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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Hook Paragraph

Send the first paragraph of your query to cdcoff@gmail.com.

With many contests and pitch opportunities available this month (Savvy Author continues Pitch Your Book this month), it is important to polish a logline or first paragraph.

These are examples of ‘hook paragraphs’ courtesy imdb.com and Amazon:
When Captain Barbossa sends his pirate crew to kidnap Elizabeth Swan and the last remaining piece of Aztec gold, a blacksmith called Will Turner joins a recently captured pirate named Jack Sparrow and goes off searching for Elizabeth.

Harry Potter, an ordinary 11-year-old boy, learns that he is a wizard and the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry invites him to attend their academy.

Oskar Schindler is a vainglorious and greedy German businessman who becomes an unlikely humanitarian amid the barbaric Nazi reign when he feels compelled to turn his factory into a refuge for Jews.

A tornado sweeps Dorothy away into a magical land and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

The chaos unleashed by an anarchist mastermind known only as the Joker drives Batman, Gordon, and Harvey Dent to their limits.

A young girl watches over her family – and her killer – from heaven

A young girl joins a survival contest in order to save her community in a dystopian future.

Look on book covers, movie trailers, and headlines for examples. Sometimes excruciatingly bad ones turn up. For instance, ‘and life will never be the same'. Or 'and it will turn her world upside down'. And let us not forget the dreaded question hated by so many agents: 'What if you could live forever?'

What catches your eye? What hook made you look twice?

2 comments:

Tara Tyler said...

those are so great! who comes up with this stuff? oh, yeah, great writers! back to the drawing board... =)

Jolene Perry said...

I love seeing loglines and pitches for books we're familiar with. It helped me SO much when trying to do my own.