This week I’ve been doing a couple #askeditor sessions as part of Pitch to Publication (which I’m sooooooo excited for, btw). I had a lot of people asking about writing hooks, so I decided to address it on the blog.
First, let me start by saying that a hook and a 35 word pitch aren’t necessarily the same thing. The 35 word pitch is a super short summary of your book. The sole purpose of the hook is to pique the interest of the reader.
Here is the simplest formula I can give for writing a hook: MC+something interesting about them.
Yeah. It can be that easy.
The “interesting thing” can be any of the following:
- A special ability they have or something they do
- A reference to the inciting incident
- An interesting thing they did
- A hint of the conflict they’re about to face
- The character’s goals
- Something unique about the setting, or where they live
- Literally anything interesting about the MC
Here are a few great hooks, which follow this formula:
Query 26 something the character does: For seventeen-year-old Cas Leung, bossing around sea monsters five thousand times her size is just the family business.
Query 89 reference to the inciting incident: After witnessing the suicide of a peer, seventeen-year-old Leighton Cross moves to New York City to escape from her past.
Query 70 unique setting: 11-year old misfit GWENDOLYN GRAY has a big imagination, which can cause a lot of trouble in a world where creativity is a crime.
Query 76 character goals: Seventeen year old Arresa is determined not to be a figure head in her political marriage, even if it means being a public figure instead of hiding from her problems.