Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Hook . . . Continued!

I'm going to talk a little bit more about the hook today. Yes, I know, you'd rather hear more about my wildly exciting life! Yes, the demands for such news are overwhelming at times. Ha!

Seriously . . .

The hook can be absolutely any sentence as long as it sums up the book. For example, let's take Little Red Riding Hood.

Possible hooks for her sordid little tale . . .

A girl wearing a red-hooded cloak walks through the forest to grandmother's house, encounters a wolf, and is saved by a man swinging an ax! - yes, this tells what the story is about, but it's really quite boring.

Little Red Riding Hood foolishly goes traipsing through a forest where a very hungry wolf lives. - okay, this is a bit more exciting, but doesn't tell much about the story.

The Big Bad Wolf is on the way to a a wedding, sees Little Red, learns where she's going, and decides he could eat both something old and something new, and worry about the borrowed and blue later on . . . as long as the woodsmen isn't nearby. - yes, a tad snarky, well, maybe more than a tad snarky, but far more interesting then the other two . . . at least in my delusional world.

The fact is: the hook needs to grab an agent's attention in the best way possible, even if it is with a high dose of snark.

Now, in working on my own hook, I was intrigued by this hook from Jessica Verday's The Haunted - A tragic death, a mysterious stranger, and answers to questions that Abigail Browning never knew she needed to ask . . .

I love this hook. It's intriguing and makes me want to read a bit more. I'm sure that's what caught Jessica's agent's attention. At least I hope that's what caught her attention.

So, if I was to use something similar . . . I'd need something snazzy that lists some of the things going on in my book. What to do? What to do? I know . . . why don't I create a list of events that occur in my book. Brilliant, if I do say so myself.

So, I broke down the events by character. As an example, let's go back to Little Red Riding Hood . . .

The events for Little Red - walks through forest, encounters wolfs, finds an oddly different grandmother, realizes it's the wolf, screams for help, and is saved by the woodsman.

The events for the Wolf - encounters Little Red, learns grandma is home alone, eats grandma, tries to trick little red, and is killed by the woodsman.

Grandma - eaten by wolf, saved by the woodsman.

Now, the difficult part is picking what events to describe in the hook. You can check out the above examples to see which events I did. Okay, in short: the major events that carry the most impact.

This is where I'm (okay, I'm pre-doing this post, it's really Monday, so everything might be done by the time this post hits the blogsphere Wednesday morning) at right now. I have a list of events and need to pick out the key events with the most impact if . . . I'm going to go the route of giving a brief list of what happens as my hook.

This is only one option with a hook. The options really are endless. It all depends on you the writer.

A girl is whisked to a magical land by a tornado, meets an odd group of friends, encounters a wicked witch, and learns that there's no place like home. - The Wizard of Oz.

A cyclone, a tragic death, magic slippers, a yellow brick road, a scarecrow, a tin man, a cowardly lion, some poppies, a wizard, flying monkeys, a wicked witch, and a bucket of water. - The Wizard of Oz.

Yes, two different hooks, one fashioned after Jessica Verday's hook for The Haunted and one that's just simple and straightforward.

In the end, only you (or me) the writer will know what will work for you. Sometimes, the best way to learn is by example. So, go read some successful queries, see what worked and then, as with your writing, put your own unique spin on the query.


1 comment:

Robyn Campbell said...

Love your hooks, my friend. BTW, I was planning on something about hooks on Friday. Have you been perusing inside my head again? Huh?

Sounds like you are finally getting that query together. I'm proud of you. The list of events sounds very intriguing. If I do say so myself. I think you've hit on something. :)