How to make someone desperate to read your story with just one line
If you were describing your story to a potential reader what part of it could really get them on the hook? What part would really get them wanting to know more?
This is called a ‘hook.’ Just like a fish is caught on a physical hook people can be caught on mental hooks where they HAVE to know more. Humans have an inbuilt curiousity(?). We want to know things.
We especially want to know things when people tell us that those things are interesting but they won’t tell us what they are just yet. These are called opens loops. If you realise that your friend isn’t telling you some tantalising gossip that gossip becomes everything you ever wanted to know in your life.
If I tell you that there is a particular species of animal that constantly kiss each other on the mouth you might suddenly be curious as to what animal that is.
So when thinking about how to describe your book you have to start with thinking about the best bits of your book. Then you have to think about how you can tease those bits. How you can make people wonder what they are. What mystery can you create in your readers mind by writing your blurb?
For a romance novel the hook shouldn’t be “Will she find love?” because it’s pretty obvious the answer is Yes. Instead it could be “Who will she find love with?”
“Nancy has treated romance like a game most of her life. But now she wants to settle down and be a Mum like her friends. Suddenly she finds herself in love with two men. Who will she choose? Brilliantly clever and sensible James or wildy sexy but immature Rick?”
I writing that blurb I tried to finely balance the two men’s traits so it isn’t at all obvious which man she will pick.
For a Sci-fi novel it might seem like to sell it you have to talk about the strange planet the protaganists will be visiting and the weird aliens with two tongues that reside there. Instead a better option might to be simply to leave the planet as a mystery that will only be revealed when reading the book.
“Chief Scientist Robbie is offered a lucrative contract on board and exploration ship. It’s only once they’ve set off that he realises why they’re paying him so much. It’s because this may be a one way trip. The two other ships to attempt to visit this planet where never heard from again. ‘What’s down on the planet?’ Robbie wonders. ‘Is it nothing at all? A planet so rich and wonderful that nobody wants to return home? Hostile aliens in the midst of a war? Or something else?’
If you story is pretty simple and there is no mystery your hook can be the scenes in the story. For example, if your book is primarily a comedy you can write lines in your blurb like “Sally’s mouth is always getting her into trouble.” Or “What ways will Becky find to embarrass herself this time?”
What are the hooks in your story?