Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Searching for ‘the hook’

Just as songs need that all important hook to reel in listeners, writers also search for that all important tag line to attract your attention. It will be on the dust jacket, in the review, in the PR sent out, and more importantly – it needs to be in the initial letter you send out to agents. With that in mind, I have been doing some heady research…

Every enquiry letter needs that all important shiny silver dangly bit, so I have been writing and rewriting ‘hooks’ for what feels like days now. The only problem is that I have started reading them back to myself in the manner of Don Lafontaine, the deep-voiced man who brought so many film trailers to life.

This does not make for a serious ‘hook’. Consider the following (in a deep voice)…

“In a world brought to its knees, Florence Delaney stands alone and unchallenged by the dark forces of the night, until a long-held family secret unites her with the very forces she has grown to despise.”

Ok, that actually isn’t a description of my novel, which is a darn shame as I rather like it! But why is it so much easier to make up these film-style voice-overs than seriously sum up the contents of my masterpiece?

“In a world dominated by Potters, Jayne stands alone and rather lonely with her pages covered in point size 12 Times New Roman font, until an agent peers down from their lofty cloud and extends the rope-ladder of representation.”

Hmm. A little work is needed, I feel.


music obsessive said...

Perhaps it be better in Verdana...:)

I know the problem, my blurb stares back at me from the back cover and I absolutely cringe at it now. If only I'd given it more though!

Jayne said...


I try to give it more thought, but the more thought I give it the more cluttered my thoughts seem to get!

Unknown said...

Try writing your letter to the agent in strawberry-scented light blue pen. I did my Physics homework in that very medium last week and got a merit mark for it because my teacher said it was the first homework she has ever been given that is written in scented pen - she didn't even know they existed!!!!!!!!

Jayne said...

If I'd have had a strawberry scented pen at school I would probably have eaten it, the tuck shop being what it was (empty of tuck, mostly). It all depended on what classroom you finished in when the bell rang - if you were doing maths out in the Life-Endangering Huts (rain used to drip onto the light switch) then by the time you made it to the tuck shop all that would be left would be squashed packets of Nik Naks and unsatisfying fruit polo's. So a strawberry scented pen would have been quite a temptation.

But if it helped gain you a merit mark in Physics, I shall definitely keep that in mind for all future business letters, I could do with some merit marks!