I am not a good fisher. I have a dad who is an amazing fisher, a brother-in-law who I swear is the fish whisperer and I can dangle, switch bait, and practice any other superstition and still the only way I can catch a fish is in a tank with a net.
Thankfully, writers don't have to be good fishers to hook readers. But, we do have lots of hooks we have to figure out how to negotiate to have success - here are three I thought of.
First - hooking an agent. Quick homework assignment - think about the book you are writing. Sum up everything you want someone to know about what you are writing in two sentences. And don't try to cheat by making them run ons. I know, right?!? It's hard. But it is essential. Run off and add this to your to do list to be accomplished in the next two weeks - I'm coming back to it, and if this is in your mind, the next part will be easier.
Second - hooking a reader. Take out your WIP and read the first sentence. First 250 words. First chapter. Have you introduced characters that we care something about, presented a problem, conflict and set up even a little of the setting? I know we re-write our first chapter the most, but it is so essential. If we lose the reader in the first, we may not get them back.
Third - hooking readers to our blogs. I covered suggestions with "B" but increasingly, because of technology and social media, this really is an essential part of a writer's success and one more hook. Along with this comes hooking through social media (hints coming), but for the next little bit, pay attention to blogs you like and revisit, determine why, and evaluate if yours is accomplishing the things that you admire elsewhere.
What hooks are you working on right now? How have you been hooked by others? What do you think is the most essential element to a successful hook?