la Nicolas Winding Refn or David Fincher. Think of Charlize Theron playing the lead, talking to her patients during surgery--a form of healing that you can grasp. She talks to their flesh and blood, and they listen.

About The Author

Paula C. Deckard was born in Hamburg, Germany. She completed her master's degree in Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths University of London. "Heart Like A Hole" is her first book of fiction. Paula lives in Canada.

Target Audiences

Age: 18-34,35-54

Target Gender: Universal,Female Leaning

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: Paula Cheung

Year Published: 2018

Hard Copy Available







Ellen Parker is a talented junior surgeon but her daddy issues start bleeding into her promising career. Her predilection for sleeping with her patients starts to unravel deeper insights from her past. She finds her dark sex fantasies originating in an abusive past she must confront in order to heal and find satisfaction in life.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: GOOD

Characterization: FAIR

Commerciality: FAIR

Franchise Potential: FAIR

Pace: FAIR

Premise: GOOD

Structure: FAIR

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

Overall the profile is reflective of the story. The short summary glazes over things a bit by focusing on the beginning and towards the end but not about the middle journey involving her troubles explored through sex. As this is a major component to the narrative in solving her trauma it would be helpful to include just like it is in the pitch and logline.

Draw of Story

Ellen is a peculiar character with her thought process. What she observes about events is abnormal and makes her compelling to see how she will interact with normal scenarios.

Possible Drawbacks

Ellen's convoluted thoughts about her father can be hard to swallow, but she is shown as being traumatized. It is understandable but hard to witness at times. Showing she is unreliable sooner by revealing other characters think she needs help might offset the disturbing parts of her character.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that Ellen is an expert at the human body both inside and out but doesn't understand human emotions. Sleeping with her patients as a coping mechanism is very salacious but intriguing.

Fanbase Potential

Depending on the genre if it becomes more a psychological thriller it could have a medium size fanbase due to its compelling but troubled character and titillating hook. If it focuses more towards its sensual elements as an erotic thriller it might have a smaller audience due to the controversial nature of combining sex and healthcare and also anatomy and desire.

Awards Potential

If the psychological elements are more at the forefront and despite the heavy amount of sex as part of the character development, this could see some potential in awards. It has a lot of trauma and a controversial issue with an unusual treatment which usually catches at least a nomination.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

The unreliability of the female narrator and her fixation on the human body without emotion manifesting as a seductress rather than in murder make it different than other characters with the tendencies of a sociopath. Making sure that trauma is noted before showing her relationship between anatomy and desire would help make her disturbing through more palatable.

Lead Characters

Ellen's metaphors as to how she observes object and events is one-of-a-kind. She is cold and successful but also cracked in that it is evident she is desperate for quality company.

Uniqueness of Story

The idea that a surgeon ties desire to anatomy rather than emotions is unusual and intriguing. However, the tension stemming from trauma rather than trying to resist their dark fantasies based on what the protagonist has gauged is appropriate behavior is less individual to the story.

Possible Formats

Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, Film - Studio, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Streaming

Analyst Recommendation



While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

Introducing the trauma earlier to make Ellen's behavior more understandable rather than revealing just her perpetual inability to find satisfaction would help her be more sympathetic. Adding clear agency of the side characters outside of just Ellen's perception would help them feel more rounded; i.e. conversations and actions that don't need interpretation from others.