Friday, October 23, 2009

I am having an issue with setting the "HOOK"

I am having an issue with setting the "HOOK"

Do you set the hook in the first chapter? And does the Hook match the Climax and the resolution?

The only reason I ask is because I am working on my book proposal and query letter. And it has made me really think about the hook, and if i really set it early enough...

Sounds like I should set the hook quick and then do back story, from what I have read.

I guess this boils down to me not knowing exactly how a book is typically arranged, but I am getting there.

thx for your time...


  1. Jeff,

    I think (to some extent) it depends on what kind of a book you are working on. I can only comment on mystery fiction. If you're writing a crime/detective/thriller novel, you need the hook VERY EARLY on.

    There's a story that a writer submitted a manuscript to a publisher and the publisher said the murder (discovery of it, or mention of it, etc) took too long to happen. The writer replied, "but it's on page 3!" To which the publisher said, "yeah, but look how far down the page!"

    A writing teacher I had years ago used to say to start in the middle of the action, i.e. "where were you last night?" instead of with a lot of back story.

    Hope this helps... Jill

  2. Setting the hook early is very in, very in indeed. However, if I look at the books I like best, the ones that I read over and over, the ones that have stood the test of time (instead of swamped today's bestseller list to be forgotten a decade later), I find the story is often set much later, with the characters and setting firmly established and the setting. Oftimes, in the books I'm talking about, the plot is so subtle you don't even realize all that happened - until it's done.

    It may make my work harder to sell, but I tend to write what I like to read so my hook (which of is subtle as well) may come chapters into the book.

  3. thx for your advice.. it helps a great deal...

  4. Honestly, setting it super fast does seem pretty commercial.

    I would love to publish my stuff, but I want my stuff to be spectacular--I want people 500 years from now to be reading it for book groups because it still speaks to them. I want teenagers 500 years from now to be reading it because it's something integral to their existence.

    Put your hook where it belongs. If it can fit into the typical commercial pattern, it's too commercial.

    Just my two cents.

  5. right now it is at the end of chapter 2...

    and i feels right to me, but read a few post on agents and some publishers blogs and they all say to set the "hook" with in the first page. which seems way to early to lead in with it to me, so this helps me decide. thx...

  6. I know I'm not a published author, but I have to say, most of the "tips" I've seen for authors seem to be aimed at people who have no idea how to tell a story and telling them how to get published anyway. I've read "how to write books" that were 2/3 how to get ideas. How to get ideas? If you don't have something you want to write, why bother? I'd be writing a couple of lifetimes just to take advantage of the ideas I've already had and, truthfully, I'm expecting more ideas later.

    But don't take my word for it. Pull out your five favorite books (and it would be better if one were published in the past ten years and successful) and figure out where you think the "hook" is. Then figure out where the plot really kicked in. Then, figure out what the author did in between.

    Note the genre of the different novels and what the similarities/differences between what you're writing and what they're writing.

    For a plot-driven novel or a mystery, the early hook might be key because, frequently, characters are shallow, but a complex multi-faceted book will do more.

    One of the absolute best plot books of all time (in my opinion) is The Count of Monte Cristo by Drumas. Nothing, other than character and setting really takes place until Chapter 4. Then, for the next TWENTY-TWO chapters, he builds the background that makes our "hero". It is not until chapter 26 that the real plot, the revenge, begins. This classic was written more than 150 years ago. We should be so fortunate as to pass such a test of time.

    My, what the heck, 8 or 9 cents.

  7. i love it thx...

    that is what i am looking for.

    basical all your advice is priceless, it help in more way than i can describe.

    thx for your reply