After completing my novel, I attended a number of workshops where the facilitators stressed the importance of a hook or logline.
What is a hook/logline?
Very simply, it is a concise sentence that answers the question: What is your novel about? An effective logline provides enough interest to prolong the conversation with a prospective agent or publisher, encourages readers to pick up the book, and creates tweetable buzz.
At first, I found it a daunting task. How could I possibly condense 69,000 words into 25 words or less?
I started by looking at the some of the great hooks in literature and cinema:
A man goes into the jungle to search for a missing general. (Heart of Darkness)
A reclusive chocolateer opens up his factory to the lucky children who find golden tickets. (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
A sea captain forces his crew to search for an elusive white whale. (Moby Dick)
A train engine thinks it can make it up a hill. (The Little Engine That Could)
A young FBI cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. (The Silence of the Lambs)
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency. (The Shawshank Redemption)
Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny, eludes him. (Forrest Gump)
And my all time favorite…
Film Director James Cameron pitched his idea for the three-hour epic in just six words:
Romeo and Juliet on the Titanic.
A brunette lottery winner never has an alibi when dead blondes turn up in Dumpsters near her favorite haunts. (A Season for Killing Blondes)
Do you have a hook for your novel or WIP?
Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.
When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.
As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.
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In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne...