Hooks That Catch an Agent’s
Is there anything more important in a query letter than thehook? You get one sentence
the first one
to grab anagent by the throat and convince her/him to read thesecond sentence, then the second paragraph, then requestan excerpt. On the shoulders of one sentence rest theweight of years of work, months of rewriting and weeksof stress.How do you write that sort of sentence? Noah Lukeman isgenerous when he gives you five pages in his book,
TheFirst Five Pages
. No writer gets five pages. So how doyou get an overworked, under-excited agent to read pastyour one-page query letter?
The great hooks are all used…
Call me Ishmael (Moby Dick)
Mam died today; or yesterday, maybe, I don‟t know (
As Gregor Samsa aawoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed inhis bed into a gigantic insect (The Metamorphosis)
Whatever you write will be second to those above
. Here’s a group of first lines I collected from
NYT Bestsellers. See what you think of them:
Hood got partnered up with Terry Laws that night, another swing shift in the desert, another hundred and fifty miles of motion on ashphalt, another Crown Victoria Law Enforcement Interceptor that would feel like home.
He should never have taken that shortcut
Eamonn Dillon of Sinn Fein was the first to die, and he died because he planned to stop for anpint of lager at the Celtic Bar before heading up the Falls Road to a meeting.
The naked child ran out of the hide-covered lean-to toward the rocky beach at the bend in thesmall river.
If you’re like me, none of those even got close to
Call me Ishmael
.I found this next list of hooks on a writers site.They are proferred as top-notch openers for query
letters (Truth be told, I think I can do this good, even on my normal days):
“Under a low sun, pursued by fish and mounted by crows and veiled in a loud languid swarm
bottle flies, the body comes down the river like a deadfall stripped clean.”