12.21.2006

HH Com 274 (271)

At the age of three, Liv Cole watched as her father and mother argued before the accident. She heard the thump as her mother, Jasmine, fell. Her grandmother, Donna, found Jasmine's twisted body the next morning. Fearing for Liv's safety, Donna fled the state with Liv and changed their identities.

Twelve years later, Liv's father, Ty, reappears in her life. Ty confronts Donna and she finally confesses the details only she knows about Jasmine's death.


so what?
I'm GLAD she's dead, glad I say! In fact, let's kill her again! And again!

You're missing all the elements I'd need to see in a hook.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

LMGDAO!

Way to go Miss Snark!

Anonymous said...

This doesn't really have to do with HH 274 but I can't keep silent anymore. After reading 274 entries, with, perhaps 4 or 5 qualifying as hooks, it is glaringly obvious that we are a hook-challenged people. Miss Snark, your persistence is admirable - I don't know how you keep at it. This is not a hook... This is not a hook...
My new pastime is "scrolling for a bingo..."

bjh said...

Down, girl, down!

I think it's getting to you. Time to visit the gin pail.

This is really helpful even for us unsubmitteds. You're wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Stuart Dybek said, if you want to tell the world your thoughts (or your characters thoughts) write an essay. That's what essays are for. But if you want to show the consequences of thoughts, you'll need a story form. Okay, this isn't exactly what he said, but it's close.

What are the consequences of that confession? Think hard. It's not very interesting if the only thing that happens is someone's feelings get hurt.





"scrolling for a bingo" is awesome! I'm in.

Anonymous said...

We all get it. It's not a hook. But it's certainly not first post that isn't. So does anyone have anything useful to say to the author (me)?

Kit Whitfield said...

This sounds like it's a story about knowing your father killed your mother, and how the heroine deals with that. If that's the case, it's a potentially interesting storyline, but you need to be more explicit. The way you describe her mother's death, it could have been anything; the reader has to do some detective work to figure it out.

How does Liv feel towards her father before her mother's death? How does she feel about her mother? What is she doing when her father turns up again? How does he find her? How does she feel about it? What are the consequences?

You may gave a very dramatic plot here, but the way you present it, you're rather hiding your light under a bushel. A lot more detail would make the story more vivid.

thraesja said...

Okay, so you have Jasmine and Ty fighting before the 'accident', and Donna fearing for Liv's safety. This suggests to me that Ty killed his wife, or at least, Donna thinks Ty killed his wife. Then you have Ty confronting Donna about what only she knows about Jasmine's death? I'm totally confused, and not in a good way.

It appears from the first sentence that Liv is the main character, but then she's barely mentioned again as Ty and Donna become the important characters. Help me out here.

Hypergraphia said...

I have been trying to read the 'hooks' before reading the Snarks and I'm 'oh for nuthin' on picking out what I think is a hook. I seem to be okay at picking the blathers though. I will scroll for 'bingo's' and the orgasmic "yes, yes, yes" after it's all said and done so I can "bone" up on a hook. I should probably finish a novel before trying to hook one.

Jessica Burkhart said...

This has been incredibly helpful. Thank you for taking your time to do this!

angie said...

That was pretty damn funny - Miss Snark needs a bigger pail.

What it comes down to is why should the reader care, who is this story about (Liv? Donna? Ty? Dead Mommie?), and what's so awful about Donna's knowledge? I'm sure you know all of this info, but your hook doesn't really let your reader in on the real dirt. Gotta have the impetus to keep an audience wanting to turn the pages.

Anonymous said...

Why is there no mention of jail?
This guy kills a woman & leaves her dead in his kitchen & they never catch him? I find that very hard to believe. & if by being away for 12 years you meant to imply that he was in prison, 12 years is a pretty short murder sentence.

The thing is, yes, some people kill their spouses, but they usually do not get away with it.

Bernita said...

Might make a short story.

Dwight The Troubled Teen said...

Yep.

Snarkers has finally gone 'round the twist.

Michele said...

I was confused about some of the events in this "hook".

Who is Donna? How does she steal the little girl away the next morning without the father noticing? And why don't the police come during the night? (Or the next day in response to Donna's anonymous tip?)

You don't need to clutter your hook with all the details, but could summarize in a way that these questions aren't raised.

Brady Westwater said...

"At the age of three, Liv Cole watched as her father and mother argued before the accident. She heard the thump as her mother, Jasmine, fell."

If she watched them - why did she only hear the thump and not see what happened - or did she?

"Her grandmother, Donna, found Jasmine's twisted body the next morning."

Why did Liv not go to see what went thump?

"Fearing for Liv's safety, Donna fled the state with Liv and changed their identities."

Need to specify why Liv was felt to be in danger.

"Twelve years later, Liv's father, Ty, reappears in her life. Ty confronts Donna and she finally confesses the details only she knows about Jasmine's death."

Why would Ty 'confront' Dona? You seem to suggest that grandmother had something to do with death - but earlier it says she discovered the body.

Lastly - who and how the killing was done can be wrapped up in a paragraph. What is the rest of the novel about?

Emily said...

The first thing I thought of when I saw the name "Liv" was Liv Tyler.

Then I see that her dad's name is Ty?

You might want to rethink that.

Anonymous said...

We all get it. It's not a hook. But it's certainly not first post that isn't. So does anyone have anything useful to say to the author (me)?



Yes. It doesn't appear you've studied how to write queries at all--we don't need anyone's name, really, except the main character's, and you've told us nothing about what happens in the book except stuff that can be covered, as Bernita said, in a short story.

I don't really know what sort of useful advice you're looking for, given you've only shown us two very short, very basic paragraphs. We can't advise on either your writing (which comes off stilted here, but may not be in the book) or the actual story itself, of which you've given us very little idea. Could it be a good book? I guess so--the "bad guy Daddy comes back and girl knows he killed her mother" could be good (although it would be better if the girl didn't remember he killed her mother at first), and given she's only fifteen, it seems, there could be some real danger and interest here. But this feels incidental. Your entire story can't be "bad Daddy comes back". Something has to happen. Why is he back? What is he doing? Where's the conflict?

I appreciate you're looking for feedback, but demanding it after only four comments is a bit rude.

Ryan Field said...

Time for a break. Wash your hands, make yourself a tuna fish sandwich and sip some gin. You're almost halfway through.

dmg said...

If the writer hasn't already done so, it might be useful to check out "The Secret Life of Bees," too.

Elektra said...

"We all get it. It's not a hook. But it's certainly not first post that isn't. So does anyone have anything useful to say to the author (me)?"

Yes: Don't complain about responses and then irately ask for more.

angrylil'asiangirl said...

ROFL

i think miss snark just needs a nap.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if I seemed rude in my first post. Believe it or not I was thinking it would be funny (sarcastic). My mistake. I really didn't want to make anyone angry at me. We are all here to help each other and have fun.

Thank you for all of your suggestions. I hadn't thought of the Liv Tyler thing. I should have said the names together and it would have been clear.

dana p said...

We all get it. It's not a hook. But it's certainly not first post that isn't. So does anyone have anything useful to say to the author (me)?

Yes.

Read the preceding 250+ entries, including Miss Snark's comments on why they are good hooks, bad hooks, or not hooks at all. Apply what you learn to your own novel, and re-write your hook accordingly.

jamiehall said...

The first paragraph is all backstory. Extremely important backstory, but still backstory.
The real story starts in paragraph 2, which is a mere two sentences and doesn't tell us hardly anything.
This means that it's not a hook, because it is difficult to judge the story (the real story, not the backstory) given the hook. You don't want an agent to be puzzled after reading your hook, you want an agent to be intrigued.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that a couple of you need to take a midol. This was a poor hook, but the remarks I've read were not real kind.

tia nia said...

To the author: seems to me we don't really know what the accident was that killed the mother. Perhaps the father was not involved. Maybe he has lived under suspicious for 12 years and only his daughter can clear him?

That leads me to the basic problem I have with your premise: if a lot hangs on the memories of a three-year-old, how reliable can her memories be? I don't know that that needs to be addressed in the hook, but I'd want some sense that she can be a reliable witness.