Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What exactly is *in* a hook?

I just keep getting great comments on my hook revisions--this has been really wonderful. What I'm starting to realize is this: my old longer hook wasn't ineffective simply because it was longer--it was ineffective because it covered a lot of disparate ideas without really going into depth with any of them. The end result was that you sort of knew what I was talking about, and you probably had a good idea that there was a lot going on in the book, but it just sounded to confusing and muddled to be that enticing.

I think that my new shorter hook is better because it is more focused, and because it does go into slightly more detail with some of the issues. The idea was to be concise, so as not to lose a busy agent's attention and so as not to muddle the core hook itself with a lot of extraneous information. I think the new hook accomplishes that goal.

That said, what I'm hearing from the most recent comments is that I'm still not going into enough depth in the new shorter version. If you look at it one way, that makes sense--to get shorten my hook, I basically just cut out all the peripheral concepts and improved the wording. That was a good first step, but now I need to flush out my hook even more with the details whose lack seems to be frustrating the commenters. Rather than just stating a few unusual things, I need to give or at least hint at the reasons behind things.

Hear that? That was the sound of a light bulb clicking on for me. How to write a hook: "Give semi-detailed info on the single most interesting aspect of your book." Okay, got it. It will take me a while to come up with the next version, since this is a bit of a different approach, but I'll post it as soon as I have something. That might be tonight, or it might be a few days from now (I forgot to check the three-day Muse forecast). At any rate, thanks to everyone has weighed in. All the various ideas and opinions continue to be indispensable.


Anonymous said...

I have a few questions:

The men, are they grey or gray?

You have it as grey and the reviewer of your hook has it as gray. Which one is it and what is the difference?

The town starts to excperience an unexpected "techtonic" or whatever twisting of the landscape. Say that, it is fine and more understandable than ut.

Darrell, I don't have a problem with the name, English is my very third language, so it has no social or any other connotations in my world.

To have any hope ... he must.. is fine on it's own, the way you have it is wordy for me. Again, as not a native speaker it pops out in otherwise smooth writting.

And don't forget, what makes you different on the agents table out of everyone else?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, one more.

You need a little more on the characters

Darrell is blankaty blanked blank about his daughter, who's blankness inspired Ms. X to blank it all.

Christopher M. Park said...

Thanks for the comments. When I write grey men, I write it as "grey." The more typical American spelling is "gray," but I don't use that as part of the grey men's name.

The twisting of the town is not really like an earthquake or anything like that. It's that it's becoming progressively more evil (but that wording sounds a little trite to me). The grey men, who have been fairly predictable for nearly a decade--roaming the countryside and killing anyone they come across, but still--are suddenly appearing in greater numbers, and have much greater strength and aggressiveness than ever before. Aside from that, the plant life is gradually dying and becoming twisted and evil, while new creatures beyond the grey men are also appearing around town. I'll have to find a more brief way to say all that.

I'll definitely try to work in more about Darrell's motivations and history, and his relationship with his daughter. I'll have to figure out a way to state that more briefly than I have in past hook iterations, though. And I'll see what I can do about shoring up that last line. Sometimes I do have a tendency to be a little overly wordy, especially in short format like hooks.

Again, thanks for all the ideas and comments.