Saturday, June 25, 2022

Crafting Your Hook

We were thrilled to have Elizabeth Law, Senior Editor and Backlist Specialist at Holiday House run a workshop at our June 2022 CWHV Event on writing your manuscript's hook. She was humorous, knowledgeable, approachable and a real delight.               

Crafting a compelling hook is essential in getting an agent's or editor's attention. If your hook doesn't grab or appeal to them, they will stop reading. When writing  your hook, try to put the key words in your title or in the first 25 words of your description. Always highlight the conflict or tension.

Several examples of hooks were discussed, along with several formulas for crafting your hook. 

1. Book A meets Book B (for example: Mean Girls Meet Parent Trap)

2. My book, (title) has the sexual tension like Twilight but with pirates instead of vampires. (State what is similar and what is different.)

3. Character + Context + Stakes

Our hands-on-exercise was working on our hooks, sharing them (optional) and then getting Elizabeth’s feedback. 

If you’ve received letters from agents or editors with nice compliments like great writing, great characters, etc., but no acceptance offers, it could mean there was no hook and therefore they didn’t know how to sell it or there was no emotional arc. 

Besides identifying your story’s hook, remember RATS when researching your comp titles: Recent, Accurate, Tasteful, Specific.

Tips on researching and finding examples of hooks were discussed.

Thank you Elizabeth for a wonderful and fun afternoon! You can find Elizabeth on Twitter @elawreads

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