Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What Is Your Story's Hook?

Simply stated, your hook is what makes your book unique. Your hook is just as important as your story's characters, plot, climax and resolution, if not more. Can the reader relate to the hook, is it marketable and will the reader feel it's worth their time?  

Once you’ve identified your hook, ask yourself, would an age appropriate reader for your story care about it. For example, would an 11-year-old boy care if his mother got a promotion and his father stayed home doing childcare? Probably not, but he would care if his whole family went on vacation and left him home alone.

Your hook can be a statement or a question. 

In THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD by Lauren Gibaldi, Penn has to decide whether to stay in her small town and marry her boyfriend or leave and pursue her dream of acting in a big city. Will Penn choose love or bright lights, big city?

In GEMINI by Sonya Mukherjee, Clara, a conjoined twin wants surgical separation, but her twin, Hailey, does not. Can Clara convince her conjoined twin to have surgical separation?

IF I STAY by Gayle Forman, after a tragic car accident leaves Mia in a coma, she must choose to fight for a life without her parents and brother or give up and die. Can Mia live as the only survivor of a tragic car crash?

RAIN REIGN by Ann M. Martin, Rose, a girl with autism, has to decide whether to look for her lost dog or stay home where it’s safe and familiar, but never see her dog again. Can Rose leave her safe space and venture out into the unknown to find her dog?

FAR FROM THE TREE by Robin Benway, Grace, who always knew she was adopted, tells her adoptive parents that she wants to find her birth mother. Which love is stronger -- biology or the one who raised you?

Think about some of your favorite stories. What made you read the book? A good exercise to help you identify and write your hook is to read the back cover of novels. You can also include your hook in your query letter.

Before you spend months or years working on your novel, spend time thinking of a hook that is identifiable, unique, one that is strong enough to be turned into a book (a product that can be sold) and one that a reader will care about.

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