12.18.2006

HH Com 148

In Aratika’s world only the blessed first-born sons can marry and women are the possessions of their fathers or husbands. When Aratika’s father falls ill and her family can no longer afford to keep her, she is sent to a bride school and trained to be a wife. It is after she is sold she learns her future husband is already dead and she is to live with his family in his memory. To escape her father-in-law’s brutality, she dresses as a third-born son and flees to the temple to become a priest.

But the Speaker of the Sun is dying and winter storms bring famine. Aratika has two dreams that appear divine. In one her sin, a woman living in the most sacred of spaces, is the cause of the suffering; in the other their god, in the form of a great serpent, pleads for her aid.

I, Aratika is a stand alone fantasy told in the first person, complete at 95, 000 words.

This is all set up. You're missing the crucial part of the hook: the dilemma and the consequences. So she has prophetic dreams, so what? If she reveals herself does she die? If she doesn't reveal herself, does Santa retire to Ft Lauderdale?

The hook must contain a sense of urgency and at least a hint of some choice the protaganist must face or deal with.

12 comments:

shannon said...

I agree with Miss Snark. I'm an avid fantasy reader, and I think there's a very interesting story here, and if we were chatting and you told me this I'd want to read it.

Unfortunately, you're not trying to write a blurb, you're trying to get an agent hooked. It sounds like she's stuck between a rock and a hard place, but there's no tension here, no feeling of danger. Your writing is clean and clear and most of it makes sense, but it's also very distant and unattached.

Make us care about what happens to Aratika.

Virginia Miss said...

As Miss Snark mentioned, you need to re-write your hook. When you do so, watch your passive voice. For example,

"After they sell her, she learns..."

instead of "It is after she is sold..." (double passive)

or

When Aratika’s father falls ill and her family can no longer afford to keep her, THEY SEND HER...

instead of

When Aratika’s father falls ill and her family can no longer afford to keep her, SHE IS SENT

"...CAUSES SUFFERING"

instead of

"...is the cause of the suffering."

Anonymous said...

I get the sense you're holding a lot back here to keep the dramatic twists hidden for some reason. I think a lot of people writing these hooks are writing them for the person that picks them up in the store when they should be for the agent. You reveal more to the agent. But, even if you're writing for the person that picks it up in the store, I think you need to reveal a little more.

luna_the_cat said...

Yeah. There needs to be something about the urgency of the choice, possible consequences, etc. But I really like the story idea; I would personally like to see more!

Setting up more of the conflict between the two apparently-conflicting dreams might be good. Is it a choice of which one to believe? Is there a time limit on action?

Sonarbabe said...

This kind of gives me a Mulan feeling, but that's not a bad thing... I loved Mulan! I agree with Shannon and Anonymous #1. It does feel like you're holding back. It took me forever to realize that the agent HAS to know what's going on in order to represent adequately.

Good story idea though. It just needs another draft on the hook.

Sonarbabe said...

Virginia Miss: Could you help me with some of my passive voice issues? LOL. I don't have many in my stories, but the ones I have are a bugger to figure out. :)

A Paperback Writer said...

I liked the idea of the story. :)

HawkOwl said...

You know what I don't get, is that I thought I was paying this book a compliment, but I got moderated, and yet some of the bitchiest things I say get posted.

So I'll say it again and hope it gets through: I was intrigued by the setting, but I can't figure out the plot at all. If you had a little more plot in your hook I might have loved it.

So I guess pretty much what Miss Snark said. Good luck with it.

Wabi Sabi said...

Why does a hook have to contain 'a sense of urgency'? What about the subtle, the meditative, the reflective, the impressionistic, the understated? I don't want to be slammed by every novel I read.

Ohhhh, 'our sick hurry and divided aims.' (Matthew Arnold).

Lights, camera, action.

Pipe, slippers, Philosan.

HawkOwl said...

Wabi Sabi: amen.

Anonymous said...

As the author of this hook I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who commented. Particularly virginia miss, that was sooooo helpful.

I have a really good idea how to fix this hook now and when I finish editing and send out queries in the new year I'll be doing so with confidence!

God bless the crapometer!

Anonymous said...

Normally I'm all over active sentence construction, but I thought some of the passive voice might have been done on purpose. In Aratika's world, things happen to women and girls--they do not make choices, so the passive voice kind of relayed that to me. Perhaps the active voice will come out when we get a sense of the MC gaining control/getting a sense of her power/becoming a heroine (however she accomplishes that).