12.19.2006

HH Com 191

It was an anxious twenty minutes for all of them. At last they heard the deep metallic clang of the heavy steel door being struck. Together they turned the locking wheel, and then heaved the door enough ajar for him to enter. He stumbled in and removed his cloth mask, which was dark grey from the ash. It was everywhere; in his hair, all over his clothes, and evidently in his lungs. Immediately, he began coughing violently. He gestured for water. He spat his first mouthful straight out onto the floor, where it sat in a deep grey pool. He drank again, and this time he let himself swallow: he let the water cool his burning throat. All of them looked at him expectantly.

“Well?”

Jonah took the radio out of his pocket and placed it down on the table by his side. It was hissing static.

“Nothing. I’m sorry.”

Wearily they turned and headed back into the heart of the shelter.


This isn't a hook, it's a first page. You've got four sentences starting with "he" in one paragraph which is a reliable indicator for the presence of clunk.

You've narrated events to the exclusion of description or reaction. In other words you could be writing for the Police Blotter Quarterly and be ok.

There are a variety of examples of hooks that work and good form even for books I didn't much like listed before. Study them. Emulate them.

4 comments:

cm allison said...

I would need a really good blurb on the back of the jacket to pick this up and browse enough to decide to buy. Good start to a first page, but not enough to decide me. Give me that "blurb hook" to swing my decision!

(But dont' feel back, I'll likely go down in flames when it's my turn!)

Anonymous said...

Although it sounds like it could turn out to be interesting, there's not enough information here to really hook me. I'd like to know what it's really about.

Anonymous said...

As the writer of this I absolutely knew it was going to crash and burn as soon as I saw some of the successful hooks. I should have done better. The posted section is the edited prologue. In the original the multiple "he's" that Miss Snark complains about aren't there...sigh!
Within the next 48 hours I will try to generate a more compelling hook that actually suggests the content of the novel. I will post it here. The excercise is fantastic however. Having read all the posts I suddenly understand the difficulty of the slushpile - sorting the wheat from the chaff is a hell of a deal. I need to improve my submissions.
Nick

aries said...

MS and other agent blogs have recommended against including prologues with the initial submission and I never understood why. Now I do. The reader has absolutely no idea what's going. I can't even tell what genre this is. I have a feeling the author can write but there needs to be a whole lot more context in order to make a assessment.