Crafting Your Hook
Do I have a hook?
Just started this portion of the process for my WIP: A steamy contemporary romance set in New Orleans during a 'girls' trip to cut loose. So what do we think of this hook?
Curves, brains and a Hard Rock bad boy may earn ballsy Engineer,
Avery Barrows, a trip down the rabbit hole…with no return ticket…
Please all suggestions welcome. I'm entering the query portion of the process and don't want to waste an Agents or my time. Query letter to be work shopped soon.
One of my problems with character names these days is that I don't know for example if Avery is female. With curves I assume the protagonist is female. Now a trip down the rabbit hole could refer to the sex act with Wonderland possibilities. There are a number of possibilities here. I'd try turning the sentences inside out and backwards, so to speak, and see what you think. Without knowing more about the story it's hard for me to know how to advise you. One of the things I find helpful when writing the hook for a query is: how would I tell a friend about it? Would I use those words if I wanted her to be interested?
There is a book I like which covers this kind of thing. It's called The Sell Your Novel Toolkit by Elizabeth Lyon. But, even so, much of this subjective. Sometimes when I read the suggestions reference books offer, their examples bore me.
Phooey, dear, oh me. Not sure how to advise you.
--edited by Tricia McKee on 9/29/2015, 11:08 AM--
I've had the same problem on forums. People don't often respond to things I post, when I initiate it. So I decided when I start on a site to look for the posts that no one responds to, ones that interest me, and respond to those. It can feel like rejection on a personal level. Your profile says you were a social worker. I trained in that field as well, but as a counselor once upon a time. I did not take English in college initially. I went back for classes and audited them later after a tragedy hit, and I had no motivation or energy for helping anyone directly. I became a writer instead. I realized I had the possibility of helping far more people through my books if I could learn to write a good story. I, too, have always had a good imagination.
Let me quote Paul Harvey to you. I wish he was still on the air. He said, "Never, never, never give up, for in the next second things could change and transform your whole life." With writing, it's a skill that one can keep tweaking, and with determination a person can become an exceptional storyteller and handler of the craft. That's my goal with each book.
Oh, and it's not just the manuscript they said not to share. The masters said, don't even share the concept. Someone could tell someone, who tells someone and that distant person writes your story and sells it first. On other sites I made a couple of writing friends I runs things by in private emails, and my husband is a writer, so I go that route. Trust is something that takes time.
I like the idea of turning the phrase inside out. Perhaps something like "Avery Barrows had both curves and brains, but would those be enough to withstand a Hard Rock bad boy offering a one-way ticket down the rabbit hole?"
We know Avery is most likely a woman, and a beautiful one. And she's smart. No need to clutter the sentence with the fact she's an engineer. The brains part explains enough. And - now we see the conflict - a Hard Rock bad boy, and what's at stake: a chance to take a mysterious one-way trip down the rabbit hole. What's a rabbit hole in this case? We leave them guessing. They'll just have to buy the book and read it to find out!
Just my two cents.
Do you consider the tease for the book jacket to be the same as the tease for an agent? I'm having trouble with my teases, as well. I know they are supposed to be short, but how does a person know if it's enough? I've sent out lots of queries for a number of my works. At least now I sometimes get personalized rejections, but....
I think a back cover teaser could work for an agent, but then again, they might be looking for something more generic. I'm not an agent so I'm just guessing. How about "In this 80,000 word contemporary romance set in New Orleans, a woman meets a Hard Rock bad boy and must choose between returning to her staid, office job or embarking on a whirlwind adventure down into the seamier side of the French Quarter."
It's still a bit long, but meets most of the wickets.