Cosmology of Crap

Dear Miss Snark:

After rewriting my 250-word hook for the 250th time (hyperbole, but only slight), I find myself going back and forth on whether or not to "giveaway" dramatic plot turns. Obviously, you would not do this in trying to hook a reader, but you might in trying to hook an agent. Your consideration is urgently requested (so I don't hit 500 rewrites.)

Hoisted on My Own Hook

I cannot advise you on what to do about this. I can only tell you what works and what doesn't when you actually send it. Generally the more suspense, the more enticing the better.

You might watch some movie previews and listen to the voice over, and see what scenes are played. Lots of DVDs now have previews embedded.

You've got lots of time. Seven whole days in fact. God created the world in less time than that!


Silver Cade said...

My understanding has always been that an agent or a publisher doesn't want a query that leaves them guessing. I thought they (you) preferred to know what the heck the book is about all the way through, not that there is, in the author's opinion, a 'surprise twist' or dramatic plot turn. Do you really want a query that doesn't tell all basic plot points, or are you speaking strictly about the hook for this specific contest?

Zany Mom said...

Silver Cade, my understanding is that the agent wants to know the ending in the synopsis (not the query) to be sure you have not only a good beginning and middle, but a well-thought out ending as well.

The point of the query is to hook the agent, but there isn't enough time or space in a query to tell all.

Anonymous said...

And again...this is a "hook" CoM not a query CoM.

We're not submitting query lettes. We're submitting hooks.

shelby said...

I had the same question so thanks for answering this one. I'm still a little confused though. In movie previews little snapshots are shown (along with hidden messages like "Sex" and "Buy Popcorn") but the secret or plot turns aren't shown, just hinted at. Is this what we should be doing with the hook, and saving the full rundown for the query?

Word verification: elqiul--something I'm having a very hard time being in my hook.

Anonymous said...

For amusement and critique of a different style you could also run your letter through Evil Editor's blog, which currently has no waiting list.