Miss Snark, who has become my new hero over the past few months, has been running her very well-attended Happy Hooker Crapometer over the last week or so.
The idea was that people would send in the hooks they’re including (or preparing to include) in their query letters, and Miss Snark evaluates them in her deliciously no-holds-barred manner. (I really hope she’s still running this when I finally have a book ready to share. Her advice, though blunt, is wonderful. Or maybe it’s wonderful because it’s so blunt.)
Finally frustrated by people who couldn’t write a hook after she shared so many good examples, she finally offered a basic form to help people start their hook. (As she reminds us repeatedly, it takes more than just this, but these are the basics of a good hook.)
Components of a good hook, care of Miss Snark:
- X is the main guy
- Y is the bad guy
- They meet at Z and all L breaks loose
- If they don’t solve Q, then R starts, and if they do, then it’s L squared.
It occurs to me, though, that you could also use this to help yourself work out a story that’s stuck in your head or perhaps one that is giving you trouble as you try to capture it on paper. Again, not as the entire cure-all, but just to get yourself started or through a rough patch.