Friday, February 4, 2011

People, my brain hurts - The Hook!

So, I've spent a ton of time trying to write a blog post about the hook of a manuscript. For some unknown reason, I'm having the darnedest time getting the words down.

Writers know that the hook is a literary device that is used to catch a reader's attention. It's why we want the reader to pick up and want to buy our book. It's something that touches their emotions and makes them feel like they HAVE TO read the book.

The hook is not just the premise of the story, but it's what grabs you around the neck and drags you, kicking and screaming, to cough up your cash and spend some of your time in the author-created world.

I'd share some of my own hooks, but my agent would pistol-whip me if I do.
Here are a couple of examples (very brief and simplistic):

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: a young boy discovers that his magical abilities are not his imagination when he's invited to attend a wizard's school.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: a young boy discovers who murdered his family only after having grown up in a cemetery.

A hook is a good thing to come up with when you're writing your story, as well as your central story problem. Having your hook down will help keep you focused on the story while you're writing it.

Good luck.