12.20.2006

HH Com 209 (204)

Tam’s world has been bereft of magic for six hundred years, since the extinction of the Zorreni. These small animals, until they died out, were the foundation of all magic, working in bonded partnership with the great wizards of old.

Then Tam, while on a foraging trip, makes a wondrous discovery. The Zorreni are not extinct after all—he finds an injured one hiding in a cave. Unaware of the ramifications of his find, he christens the animal Sashi and takes him home to his village. There he discovers that many will kill to get their hands on such a creature, and that possession of a Zorreni is illegal under the king’s laws. By dawn, the Redguard is pounding on his door and he flees into the wilderness, taking Sashi with him.

your hook starts here:
With a bonded Zorreni, Tam is capable of performing great magic, but he has no idea how to use or control his power, and there is no one alive who can teach him. He must discover the ways of magic on his own, while evading the Redguard, who are combing the countryside for him. Meanwhile, in his dreams he is visited by the image of a white stone temple perched high on a mountainside. It calls to him with promises of knowledge and sanctuary. He must find it before the Redguard find him.

If people would kill to get their hands on this creature, I'd think more than the Red Guard would be after him. And the king sounds like the antagonist but we never see or hear about him.

And what kind of magic can he do?

You need to focus on specifics to make this compelling. I like the idea but the execution needs work.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like the premise of this outlined in first paragraph.

Inkwolf said...

Forgive me, but it sounds way too close to Eragon. (Boy finds egg of all-but-extinct dragon, must run from the king's evil goons while learning to be a dragon-rider...tell me your young man and HIS bonded critter don't befriend a wise old mentor along the way...)

Anyway, if it's less like Eragon than it sounds, you want to really stress the differences, now that Eragon's been made into a movie and lots more people will have read it.

Anonymous said...

I like this one better than the first version of this you posted, but many of the comments still apply. I like knowing exactly what the relationship in the mind is.

Anonymous said...

Eragon, Dragonsong... this is an old chestnut...

HawkOwl said...

Nooooooooooooooooooo!

I was loving it until the "bonding" part. Too Pern. Too "didn't we just see the identical thing just a few hooks ago?"

I'd look at this just in case, but I hope the bond thing is something like what I have with my dog, not the Pern-type bond.

Jodi Meadows said...

Alas, Inkwolf, Eragon sounds like LotR, the Pern novels, and all the farmboy-goes-on-adventure novels. It isn't really an original idea. (The finding something almost extinct, running away, and learning, that is...)

But even though it is a done idea, it can still be redone well, and with a fancy new twist. I don't know if this book has that--the hook doesn't really tell me.

So, writer, I charge you to ferret out what is new and different about your story, and put *that* into your hook. Hopefully, when it's time to query this story, you'll get more requests than "oh, another one of *those* stories" rejections.

(I've been there. :D I have a modern-person-goes-to-fantasyland story, and it took me ages to find a hook that brought out the more original aspects of it. Because crossover fantasy? It's definitely been *done.* :)

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the first anonymous . . . I was intrigued by the FIRST paragraph, and could lose the second. It was enough of a "hook" for me to want to read more, and I didn't need (or maybe didn't want to know so I could find out!) the rest.

cm allison said...

I had suddent thoughts of Eragon and Eldquest also, and I am not normally a YA reader (but a friend's daughter turn me on to them). So if this old lady thinks Eragon, you REALLY need to stress differences...

Anonymous said...

The idea that someone is getting criticized copying Eregon, which pinched fantasy tropes from every SFF author from Tolkien to McCaffrey, makes me laugh.

But not in a good way.

Anonymous said...

If everybody thinks the critters are extinct, why is it illegal to have one?

Aconite

Anonymous said...

I thought it similar to Eragon, too. It seems a good premise, but as Inkwolf said you'll want to highlight the differences when submitting.

Lil

AmyB said...

Thanks for all the feedback. I suppose I will have to actually read Eragon, so that I will be able to emphasize the differences. For the person who mentioned the "first version of this," I only submitted one hook, and this is it. Thanks again; I appreciate the comments.

Anonymous said...

If it's too close to Eragon, it will probably also be too close to Lord of the Rings, and the Dragonriders of Pern... and Star Wars, since that one hasn't been mentioned yet. (Sorry, anybody who was a fan, but it's the truth.) Might also throw in Mercedes Lackey while we're at it. And too much else.

Original fantasy is possible. Some of these elements--bonded creatures, for example--have been used a number of times to generally acceptable effect. A "wise old mentor" is hardly Christopher Paolini's own invention. (Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!) What needs to be original is the rest of it, and running away from an evil king's guards is not. God save us from another fantasy novel which consists largely of running away from things!

Anonymous said...

This hook would make me pick it up off the shelf. If the first few pages were well-written (unlike Eragon) I would definitely keep going. I'm ok with the idea being done before (there are very few completely original fantasy stories) if the writing was good.