Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lit Agent X Gives Advice on Hooks

It's a very good and to-the-points post, so just go read "Thoughts on Hooks."

Here's a taste:


5. IT COMES DOWN TO AN AGONIZING CHOICE
I've seen whole novels work as a buildup to the ending of a huge decision the protagonist must make... and choose wisely--make a selfish scared choice, or make the riskier self-sacrificial choice. I'm more interested in seeing what the protagonist is up against, and then have the question: How will she keep what she dearly wants but still rescue the man she owes her life to? So the question is how can she get everything she wants with the smallest casualty. I like how questions better. I'm not so interested in a choice that's A, B, or C. I want to see the protagonist choose D. None of the above and make her own way. If your book isn't so straightforward, don't let your hook suggest it's that simple either.

6. CLICHES
Visions and prophetic dreams, a quest to find a person or object, a portal into a new world, a girl who goes on disasterous dates until finding Mr. Right, etc. Read a lot. Know what's been done already so that you can do something new, different, better.

7. UNLIKEABLE CHARACTER
Get my sympathy or admiration, and I'm hooked.

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