HH Com 269 (266)

The dream began just as the others had: flying through blackness and following a thin, silver chord. Gavin stopped short inside an empty office. A large map of the U.S., speckled with dozens of red dots, hung in front of him. He slid through a wall to face several men in uniform, bent over blueprints which were splayed on a large, polished table. Their uniforms were like nothing he'd seen before. One of them raised his head and looked at Gavin. He was very, very angry.

(your hook starts here)
East 42, the subterranean training school for the Haven, seems like everything Gavin had wished for during isolated and boring summers spent poring over comic books. His classmates train in E.S.P. and telekinesis as he discovers his talent for astral projection. But after he projects into a top office for Haven security, he falls under the scrutiny of its leaders and becomes the target for Pellere, the ex-Prime based military group.

As Gavin uncovers the Haven's plans for the construction of a bizarre new weapon, he gains unlikely allies in his quest to thwart them. The fight escalates into a campaign on Washington and a war on the battlegrounds of the Astral Plane. Gavin Beckett and the Ward world above are about to turn down a frightening new road.

You splat at "falls under the scrutiny". First, isn't he supposed to be projecting? Did he happen on to something he shouldn't see? That's key info here.

You introduce the bad guys in the second clause of a compound sentence that makes them seem like an afterthought. Are they the bad guys?

And why is he opposed to Haven constructing a new weapon? Isn't he on their team? I want my team to have very big, very scary weapons. Killer Yapp is in fact commissioning a motorized sling shot in his ongoing arms escalation in the squirrel war.

I've stopped reading by the time I get to the last paragraph cause it's stopped holding together for me.

Start over. KY is available for armament consultation as needed.


Anonymous said...

i think youre a bit too strict on the FORM of a "hook".

as long as you get the general idea of the book - who gives a sh*t if they didn't get this formula right.

hopefully you wont throw away good books cause you were frustrated with their inability to write a good hook.


thraesja said...

What is an ex-Prime based military group? What is a Prime? I hope it isn't the term for the top level telepaths, as I think Anne McCaffrey's already used that one.

As Miss Snark said, did Gavin see something he shouldn't have, or just get caught where he shouldn't have been? Why does he now want to fight against the Haven?

Anonymous said...

This helps sooo much. Primes are people with paranormal abilities and Gavin doesn't like the weapon because it's a mind-control device & the Haven's on a censorship/perfect society bender. Guess I shoulda said that. I love u Snarky!

Anonymous said...

The silver chord threw me. I think you mean "cord", like a wire or rope, not "chord", like notes in musical harmony. I think. But I'm not sure how he followed a cord, or how a chord would be silver...

Kit Whitfield said...

'Following a thin silver chord.'

I think you mean 'cord'.

Get someone to read your rewritten hook before you send it out: spelling mistakes will put people off.

Anonymous said...

I had to read this thing several times, but I see what you're saying now. It's just tough to gather from the hook. I'm assuming the weapon is something akin to Star Wars' space station. The plot would then be his trying to thwart the bad guys, headed by the pissed off guy that it looked at first glance had busted him for peeking in on their meeting. I'd definitely divulge the weapon in the hook, because that's the part that's gonna make or break it.

Ski said...

I got the drift - and I liked it. I don't consider myself a SF guy but this would interest me. That is, if I think this is what it is... Good Luck


Laura K said...

Anonymous 1 (e):

I gotta ask...what are you doing here if you don't respect Miss Snark's professionalopinion? Several times she's said that things that were not formula "worked" and that she would ask for pages even though the hook didn't fit the precise template for a hook.

Also, it's ok to write casually online, but you really should use apostrophes when the lack of one makes a completely different word. It's an error that spell-check won't find, so it's better to keep in the habit than to make the mistake in your manuscript.

Oh, and don't use words like "hopefully" if you can't use them correctly...even in casual writing, it's a really bad habit to get into.

Tulie said...

Okay, before anyone chucks a table at me, please keep in mind that I haven't had any coffee since Saturday (doctor's orders).

Someone, please clarify - is this opening really about a dream, or about astral projection?

Anonymous said...

Holy Schmolly: chord, cord? Duh. When my son's umbilical cord was cut, was I thinking chord? I spelled it incorrectly through the entire book! MY SECRETARY IS FIRED!!! Okay, I don't have a secretary, but I'd fire her outright for such an outrage.
P.S. I give my sincere thanks to all of you. You have no idea how much you are helping.
And Tulie, The opening is an astral projection, but he thinks it's a dream at the time. Wow! Thank you guys for all of the feedback!

jamiehall said...

I tripped over "chord" and "Pellere, the ex-Prime based military group" pretty badly.

tulie: the opening is about astral projection

Angus Weeks said...

anonymous 'e': As far as I can see, Miss Snark is suggesting the formula for hooks which have a lot of problems and need some sort of focus at the very least.

On the other hand, she has asked for pages on several hooks that don't follow the formula, so she is hardly being "too strict".

In her real practice as an agent, she typically reads first pages even if she finds the hook questionable (she has said so many many times in the course of her blogging history). However, many agents rely solely on the hook to assess whether they want to read the rest of your story (sad but true). So her advice is worth considering if you plan querying such agents.

Anonymous said...

Interesting story, but a rough hook for it. Definately rework. But also: make sure you understand the differences between the Astral Plane and the Etheric. Astral is good for remote viewing and yes you can fight there, and even get very tired doing it. But the Etheric is where the real battles happens with real impacts, like death.